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UPSC Previous Year (Mains) Paper With Solution Subject Wise

Economic Development


1. Explain the difference between computing methodology of Inda's Gross Domestic Product(GDP) before the year 2015 and after the year 2015.

2. Distinguish between Capital Budget and Revenue Budget. Explain the components of both these Budgets.

3. How did land reforms in some parts of the country help to improve the socio-economic conditions of marginal and small farmers ?

4. How and to what extent would micro-irrigation help in solving India's water crisis ?

5. Discuss how emerging technologies and globalisation contribute to money laundering. Elaborate measures to tackle the problem of money laundering both at national and international levels.

6. Do you agree that the Indian economy has recently experienced V-shaped recovery? Give reasons in support of your answer.

7. Investment in infrastructure is essential for more rapid and inclusive economic growth”. Discussin the light of India's experience.

8. What are the salient features of the National Food Security Act, 2013 ? How as the Food Security Bill helped in eliminating hunger and malnutrition in India?

9. What are the present challenges before crop diversification ? How do emerging technologies provide an opportunity for crop diversification?


10. Explain intra-generational and inter-generational issues of equity from the perspective of inclusive growth and sustainable development.

11. Define potential GDP and explain its determinants. What are the factors that have been inhibiting India from realizing its potential GDP?

12. What are the main constraints in transport and marketing of agricultural produce in India?

13. What are the challenges and opportunities in food processing sector in the country? How can income of the farmers be substantially increased by encouraging food processing?

14. What are the salient features of the Jal Shakti Abhiyan launched by the Government of India for water conservation and water security?

15.Explain the meaning of investment in an economy in terms of capital formation. Discuss the factors to be considered while designing a concession agreement between a public entity and a private entity.

16. Explain the rationale behind the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to states) act of 2017. How has COVID-19 impacted the GST compensation fund and created new federal tensions?

17. What are the major factors responsible for making rice-wheat system a success? In spite of this success how has this system become bane in India?

18. Describe the benefits of deriving electric energy from sunlight in contrast to the conventional energy generation. What are the initiatives offered by our government for this purpose?


19. It is argued that the strategy of inclusive growth is intended to meet the objectives of inclusiveness and sustainability together. Comment on this statement

20. The public expenditure management is a challenge to the Government of India in context of budget making during the post liberalization period. Clarify it.

21. What are the reformative steps taken by the Government to make food grain distribution system more effective?

22. Elaborate the policy taken by the Government of India to meet the challenges of the food processing sector.

23. Enumerate the indirect taxes which have been subsumed in the goods and services tax (GST) in India. Also, comment on the revenue implications of the GST introduced in India since July 2017.

24. Do you agree with the view that steady GDP growth and low inflation have left the Indian economy in good shape? Give reasons in support of your arguments.


23. How would the recent phenomena of protectionism and currency manipulations in world trade affect macroeconomic stability of India?

24. “Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy is the sine qua non to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” Comment on the progress made in India in this regard.

25. How are principles followed by the NITI Aayog different from those followed by erstwhile Planning Commission in India?

26. Comment on the important changes introduced in respect of the Long Term Capital Gains Tax (LTCGT) and Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) in the Union Budget for 2018-2019.


27. Account for the failure of manufacturing sector in achieving the goal of labour-intensive exports. Suggest measures for more labour-intensive rather than capital-intensive exports.

28. “Industrial growth rate has lagged behind in the overall growth of Gross-Domestic-Product (GDP) in the post-reform period” Give reasons. How far the recent changes in Industrial Policy are capable of increasing the industrial growth rate?

29. What are the salient features of ‘inclusive growth’? Has India been experiencing such a growth process? Analyse and suggest measures for inclusive growth.

30. Among several factors for India’s potential growth, savings rate is the most effective one. Do you agree? What are the other factors available for growth potential?

31. Examine the development of Airports in India through joint ventures under Public – Private Partnership (PPP) model. What are the challenges faced by the authorities in this regard.

32. What are the reasons for poor acceptance of cost-effective small processing unit? How the food processing unit will be helpful to uplift the socio-economic status of poor farmers?

33. One of the intended objectives of Union-Budget 2017-18 is to ‘transform, energize and clean India’. Analyze the measures proposed in the Budget 2017-18 to achieve the objective.


34. Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) is necessary for bringing unbanked to the institutional finance fold. Do you agree with this for financial inclusion of the poor section of the Indian society? Give arguments to justify your opinion.

