Practicing with previous year’s UPSC question papers is a highly recommended strategy to understand the nature of the exam. Solving authentic IAS question papers will give you a true sense of the pattern and style of questions that will be asked on the UPSC exam.
Once the recruitment process is complete, the conducting body releases official UPSC previous year question papers PDFs along with their answer keys. It is crucial for IAS exam candidates to focus on solving and answering these questions to grasp the level of difficulty of the examination.
This article presents the previous year’s UPSC mains question paper of 2022. Doing well on these paper will boost a candidate’s confidence and assist them in identifying the most important topics from the civil services exam perspective.
UPSC Mains General Studies Paper – 1 Mains 2022
1. How will you explain the medieval Indian temple sculptures represent the social life of those days? (Answer in 150 words) 10
2. Why did the armies of the British East India Company – mostly comprising of Indian soldiers – win consistently against the more numerous and better equipped armies of the Indian rulers? Give reasons. (Answer in 150 words) 10
3. Why was there a sudden spurt in famines in colonial India since the mid-eighteenth century? Give reasons. (Answer in 150 words) 10
4. Describe the characteristics and types of primary rocks. (Answer in 150 words) 10
5. Discuss the meaning of colour-coded weather warnings for cyclone prone areas given by India Meteorological department. (Answer in 150 words) 10
6. Discuss the natural resource potentials of ‘Deccan trap’. (Answer in 150 words) 10
7. Examine the potential of wind energy in India and explain the reasons for their limited spatial spread. (Answer in 150 words) 10
8. Explore and evaluate the impact of ‘Work From Home’ on family relationships. (Answer in 150 words) 10
9. How is the growth of Tier 2 cities related to the rise of a new middle class with an emphasis on the culture of consumption? (Answer in 150 words) 10
10. Given the diversities among the tribal communities in India, in which specific contexts should they be considered as a single category? (Answer in 150 words) 10
11. The political and administrative reorganization of states and territories has been a continuous ongoing process since the mid-nineteenth century. Discuss with examples. (Answer in 250 words) 15
12. Discuss the main contributions of Gupta period and Chola period to Indian heritage and culture . (Answer in 250 words) 15
13. Discuss the significance of the lion and bull figures in Indian mythology, art and architecture. (Answer in 250 words) 15
14. What are the forces that influence ocean currents? Describe their role in fishing industry of the world. (Answer in 250 words) 15
15. Describing the distribution of rubber producing countries, indicate the major environmental issues faced by them. (Answer in 250 words) 15
16. Mention the significance of straits and isthmus in international trade. (Answer in 250 words) 15
17. Troposphere is a very significant atmospheric layer that determines weather processes. How? (Answer in 250 words) 15
18. Analyze the salience of ‘sect’ in Indian society vis-a-vis caste, region and religion. (Answer in 250 words) 15
19. Are tolerance, assimilation and pluralism the key elements in the making of an Indian form of secularism? Justify your answer. (Answer in 250 words) 15
20. Elucidate the relationship between globalization and new technology in a world of scarce resources, with special reference to India. (Answer in 250 words) 15
UPSC Mains General Studies Paper – 2 Mains 2022
1. “The most significant achievement of modern law in India is the constitutionalization of environmental problems by the Supreme Court.” Discuss this statement with the help of relevant case laws.
2. “Right of movement and residence throughout the territory of India are freely available to the Indian citizens, but these rights are not absolute. “ Comment.
3. To what extent, in your opinion, as the decentralisation of power in India changed the governance landscape at the grassroots?
4. Discuss the role of the Vice –Presidents of India as the chairman of the Rajyasabha
5. Discuss the role of the National Commission for Backward Classes in the wake of its transformation from a statutory body to a constitutional body.
6. The Gati-Shakti Yojana needs meticulous coordination between the government and the private sector to achieve the goal of connectivity. Discuss.
7. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 remains only a legal document without intense sensitisation of government functionaries and citizens regarding disability. Comment.
