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UPSC Essay Topic wise Question Papers of last 31 years (1993-2023) for Civil Services IAS/IPS Exam Free Download

In the UPSC mains examination, essay paper is worth 250 marks and three hours. Here is the topic wise questions from the earlier years for the benefit of civil service IAS IPS aspirants.

1.1 India Since Independence

1.2 federalism, decentralization, 1.3 administration, 1.4 judiciary, 1.5 poverty, social justice, 1.6 indian society, culture and values, 1.7 media, tv & cinema, literature, 2.1 growth vs development, 2.2 environment vs development, 2.4 sectors of economy, 3.1 values in education, 3.2 scheme implementation, 3.3 higher education, 4.1 character, honesty, ethics, 4.2 knowledge, 4.3 compassion, 4.4 truth and reality, 4.5 youth, discipline, 4.6 towards excellence, 5.1 @national politics, 5.2 @world / quote type, 5.3 empowerment overall, 5.4 compared to men, 6.1 globalization, 6.2 international org./ bilateral, 6.3 security, 6.4 history, 7.1 science and religion, 7.2 science and education, 7.3 computer and internet, 7.4 sci-tech: others, appendix: linear paper of upsc essay 2023, appendix: linear paper of upsc essay 2022, appendix: model answer pe free lecture & powerpoint, appendix: syllabus of essay paper in upsc, 1 india: democracy, administration, society, culture.

  • Is the Colonial mentality hindering India’s Success? -2013
  • In the context of Gandhiji’s views on the matter, explore, on an evolutionary scale, the terms ‘Swadhinata’, ‘Swaraj’ and ‘Dharmarajya’. Critically comment on their contemporary relevance to Indian democracy -2012
  • Dreams which should not let India sleep. -2015
  • Why should we be proud of being Indians? -2000
  • Whither Indian democracy? -1995
  • How far has democracy in India delivered the goods? -2003
  • What we have not learnt during fifty years of independence. -1997
  • What have we gained from our democratic set-up? -2001
  • My vision of India in 2001 a.d. -1993
  • Impact of the new economic measures on fiscal ties between the union and states in India. -2017
  • Water disputes between States in federal India. -2016
  • Cooperative federalism : Myth or reality. -2016
  • Creation of smaller states and the consequent administrative, economic and developmental implication -2011
  • Evaluation of panchayati raj system in India from the point of view of eradication of power to people. -2007
  • Water resources should be under the control of the central government. -2004
  • The language problem in India: its past, present and prospects. -1998
  • There are better practices to “best practices”. -2021
  • How should a civil servant conduct himself? -2003
  • Politics without ethics is a disaster. -1995
  • The VIP cult is a bane of Indian democracy -1996
  • Need for transparency in public administration -1996
  • The country’s need for a better disaster management system. -2000
  • Politics, bureaucracy and business – fatal triangle. -1994
  • We may brave human laws but cannot resist natural laws. -2017
  • Justice must reach the poor -2005
  • Judicial activism and Indian democracy. -2004
  • Judicial activism. -1997
  • A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity. (- जिस समाज में अधिक न्याय होता है उस समाज को दान की कम आवश्यकता होती है।) – 2023
  • There can be no social justice without economic prosperity but economic prosperity without social justice is meaningless (बिना आर्थिक समृद्धि के सामाजिक न्याय नहीं हो सकता, किन्तु बिना सामाजिक न्याय के आर्थिक समृद्धि निरर्थक है ) -2020
  • Neglect of primary health care and education in India are reasons for its backwardness. -2019
  • The focus of health care is increasingly getting skewed towards the ‘haves’ of our society. -2009
  • Food security for sustainable national development -2005
  • Reservation, politics and empowerment. -1999
  • Culture is what we are, civilization is what we have (जो हम है, वह संस्कार; जो हमारे पास है, वह सभ्यता ) -2020
  • Indian culture today: a myth or a reality? -2000
  • Modernism and our traditional socio-ethical values. -2000
  • The composite culture of India. -1998
  • The Indian society at the crossroads. -1994
  • From traditional Indian philanthropy to the gates-buffet model-a natural progression or a paradigm shift? -2010
  • New cults and godmen: a threat to traditional religion -1996
  • Biased media is a real threat to Indian democracy. -2019
  • Responsibility of media in a democracy. -2002
  • Role of media in good governance -2008
  • Does Indian cinema shape our popular culture or merely reflect it? -2011
  • How has satellite television brought about cultural change in Indian mindsets? -2007
  • Is sting operation an invasion on privacy? -2014
  • Mass media and cultural invasion. -1999
  • The misinterpretation and misuse of freedom in India. -1998
  • Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world (कवि संसार के अनधिकृत रूप से विधायक होते हैं) – 2022

2 Economy, Development

  • Poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere. -2018
  • Digital economy: A leveller or a source of economic inequality. -2016
  • Innovation is the key determinant of economic growth and social welfare. -2016
  • Near jobless growth in India: An anomaly or an outcome of economic reforms. -2016
  • Crisis faced in India – moral or economic. -2015
  • Was it the policy paralysis or the paralysis of implementation which slowed the growth of our country? -2014
  • GDP (Gross Domestic Product) along with GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness) would be the right indices for judging the wellbeing of a country-2013
  • Can capitalism bring inclusive growth? -2015
  • Resource management in the Indian context. -1999
  • Economic growth without distributive justice is bound to breed violence. -1993
  • Forests are the best case studies for economic excellence (आर्थिक समृद्धि हासिल करने के मामले में वन सर्वोत्तम प्रतिमान होते हैं।) – 2022
  • Alternative technologies for a climate change resilient India. -2018
  • Should a moratorium be imposed on all fresh mining in tribal areas of the country? -2010
  • Urbanisation and its hazards -2008
  • Protection of ecology and environment is essential for sustained economic development. -2006
  • Urbanization is a blessing in disguise. -1997
  • Ecological considerations need not hamper development. -1993
  • Globalization would finish small-scale industries in India. -2006
  • Multinational corporations – saviours or saboteurs -1994
  • Special economic zone: boon or bane -2008
  • Is the criticism that the ‘Public-Private-Partnership’ (PPP) model for development is more of a bane than a boon in the Indian context, justified ?-2012
  • Farming has lost the ability to be a source of subsistence for majority of farmers in India. -2017
  • BPO boom in India. -2007
  • Tourism: Can this be the next big thing for India? -2014
  • Are our traditional handicrafts doomed to a slow death? -2009

3 Education

  • Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in – school. (- शिक्षा वह है जो विद्यालय में विधालय में सीखी गई बातों को भूल जाने के बाद भी शेष रह जाती है।)
  • Destiny of a nation is shaped in its classrooms. -2017
  • Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make a man more clever devil-2015
  • Independent thinking should be encouraged right form the childhood. -2007
  • Are the standardized tests good measure of academic ability or progress? -2014
  • Irrelevance of the classroom. -2001
  • Is the growing level of competition good for the youth? -2014
  • Literacy is growing very fast, but there is no corresponding growth in education. -1996
  • Is an egalitarian society possible by educating the masses ? -2008
  • What is real education? -2005
  • “Education for all” campaign in India: myth or reality. -2006
  • Restructuring of Indian education system. -1995
  • Privatization of higher education in India. -2002
  • Credit – based higher education system – status, opportunities and challenges -2011