35. Justify the need for FDI for the development of the Indian economy. Why there is gap between MoUs signed and actual FDIs? Suggest remedial steps to be taken for increasing actual FDIs in India.

36. Comment on the challenges for inclusive growth which include careless and useless manpower in the Indian context. Suggest measures to be taken for facing these challenges.

37. Give an account of the current status and the targets to be achieved pertaining to renewable energy sources in the country. Discuss in brief the importance of National Programme on Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).

38. How globalization has led to the reduction of employment in the formal sector of the Indian economy? Is increased informalization detrimental to the development of the country?

39. Women empowerment in India needs gender budgeting. What are the requirements and status of gender budgeting in the Indian context?

40. What are ‘Smart Cities’? Examine their relevance for urban development in India. Will it increase rural-urban differences? Give arguments for ’Smart Villages’ in the light of PURA and RURBAN Mission.


41. How can the ‘Digital India’ programme help farmers to improve farm productivity and income? What steps has the Government taken in this regard?

42. “Success of ‘Make in India’ programme depends on the success of ‘Skill India’ programme and radical labour reforms.” Discuss with logical arguments.

43. To what factors can the recent dramatic fall in equipment costs and tariff of solar energy be attributed? What implications does the trend have for the thermal power producers and the related industry?

44. There is a clear acknowledgement that Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are a tool of industrial development, manufacturing and exports. Recognising this potential, the whole instrumentality of SEZs require augmentation. Discuss the issues plaguing the success of SEZs with respect to taxation, governing laws and administration.

45. The nature of economic growth in India in recent times is often described as jobless growth. Do you agree with this view? Give arguments in favour of your answer

46. In what way could replacement of price subsidy with Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) change the scenario of subsidies in India? Discuss

47. What are the impediments in marketing and supply chain management in developing the food processing industry in India? Can e-commerce help in overcoming these bottlenecks?

48. Craze for gold in Indians has led to a surge in import of gold in recent years and put pressure on balance of payments and external value of rupee. In view of this, examine the merits of Gold Monetization Scheme.


49. The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 has come into effect from 1st January, 2014. What are the key issues which would get addressed with the Act in place? What implications would it have on industrialization and agriculture in India?

50. National Urban Transport Policy emphasises on ‘moving people’ instead of ‘moving vehicles’. Discuss critically the success of the various strategies of the Government in this regard.

51. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the defence sector is now set to be liberalized. What influence this is expected to have on Indian defence and economy in the short and long run?

52. Should the pursuit of carbon credits and clean development mechanisms set up under UNFCCC-be maintained even though there has been a massive slide in the value of a carbon credit? Discuss with respect to India’s energy needs for economic growth.

53. Normally countries shift from agriculture to industry and then later to services, but India shifted directly from agriculture to services. What are the reasons for the huge growth of services vis-à-vis industry in the country? Can India become a developed country without a strong industrial base?

54. “While we flaunt India’s demographic dividend, we ignore the dropping rates of employability.” What are we missing while doing so? Where will the jobs that India desperately needs come from? Explain.

55. Capitalism has guided the world economy to unprecedented prosperity. However, it often encourages short-sightedness and contributes to wide disparities between the rich and the poor. In this light, would it be correct to believe and adopt capitalism for bringing inclusive growth in India? Discuss.

56. Explain how Private Public Partnership arrangements, in long gestation infrastructure projects, can transfer unsustainable liabilities to the future. What arrangements need to be put in place to ensure that successive generations’ capacities are not compromised?


57. (a) Discuss the impact of FDI entry into Multi-trade retail sector on supply chain management in commodity trade pattern of the economy.

(b) Though India allowed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in what is called multi-brand retail through the joint venture route in September 2012, the FDI, even after a year, has not picked up. Discuss the reasons.

58. With a consideration towards the strategy of inclusive growth, the new Companies Bill, 2013 has indirectly made CSR a mandatory obligation. Discuss the challenges expected in its implementation in right earnest. Also discuss other provisions in the Bill and their implications.

59. What were the reasons for the introduction of Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, 2003? Discuss critically its salient features and their effectiveness.

60. Food Security Bill is expected to eliminate hunger and malnutrition in India. Critically discuss variousapprehensions in its effective implementation along with the concerns it has generated in WTO

61. Examine the impact of liberalization on companies owned by Indians. Are they competing with theMNCs satisfactorily? Discuss.