8. Reforming the government delivery system through the Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme is a progressive step, but it has its limitations too. Comment.
9. India is an age-old friend of Sri Lanka.’ Discuss India’s role in the recent crisis in Sri Lanka in the light of the preceding statement.
10. Do you think that BIMSTEC is a parallel organisation like the SAARC ? What are the similarities and dissimilarities between the two ? How are Indian foreign policy objectives realized by forming this new organisation ?
11. Discuss the procedures to decide the disputes arising out of the election of a Member of the Parliament or State Legislature under The Representation of the People Act, 1951. What are the grounds on which the election of any returned candidate may be declared void? What remedy is available to the aggrieved party against the decision ? Refer to the case laws.
12. Discuss the essential conditions for exercise of the legislative powers by ne Governor. Discuss the legality of re-promulgation of ordinances by the Governor without placing them before the Legislature.
13. While the national political parties in India favour centralisation, the regional parties are in favour of State autonomy.” Comment.
14. Critically examine the procedures through which the Presidents of India and France are elected of
15. Discuss the role of the Election Commission of India in the light of the evolution of the Model Code of Conduct.
16. Besides the welfare schemes, India needs deft management of inflation and unemployment to serve the poor and the underprivileged sections of the society. Discuss.
17. Do you agree with the view that increasing dependence on donor agencies for development reduces the importance of community participation in the development process ? Justify your answer.
18. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 remains inadequate in promoting incentive-based system for children’s education without generating awareness about the importance of schooling. Analyse
19. How will 12U2 (India, Israel, UAE and USA) grouping transform India’s position in global politics?
20. Clean energy is the order of the day.’ Describe briefly India’s changing policy towards climate change in various international fora in the context of geopolitics.
UPSC Mains General Studies Paper – 3 Mains 2022
1. Why is Public Private Partnership (PPP) required in infrastructural projects ? Examine the role of PPP model in the redevelopment of Railway Stations in India. (Answer in 150 words) 10
2. Is inclusive growth possible under market economy ? State the significance of financial inclusion in achieving economic growth in India. (Answer in 150 words) 10
3. What are the major challenges of Public Distribution System (PDS) in India ? How can it be made effective and transparent ? (Answer in 150 words) 10
4. Elaborate the scope and significance of the food processing industry in India. (Answer in 150 words) 10
5. The increase in life expectancy in the country has led to newer health challenges in the community. What are those challenges and what steps need to be taken to meet them ? (Answer in 150 words) 10
6. Each year a large amount of plant material, cellulose, is deposited on the surface of Planet Earth. What are the natural processes this cellulose undergoes before yielding carbon dioxide, water and other end products ? (Answer in 150 words) 10
7. Discuss in detail the photochemical smog emphasizing its formation, effects and mitigation. Explain the 1999 Gothenburg Protocol. (Answer in 150 words) 10
8. Explain the mechanism and occurrence of cloudburst in the context of the Indian subcontinent. Discuss two recent examples. (Answer in 150 words) 10
9. Discuss the types of organised crimes. Describe the linkages between terrorists and organised crime that exist at the national and transnational levels. (Answer in 150 words) 10
10. What are the maritime security challenges in India ? Discuss the organisational, technical and procedural initiatives taken to improve the maritime security. (Answer in 150 words) 10
11. Economic growth in the recent past has been led by increase in labour activity.” Explain this statement. Suggest the growth pattern that will lead to creation of more jobs without compromising labour productivity. (Answer in 250 words) 15
12. Do you think India will meet 50 percent of its energy needs from renewable energy by 2030 ? Justify your answer. How will the shift of subsidies from fossil fuels to renewables help achieve the above objective ? Explain. (Answer in 250 words) 15
13. What are the main bottlenecks in upstream and downstream process of marketing of agricultural products in India ? (Answer in 250 words) 15
14. What is Integrated Farming System ? How is it helpful to small and marginal farmers in India ? (Answer in 250 words) 15
15. Launched on 25th December, 2021, James Webb Space Telescope has been much in the news since then. What are its unique features which make it superior to its predecessor Space Telescopes ? What are the key goals of this mission ? What potential benefits does it hold for the human race? (Answer in 250 words) 15
16. What is the basic principle behind vaccine development? How do vaccines work? What approaches were adopted by the Indian vaccine manufacturers to produce COVID-19 vaccines ? (Answer in 250 words) 15