4 Quote based, Philosophy, Ethics

  • A smile is the chosen vehicle for all ambiguities (हर असमंजस के लिए मुस्कराहट ही चुनिन्दा साधन है) – 2022
  • Philosophy of wantlessness is a Utopian, while materialism is a chimera. -2021
  • Your perception of me is a reflection of you; my reaction to you is an awareness of me. -2021
  • Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication (सरलता चरम परिष्करण है ) -2020
  • Ships don’t sink because of water around them ships sink because of water that gets into them (जहाज अपने चारों तरफ के पानी के वजह से नहीं डूबा करते, जहाज पानी के अंदर समां जाने की वजह से डूबता हैं ) -2020
  • Life is a long journey between being human and being humane.  (मनुष्य होने और मानव बनने के बीच का लम्बा सफर ही जीवन है)-2020
  • Values are not what humanity is, but what humanity ought to be -2019
  • Best for an individual is not necessarily best for the society -2019
  • Courage to accept and dedication to improve are two keys to success -2019
  • Wisdom finds truth -2019
  • A people that values its privileges above its principles loses both. -2018
  • Customary morality cannot be a guide to modem file. -2018
  • Need brings greed, if greed increases it spoils breed. -2016
  • Character of an institution is reflected in its leader. -2015
  • With greater power comes greater responsibility. -2014
  • Words are sharper than the two-edged sword. -2014
  • Attitude makes, habit makes character and character makes a man. -2007
  • He would reigns within himself and folds his passions and desires and fears is more than a king. -1993
  • Thinking is like a game, it does not begin unless there is an opposite team. (- सोच एक खेल की तरह है, यह तब तक शुरू नहीं होता है जब तक कि एक विपरीत टीम/पक्ष न हो।) – 2023
  • Mathematics is the music of reason. (- गणित ज्ञान का संगीत है।) – 2023
  • The real is rational and the rational is real. -2021
  • Mindful manifesto is the catalyst to a tranquil self (विचारपरक संकल्प स्वयं के शांतचित्त रहने का उत्प्रेरक है )-2020
  • ‘The past’ is a permanent dimension of human consciousness and values. -2018
  • A good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. -2018
  • There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. -2003
  • Disinterested intellectual curiosity is the lifeblood of civilisation. -1995
  • Joy is the simplest form of gratitude. -2017
  • Compassion is the basic of all morality of the world -1993
  • Lending hands to someone is better than giving a dole. -2015
  • Be the change you want to see in others (Gandhi)-2013
  • Just because you have a choice, it does not mean that any of them has to be right (केवल इसलिए कि आपके पास विकल्प हैं, इसका यह अर्थ कदापि नहीं है कि उनमें से किसी को भी ठीक होना ही होगा) – 2022
  • Reality does not conform to the ideal, but confirms it. -2018
  • Truth is lived, not taught -1996
  • When money speaks, the truth is silent. -1995
  • Search for truth can only be a spiritual problem. -2002
  • The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining (छप्पर मरम्मत करने का समय तभी होता है, जब धूप खिली हुई हो) – 2022
  • You cannot step twice in the same river (आप उसी नदी में दोबारा नहीं उतर सकते) – 2022
  • Discipline means success, anarchy means ruin -2008
  • Youth is a blunder, manhood a struggle, old age a regret -1994
  • If youth knew, if age could. -2002
  • Youth culture today. -1999
  • Fifty Golds in Olympics: Can this be a reality for India? -2014
  • Visionary decision-making happens at the intersection of intuition and logic. (- दूरदर्शी निर्णय तभी लिए जाते है अंतर्ज्ञान और तर्क का परस्पर मेल होता है।) – 2023
  • Not all who wander are lost. (- भटकने वाले सभी गुम नहीं हो जाते।) – 2023
  • Inspiration for creativity springs from the effort to look for the magical in the mundane (- रचनात्मकता की प्रेरणा अलौकिक ता में चमत्कार ढूंढने के प्रयास से उपजति है) – 2023
  • A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ship is for (जहाज बन्दरगाह के भीतर सुरक्षित होता है, परन्तु इसके लिए तो वह होता नहीं है) – 2022
  • Quick but steady wins the race. -2015
  • Useless life is an early death. -1994
  • Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds. -1995
  • The paths of glory lead but to the grave. -2002
  • The pursuit of excellence. -2001

5 Women empowerment

  • Greater political power alone will not improve women’s plight. -1997
  • Women’s reservation bill would usher in empowerment for women in India. -2006
  • The new emerging women power: the ground realities. -1995
  • Hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. -2021
  • If women ruled the world -2005
  • The hand that rocks the cradle -2005
  • Patriarchy is the least noticed yet the most significant structure of social inequality (पितृ-सत्ता की व्यवस्था नजर मैं बहुत काम आने के बावजूद सामाजिक विषमता की सबसे प्रभावी संरचना है) -2020
  • Fulfilment of ‘new woman’ in India is a myth. -2017
  • If development is not engendered, it is endangered. -2016
  • Whither women’s emancipation? -2004
  • Empowerment alone cannot help our women. -2001
  • Women empowerment: challenges and prospects. -1999
  • Woman is god’s best creation. -1998
  • Men have failed: let women take over. -1993
  • Managing work and home – is the Indian working woman getting a fair deal ?-2012

6 International issues, Internal Security, History

  • South Asian societies are woven not around the state, but around their plural cultures and plural identities. -2019
  • Modernisation and westernisation are not identical concepts. -1994
  • ‘globalization’ vs. ‘nationalism’ -2009
  • National identity and patriotism -2008
  • Globalizations and its impact on Indian culture. -2004
  • The masks of new imperialism. -2003
  • As civilization advances culture declines. -2003
  • The implications of globalization for India. -2000
  • My vision of an ideal world order. -2001
  • India’s contribution to world wisdom. -1998
  • The world of the twenty-first century. -1998
  • Preparedness of our society for India’s global leadership role. -2010
  • Technology as the silent factor in international relations (अंतर्राष्ट्रीय संबंधों मैं मौन करक के रूप मैं प्रौद्योगिकी) -2020
  • Has the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) lost its relevance in a multipolar world ? -2017
  • Restructuring of UNO reflect present realities -1996
  • The global order: political and economic -1993
  • India’s role in promoting ASEAN co-operation. -2004
  • Importance of Indo-US nuclear agreement -2006
  • Management of Indian border dispute is a complex task. -2018
  • In the Indian context , both human intelligence and technical intelligence are crucial in combating terrorism -2011
  • Are we a ‘soft’ state ? -2009
  • Good fences make good neighbours -2009
  • Is autonomy the best answer to combat balkanization? -2007
  • Terrorism and world peace -2005
  • True religion cannot be misused. -1997
  • History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. -2021
  • Geography may remain the same ; history need not. -2010