62. Discuss the rationale for introducing Goods and Services Tax (GST) in India. Bring out critically the reasons for the delay in roll out for its regime



1. Differentiate the causes of landslides in the Himalayan region and Western Ghats

2. Despite India being one of the countries of the Gondwanaland, its mining industry contributes much less to its Gross Domestic Product(GDP) in percentage. Discuss

3. what are the environmental implications of the reclamation of the water bodies into urban land use? Explain with examples

4. Mention the global occurrence of volcanic eruptions in 2021 and their impact on regional environment.

5. Why is India considered as a sub-continent? Elaborate your answer.

6. . Briefly mention the alignment of major mountain ranges of the world and explain their impact on local weather conditions, with examples.

7. . How do the melting of the Arctic ice and glaciers of the Antarctic differently affect the weather patterns and human activities on the Earth? Explain.

8. Discuss the multi-dimensional implications of uneven distribution of mineral oil in the world.

9. What are the main socio-economic implications arising out of the development of IT industries in major cities of India?


1. Discuss the geophysical characteristics of Circum-Pacific Zone. (Answer in 150 words)

2. The process of desertification does not have climatic boundaries. Justify with examples. (Answer in 150 words)

3. How will the melting of Himalayan glaciers have a far-reaching impact on the water resources of India? (Answer in 150 words

4. Account for the present location of iron and steel industries away from the source of raw material, by giving examples.(Answer in 150 words)

5. The interlinking of rivers can provide viable solutions to the multi-dimensional inter-related problems of droughts, floods and interrupted navigation. Critically examine. (Answer in 250 words)

6. Account for the huge flooding of million cities in India including the smart ones like Hyderabad and Pune. Suggest lasting remedial measures. (Answer in 250 words)

7. India has immense potential of solar energy though there are regional variations in its development. Elaborate. (Answer in 250 words)

8. Examine the status of forest resources of India and its resultant impact on climate change. (Answer in 250 words)


1. How can the mountain ecosystem be restored from the negative impact of development initiatives and tourism?

2. How is efficient and affordable urban mass transport key to the rapid economic development of India?

3. How do ocean currents and water masses differ in their impacts on marine life and coastal environment?

4. Can the strategy of regional resource-based manufacturing help in promoting employment in India?

5. Discuss the factors for localisation of agro-based food processing industries of North-West India

6. Empowering women is the key to control population growth." Discuss

7. What is water stress? How and why does it differ regionally in India?

8. Assess the impact of global warming on the coral life system with examples

9. Discuss the causes of depletion of mangroves and explain their importance in maintaining coastal ecology.


1. “The ideal solution of depleting ground water resources in India is water harvesting system”. How can it be made effective in urban areas?

2. Defining blue revolution, explain the problems and strategies for pisciculture development in India

3. What is the significance of Industrial Corridors in India? Identifying industrial corridors, explain their main characteristics.

4. Mention core strategies for the transformation of aspirational districts in India & explain the nature of convergence, collaboration & Competition for its success

5. Why is Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) needed? How does it help in navigation?

6. Why is India taking keen interest in resources of Arctic region?

7. Define mantle plume and explain its role in plate tectonics.

8. What are the consequences of spreading of ‘Dead Zones’ on marine ecosystems?


1. Petroleum refineries are not necessarily located nearer to crude oil producing areas, particularly in many of the developing countries. Explain its implications.

2. In what way can floods be converted into a sustainable source of irrigation and all-weather inland navigation in India?

3. What characteristics can be assigned to monsoon climate that succeeds in feeding more than 50 percent of the world population residing in Monsoon Asia?

4. “The growth of cities as I.T. hubs has opened up new avenues of employment, but has also created new problems”. Substantiate this statement with examples

5. Account for variations in oceanic salinity and discuss its multidimensional effects

6. How does the Juno Mission of NASA help to understand the origin and evolution of the Earth?

7. “In spite of adverse environmental impact, coal mining is still inevitable for development”. Discuss

8. Mention the advantages of the cultivation of pulses because of which the year 2016 was declared as the International Year of Pulses by United Nations.

9. How does the cryosphere affect global climate?


1. South China Sea has assumed great geopolitical significance in the present context. Comment.

2. Major cities of India are becoming vulnerable to flood conditions. Discuss.

3. Present an account of the Indus Water Treaty and examine its ecological, economic and political implications in the context of changing bilateral relations.

