Tuesday, December 30, 2014

UPSC Civil Services Mains GS Paper-3 2014


  1. 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-a-vis industry in the country? Can India become a developed country without a strong industrial base?
There are various reasons for huge growth of services in India –
a.       First of all, industrial growth requires huge capital investment which was not there when India became independent
b.      Secondly, there were historical factors as well. British rulers never allowed industrial growth in India as it was against their imperial interests and export policies
c.       Thirdly, great stress is laid in Indian culture on acquiring softer skills of life like education which are more conducive for services growth
d.      After independence, India also grew under a highly restrictive regime and there was negligible technological transfer by the then powers like USA etc
e.      Finally, India also made significant advances in fields like IT, BPO etc early on which later on became a big component of service Industry
However, Industrial growth is imperative for India to become a developed country –
a.       First of all, industrial growth is necessary to absorb the surplus labor from agriculture which has become overcrowded
b.      Industrial growth is also necessary to cut dependency in key strategic areas like heavy machinery
c.       Industrial growth is also necessary to bridge the trade deficit of India which is widening day by day
d.      Finally, Industrial growth is also necessary from security point of view as well  as it alone provides for domestic production of defence equipments majority of which are currently imported by India.
Indian government has also perhaps identified this issue and has launched National Manufacturing Policy 2011 which aims at increasing the share of manufacturing from existing 16% to 25%.

  1. While we found 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.
A decade back a NASSCOM-McKinsey survey highlighted that only 25% of Indian engineers are employable and the situation is even worse now due to following reasons –
a.       First of all, the education in India is defective as it has limited industry orientation.
b.      Secondly, as per Yashpal Committee on higher education, mushrooming deemed universities have led to degradation of higher education as many of them are not at par with accepted standards
c.       Thirdly, there are limited skill development programs which are ran by government
d.      Fourthly, industrial internship scopes are limited
To improve this situation, following steps can be taken to create those jobs –
a.       The mandate of National Skill Development Corporation needs to be expanded to include more people in skill development programs
b.      Secondly, The Apprenticeship Act needs to be amended to allow students from even humanities and non-engineering stream to get internship in industries as currently only engineers are allowed to undergo industrial internship programs
c.       Thirdly, quality of education needs to be improved and entrepreneurial cells should be developed in universities

  1. There is also a point of view that Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) set up under the state acts have not only impeded the development of agriculture but also have been the cause of food inflation in India. Critically examine.
(I have largely read negatives of APMCs in various articles etc, so their positive achievements didn’t came across my mind at that time which could have balanced the answer)
APMCs have worked in largely monopolistic manner and have impeded agricultural growth in following manner –
a.       First of all, 80% of farm produce which is marketed is routed through these and this has led to their virtual monopoly and the inefficiencies associated with such monopolistic behavior also crept in
b.      Secondly, they have discouraged other practices like Contract Farming, due to which there has been poor farmers-industry collaboration which could have attracted more investment and technology in agriculture
c.       Thirdly, most of the APMCs are poorly equipped with facilities like warehousing, cold-storage etc which leads to improper handling of farm produce
d.      They have also failed to promote innovative practices among farmers
e.      They have also failed on backward integration front and despite their mandate, they don’t play active role in providing farm inputs to farmers
f.        They have also failed to provide timely information on agricultural markets and other farming related information
They have contributed towards inflation in following manner –
a.       They have discouraged competition and this has led to artificial prices of farm produce
b.      Secondly, due to their inefficient handling of food grains, there is lot of wastage which also contribute to inflation
c.       Thirdly, their opaque working has ensured that there is no adequate projection of demand and supply and this has led to unpredictability about inflation

  1. “In the villages itself no form of credit organisation will be suitable except the cooperative society.” – All Indian Rural Credit Survey. Discuss this statement in the background of agriculture finance in India. What constrain and challenges do financial institutions supplying agricultural finances? How can technology be used to better reach and serve rural clients?
The importance of Credit Cooperatives in rural areas was identified first way back in 1910s when first credit cooperative was established in India. Cooperatives allow advantage of close working, identification of needs and mutual cooperation using indigenous knowledge. Even today, less than 25% of rural areas have no bank branch and credit availability is poor. Challenges faced by financial institutions in India in field of agricultural finance are –
a.       First of all, there is poor institutional penetration in rural areas
b.      Secondly, there is also issue of defaults and rising NPAs
c.       There is also a collateral requirement which is often unfulfilled as land-holdings in rural areas have depleted very much
d.      As per Nachiket Mor Committee, the preferential lending share of rural areas is low and needs to be increased
e.      Finally, populist political measures like loan waiver have also put additional burden on banks and have hindered their viability in rural areas
Technology can be used in following manners to serve the rural areas better –
a.       Using mobile-banking as mobile penetration in even rural areas is now around 90%
b.      Using bank-representatives
c.       Mobile-ATMs
d.      Using video-banking as started by Bank of Baroda
(The latter half of answer could have been better, Aadhar, use of biometrics, tele-media to promote financial literacy, internet banking could have been mentioned)