7 Science-Technology

  • Spirituality and scientific temper. -2003
  • Science and Mysticism : Are they compatible ?-2012
  • What is research, but a blind date with knowledge! -2021
  • Modern technological education and human values. -2002
  • Value-based science and education. -1999
  • The march of science and the erosion of human values. -2001
  • The process of self-discovery has now been technologically outsourced. -2021
  • Rise of Artificial Intelligence: the threat of jobless future or better job opportunities through reskilling and upskilling. -2019
  • ‘Social media’ is inherently a selfish medium. -2017
  • Cyberspace and Internet : Blessing or curse to the human civilization in the long run -2016
  • Increasing computerization would lead to the creation of a dehumanized society. -2006
  • The cyberworld: its charms and challenges. -2000
  • Computer: the harbinger of silent revolution. -1993
  • Technology cannot replace manpower. -2015
  • Science and technology is the panacea for the growth and security of the nation-2013
  • The modern doctor and his patients. -1997
  • The lure of space. -2004

Section-A (write any one)

  • Thinking is like a game, it does not begin unless there is an opposite team. (- सोच एक खेल की तरह है, यह तब तक शुरू नहीं होता है जब तक कि एक विपरीत टीम/पक्ष न हो।)
  • Visionary decision-making happens at the intersection of intuition and logic. (- दूरदर्शी निर्णय तभी लिए जाते है अंतर्ज्ञान और तर्क का परस्पर मेल होता है।)
  • Not all who wander are lost. (- भटकने वाले सभी गुम नहीं हो जाते।)
  • Inspiration for creativity springs from the effort to look for the magical in the mundane (- रचनात्मकता की प्रेरणा अलौकिक ता में चमत्कार ढूंढने के प्रयास से उपजति है)

Section-B (write any one)

  • Girls are weighed down by restrictions, boys with demands – two equally harmful disciplines. (-लड़कियां बंदिशों के तथा लड़के अपेक्षा के बोझ तले दबे हुए होते हैं दोनों ही समान रूप से हानिकारक व्यवस्थाएं हैं।)
  • Mathematics is the music of reason. (- गणित ज्ञान का संगीत है।)
  • A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity. (- जिस समाज में अधिक न्याय होता है उस समाज को दान की कम आवश्यकता होती है।)

Answer one-one essay from each section in 1000-1200 words

  • History is a series of victories won by the scientific man over the romantic man (इतिहास वैज्ञानिक मनुष्य के रूमानी मनुष्य पर विजय हासिल करने का एक सिलसिला है।) – 2022
  • A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ship is for (जहाज बन्दरगाह के भीतर सुरक्षित होता है, परन्तु इसके लिए तो वह होता नहीं है) & 2022
  • Just because you have a choice, it does not mean that any of them has to be right (केवल इसलिए कि आपके पास विकल्प हैं, इसका यह अर्थ कदापि नहीं है कि उनमें से किसी को भी ठीक होना ही होगा) – 2022

Essay: Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.

  • IAS Preparation
  • UPSC Preparation Strategy
  • Topic Wise Essay Questions From UPSC Mains 1994 2018

Last 25 Years Topic-wise Essay Questions From UPSC Mains (1994 - 2018)

Paper I of the UPSC Civil Services mains exam is the Essay. Here, prelims-qualified IAS aspirants have to write two essays out of a few given topics. The paper is for a total of 250 marks and its marks are taken into consideration for the Final Merit List. In this article, we have listed all the essay topics asked in the UPSC mains exam from 1994 to 2018. We have also classified the last 25 years essay questions into topics to make your preparation easier.

Latest – See the UPSC Essay Topics in the IAS Mains 2020 Essay Paper. Download UPSC Mains 2020 Essay Paper from the linked article.

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UPSC Essay Topics

Administration.

  • Politics, bureaucracy and business – fatal triangle. (1994)
  • Politics without ethics is a disaster. (1995)
  • The VIP cult is a bane of Indian democracy. (1996)
  • Need for transparency in public administration. (1996)
  • The country’s need for a better disaster management system. (2000)
  • How should a civil servant conduct himself? (2003)

Democracy/India since independence

  • Whither Indian democracy? (1995)
  • What we have not learnt during fifty years of independence. (1997)
  • Why should we be proud of being Indians? (2000)
  • What have we gained from our democratic set-up? (2001)
  • How far has democracy in India delivered the goods? (2003)
  • National identity and patriotism. (2008)
  • In the context of Gandhiji’s views on the matter, explore, on an evolutionary scale, the terms ‘Swadhinata’, ‘Swaraj’ and ‘Dharmarajya’. Critically comment on their contemporary relevance to Indian democracy. (2012)
  • Is the colonial mentality hindering India’s success? (2013)
  • Dreams which should not let India sleep. (2015)
  • Management of Indian border disputes – a complex task. (2018)

Economic growth and development

  • Resource management in the Indian context. (1999)
  • GDP (Gross Domestic Product) along with GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness) would be the right indices for judging the wellbeing of a country. (2013)
  • Was it the policy paralysis or the paralysis of implementation which slowed the growth of our country? (2014)
  • Crisis faced in India – moral or economic. (2015)
  • Near jobless growth in India: An anomaly or an outcome of economic reforms. (2016)
  • Digital economy: A leveller or a source of economic inequality. (2016)
  • Innovation is the key determinant of economic growth and social welfare. (2016)
  • Impact of the new economic measures on fiscal ties between the union and states in India. (2017)

Federalism, Decentralisation

  • The language problem in India: its past, present and prospects. (1998)
  • Water resources should be under the control of the central government. (2004)
  • Evaluation of panchayati raj system in India from the point of view of eradication of power to people. (2007)
  • Is autonomy the best answer to combat balkanization? (2007)
  • Creation of smaller states and the consequent administrative, economic and developmental implication. (2011)
  • Cooperative federalism: Myth or reality. (2016)
  • Water disputes between States in federal India. (2016)

Indian Culture & Society

  • The Indian society at the crossroads. (1994)
  • New cults and godmen: a threat to traditional religion. (1996)
  • The composite culture of India. (1998)
  • Youth culture today. (1999)
  • Modernism and our traditional socio-ethical values. (2000)
  • Indian culture today: a myth or a reality? (2000)
  • As civilization advances culture declines. (2003)
  • From traditional Indian philanthropy to the gates-buffet model-a natural progression or a paradigm shift? (2010)
  • Judicial activism. (1997)
  • Judicial activism and Indian democracy. (2004)
  • Justice must reach the poor. (2005)

Social justice/Poverty

  • Reservation, politics and empowerment. (1999)
  • Food security for sustainable national development. (2005)
  • The focus of health care is increasingly getting skewed towards the ‘haves’ of our society. (2009)
  • Farming has lost the ability to be a source of subsistence for the majority of farmers in India. (2017)
  • Poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere. (2018)