17. Discuss global warming and mention its effects on the global climate. Explain the control measures to bring down the level of greenhouse gases which cause global warming, in the light of the Kyoto Protocol, 1997. (Answer in 250 words) 15
18. Explain the causes and effects of coastal erosion in India. What are the available coastal management techniques for combating the hazard ? (Answer in 250 words) 15
19. What are the different elements of cyber security ? Keeping in view the challenges in cyber security, examine the extent to which India has successfully developed a comprehensive National Cyber Security Strategy. (Answer in 250 words) 15
20. Naxalism is a social, economic and developmental issue manifesting as a violent internal security threat. In this context, discuss the emerging issues gest a multilayered strategy to tackle the menace of Naxalism. (Answer in 250 words) 15
UPSC Mains General Studies Paper – 4 Mains 2022
1.(a) Wisdom lies in knowing what to reckon with and what to overlook. An officer being engrossed with the periphery, ignoring the core issues before him, is no rare in the bureaucracy. Do you agree that such preoccupation of an administrator leads to travesty of justice to the cause of effective service delivery and good governance? Critically evaluate. (Answer in 150 words) 10
1. (b) Apart from intellectual competency and moral qualities, empathy and compassion are some of the other vital attributes that facilitate the civil servants to be more competent in tackling the crucial issues or taking critical decisions. Explain with suitable illustrations. (Answer in 150 words) 10
2. (a) The Rules and Regulations provided to all the civil servants are same, yet there is difference in the performance. Positive minded officers are able to interpret the Rules and Regulations in favour of the case and achieve success, whereas negative minded officers are unable to achieve goals by interpreting the same Rules and Regulations against the case. Discuss with illustrations. (Answer in 150 words) 10
2.(b) It is believed that adherence to ethics in human actions would ensure in smooth functioning of an organization/system. If so, what does ethics seek to promote in human life? How do ethical values assist in the resolution of conflicts faced by him in his day-to-day functioning? (Answer in 150 words) 10
3.(a) Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have the right to do and what is right to do.’-Potter Stewart . (Answer in 150 words) 10
3.(b) “If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.” – Abdul Kalam. (Answer in 150 words) 10
3.(c) “Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.” Dalai Lama. (Answer in 150 words) 10
4. (a) What do you understand by term ‘good governance’? How far recent initiatives in terms of e-Governance steps taken by the State have helped the beneficiaries? Discuss with suitable examples. (Answer in 150 words) 10
4.(b) Online methodology is being used for day-to-day meetings, institutional approvals in the administration and for teaching and learning in education sector to the extent telemedicine in the health sector is getting popular with the approvals of the competent authority. No doubt it has advantages and disadvantages for both the beneficiaries and system at large. Describe and discuss the ethical issues involved in the use of online method particularly to vulnerable section of society. (Answer in 150 words) 10
5. (a) Russia and Ukraine war has been going on for the last seven months. Different countries have taken independent stands and actions keeping in view their own national interests. We are all aware that war has its own impact on the different aspects of society, including human tragedy. What are those ethical issues that are crucial to be considered while launching the war and its continuation so far? Illustrate with justification the ethical issues involved in the given state of affair. (Answer in 150 words) 10
5. (b) Write short notes on the following in 30 words each :
(i) Constitutional morality
(ii) Conflict of interest
(iii) Probity in public life
(iv) Challenges of digitalization
(v) Devotion to duty
6.(a) Whistle blower, who reports corruption and illegal activities, wrongdoing and misconduct to the concerned authorities, runs the risk of being exposed to grave danger, physical harm and victimization by the vested interests, accused persons and his team. What policy measures would you suggest to strengthen protection mechanism to safeguard the whistle blower? (Answer in 150 words) 10
6.(b) In contemporary world, corporate sector’s contribution in generating wealth and employment is increasing. In doing so, they are bringing in unprecedented onslaught on the climate, environmental sustainability and living conditions of human beings. In this background, do you Responsibility (CSR) is efficient and sufficient enough to fulfill the social roles and responsibilities needed in the corporate work mandated? Critically examine. (Answer in 150 words) 10
7. Prabhat was working as Vice President (Marketing) at Sterling Electric Ltd., a reputed multinational company. But presently the company was passing through the difficult times as the sales were continuously showing downward trend in the last two quarters. His division, which hitherto had been a major revenue contributor to the company’s financial health, was now desperately trying to procure some big government order for them. But their best efforts did not yield any positive success or breakthrough.