  1. The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 has come into effect from 1 January 2014. What implication would it have on industrialisation and agriculture in India?
(If there were one question on which I could have hedged my bets for its likelihood of appearance in this year’s paper, it was this one)
The new Land Acquisition Act is likely to have following implications for industry –
a.       First of all, it make land acquisition expensive as now industrialists will have to pay upto 4 times the market cost of land
b.      Secondly, the 80% consent clause will make land acquisition very difficult for industrialists to acquire the land
c.       Thirdly, the stringent requirements like Social Impact Assessment also pose hurdles in the acquisition process
d.      Strict clauses like no change of purpose, award of 20% appreciated amount to original owners, return of land in case it remains unused for 3 years etc have made land acquisition difficult and expensive
Due to such provisions, cost of industrial projects is likely to go up and may impact their viability and competitiveness.
On the agriculture sector, the Act has following impacts –
a.       First, of all farmers will get better price of their lands
b.      As this law also has a component of rehabilitation, farmers will have a better deal
c.       Strict requirements like consensus of 70-80%, social impact assessment, consent of Gram Sabha and so on have made acquisition of agricultural land difficult
d.      However, there are also provisions like – upto 5% multi-crop land acquisition is allowed (this provision was not there in the original draft) under this Act and it is counter to agrarian interests
e.      Further, there are 16 existing legislations which lead to bulk acquisitions and can still lead to acquisition of agricultural land. Further, if land remains unused, it need not necessarily go back to farmers, but will go to state land banks
Hence, the legislation has mixed implications for agriculture.

  1. Capitalism has guided the world economy to unprecedented prosperity. However, it often encourages shortsightedness and contributes to wide disparities between the rich and the poor. In this light, would it be correct to believe and adopt capitalism driving inclusive growth in India? Discuss.
Capitalism as an economic ideology is driven by profit. Undue emphasis on profit and ignoring of social aspects has led to events like Great Depression, Economic Crisis of 2009-09 and so on. It often leads to indiscriminate consumption as well.
Hence, adoption of capitalism as a developmental strategy will not work. Capitalism makes condition of rich better and condition of poor worse as only those who have capital benefit from it. Inclusive growth also requires focus on the poorest and deprived, while capitalism gives priority to those with purchasing power.
(I am not sure what exactly I wrote in the answer except the above first para. This answer could have been better if I had given some time to it, initially it seemed too obvious to me, but later I found that the biggest shortcoming of capitalism was already mentioned in the question. I am not sure whether I used concepts like ‘Gini Coefficient’ etc in my answer which could have made it sound more objective. I could have also mentioned success stories of some Latin American countries like Cuba where socialist regimes have done so well. Instead of thinking of some objective facts, I got entangled myself into an ideological debate of capitalism vs socialism and as a result my answer was more abstract in nature)

  1. Explain how private public partnership agreements, in longer gestation infrastructure projects, can transfer unsuitable liabilities to the future. What arrangements need to be put in place to ensure that successive generations’ capacities are not compromised?
(I was not sure which specific liabilities do such projects put. In the hindsight, now I have come to conclusion that since PPP projects are executed by private operators and hence with profit motive alone, such projects might ignore various long term implications like – environmental hazards, long term social impact (due to its shoddy assessment), sustainability etc)
(From the word ‘liability’, I primarily inferred ‘economic’ liabilities like viability funding, debt accumulation, shoddy execution and incomplete projects with locked in-capital. I made suggestions also on above lines)

  1. National urban transport policy emphasizes on moving people instead of moving vehicles. Discuss critically the success of various strategies of the government in this regard.
(I have no specific idea of strategies except like – Dedicated BRT Corridors, MRTS or metro rails and so on and hence instead mentioned these in the beginning and proceeded with broad apparent failure of transportation policy of government. I clubbed issues like – poor traffic management, congestion on roads, pollution, rising number of accidental deaths etc, ignorance of some areas and disproportionate focus on other areas and so on. I also mentioned how government policies lacked an integrated multi-modal approach and all transport sectors operate in isolation and without any synergy)