Media & Society

  • Misinterpretation and misuse of freedom in India. (1998)
  • Mass media and cultural invasion. (1999)
  • Responsibility of media in a democracy. (2002)
  • How has satellite television brought about cultural change in Indian mindsets? (2007)
  • Role of media in good governance. (2008)
  • Does Indian cinema shape our popular culture or merely reflect it? (2011)
  • Is sting operation an invasion on privacy? (2014)

Environment/Urbanisation

  • Urbanization is a blessing in disguise. (1997)
  • Protection of ecology and environment is essential for sustained economic development. (2006)
  • Urbanisation and its hazards. (2008)
  • Should a moratorium be imposed on all fresh mining in tribal areas of the country? (2010)
  • We may brave human laws but cannot resist natural laws. (2017)

Economic sectors/MNCs

  • Multinational corporations – saviours or saboteurs. (1994)
  • Globalization would finish small-scale industries in India. (2006)
  • BPO boom in India. (2007)
  • Special economic zone: boon or bane? (2008)
  • Are our traditional handicrafts doomed to a slow death? (2009)
  • Is the criticism that the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model for development is more of a bane than a boon in the Indian context, justified? (2012)
  • Tourism: Can this be the next big thing for India? (2014)
  • Restructuring of Indian education system. (1995)
  • Literacy is growing very fast, but there is no corresponding growth in education. (1996)
  • Irrelevance of the classroom. (2001)
  • Privatization of higher education in India. (2002)
  • Modern technological education and human values. (2002)
  • What is real education? (2005)
  • “Education for all” campaign in India: myth or reality. (2006)
  • Independent thinking should be encouraged right from the childhood. (2007)
  • Is an egalitarian society possible by educating the masses? (2008)
  • Credit – based higher education system – status, opportunities and challenges. (2011)
  • Is the growing level of competition good for the youth? (2014)
  • Are the standardized tests good measure of academic ability or progress? (2014)
  • Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make a man more clever devil. (2015)
  • Destiny of a nation is shaped in its classrooms. (2017)
  • The new emerging women power: the ground realities. (1995)
  • Greater political power alone will not improve women’s plight. (1997)
  • Woman is god’s best creation. (1998)
  • Women empowerment: challenges and prospects. (1999)
  • Empowerment alone cannot help our women. (2001)
  • Whither women’s emancipation? (2004)
  • If women ruled the world. (2005)
  • The hand that rocks the cradle. (2005)
  • Women’s reservation bill would usher in empowerment for women in India. (2006)
  • Managing work and home – is the Indian working woman getting a fair deal? (2012)
  • If development is not engendered, it is endangered. (2016)
  • Fulfillment of ‘new woman’ in India is a myth. (2017)

Quotes-based/Philosophy

  • Youth is a blunder, manhood a struggle, old age a regret. (1994)
  • Useless life is an early death. (1994)
  • Disinterested intellectual curiosity is the lifeblood of civilisation. (1995)
  • When money speaks, the truth is silent. (1995)
  • Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds. (1995)
  • Truth is lived, not taught. (1996)
  • True religion cannot be misused. (1997)
  • Search for truth can only be a spiritual problem. (2002)
  • The paths of glory lead but to the grave. (2002)
  • If youth knew, if age could. (2002)
  • There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. (2003)
  • Be the change you want to see in others. (2013)
  • With greater power comes greater responsibility. (2014)
  • Words are sharper than the two-edged sword. (2014)
  • Lending hands to someone is better than giving a dole. (2015)
  • “The past’ is a permanent dimension of human consciousness and values. (2018)
  • Reality does not conform to the ideal, but confirms it. (2018)
  • Attitude makes habit, habit makes character and character makes a man. (2007)
  • Discipline means success, anarchy means ruin. (2008)
  • Character of an institution is reflected in its leader. (2015)
  • Need brings greed, if greed increases it spoils breed. (2016)
  • Joy is the simplest form of gratitude. (2017)
  • A good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. (2018)
  • A people that values its privileges above its principles loses both. (2018)
  • Customary morality cannot be a guide to modern life. (2018)

Globalisation

  • Modernisation and westernisation are not identical concepts. (1994)
  • The world of the twenty-first century. (1998)
  • The implications of globalization for India. (2000)
  • My vision of an ideal world order. (2001)
  • The masks of new imperialism. (2003)
  • Globalizations and its impact on Indian culture. (2004)
  • ‘Globalization’ vs. ‘nationalism’. (2009)
  • Preparedness of our society for India’s global leadership role. (2010)

Science & Tech

  • The modern doctor and his patients. (1997)
  • Value-based science and education. (1999)
  • The march of science and the erosion of human values. (2001)
  • Spirituality and scientific temper. (2003)
  • The lure of space. (2004)
  • Science and Mysticism: Are they compatible? (2012)
  • Science and technology is the panacea for the growth and security of the nation. (2013)
  • Technology cannot replace manpower. (2015)
  • Alternative technologies for a climate change resilient India. (2018)

Internet/IT

  • The cyberworld: its charms and challenges. (2000)
  • Increasing computerization would lead to the creation of a dehumanized society. (2006)
  • Cyberspace and Internet: Blessing or curse to the human civilization in the long run. (2016)
  • Social media is inherently a selfish medium. (2017)

International organisations/relations

  • Restructuring of UNO reflect present realities. (1996)
  • India’s role in promoting ASEAN cooperation. (2004)
  • Importance of Indo-US nuclear agreement. (2006)
  • Has the Non- Alignment Movement (NAM) lost its relevance in a multipolar world. (2017)
  • Terrorism and world peace. (2005)
  • Are we a ‘soft’ state? (2009)
  • Good fences make good neighbours. (2009)
  • In the Indian context, both human intelligence and technical intelligence are crucial in combating terrorism. (2011)

Miscellaneous

  • India’s contribution to world wisdom. (1998)
  • The pursuit of excellence. (2001)
  • Geography may remain the same; history need not. (2010)
  • Fifty Golds in Olympics: Can this be a reality for India? (2014)
  • Quick but steady wins the race. (2015)

When preparing for IAS Mains, aspirants must focus on UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practise as this will improve one’s speed, efficiency and writing skills. It will automatically help in essay writing as well. 

Also, read:

Frequently Asked Questions on UPSC Essay Topics for UPSC Mains

Q 1. how can i write a good essay in upsc, q 2. does handwriting matter in upsc.

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Writing a good Essay in UPSC Mains, Explained by Anudeep Durishetty

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Novelist Stephen King put it beautifully when he said, “I write to find out what I think.”

Writing is a window to your thought process. What you write on paper will tell the reader how you think, how you argue and the way you substantiate your viewpoint. This is why for most competitive examinations and academic entrance tests, essay is mandatory.

In the Civil Services Exam too, we have a paper worth 250 marks, equivalent to a General Studies paper. Despite its importance, essay paper often does not get the attention it deserves from aspirants. First timers think they will write an excellent essay in the final exam itself, whereas experienced aspirants believe that since they had already studied a ton for GS, it will alone be enough to write a good essay. This is a fatal miscalculation.

I was one of those who made these errors in the past, and it is not a coincidence that I scored only 100 in CSE 2015. But in 2017, I devoted adequate time to this paper. I collected useful quotes, prepared notes and even made rough essay drafts for frequently asked topics. All this effort in essay paper helped me score 155.

