UPSC day 3 exam analysis 2021: ‘General studies’ paper easier, say candidates

UPSC day 3 exam analysis 2021: According to candidates, the paper 3 was relatively easier as compared to GS paper 1 and 2 on January 9

Written by Rohit Singh 

UPSC day 3 exam analysis 2021: On day 3 of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) civil services main exam,  candidates appearing in general studies paper found it relatively easier as compared to GS paper 1 and 2 on January 9. There were questions about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, its economic impact and scientific breakthrough in the first session. The candidates said that questions were straightforward from the syllabus and based mostly on current affairs.

READ | Paper analysis of day one 

There were four questions from each section – economy, agriculture, science and technology, environment and disaster management, internal security. Section wise, the questions on economy were directly from the syllabus and were a bit on the tougher side due to conceptual nature which requires proper understanding of the topics of the syllabus. Questions on GST Compensation was from current affairs.

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The agriculture section was straightforward and easy to understand. Questions were asked mainly on the application of technology for welfare or betterment of the society.

In the science and technology section, questions were asked mainly on the application of technology for welfare or betterment of the society. Also, questions were current affairs oriented. The environment and disaster management section had mostly questions from current affairs on government scheme or initiatives.

Meanwhile, the internal security section was relatively tougher as the questions were a bit analytical in nature. Overall, the paper was easy and students who have practised answer-writing and covered all syllabus topics could easily answer all the questions within the stipulated time frame. The candidates can expect a score of over 110 in this paper.

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Here are questions asked in today’s paper

1. Explain intergenerational and intragenerational issues of equity from the perspective of inclusive growth and sustainable growth. (Answer in 150 words)

Topic- Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

Moderate to difficult. Requires deeper understanding.

Proper distribution of renewable and non-renewable resources is the key of the concept of sustainable development. Intergenerational equity tries to distribute among present and future generation; while intra-generational equity deals with the distribution of resources between the members of the same generation

2. Define potential GDP and its determinants. What are the factors that have been inhibiting India from realizing its potential GDP? ( Answer in 150 words)

Topic- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment

Easy and generic in nature.

The topic of GDP is constantly in news and can be easily answered if basic concepts are clearly understood to the student.

Like GDP, potential GDP represents the market value of goods and services, but rather than capturing the current objective state of a nation’s economic activity, potential GDP attempts to estimate the highest level of output an economy can sustain over a period of time.

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3. What are the main constraints in transports and marketing of agricultural produce in India? ( Answer in 150 words)

Topic- transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints

Easy and directly from the syllabus.

The question aims to analyse the important role played by transportation in the agriculture sector and the issues associated with it. Give a detailed account of the constraints. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

4. What are the challenges and opportunities in food processing sector in the country? How can income of the farmers can sustainably be increased by encouraging food processing? ( Answer in 150 words)

Topic- Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.

Moderate in nature. Directly from the syllabus.

Sampada scheme, PM-Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME) schemes can be incorporated in the answer.

5. What do you understand by nanotechnology? And how it’s helping in the health sector? ( Answer in 150 words)

Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.


Define nano-technology and explain its uses. Write about the development of diagnostic devices, analytical tools, drug delivery vehicles, and physical therapy applications.

6. How is science interwoven deeply with our lives? What are the striking changes in agriculture triggered off by science-based technologies? (Answer in 150 words)

Topic – Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

Easy and generic question which candidate could answer based on his study of the current affairs related to science and technology

7. How does the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, 2020 differ from the existing EIA notification, 2006? (Answer in 150 words)

Topic – environmental impact assessment

Easy and Current affairs based question

Draft EIA 2020 notification was frequently in news due to various concerns raised by many environmentalists that it would be diluting provisions of existing EIA 2006 notification

8. What are the salient features of the Jal Shakti Abhiyan launched by the Government of India for water conservation and water security? (Answer in 150 words)

Topic – Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Easy, Straightforward and Current affairs based question.

Factual in nature.

Jal Shakti Abhiyan was launched in 2019 as a campaign for water conservation and water security

9. Discuss different types of Cybercrimes and measures required to be taken to fight the menace. (Answer in 150 words)

Topic – Challenges to internal security through communication networks, the role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cybersecurity

Easy, Straightforward Question from the static part of the syllabus. A well-read candidate could have easily answered this question.

10. For effective border area management, discuss the steps required to be taken to deny local support to militants and also suggest ways to manage favourable perception among locals. (Answer in 150 words)

Topic – Security challenges and their management in border areas

Moderate and Specific in nature. Candidates require a deep understanding of the topic to properly address the question

Border management is a static topic that has been asked in the previous year but different aspects.

11. 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 private entity. (Answer in 250 words)

Topic – Investment models.

Moderately difficult question due to the conceptual nature of the first part. The second part of question is relatively easy and could be answered if the PPP investment model has been studied and the Kelkar committee on PPP has been covered.PPP is one of the most important investment models and has been in the news in past years so question is always expected on it.

12. Explain the rationale behind Goods and Services Tax(Compensation to states)act of 2017. How has COVID-19 impacted the GST compensation fund and created new federal tensions? (Answer in 250 words)

Topic – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources

Moderate question, of the analytical nature.

The question was current affairs based as GST Compensation issue was in news in recent times with states demanding compensation from the centre due to shortfall in GST revenues.

13. What are the major factors responsible for making the rice-wheat system a success? In spite of this success, how has this system become bane in India?(Answer in 250 words)

Topic – Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country

Easy question directly from the syllabus. The second part can also be easily answered as it is well known how the Green revolution and subsequent adoption of the rice-wheat system had a negative impact on the environment and society.

14. Suggest measures to improve water storage and irrigation system to make its judicious use under depleting scenarios. (Answer in 250 words)

Topic-Different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage

Moderate due to suggestive nature.

Creative thinking with the innovative approach will help to solve this question. Can be linked with conservation of the environment.

15. COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented devastation worldwide. However, technological advancements are being availed readily to win over the crises. Give an account of how technology was sought to aid management of the Pandemic. (Answer in 250 words)

Topic- Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. Moderate

Current affair based

Comprehensive approach with relevant examples will help to solve this question.

16. 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? (Answer in 250 words)

Topic- Infrastructure: Energy and Conservation of environment

Easy and Current Affairs based questions. A lot of initiatives have been taken in the past few years to harness solar energy for electricity.

First part fundamental in nature, second part current affairs based

17. What are the features of the National Clean Air Programme(NCAP) initiated by the government of India? (Answer in 250 words)

Topic-Environmental pollution and degradation Easy, straight forward, factual in nature, Current affairs based

18. Discuss the recent measures initiated in the disaster management by the Government of India departing from the earlier reactive approach. (Answer in 250 words)

Topic-Disaster and disaster management


Current affair based but comparative, so basic understanding required.

19. What are the determinants of left-wing extremism in the Eastern part of India? What strategy should the Government of India, civil administration and security forces adopt to counter the threat in the affected areas? (Answer in 250 words)

Topic- Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security

Moderate to difficult

First part factual/ objective in nature, second part suggestion and application-based. Creative thinking along with examples will help to write the second part.

20. Analyse internal security threats and trans border crimes along Myanmar, Bangladesh and Pakistan borders including Line of Control (LoC). Also, discuss the role played by various security forces in this regard. (Answer in 250 words)

Topic- Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organised crime with terrorism.

Difficult due to the analytic nature of the first part.

Also, the second part requires a particular role played by security forces, so specific knowledge is needed.

The author is manager, UPSC at Gradeup

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