  1. Foreign direct investment in the defence sector is now said to be liberalised. What influence this is expected to have on Indian defence and economy in the short and long run?
In short run, it can have following impacts on Indian defence and economy –
a.       Cut imports
b.      Installation of domestic capacities
c.       Bridge trade deficit
d.      Technology transfers
In long run, it may have following impacts – 
a.       Emergence of India as a defence exporter from an importer
b.      Strategic partnership with many countries and companies like Lockheed Martin, Dassault, Boeing etc
c.       Boost in indigenous research, capabilities and cut foreign dependencies
(Wrote a few more points and expanded above with relevant examples. However, I apparently mixed some short term gains with long term ones and vice versa)

  1. Scientific research in Indian universities is declining, because a career in science is not as attractive as our business operations, engineering or administration, and the universities are becoming consumer oriented. Critically comment.
India spends less than 1% of its GDP on research related activities. The fact that Indian universities produce few world class research scholars and publication shows that something is amiss. Higher education among graduates is not actively promoted and there is excessive focus on placements, rather than learning. Even teachers and faculty fail to put themselves as adequate role models. Fat pay packets (like the recent 1 crore plus placement offer to IIT students etc) by corporate and mushrooming private institutions have made education a commodity.
(I don’t recall the rest of the content, but I remember that I didn’t explore the positive dimensions and also didn’t provide many objective data to support my arguments. Details like – not even a single Nobel laureate from our universities, poor research funding in companies and universities and so on)

  1. Can overuse and the availability of antibiotics without doctor’s prescription, the contributors to the emergence of drug-resistant diseases in India? What are the available mechanisms for monitoring and control? Critically discuss the various issues involved.
Overuse and consumption of anti-biotics without prescription lead to development of resistance and mutation of the bacteria and other living organisms which lead to drug resistance which make even common ailments like cold and influenza fatal. It also leads to development of superbugs which are resistant to all kinds of existing drugs.
Available mechanisms for monitoring and control include strengthening of ‘Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940’ which was amended recently. It has also led to inclusion of antibiotics into a new ‘Schedule H1’ which puts in place following mechanisms to monitor and control their use –
a.       First of all, the new guidelines prohibit their over the counter sale without prescription
b.      Secondly, the chemists have to now retain a copy of the prescription
c.       Thirdly, chemists have to also maintain a separate register now making entries regarding the details of the buyers
d.      Finally, such drugs will now have a red border in their packings
Apart from these, India has recently taken initiative in identifying the threat of the misuse of antibiotics and in 2012-13 issued ‘Chennai Declaration’ which lays broad guidelines regarding the use and regulation of anti-biotics.

  1. In a globalised world, intellectual property rights assume significance and are a source of litigation. Broadly distinguish between the terms – copyrights, patents and trade secrets.
Copyrights are awarded for the creative expressions like – literary writings, movies, softwares, art etc which have primary aim of entertainment or recreation and only secondary commercial applications. As per Berne Convention, they are awarded automatically without any formal registration and are usually valid till after 50 years of death of the author/creator. WIPO is an international organization which monitors the copyright regime across the world. In India, Copyrights Act of 1957 governs their use.
Patents on the other hand deals with those inventions and innovations which have commercial applications. For example – new drug formulations, new machines etc are items of patents. TRIPS is one of the global agreements which govern their use. Further, they have to be registered separately in each country and are generally valid for 20 years. In India, Indian Patent Act, 1971 which was comprehensively amended in 1990s, governs them.
Trade Secrets on the other hand are the commercial proprietor know-how which makes the products of a company unique and distinctive. For example – ingredients and formulation of Coca-Cola is a trade secret. They are also governed by TRIPS and other mechanisms.
(I was not very sure about trade secrets and made a guess of it)

  1. Should the pursuit of carbon credit and clean development mechanism set up under UNFCCC be maintained even through there has been a massive slide in the value of carbon credit? Discuss with respect to India’s energy needs for economic growth.
Carbon credit market saw a decline in wake of the global financial crisis and lack of interest from many developed countries, but India should pursue the CDM mechanism and carbon credit mechanism because –
a.       First of all, India has most of its energy needs being satisfied from high carbon sources like coal and CDM can help it towards shifting towards a cleaner growth model by way of transfer of clean technologies
b.      Secondly, the decline in carbon credit market is only temporary. The fact that global community has agreed to have a second commitment period of Kyoto (from 2017-20) shows that CDM is here to stay and has potential of growth
c.       Further, India is one of the countries, apart from China, which has benefitted most from the CDM mechanism. Despite decline in value of carbon credits, India still benefits from it.
(I had added a few more spontaneous points linking the energy needs of India and CDM with conclusion that CDM has a nett benefit for India and is still relevant)