What follows is an elaborate post on how you should tackle the Essay paper. I’ve organised the content as follows:

What UPSC says about the essay paper

How and from where to prepare?

Improving language and expression

  • On subheadings and rough drafts
  • What you must avoid
  • How to write a powerful introduction?
  • Developing the content of an Essay

Substantiating your arguments

  • How to conclude an Essay
  • My notes, quote collection and sample essays

“Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to  keep closely to the subject of the essay,   to arrange their ideas in an orderly fashion, and to write concisely . Credit will be given for  effective and exact expression .”

Essay distinguishes itself from GS in the sense that in GS, marks will be awarded purely for content. But in essay, examiners will pay special attention to not just the content, but also the language, coherence and the way you organise your write-up.

So you must take adequate care to arrange your ideas properly and not commit any fundamental spelling or grammatical errors.

Most of the content you write in Essay will come from your GS preparation. Apart from this, the following sources will help:

  • Reading non-fiction  helps you develop a matured thought process. Apart from imparting knowledge, they will also let you come across good figures of speech, art of argumentation, powerful rhetoric and unique content etc. For example, in an essay on Artificial Intelligence, I took arguments from Yuval Harari’s  Homo Deus  to argue that AI is an imminent threat to humanity. Or if you read  Why Nations Fail,  a book replete with examples, you will understand the importance of innovation, political and economic freedoms in propelling a nation forward. So my suggestion is, apart from UPSC related material, develop the hobby of reading non-fiction books. I do not mean to suggest that you should start reading one  non-fiction book per topic to get good scores in Essay, but reading them occasionally in your free time will benefit you in the long run.
  • Referring to specific magazines:  For certain topics, you can refer to specific issues of Yojana/EPW/Economic Survey etc. Example: for an essay on tribal issues or public health, you can go through specific issues of these magazines for getting the latest statistics (IMR, MMR, malnutrition levels etc) and also about the positives and criticisms of govt schemes in that sector.
  • Collecting good stories/anecdotes and quotes: Anecdotes, quotes and real life stories you see in newspapers and books which can be used in essay should be noted down. In most of my essays, I used to start with a relevant story or an anecdote that has the essay topic as its underlying theme. Apart from these, I also used a couple of quotes of eminent persons.

         List of quotes, anecdotes I collected are available in the link at the end of this article.

Language in essay must be simple and clear with as little jargon as possible. If you want to use complex definitional terms such as, say, ‘Constitutionalism’ or ‘Sanskritisation’ please define it in sentence just before you use it. Examiner will also understand clearly what you want to convey. Clear writing is clear thinking. And that is what any reader looks for.

Keep your sentences short and powerful. Long, winding sentences makes it difficult to read and understand. If you tack on one clause after another through conjunctions, what you get is a bad sentence sprawl.

Example of a bad sentence sprawl:

At the end of World War 2, on the one hand, while capitalism was successfully championed by the nations in North America and Europe, on the other hand, it was USSR that put Communism at the forefront due to which there was an ideological clash between the the two superpowers which had led to proxy wars in various parts of the globe, a nuclear arms race and a rapid deterioration of the security of the world.

(By the time readers finish reading it, they will lose their breath and the point of the sentence)

So I had a simple rule: If you run out of your breath while  reading a sentence, then probably you will have to break it into two.

Rewriting the aforementioned example after breaking it into two (which makes it much easier to read and comprehend):

After World War 2, while the North American and European nations championed capitalism, USSR put communism at the forefront. This ideological clash between the superpowers led to several proxy wars, a nuclear arms race and a rapid deterioration of world security.

There is no need to memorise complex words for writing a good essay. But an occasional use of a powerful word, or a good phrase definitely gives your write-up an edge.

Also, I believe that learning numerous words by rote will not make them stick in your brain for long. The best way to build your vocabulary is by reading non-fiction and English newspapers. While reading these, if you come across a good turn of phrase, or a word that you don’t recognise, please note it down in a book, find its meaning and understand the context in which the word was used. This helps in long term memory. Having a dictionary app on your phone also helps.

Building vocabulary is a slow process, but with consistency, anyone can become better at using an expansive set of words.

Subheadings & Rough Drafts

We can be a little innovative in our subheadings. Instead of bland subheadings such as ‘ Benefits of Nuclear Energy’  we can use “ Nuclear Energy: Promise or Peril?’  Similarly, for the essay on Social Media, instead of writing ‘ Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media ’, I wrote  “Social Media: A Double Edged Sword”

You can find my collection of a few such subheadings in the link to my notes, given at the end of the article.

I also prepared a rough draft for a few essay topics (link given at the end). You may need to modify the structure as per the demand of the question.

What you must avoid in Essay

  • Do not focus excessively only on one point, or one dimension (such as the historical or political aspect) Your essay needs to be expansive and multi-dimensional.
  • During preparation, we read a lot and it’s understandable that we feel strongly about certain topics. And since essay offers freedom to write, it’s very easy to get carried away with such a topic. But make sure that you write what is asked, not what you know or feel like. No  mann ki baat . Always stick to the subject of the topic. It helps to read the question in the midst of your essay to ensure that you are not steering away from the topic.
  • If you are not comfortable writing about abstract philosophical topics (I am terrible at writing them), avoid such questions. Your choice of topic has no bearing on the marks and that is why, selecting an unpopular topic just for the sake of it is unwise. Also, if there’s a technical term in the question, be doubly sure that you understand it correctly. For instance, in 2014, there was a question on ‘standard tests’, which is a technical term. I misunderstood it and wrote a generic essay. I got 112.
  • When you take a final stand on an issue, it’s best to avoid extreme or highly unpopular opinions. We are free to have any opinion in the privacy of our minds, but in UPSC essay why take that risk? For instance, in an essay on Capital Punishment, in the main body content, you should present a case for both abolition and retention. But when you take a stance, it’s best to be an abolitionist.
  • No ranting. You might be a great fan of Karl Marx, but if there’s a question on Capitalism, do not rant or rail against it ? You must present both the positives and negatives of Capitalism and end the essay on a balanced note.
  • Do not dedicate disproportionate amount of time for the first essay and scamper through the second. Both carry equal marks, so please invest equal time.

How to transition smoothly from one para to the next

This can be done in three ways.

Through a link sentence at the end of a para:

Here, at the end of a para, you write a sentence that signals to the examiner what’s coming next. For example, let’s say you have just written a para about the threat posed by Artificial Intelligence (AI) to jobs. At the end of that para you can write a link sentence—   “Further, we must be mindful of the fact that Artificial Intelligence poses a major challenge not just economically, but also ethically.”  And in the next para, you can write about the ethical issues concerning AI.

Through a question:

Instead of a link sentence, you can also add a question at the end of a para so that examiner’s attention is helplessly carried to the next. To take the similar example as above, the question can be something like—   “Thus we have examined the threat posed by AI to our economy, but what about the challenges brought by AI to our ethics and morals?”  And in the next para, you can write about the ethical issues concerning AI.