His was a professional company and his local bosses were under pressure from their London-based HO to show some positive results. In the last performance review meeting taken by the Executive Director (India Head), he was reprimanded for his poor performance. He assured them that his division is working on a special contract from the Ministry of Defence for a secret installation near Gwalior and tender is being submitted shortly.
He was under extreme pressure and he was deeply perturbed. What aggravated the situation further was a warning from the top that if the deal is not clinched in favour of the company, his division might have to be closed and he may have to quit his lucrative job.
There was another dimension which was causing him deep mental torture and agony. This pertained to his personal precarious financial health. He was a single earner in the family with two school-college going children and his old ailing mother. The heavy expenditure on education and medical was causing a big strain to his monthly pay packet. Regular EMI for housing loan taken from bank unavoidable and any default would render him liable for severe legal action.
In the above backdrop, he was hoping for some miracle to happen. There was sudden turn of events. His Secretary informed that a gentleman Subhas Verma wanted to see him as he was interested in the position of Manager which was to be filled by him in the company. He further brought to his notice that his CV has been received through the office of the Minister of Defence.
During interview of the candidate-Subhash Verma, he found him technically sound, resourceful and experienced marketeer. He seemed to be well-conversant with tendering procedures and having knack of follow-up and liaising in this regard Prabhat felt that he was better choice than the rest of the candidates who were recently interviewed by him in the last few days.
Subhash Verma also indicated that he was in possession of the copies of the bid documents that the Unique Electronics Ltd. would be submitting the next day to the Defence Ministry for their tender. He offered to hand over those documents subject to his employment in the company on suitable terms and conditions. He made it clear that in the process, the Sterling Electric Ltd. could outbid their rival company and get the bid and hefty Defence Ministry order. He indicated that it will be win-win situation for both-him and the company.
Prabhat was absolutely stunned. It was a mixed feeling of shock and thrill. He was uncomfortable and perspiring. If accepted, all his problems would vanish instantly and he may be rewarded for securing the much awaited tender and thereby boosting company’s sales and financial health. He was in a fix as to the future course of action. He was wonder-struck at the guts of Subhash Verma in having surreptitiously removing his own company papers and offering to the rival company for a job. Being an experienced person, he was examining the pros and cons of the proposal/situation and he asked him to come the next day.
- Discuss the ethical issues involved in the case.
- Critically examine the options available to Prabhat in the above situation.
