January 12th, 2021       Civil Services Preparation

UPSC conducted the General Studies Paper 1, as part of the Civil Services Main Exam 2020 on 09-01-2021.


  • There were 20 questions printed in both English and Hindi.
  • 10 questions were of 10 marks each, while the remaining 10 questions were of 15 marks each.
  • Total Marks: 250 marks, Time duration: 3 hours.
  • All questions were compulsory.
  • The number of marks carried by a question/part was printed against it.
  • Answers had to be written in the medium authorized in the admission certificate which had to be stated clearly on the cover of this question-cum-answer (QCA) booklet in the space provided.
  • Answers to questions no. 1 to 10 were to be in 150 words, whereas answers to questions no. 11 to 20 were to be in 250 words.
  • Any page or portion of the page left blank, had to be struck off clearly.




  1. The rock-cut architecture represents one of the most important sources of our knowledge of early Indian art and history. Discuss. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  2. Pala period is the most significant phase in the history of Buddhism in India. Enumerate. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  3. Evaluate the policies of Lord Curzon and their long term implications on the national movements. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  4. Discuss the geophysical characteristics of Circum- Pacific Zone. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  5. The process of desertification does not have climate boundaries. Justify with examples. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  6. How will the melting of Himalayan glaciers have a far-reaching impact on the water resources of India? (Answer in 150 words) 10
  7. Account for the present location of iron and steel industries away from the source of raw material, by giving examples. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  8. Has caste lost its relevance in understanding the multi-cultural Indian Society? Elaborate your answer with illustrations. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  9. COVID-19 pandemic accelerated class inequalities and poverty in India. Comment. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  10. Do you agree that regionalism in India appears to be a consequence of rising cultural assertiveness? Argue. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  11. Indian Philosophy and tradition played a significant role in conceiving and shaping the monuments and their art in India. Discuss. (Answer in 250 words) 15
  12. Persian literary sources of medieval India reflect the spirit of the age. Comment. (Answer in 250 words) 15
  13. Since the decade of the 1920s, the national movement acquired various ideological strands and thereby expanded its social base. Discuss. (Answer in 250 words) 15
  14. 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) 15
  15. 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) 15
  16. India has immense potential of solar energy though there are regional variations in its developments. Elaborate. (Answer in 250 words) 15
  17. Examine the status of forest resources of India and its resultant impact on climate change. (Answer in 250 words) 15
  18. Is diversity and pluralism in India under threat due to globalisation? Justify your answer. (Answer in 250 words) 15
  19. Customs and traditions suppress reason leading to obscurantism. Do you agree? (Answer in 250 words) 15
  20. How have digital initiatives in India contributed to the functioning of the education system in the country? Elaborate your answer. (Answer in 250 words) 15









2020 Freedom Struggle – 2


4 8 6


  • 7 were recycled questions, already asked in past.
  • 6 questions had linkage to current affairs.
  • Many questions picked up from Hindu and Indian Express. Newspaper reading is a must.
  • Questions could be easily answered from standard books like History (Nitin Singhania’s Art and Culture, NCERTs, Bipin Chandra, Plassey to Partition), Geography (NCERTs, Mrunal Notes, current affairs), Society (Current Affairs).
  • Questions from geography were mainly from expected areas.
  • Questions from India society demanded good analytical skills.


The major topics where questions are asked from in the GS I paper are:


  • History: Modern Indian History, World History
  • Art & Culture: Indian Heritage & Culture
  • Geography: Human Geography, Physical Geography, Geomorphology, Indian Geography, Climatology, Oceanology
  • Indian Society: Diversity in Indian Society, Role of Women, Poverty, Urbanization, Social Empowerment, Regionalism, Communalism, Secularism etc





2013 Freedom Struggle – 3


Post Independence – 5


World History – 4

3 12 6
2014 Freedom Struggle – 3


World History – 3

4 10 5
2015 Freedom Struggle – 2


World History – 2

2 7 6
2016 Freedom Struggle – 3


World History – 1

2 9 6
2017 Freedom Struggle – 1


Post Independence – 3


World History – 1

2 6 7
2018 Freedom Struggle – 1


Post Independence – 2


3 4 11
2019 Freedom Struggle – 2


Post Independence – 1


World History – 1

1 8 10


This year was on the easier side compared to previous years. Having said that, what ultimately matters in this exam would be the quick comprehension of each question and proper answer writing skills.



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