Signalling the shift at the start of next paragraph:

Here you can simply add a word or two at the beginning of a para that signals a shift in your subtopic. For example in an essay on  Globalisation , let’s say you have just written a para about its historical evolution and impact. You can start the next para with something like—  “Politically too, globalisation has had a tremendous impact……” This way examiner immediately knows what to expect.

These steps will ensure that the transition between paragraphs is not abrupt.

How to write a good Introduction to your Essay?

Essay introduction can be:

a fictitious incident or story (where you introduce a character); a real life anecdote; a quote; or a simple definition of the words in the question (not recommended in Essay)

In GS, definitional approach is a great way to introduce your answers. But in essay, they are rather stale, lacking in any human element. I always believe that a good way to start your essay is to have that touch of humanity and warmth in your introduction.

In my Mains exam, this was my introduction to the essay ‘Destiny of a nation is shaped in its classroom’

“The year was 1945. Towards the end of a gruesome world war, the world powers decided to carve up the Korean peninsula along the 38th parallel.

“Before partition, North and South Korea might have been homogeneous in every respect, but after the division, they steered onto different paths. While schools in the North chose to ‘educate’ their children in the worship of a cult leader, ideological indoctrination and servility, its southern counterpart focused on liberal education, innovation and economic growth.

“Today, almost seven decades later, the difference in the fates of these people and the trajectories of both these nations cannot be more stark. One is known for gross violation of human rights, while the other a champion of liberal democracy. One is known for gut-wrenching poverty, while the other unbridled prosperity.

“This only proves the age old adage that the destiny of a nation is indeed shaped in its classrooms.”

Similarly, for the Social Media essay, my introduction sought to bring to the fore the paradox of Social Media. I wrote on how social media was leveraged to crowdsource help and rescue during Chennai floods in 2015. At the same time, I mentioned how it was used nefariously in 2012 to cause mass exodus of northeast people from Bangalore. And taking cue from this introduction, in the main body, I discussed about the inherent selfishness and altruism associated with social media.

These real life stories, anecdotes and incidents are everywhere in our books and newspapers. So when you come across them, note down and ponder as to how you can use them in your essay.

Developing the Main Content from the Topic

This is like spinning the web from a thread. Depending on the topic, you can choose among the following options that fits best.

  • Temporal: Past, present and future
  • Sectoral: Media, Science & Tech, Business, Sports, Religion, Politics, Administration etc
  • Walks of Life : Individual, Family, Professional workplace, Society, Community, National, Global
  • Problem & Solution:  Concept (historical evolution+status), benefits, problems, solutions
  • Standard : Social, Political, Economical, Administrative, International, Environmental, Historical, Scientific, Security/Defence, Legal

Example: for a topic like  “Has Globalisation delivered on its promise?”  I find the problem & solution method an apt way to develop your narrative. So choose as per the question.

In the main body of the essay, each para must have an argument or an idea and a reasoning to back that argument. You can substantiate it through a real life example, a statistic, an authentic committee or organisational report etc.

For example, if you are arguing that Capital punishment is an expensive form of justice, you should be able to given an example or a statistic or Law Commission’s opinion as to how the subjects of death penalty are overwhelmingly from poor communities.

Statistics, examples, expert opinions and constitutional provisions are crucial and they make your arguments authoritative.

Concluding an Essay

Conclusion needs to be on  a futuristic, optimistic note. You need to summarise the complete essay in 3-4 sentences, after which you can write your vision for future.

You can source some useful terms from the speeches of PM Modi. Phrases like  Sabka saath sabka vikas ,  Reform-Perform-Transform, Building A New India  etc can come handy.  Rhetoric, lofty expressions, constitutional ideals, sanskrit slokas and quotes are a good way to conclude your essay.

But suppose in your introduction, if you had written about a fictitious character, then it’s always advisable to end your write-up with a reference to that character. It gives a sense of completeness to the essay.

Readers should keep in mind that these notes are written rather haphazardly (I mean who makes notes thinking that in future, they might have to upload them publicly :D)

They are fragmented in certain pages, so you may not be able to comprehend them completely, but nevertheless I hope you take home something useful.

Link to handwritten notes:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1jmVMGOzAk2d9B5Y0HQ9XpVF5Mh2IXGku

Quote collection:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1jk71jLao60hHwJoTuGYaIDgJWccxa5Xn

List of Topics one needs to prepare:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1q0W0PeH-80EKt6ucJTFOVPUlmXvCIzd-

Sample Essays:  

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1jqfUi1FXdG0icBdJpdQvwH1wlAizCMvo

Read More at: https://anudeepdurishetty.in/ 

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“It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.” -- Friedrich Neitzsche

Essay writing is among those areas in UPSC IAS Exam that can be your savior and improve your marks significantly if worked efficiently. However lack of practice and rudimentary approach may also reduce your marks and jeopardize your chances of selection in Civil services exam . A well-developed approach and rigorous practice can significantly enhance your score in essay paper in UPSC mains Exam . But before delving into the techniques to write a perfect essay it is very important to understand what is an essay and what are its different organs?

What is an essay?

  • An Essay Writing is a focused, descriptive and analytical write up on any particular topic. But this is different in format and presentation from any other kind of write up on the same topic.
  • An essay is a tight write up which has a certain theme at its core and the write up is marked by its simplicity, lucidity, flow and orderliness.
  • It should generally avoid terse and unwieldy expressions, unnecessary exposition and excessive facts, especially numbers.
  • An essay is a write up that evolves from childhood to youth and thereafter to maturity.
  • An essay should generally reflect the perceptions, understanding, and stance/take of the writer, which may be supported by facts, quotes and findings of similar kinds.

Let's have a look on Vikram Grewal's Copy

weekly essay writing upsc

For full copy click here

What an essay writing should not be....

  • It should not be a mere compilation of information or facts.
  • It should not be a long note.
  • It should not be a brief note.
  • It should not be a theoretical exposition.
  • It should not be a conglomeration of great ideas by great people.

What constitutes a good essay?

A good essay should have three distinct parts-

  • Introduction
  • Description

A good essay should be close to its subject or theme throughout the write up.

Essay Writing Strategy by Vikram Grewal (AIR 51, CSE 2018), A must watch session for more clarity.

A good essay should reflect...

  • Understanding of the writer
  • Thoroughness of the writer
  • Analytical capacity of the writer
  • Research and analytical capability of the writer
  • Reading habits of the writer

For Example:

Vikram Grewal's Copy, all the following things are considered by him:

weekly essay writing upsc

Click Here for Full Copy

Essay needs a higher level of communication abilities viz..

  • Articulation
  • Effective expression
  • Logic, flow and rhythm
  • Right grammar

Brief for practicing essay writing – pre exam hall approach.

How to write a good Essay can be viewed sequentially, as if going through ten sequential steps in an essay writing process.

