Most of the questions in GS Paper 1 of UPSC CSE 2021 Mains were on expected lines except a few exceptions. Please find the questions in the General Studies Paper 1 (GS1) of UPSC 2021 Civil Services Mains Examination (written).
There were 20 questions. 10 questions were of 10 marks each, while the remaining 10 questions were of 15 marks each.
GS Paper 1 UPSC 2021: Instructions
- Total Marks: 250 marks, Time duration: 3 hours.
- There are 20 questions printed both in ENGLISH and HINDI.
- All questions are compulsory.
- The number of marks carried by a question/part is printed against it.
- Answers must be written in the medium authorized in the admission certificate which must be stated clearly on the cover of this question-cum-answer (QCA) booklet in the space provided.
- No marks will be given for answers written in the medium other than the authorized one.
- Answers to questions no. 1 to 10 should be in 150 words, whereas answers to questions no. 11 to 20 should be in 250 words.
- Keep the word limit indicated in the questions in mind.
- Any page or portion of the page left blank, must be struck off clearly.
- The content of the answer is more important than its length.
General Studies Paper 1 Question Paper – UPSC Civil Services Main Exam (Written) 2021
Qn1. Evaluate the nature of the Bhakti Literature and its contribution to Indian culture. (Answer in 150 words) 10
Qn2. Trace the rise and growth of socio-religious reform movements with special reference to Young Bengal and Brahmo Samaj. (Answer in 150 words) 10
Qn3. Assess the main administrative issues and socio-cultural problems in the integration process of Indian Princely States. (Answer in 150 words) 10
Qn4. Differentiate the causes of landslides in the Himalayan region and the Western Ghats. (Answer in 150 words) 10
Qn5. 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. (Answer in 150 words) 10
Qn6. What are the environmental implications of the reclamation of the water bodies into urban land use? Explain with examples. (Answer in 150 words) 10
Qn7. Mention the global occurrence of volcanic eruptions in 2021 and their impact on the regional environment. (Answer in 150 words) 10
Qn8. Why is India considered a subcontinent? Elaborate on your answer. (Answer in 150 words) 10
Qn9. Examine the uniqueness of the tribal knowledge system when compared with mainstream knowledge and cultural systems. (Answer in 150 words) 10
Qn10. Examine the role of the ‘Gig Economy’ in the process of empowerment of women in India. (Answer in 150 words) 10
Qn11. To what extent did the role of the moderates prepare a base for the wider freedom movement? Comment. (Answer in 250 words) 15
Qn12. Bring out the constructive programmes of Mahatma Gandhi during Non-Cooperation Movement and Civil Disobedience Movement. (Answer in 250 words) 15
Qn13. ” There arose a serious challenge to the Democratic State System between the two World Wars.” Evaluate the statement. (Answer in 250 words) 15
Qn14. Briefly mention the alignment of major mountain ranges of the world and explain their impact on local weather conditions, with examples. (Answer in 250 words) 15
Qn15. How does the melting of the Arctic ice and glaciers of the Antarctic differently affect the weather patterns and human activities on the Earth? Explain. (Answer in 250 words) 15
Qn16. Discuss the multi-dimensional implications of the uneven distribution of mineral oil in the world. (Answer in 250 words) 15
Qn17. What are the main socio-economic implications arising out of the development of IT industries in major cities of India? (Answer in 250 words) 15
Qn18. Discuss the main objectives of Population Education and point out the measures to achieve them in India in detail. (Answer in 250 words) 15
Qn19. What is Cryptocurrency? How does it affect global society? Has it been affecting Indian society also? (Answer in 250 words) 15
Qn20. How does Indian society maintain continuity in traditional social values? Enumerate the changes taking place in it. (Answer in 250 words) 15
GS1 Question Paper Analysis
The GS Paper 1 UPSC 2021 (Mains) questions were of good quality – testing the ability to analytically think in a time-constrained environment.
UPSC followed the time-tested pattern of 20 questions in 3 hours this year too. The pattern of 20 questions in GS Paper 1 of UPSC CSE 2021 was familiar to most aspirants (10*10 marks + 10*15 marks = 250 marks). The Commission didn’t create any major surprises there.
UPSC touched almost all topics mentioned in the UPSC syllabus – however with varied priorities.
Questions from Culture were from topics like Bhakti and Tribal Knowledge System.
Modern India part of the UPSC syllabus was given stress through questions on socio-religious reform movements, the role of moderates in the freedom struggle, and Mahatma Gandhi’s constructive programs during NCM and CDM.
The post-Independence era was touched – the question was on the integration of princely states.
World History question was connected with World Wars. However, the focus was the period between the two world wars.
The highest priority area in GS Paper 1 UPSC 2021 (Mains) was Geography. The questions from the geography section were on the following topics: landslides, mining industry, water bodies and urban land use, volcanic eruptions in 2021, sub-continent, mountain ranges, melting of Arctic ice and glaciers of Antarctic, distribution of mineral oil, and IT industries.
Questions from Indian Society were interconnected with subjects like Economics. The questions included the ones on Gig Economy, Cryptocurrency, Population Education, and continuation of traditional social values.
Important Take-Aways from the GS Paper 1 UPSC 2021 (Mains) – Question Paper
No loaded questions as in 2019. In 2019, the UPSC question paper had a loaded question with wordings placing culture above the constitutional value of secularism. This resulted in a lot of controversies. However, in 2020 and 2021 UPSC was cautious to set questions befitting its constitutional role of selecting impartial civil servants.
All subjects mentioned in the UPSC syllabus were covered.
Most of the questions were from expected areas.
Only 1 question was directly connected with current affairs – the global occurrence of volcanic eruptions in 2021. The questions on Gig Economy and Cryptocurrency have contemporary significance.
The theme of droughts and floods was asked in 2020. This year it was about landslides.
Questions from geography were mainly from expected areas. Last year location of the iron and steel industry and Himalayan glaciers were asked. This year UPSC asked about mining industries, IT industries, and Antarctic glaciers.
Last year there was a question on Persian Literature. This year, the question was on Bhakti Literature.
Altogether, the GS1 question paper was a balanced paper. However, most questions required good analytical skills.
Questions which totally surprised candidates were less in number. The questions which troubled aspirants most were the ones on mineral oil, gig economy, volcanoes, and the democratic state system between the world wars.
We feel that what ultimately matters in this exam would be quick comprehension, ability to inter-connect, and proper analytical skills.
What do you think? What are your comments about this paper?