4. Enumerate the problems and prospects of inland water transport in India.

5. In what way micro-watershed development projects help in water conservation in drought-prone and semi-arid regions of India?

6. With a brief background of quality of urban life in India, introduce the objectives and strategy of the ‘Smart City Programme.



1. Individual Parliamentarian’s role as the national lawmaker is on a decline, which in turn, has adversely impacted the quality of debates and their outcome. Discuss.

2. Indian Government has recently strengthened the anti-terrorism laws by amending the unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967 and the NIA act. Analyze the changes in the context of the prevailing security environment while discussing the scope and reasons for opposing the UAPA by human rights organizations.

3. The Central Administration Tribunal which was established for redressal of grievances and complaints by or against central government employees, nowadays is exercising its powers as an independent judicial authority.

4. What are the methods used by the Farmers organizations to influence the policy- makers in India and how effective are these methods?


5. The Citizens’ Charter is an ideal instrument of organizational transparency and accountability, but it has its own limitations. Identify the limitations and suggest measures for greater effectiveness of the Citizens’ Charter.

6. E-governance is not only about utilization of the power of new technology, but also much about critical importance of the ‘use value’ of information. Explain.

7. “Policy Contradictions among various competing sectors and stakeholders have resulted in inadequate ‘protection and prevention of degradation’ to environment.” Comment with relevant illustrations.


8. “Poverty Alleviation programs in India remain mere showpieces until and unless they are backed up by political will.” Discuss with reference to the performance of the major poverty alleviation program in India.

9. Initially Civil Services in India were designed to achieve the goals of neutrality and effectiveness, which seems to be lacking in the present context. Do you agree with the view that drastic reforms are required in Civil Services. Comme

10. Discuss the role of Public Accounts Committee in establishing accountability of the government to the people.

11. Is the National Commission for Women able to strategise and tackle the problems that women face at both public and private spheres? Give reasons in support of your answer.

12. ‘The emergence of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in contemporary times points to the slow but steady withdrawal of the state from developmental activities’. Examine the role of the SHGs in developmental activities and the measures taken by the Government of India to promote the SHGs.


13. In the integrity index of Transparency International, India stands very low. Discuss briefly the legal, political, social and cultural factors that have caused the decline of public morality in India.

14. Has the Indian governmental system responded adequately to the demands of Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization started in 1991? What can the government do to be responsive to this important change?

15. “Traditional bureaucratic structure and culture have hampered the process of socio-economic development in India.” Comment.

16. “In the Indian governance system, the role of non-state actors has been only marginal.” Critically examine this statement.

17. “Demographic Dividend in India will remain only theoretical unless our manpower becomes more educated, aware, skilled and creative.” What measures have been taken by the government to enhance the capacity of our population to be more productive and employable?

18. “Effectiveness of the government system at various levels and people’s participation in the governance system are interdependent” Discuss their relationship in the context of India.


19. In the light of Satyam Scandal (2009), discuss the changes brought in corporate governance to ensure transparency, accountability.

20. “If amendment bill to the Whistleblowers Protection Act, 2011 tabled in the Parliament is passed, there may be no one left to protect.” Critically evaluate.

21. “For achieving the desired objectives, it is necessary to ensure that the regulatory institutions remain independent and autonomous.” Discuss in the light of experiences in recent past.

22. Examine critically the recent changes in the rules governing foreign funding of NGOs under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 1976.

23. The Self Help Group (SHG) Bank Linkage Programme (SBLP), which is India’s own innovation has proved to be one of the most effective poverty alleviation and women empowerment programmes.Elucidate

24. How can the role of NGOs be strengthened in India for development works relating to protection of the environment? Discuss throwing light on the major constraints.


25. An athlete participates in Olympics for personal triumph and nation’s glory; victors are showered with cash incentives by various agencies, on their return. Discuss the merit of state sponsored talent hunt and its cultivation as against the rationale of a reward mechanism as encouragement.

26. Should the premier institutes like IITs/IIMs be allowed to retain premier status, allowed more academic independence in designing courses and also decide mode/criteria of selection of students. Discuss in light of the growing challenges

27. Has the Cadre based Civil Services Organization been the cause of slow change in India ? Critically examine

28. Two parallel run schemes of the Government, viz. the Adhaar Card and NPR, one as voluntary and the other as compulsory, have led to debates at national levels and also litigations. On merits, discuss whether or not both schemes need run concurrently. Analyse the potential of the schemes to achieve developmental benefits and equitable growth.