  • Research : Begin the essay writing process by researching your topic, making yourself an expert.Assuming you've been given a topic, or have narrowed it sufficiently down, your first task is to research this topic. You will not be able to write intelligently about a topic you know nothing about. To discover worthwhile insights, you'll have to do some patient reading and information gathering. Though IAS aspirants are hard pressed of time but don’t forget it is of 250 marks and highly neglected. It can be done through integration of your daily newspaper reading and through preparation of GS also. But you need some different strategy to do so.
  • Analysis : Now that you have a good knowledge base, start analyzing the arguments of the essays/articles you're reading. Clearly define the claims, write out the reasons, the evidence, etc. Look for weaknesses of logic, and also strengths. Learning how to write an essay begins by learning how to analyze essays written by others.

In case of analysis Vikram Grewal shows it perfectly: Here is a look

weekly essay writing upsc

For Full Copy Click Here

3 .Brainstorming : Your essay will require insight of your own. Ask yourself a dozen questions and answer them. Meditate with a pen in your hand. Think and think until you come up with original insights to write about.

  • Thesis: Pick your best idea and pin it down in a clear assertion that you can write your entire essay around. Your thesis is your main point, summed up in a concise sentence that lets the reader know where you're going, and why. It's practically impossible to write a good essay without a clear thesis.
  • Outline: Sketch out your essay before straight away writing it out. Use one-line sentences to describe paragraphs, and bullet points to describe what each paragraph will contain. Play with the essay's order. Map out the structure of your argument, and make sure each paragraph is unified.
  • Introduction: Now sit down and write the essay. The introduction should grab the reader's attention, set up the issue, and lead in to your thesis. Your intro is merely a buildup of the issue, a stage of bringing your reader into the essay's argument.(Note: The title and first paragraph are probably the most important elements in your essay. This is an essay-writing point that doesn't always sink in within the context of the classroom. In the first paragraph you either hook the reader's interest or lose it.)
  • Paragraphs: Each individual paragraph should be focused on a single idea that supports your thesis. Begin paragraphs with topic sentences, support assertions with evidence, and expound your ideas in the clearest, most sensible way you can. Speak to your reader as if he or she were sitting in front of you. In other words, instead of writing the essay, try talking the essay.
  • Conclusion: Gracefully exit your essay by making a quick wrap-up sentence, and then end on some memorable thought, perhaps a quotation, or an interesting twist of logic, or some call to action. Is there something you want the reader to walk away and do? Let him or her know exactly that.
  • Style: Format your essay according to the correct guidelines for citation. All borrowed ideas and quotations should be correctly cited in the body of your text, followed up with a Works Cited (references) page listing the details of your sources.
  • Language: You're not done writing your essay until you've polished your language by correcting the grammar, making sentences flow, incorporating rhythm, emphasis, adjusting the formality, giving it a level-headed tone, and making other intuitive edits. Proof read until it reads just how you want it to sound. Writing an essay can be tedious, but you don't want to bungle the hours of conceptual work you've put into writing your essay by leaving a few slippy misspellings and poorly worded phrases.

Steps to be followed during examination:

We must keep in mind that an essay writting in the examination hall is developed on the spot within a given time period, is something different from an essay written leisurely and with mature deliberation for a publication or for a prize competition.

A Candidate writing an essay for Civil Service Examination should keep in mind that he has to satisfy the examiner with regard to 3 things:

  • He has good ideas on given subject / chosen field.
  • He can arrange his ideas systematically.
  • He can express, and analyze his opinion correctly using good language.

Required Steps to create a rough sketch before actual writing :

  • Selection of suitable topic
  • Make an outline of your ideas
  • Write introduction points
  • Write main points of the body
  • Brief sketch about view, history, facts, illustrations, examples etc
  • Idea about critical discussions, pro and opposite views
  • Drawing a conclusion that clearly expresses your opinion and always end with a futuristic note

Selection of topic is the key for scoring in essay writing . Around 15 to 20 minutes can be spent on choosing best topic. we also needs to be sure about the flow of thought, rich facts and figures, history, analytical expression and all to be collectively rated high in the selected topic. It impacts your marks. Out of six topics consider each one independently in-depth your knowledge and presentation skills not in bird-eye-view manner.

Patience and perseverance must be maintained while selecting a topic and make it sure about excellence to present cogently.

Next step is outlining the selected topic by putting ideas in a separate page, in organized form by writing sub topics and important points to be covered in the essay. For this one can make use flow chart model or line chart or tabulation. Grouping of thoughts must in a way to categories the sub headings while writing the detailed essay. We can use 15 to 20 minutes for this task.

Then start with the introduction which can be a dialogue, quotation or anecdotes produces complete idea to the reader about the essay. A dialogue could be simply the pertinent fact that explicitly illustrates the point you are planning to make. An anecdote is stories that illustrate the point. Be sure your anecdote is short, precise and relevant to the topic.

Three  problems that candidates face while writing an essay. They are:  

  • Coherent arrangement
  • Expression Ideas

Essay Copy: Vikram Grewal(AIR 51, CSE 2018)

weekly essay writing upsc

About the subject is nothing but knowledge that needs to be looked in different perspective, whether social, economical, political, religious, cultural, literary, national, and environmental. Candidate should think on different questions

  • What are definition / scope / history of the topic?
  • What can be said on particular subject from various perspectives?
  • What are positives / negatives?
  • Answers for different questions/dimensions
  • your thought for critical appraisal

Arrangement :

Arrangement of an essay means the contents with a definite structure to be framed. The structure must be exposed indirectly through the flow of writing with interlinking of sub topics and paragraphs explaining the scope meaning, description and discussion.

Illustration and quotations known can be presented lively aptly to increase the richness of the content. It is like the flavor added to the dishes to attract the reader to be perfectly relevant to the topic/ argument.  If the Quotations exceed unnecessarily, it will disturb the quality of presentation. Interlinking of thoughts, comparison and contrasting viewpoints can be expressed only with the special reference to the application of thoughts.

Opinions and arguments with strong self explanatory sentences will reflect the candidates’ solid and clear understanding of the subjects.

Now you need to give the powerful and logical conclusion which is the consequence of everything discussed earlier. Conclusion brings the reader closure or summing up of points and also gives final perspective. It should not be rhetoric outburst. It must be balanced and free from prejudice. Mind it, give proper space to the conclusion. Don’t sump in haste.

Do s and Don’ts for that ‘killer’ 3 Hrs:

  • Read the title, understand the meaning and scope.
  • Think and comprehensive planning before start.
  • Effective, brief and strong words consist of good thoughts makes your essay best.
  • Avoid vague generalization, slang’s and colloquialism
  • Don’t try to present whatever you know on the subject.
  • In controversial topic discuss pros and cons dispassionately and give effective conclusion.
  • Length of essay is not fixed. But don’t be exhaustive. This time you may to write multiple essay
  • Never forget to read and revise the essay written before submission to examiner.

weekly essay writing upsc

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[MISSION 2024] Insights SECURE : Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 30 May 2024

Click on EACH question to post/upload you answers.

How to Follow Secure Initiative?

How to self-evaluate your answer , mission – 2023: yearlong timetable, join ipm 4.0 to get an assured review of 2 secure answers everyday, general studies – 1.