- Which of the above would be the most appropriate for Prabhat and why? (Answer in 250 words) 20
8. Ramesh is State Civil Services Officer who got the opportunity of getting posted to the capital of a border State after rendering 20 years of service. Ramesh’s mother has recently been detected cancer and has been admitted in the leading cancer hospital of the city. His two adolescent children have also got admission in one of the best public schools of the town. After settling down in his appointment as Director in the Home Department of the State, Ramesh got confidential report through intelligence sources that illegal migrants are infiltrating in the State from the neighbouring country. He decided to personally carry out surprise check of the border posts along with his Home Department team. To his surprise, he caught red-handed two families of 12 members infiltrated with the connivance of the security personnel at the border posts. On further inquiry and investigation, it was found that after the migrants from neighbouring country infiltrate, their documentation like Aadhaar Card, Ration Card and Voter Card are also forged and they are made to settle down in a particular area of the State. Ramesh prepared the detailed and comprehensive report and submitted to the Additional Secretary of the State. However, he has summoned by the Additional Home Secretary after a week and was instructed to withdraw the report. The Additional Home Secretary informed Ramesh that the report submitted by him has not been appreciated by the higher authorities. He further cautioned him that if he fails to withdraw the confidential ort, he will not only be posted out from the prestigious appointment from the State capital but his further promotion which is due in near future will also get in jeopardy.
- What are the options available to Ramesh as the Director of the Home Department of the bordering State?
- What option should Ramesh adopt and why?
- Critically evaluate each of the options.
- What are the ethical dilemmas being faced by Ramesh?
- What policy measures would you suggest to combat the menace of infiltration of illegal migrants from the neighbouring country? (Answer in 250 words) 20
9. The Supreme Court has banned mining in the Aravalli Hills to stop degradation the forest cover and to maintain ecological balance. However, the stone mining to still prevalent in the border district of the affected State with connivance of certain corrupt forest officials and politicians. Young and dynamic SP who was recently posted in the affected district promised to himself to stop this menace. In one of his surprise checks with his team, he found loaded truck with stone trying to escape the mining area. He tried to stop the truck but the truck driver overrun the police officer, killing him on the spot and thereafter managed to flee. Police filed FIR but no breakthrough was achieved in the case for almost three months. Ashok who was the Investigative Journalist working with leading TV channel, suo moto started investigating the case. Within one month, Ashok got breakthrough by interacting with local people, stone mining masia and government officials. He prepared his investigative story and presented to the CMD of the TV channel. He exposed in his investigative report the complete nexus of stone mafia working with blessing of corrupt police and civil officials and politicians. The politician who was involved in the mafia was no one else but local MLA who was considered to be very close to the Chief Minister. After going through the investigative report, the CMD advised Ashok to drop the idea of making the story public through electronic media. He informed that the local MLA was not only the relative of the owner of the TV channel but also had unofficially 20 percent share in the channel. The CMD further informed Ashok that his further promotion and hike in pay will be taken care of in addition the soft loan of 10 lakhs which he has taken from the TV channel for his son’s chronic disease will be suitably adjusted if he hands over the investigative report to him.
- What are the options available with Ashok to cope up with the situation?
- Critically evaluate/examine each of the options identified by Ashok.
- What are the ethical dilemmas being faced by Ashok?
- Which of the options, do you think, would be the most appropriate for Ashok to adopt and why?
- In the above scenario, what type of training would you suggest for police officers posted to such districts where stone mining illegal activities are rampant? (Answer in 250 words) 20
10. You have done MBA from a reputed institution three years back but could not get campus placement due to COVID-19 generated recession. However, after a lot of persuasion and series of competitive tests including written and interview, you managed to get a job in a leading shoe company. You have ageur parents who are dependent and staying with you. You also recently got married after getting this decent job. You were allotted the Inspection Section which is responsible for clearing the final product. In first one year, you learnt your job well and was appreciated for your performance by the management. The company is doing good business for last five years in domestic market and this year it is decided even to export to Europe and Gulf countries. However, one large consignment to Europe was rejected by their Inspecting Team due to certain poor quality and was sent back. The top management ordered that ibid consignment to be cleared for the domestic market. As a part of Inspecting Team, you observed the glaring poor quality and brought to the knowledge of the Team Commander. However, the top management advised all the members of the team to overlook these defects as the management cannot bear such a huge loss. Rest of the team members except you promptly signed and cleared the consignment for domestic market, overlooking glaring defects. You again brought to the knowledge of the Team Commander that such consignment, if cleared even for domestic market, will tarnish the image and reputation of the company and will be counter-productive in the long run. However, you were further advised by the top management that if you do not clear the consignment, the company will not hesitate to terminate your services citing certain innocuous reasons.