  1. Drought has been recognised as a disaster in view of its party expense, temporal duration, slow onset and lasting effect on various vulnerable sections. With a focus on the September 2010 guidelines from the National disaster management authority, discuss the mechanism for preparedness to deal with the El Nino and La Nina fallouts in India.
(I had no idea about September 2010 guidelines, but had just a faint recall that I had read an article or editorial on the drought being recognized as a disaster. However, couldn’t recall any specific things)
The September 2010 guidelines have identified the drought as a disaster and following guidelines have been issued –
a.       It has been suggested that the storage and warehousing of the food grains be done more in a decentralized manner so that the response is quick and there are less logistical hurdles in transference of food grains
b.      It has also been suggested that a state level and central level coordinating body be formed so that coordination between various bodies like FCI, Central Warehouse Corporation etc is optimum
(I also wrote some other commonsensical suggestions, but avoided mentioning anything related to agriculture or change in cropping patterns)

  1. Environmental impact assessment studies are increasingly undertaken before project is cleared by the government. Discuss the environmental impacts of coal-fired thermal plants located at Pitheads.
Current EIA norms were notified in 2006 and various reports have shown that environmental impact norms have been liberally violated by the coal mining activities. Environmental impacts of coal fired thermal plants located coal-fired pitheads are –
a.       First of all, coal mining leads to deep excavations and in absence of proper reclamation of mined site, water seepage leads to pollution of aquifers and hence polluted drinking water
b.      Secondly, coal mining also leads to escaping of harmful gases into environment some of which are even poisonous too
c.       Excavation of coal and its transportation also leads to spillage of coal soot and dust which settles on the vegetation and crops of nearby areas. It hinders their growth.
d.      Coal combustion also leads to emission of green house gases which leads to climate change
e.      Finally, in most of the pitheads, no ‘cumulative environmental impact assessment’ has not been done. Due to mining and other activities, unforeseen cumulative damages are done to environment apart from above.

  1. The diverse nature of India as a multi-religious and multi-ethnic society is not immune to the impact of radicalism which has been in her neighbourhood. Discuss along with the strategies to be adopted to counter this environment.
(I mainly focused on influence due to Islamic radicalism from Pakistan and Bangladesh and also the impact of driving out of Rohingyes from radical Burmese Buddhists)
India has been exposed in recent years to radical Islamists from her neighbourhood viz from Pakistan and Bangladesh. It has led to influx of ideas to India and India has witnessed communal clashes in recent years in UP etc. Further, such ideas have also caused ethnic clashes as in case of recent Assam violence. Various strategies adopted to counter this environment are –
a.       National integration council (explained its working)
b.      Increased patrolling along the border and curbing of infiltration of radical elements
c.       Electronic fences have been erected along the border of Pakistan and work is on along the border of Bangladesh
d.      There is also increased cooperation among the government of Bangladesh and Indian security forces in terms of representative level talks and exchange of information
e.      Government is also planning to bring Anti Communal Violence Bill
So, government has adopted both softer and harder strategies to counter the influence of such radical forces.

  1. International civil aviation laws provide all countries complete and exclusive sovereignity over the airspace above the territory. What do you understand by airspace? What are the implications of these laws on the space above this airspace? Discuss the challenges which this poses and suggests ways to contain the threat.
(This was the question which baffled me most. First of all I couldn’t grasp the question completely. Secondly I had no idea what is the extent of airspace over which a country is sovereign. Thirdly, I was not sure whether the ‘airspace’ which is above refers to outer-space. I was also unsure whether the question was linked to Chinese moves regarding ADIZ, Ukrainian shootout of Malaysian plane or use of outerspace and associated dangers. I wrote a very vague answer of it. I started with recent Chinese moves – I forgot the name ADIZ – and referred the space above airspace as – ‘outer space’ – highlighted the role of ITU, satellite usage and what not. In short… I was groping in the dark, knowing well that it is futile :P)
(I would like to know what others have written on this)