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1. Stupas encapsulate the essence of Buddhist cosmology, philosophy, and devotional practice, serving as focal points for both worship and cultural identity. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question: The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1. Key Demand of the question: To write about the characteristics of Stupa and its progress. Directive word:  Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you must debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You must give reasons for both for and against arguments. Structure of the answer: Introduction:  Begin by defining a Stupa. Body: First, draw a small representative diagram of a Stupa and mention the major features of that belong in a Stupa and their significance. Next, mention the progress in the construction of Stupa – used for pilgrimage and ritual circumambulation, embodying the Buddha’s enlightened mind and teachings. Cite examples to substantiate. Conclusion: Conclude by summarising regarding Stupa architecture.
Topic: The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.

2. The Quit India Movement was a crucial milestone in India’s struggle for independence from British colonial rule. Explain. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India.

Key Demand of the question: To write how Quit India movement was different from the previous mass movements. Why the question: The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1. Directive word:  Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the context. You must be defining key terms wherever appropriate and substantiate with relevant associated facts . Structure of the answer: Introduction:  Give the context of political scene of the country that led to the launch of Quit India movement Body: Write about the factors that made the movement stand apart from other struggles or movements against the Imperial rule, on lines of, Gandhi’s strategy, emergence of new leaders, Violence, Princely States, new developments and mass involvement etc and the way it aligned the local interest with that of national interest. Conclusion: Conclude by mentioning that the much-needed impetus towards conclusion to the national freedom struggle can be credited to the Quit India movement.

General Studies – 2

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

3. The Indian prison system faces numerous challenges, particularly concerning the treatment and conditions of undertrials. These issues highlight systemic deficiencies that urgently require comprehensive reforms. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian Express ,  Insights on India

Why the question: The articles discusses the issue of under-trails and bail to them. Key Demand of the question: To write about issues with Prisons in India specially with respect to undertrials and suggest prison reforms. Directive word:  Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications. Structure of the answer: Introduction:  Begin by citing a statistic regarding the undertrial prisoners in India. Body: First, write about the major issues with respect to prisons. Next, mention the impact of larger number of undertrial prisoners and its impact – overcrowding, impact of covid-19, slow place of justice, impact on mental health etc. Next, suggest measures reforms that are needed to the criminal justice system and measures to reduce overcrowding of prisons. Write about the suggestions of various committees in regards to prison reforms. Conclusion: Conclude by writing a way forward.
Topic: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

4. The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) aims to ensure free and fair elections by maintaining the integrity of the electoral process. While the MCC has been effective in several ways, it also faces challenges and limitations. Critically analyse. (250 words)

Reference: India Times ,  Insights on India

Why the question: The Congress on Wednesday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was trying to “circumvent” the silence period restrictions with his 48-hour meditation trip from May 30 in violation of the model code of conduct and urged the Election Commission to ensure that it is not aired by the media. Key Demand of the question: To write about the effectiveness of MCC and ways to make model code of conduct to make it more effective. Directive word:  Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a balanced judgment on the topic. Structure of the answer: Introduction:  Begin by defining model code of conduct. Body: First, mention the various features of MCC and its evolution since 1960 – enumerate the 7 Parts of the Code, Public meetings by political parties, Processions by political parties, Poll Day conduct etc. Next, write about the various issues in the MCC – non-binding nature and lack of statutory backing limit its enforceability, inconsistent and sometimes delayed actions by the Election Commission of India (ECI), political influence and insufficient awareness Conclusion: Conclude by writing a way forward to make MCC more robust and effective.

General Studies – 3

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

5. While maintaining price stability is paramount, the RBI also focuses on supporting economic growth. It does this by ensuring that its monetary policy fosters a conducive environment for investment and sustainable economic expansion. Examine.  (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express ,   Insights on India

Why the question: The article discusses that an independent monetary policy means that domestic interest rates are not influenced by international rates, they are determined independently. Key Demand of the question: To write about the role of RBI especially as part of monetary policy and impediments it faces in achieving it. Directive word: Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications. Structure of the answer: Introduction:  Begin by defining the monetary policy. Body: First, in brief, write in brief about the various objectives of monetary policy. Next, write about the impediments it faces by RBI in achieving monetary policy objectives – Price Stability, high inflation, particularly in food and fuel prices, delicate balance between stimulating growth and controlling inflation etc. Substantiate by citing statistics. Conclusion: Conclude by writing a way forward to overcome the above-mentioned limitations.
Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

6.  India’s nuclear doctrine has effectively maintained strategic stability and deterrence in a complex regional environment. However, given the changing geopolitical and technological landscape, it is essential to review and update the doctrine to address emerging threats and ensure robust deterrence. Analyse. (250 words)

Why the question: The next government in Delhi must order a comprehensive review of the changing global nuclear dynamic and regional atomic challenges, and find ways to modernise India’s atomic arsenal and doctrine. Key Demand of the question: To write about nuclear deterrence of India and changes needed in it. Directive word: Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary. Structure of the answer: Introduction:  Begin by describing India’s nuclear deterrence. Body: Firstly, in brief, write about the evolution of India’s nuclear policy. Next, write about why it is essential for India to maintain it – practical and pragmatic, helped India secure crucial international deals, NSG waiver, Nuclear weapons as deterrent, cooperation with countries in safe use of nuclear power etc, Next, write the limitations of the above – defensive policy, changing geopolitics, hostile neighbourhood etc. Next, write about the changes needed in it. Conclusion: Conclude with a balanced opinion regarding India’s nuclear deterrence.

General Studies – 4

Topic: Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and nonpartisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

7. Contentment is a vital attribute for civil servants as it directly impacts their effectiveness, morale, and the quality of service they provide to the public. Discuss. (150 words)

Why the question: The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4. Key Demand of the question: To write about the importance of contentment. Directive word:  Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you must debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You must give reasons for both for and against arguments. Structure of the answer: Introduction: Start by defining contentment. Body: Write about the importance of contentment – Contentment means to be happy with what you have, who you are, and where you are. It is respecting the reality of the present. It is appreciating what you do have and where you are in life. Contentment does not mean the absence of desire; it just means you are satisfied with your present, and you trust that the turns your life takes will be for the best. Cite suitable examples to substantiate the above. Conclusion: Complete the answer by summarising.

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Weekly Essay Practice

Practice weekly essay to improve your marks in upsc civil services main examination, enhance your upsc essay writing skills - submit your essay for peer review.

Dear Students,

We recognize the paramount importance of essay writing in the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) and are excited to offer you a unique opportunity to sharpen your skills. We invite you to submit your essays for peer review, which will enable you to receive valuable feedback from your peers.

Essay writing is a crucial aspect of the UPSC CSE, assessing your analytical thinking , coherence , and articulation . By participating in this initiative, you will gain insightful perspectives , constructive criticism, and suggestions for improvement . Embrace this chance to enhance your essay writing prowess and maximize your chances of success in the examination.

Submit your essays now for peer review and embrace the transformative power of collaborative learning . Don't miss out on this invaluable opportunity to strengthen your UPSC CSE essay writing skills.

Word Limit:  1000 - 1200 words

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