- Under the given conditions, what are the options available to you as a member of the Inspecting Team?
- Critically evaluate each of the options listed by you.
- What option would you adopt and why?
- What are the ethical dilemmas being faced by you?
- What can be the consequences of overlooking the observations raised by the Inspecting Team? (Answer in 250 words) 20
11. Rakesh was working as a Joint Commissioner in Transport department of a city. As a part of his job profile, among others, he was entrusted with the task of overseeing the control and functioning of City Transport Department. A case strike by drivers’ union of City Transport Department over the issue of compensation to a driver who died on duty while driving the bus came up before him for decision in the matter.
He gathered that the driver (deceased) was plying Bus No. 528 which passed through busy and congested roads of the city. It so happened that near an intersection on the way, there was an accident involving the a middle-aged man. It was found that there was altercation between the driver and the car driver. Heated arguments between them led to fight and the driver gave him a a blow. Lot of passerbys had gathered and tried to intervene but without success. Eventually, both of them were badly injured and profusely bleeding and were taken to the nearby hospital. The driver succumbed to the injuries and could not be saved. The middle-aged driver’s condition was also critical but after a day, he recovered and was discharged. Police had immediately come to the spot and FIR was registered. Police investigation revealed that the quarrel in was started by the bus driver and he had resorted to physical violence. There exchange of blows between them.
The City Transport Department management is considering of not giving any extra compensation to the driver’s (deceased) family. The family is very aggrieved. depressed and agitated against the discriminatory and non-sympathetic approach of the City Transport Department management. The bus driver (deceased) was 52 years of age, was survived by his wife and two school-college going daughters. He was the sole earner of the family. The City Transport Department workers’ union took up this case and when found no favourable response from the management, decided to go on strike. The union’s demand was two fold. First was full extra compensation as given to other drivers who died on duty and secondly employment to one family member. The strike has continued for 10 days and the deadlock remains.
- What are the options available to Rakesh to meet the above situation?
- Critically examine each of the options identified by Rakesh
- What are the ethical dilemmas being faced by Rakesh?
- What course of action would Rakesh adopt to diffuse the above situation? (Answer in 250 words) 20
12. You are appointed as an officer heading the section in Environment Pollution Control Board to ensure compliance and its follow-up. In that region, there were large number of small and medium industries which had been granted clearance. You learnt that these industries provide employment to many migrant worker. Most of the industrial units have got environmental clearance certificate in their possession. The environmental clearance seeks to curb industries and projects that supposedly hamper environment and living species in the region, But in practice. most of these units remain to be polluting units in several ways like air, water and soil pollution. As such, local people encountered persistent health problems.
It was confirmed that majority of the industries were violating environmental compliance. You issued notice to all the industrial units to apply for fresh environmental clearance certificate from the competent authority. However, your action met with hostile response from a section of the industrial units, other vested interest persons and a section of the local politicians. The workers also became hostile to you as they felt that your action would lead to the closure of these industrial units, and the resultant unemployment will lead to insecurity uncertainty in their livelihood. Many owners of the industries approached you with the plea that you should not initiate harsh action as it would compel them their units, and cause huge financial loss, shortage of their products in the market. These would obviously add to the sufferings of the labourers and the consumers alike. The labour union also sent you representation requesting against the closure of the units. You simultaneously started receiving threats from unknown corners. You however received supports from some of your colleagues, who advised you to act freely to ensure environmental compliance. Local NGOs also came to your support and they demanded the closure of the polluting units immediately.
- What are the options available to you under the given situation?
- Critically examine the options listed by you.
- What type of mechanism would you suggest to ensure environmental compliance?
- What are the ethical dilemmas you faced in exercising your option? (Answer in 250 words) 20
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