  1. How illegal trans-border migration does pose a threat to India’s security? Discuss the strategies to curb this, bring out the factors which give impetus to such migration.
Illegal migration poses threat to Indian security in various ways –
a.       First of all, illegal migrations from porous border of Bangladesh are leading to ethnic clashes in Assam and other North Eastern regions
b.      Secondly, infiltrations from Pakistani border in Kashmir are leading to terrorism
c.       Along the border of Punjab, illegal migrations are leading to drug smuggling as well. It has also led to weakening of internal social security
d.      Illicit flow of counterfeit currency is leading to economic insecurity
Thus, illegal migration has a threat to physical, social and economic security of India. Following strategies have been adopted to curb it –
a.       Electronic fencing along the borders
b.      Increased surveillance and use of technology like drones
c.       Cooperation with the neighboring border forces
Factors which give impetus to such migration are –
a.       Better economic opportunities in India as compared to neighboring states
b.      Communal clashes in neighboring states and minority persecution as in case of Bangladesh, where Hindu minorities have been driven out
c.       Ethnic clashes – as in case of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar
d.      Porous border along Bangladesh and Myanmar due to difficult hilly terrain and difficulty in demarcating the boundary
e.      Cross-border infiltration as in case of Pakistan border

  1. In 2012, the longitudinal marking of the high-risk areas for piracy was moved from 65° East to 78° east in the Arabian Sea by International Maritime organisation. What impact does this have on India’s maritime security concerns?
Shifting of Somalian and other pirates activities to eastern longitudes brought the threat of piracy closer to India’s doorstep and it poses following threats to India’s maritime security –
a.       First of all, more than 50% of India’s maritime trade passes through the Arabian sea and it has posed a great threat to Indian merchant vessels as it is apparent in the capturing of Indian sailors by pirates in past few years
b.      Secondly, India also imports a great deal of oil and gas from Arabian nations which pass through this route and presence of pirates threatens energy security of India as well
c.       There is also a danger of pirates using Lakshadweeps as their launch pad of their pirate attacks
d.      As there is significant presence of naval forces in Arabian sea, presence of pirates also increase chances of their skirmishes with Indian defence forces

  1. China and Pakistan have entered into an agreement for development of an economic corridor. What threat does it pose for India’s security? Critically examine.
(As per recent news, China is building infrastructure around the area of PoK. There are also prolonged developments of China strengthening its presence along Karakoram highway. China has also taken operational control of Gwadar port. But since it talked about security concerns for India, I maintained much of focus on planned economic corridor adjacent to J&K)
China and Pakistan have recently entered into agreements to develop economic corridor along the Karakoram highway and China has also increased its infrastructure development activities in the Pakistan occupied Kashmir apart from taking operational control of Gwadar port. It poses following security concerns for India –
a.       First of all, it brings together the two arch-enemies of India together and hence poses a greater security threat
b.      Secondly, development of infrastructure in PoK will lead to faster mobilization of Pakistani army closer to India in wake of possible conflict
c.       Newly built infrastructure like – roads can also be used by terrorists and other elements to make easy penetration into India
(I explained primarily above points and probably added 1-2 more which I don’t remember now)


Overall, this paper was very diffused one and required most effort in terms of organization of thoughts. Many questions were loosely attempted, just for the sake of attempting as even otherwise I had little extra stuff to write in other questions. 

I request you all to put your feedback, share your answers - you may even do it anonymously while posting your comments.


  1. sir please share your marks

    1. Mains:
      • Essay (Out of 250): 140
      • GS1 (Out of 250): 120
      • GS2 (Out of 250): 68
      • GS3 (Out of 250): 102
      • GS4 (Out of 250): 94
      • Optional Paper 1 (Out of 250): 122
      • Optional Paper 2 (Out of 250): 124
      • Written Total (Out of 1750): 770

  2. sir, can you please upload your sociology notes as well

  3. sir , can you please upload your sociology notes as well

    1. My socio notes are not so well arranged, but will try to upload the crucial parts of the subject.

  4. Congrats for cracking civil services sir...Thank you for the notes and lists of books you have provided....Sir is it possible to crack civil service with self preparation or coaching is necessary?

    1. Yes it is possible. This is because - now a days a lot of online guidance is available free of cost to everyone and from everywhere. You have the list of what to read, now it is upto you how you do that. Writing the optional papers is similar to writing your graduation papers. If you know that how one can score marks in graduation, you can score in UPSC as well.

  5. Thank you very much for your notes. I am just beginning my prep for UPSC 2017. :)