29. The size of the cabinet should be as big as governmental work justifies and as big as the Prime Minister can manage as a team. How far is the efficacy of a government then inversely related to the size of the cabinet? Discuss.

30. Though 100 percent FDI is already allowed in non-news media like a trade publication and general entertainment channel, the Government is mulling over the proposal for incr>eased FDI in news media for quite some time. What difference would an increase in FDI make? Critically evaluate the pros and cons

31. The setting up of a Rail Tariff Authority to regulate fares will subject the cash strapped Indian Railways to demand subsidy for obligation to operate non-profitable routes and services. Taking into account the experience in the power sector, discuss if the proposed reform is expected to benefit the consumers, the Indian Railways or the private container operators.

32. The penetration of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in rural areas in promoting participation in development programmes is facing socio-cultural hurdles. Examine.


33. Electronic cash transfer system for the welfare schemes is an ambitious project to minimize corruption, eliminate wastage and facilitate reforms. Comment.

34. The basis of providing urban amenities in rural areas (PURA) is rooted in establishing connectivity.Comment.

35. Though Citizens’ charters have been formulated by many public service delivery organizations, there is no corresponding improvement in the level of citizens’ satisfaction and quality of services being provided. Analyse.

36. ‘A national Lokpal, however strong it may be, cannot resolve the problems of immorality in public affairs.’ Discuss

37. Many State Governments further bifurcate geographical administrative areas like Districts and Talukas for better governance. In light of the above, can it also be justified that more number of smaller States would bring in effective governance at State level? Discuss.

38. Discuss the recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission which have been a departure from the previous commissions for strengthening the local government finances.

39. The product diversification of financial institutions and insurance companies, resulting in overlapping of products and services strengthens the case for the merger of the two regulatory agencies namely SEBI and IRDA. Justify.

40. The legitimacy and accountability of Self Help Groups (SHGs) and their patrons, the micro-finance outfits, need systematic assessment and scrutiny for the sustained success of the concept. Discuss.

41. The Central Government frequently complains on the poor performance of the State Governments in eradicating suffering of the vulnerable sections of the society. Restructuring of Centrally sponsored schemes across the sectors for ameliorating the cause of vulnerable sections of population aims at providing flexibility to the States in better implementation. Critically evaluate.



1. Evaluate the nature of the Bhakti Literature and its contribution to Indian culture


1. Persian literary sources of medieval India reflect the spirit of the age. Comment. (Answer in 250 words)


1. Highlight the Central Asian and Greco-Bactrian elements in Gandhara art.


1. Assess the importance of the accounts of the Chinese and Arab travellers in the reconstruction of the history of India.

2. Safeguarding the Indian art heritage is the need of the moment. Discuss.

3. The Bhakti movement received a remarkable re-orientation with the advent of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Discuss.


1. How do you justify the view that the level of excellence of the Gupta numismatic art is not at all noticeable in later times?


1. Krishnadeva Raya, the King of Vijayanagar, was not only an accomplished scholar himself but was also a great patron of learning and literature. Discuss.

2. Early Buddhist Stupa-art, while depicting folk motifs and narratives successfully expounds Buddhist ideals. Elucidate.


1. Mesolithic rock cut architecture of India not only reflects the cultural life of the times but also a fine aesthetic sense comparable to modern painting. Critically evaluate this comment.

2. The ancient civilization in Indian sub-continent differed from those of Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece in that its culture and traditions have been preserved without a breakdown to the present day. Comment.


1. Taxila university was one of the oldest universities of the world with which were associated a number of renowned learned personalities of different disciplines. Its strategic location caused its fame to flourish, but unlike Nalanda, it is not considered as a university in the modern sense. Discuss.

2. Sufis and medieval mystic saints failed to modify either the religious ideas and practices or the outward structure of Hindu / Muslim societies to any appreciable extent. Comment.

3. To what extent has the urban planning and culture of the Indus Valley Civilization provided inputs to the present day urbanization? Discuss.

4. Gandhara sculpture owed as much to the Romans as to the Greeks. Explain.


1. (a) Discuss the ‘Tandava’ dance as recorded in early Indian inscriptions. (b) Chola architecture represents a high watermark in the evolution of temple architecture. Discuss.

2. Though not very useful from the point of view of a connected political history of South India, the Sangam literature portrays the social and economic conditions of its time with remarkable vividness. Comment.

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