Essay Paper For Ias Exam

  1. Instructions
  2. Section-A: 125 Marks
  3. Section-B: 125 Marks
  4. Analysis of Essay-2017 Paper
  5. Essay-list: Topic wise last 25 years (1993-2017)
    1. 1) India: Democracy, administration, Society, culture
    2. 2) Economy, Development
    3. 3) Education
    4. 4) Quote based, Philosophy, Ethics
    5. 5) Women empowerment
    6. 6) International issues, Internal Security
    7. 7) Science-Technology

Instructions to Essay 2017

  • On 28th October 2017, UPSC conducted the Essay paper for the civil services mains examination, with following instructions:
  • Total Marks: 250 marks, Time duration: 3 hours.
  • The essay must be written in the medium authorized in the admission certificate which must be stated clearly on the cover of this question-cum-answer (QCA) booklet in the space provided.
  • No marks will be given for answers written in medium other than authorized one.
  • Word limit, as specified, should be adhered to.
  • Any page or portion of the page left blank, must be struck off clearly.

Section-A: 125 Marks

Write any one of the following essay in 1000-1200 words.

  1. Farming has lost the ability to be a source of subsistence for majority of farmers in India.
  2. Impact of the new economic measures on fiscal ties between the Union and States in India.
  3. Destiny of a nation is shaped in its classrooms.
  4. Has the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) lost its relevance in a multipolar world?

Section-B: 125 Marks

Write any one of the following essay in 1000-1200 words.

  1. Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.
  2. Fulfilment of ‘new woman’ in India is a myth.
  3. We may brave human laws but cannot resist natural laws.
  4. ‘Social media’ is inherently a selfish medium.

Essay-2017 Paper Compared to Previous Years

Essay and GS In recent yearsEssay-2017
Since 2014: Total 8 essay topics divided equally in two sections and you’ve to write one essay from each sectionSystem continued
2016: Nothing directly from globalization.Asked about relevance of NAM in multipolar word
  • Both 2014, 15 they focused on value education.
  • 2016: shifted focused to ‘innovation’
Reverted back to education and its role in shaping the destiny of the nation.
  • 2016: cooperative federalism myth or reality
Asked about federalism in context of new economic measures.
  • 2016: asked about engenderment of development.
Examiner’s concern for women empowerment continues under the new essay on ‘new women’s fulfillment’.
Fear of technology
  • 2015: Technology cannot replace manpower.
  • 2016: 1) Cyberspace- blessing/Curse? 2) Digital economy creates  inequality?
Trend continues with new essay on “social media is a selfish medium”.
Fear of capitalism, need for inclusivity
  • 2015: (1) Can capitalism bring inclusive growth? (2) Crisis faced in India – moral or economic.
  • 2016: (1) Near jobless growth: in India An anomaly or an outcome of economic reforms. (2) Digital economy: A leveler or a source of economic inequality.
  • The fear becomes ‘sector-specific’ i.e. Agriculture can’t provide subsistence to majority of the farmers.
  • Nitiayog 3 year document & Eco.Survey 2016-17 v2. Both highlighted the problems behind this phenomenon, and how to address it. And I had covered it in my three parts summary article series.
GSM4-2014: “All human beings aspire for happiness. Do you agree? What does happiness mean to you? Explain with examples.”
  • Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.

Essay-list: Topic wise last 25 years (1993-2017)

Each year, along with essay paper, I also upload topicwise compilation of all essays asked since 1993. However, this time, I’ve further refined the internal classification of the topics. Here it goes:

1) India: Democracy, administration, Society, culture

1.1India Since Independence

  • 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

1.2Federalism, Decentralization

  • 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

1.3Administration

  • 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

1.4Judiciary

  • 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

1.5Poverty, Social Justice

  • Economic growth without distributive justice is bound to breed violence. -1993
  • 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

1.6Indian Culture and Values

  • 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

1.7Media, TV & Cinema

  • 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

2) Economy, Development

2.1Growth vs Development

  • 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

2.2Environment vs Development

  • Ecological considerations need not hamper development. -1993
  • Protection of ecology and environment is essential for sustained economic development. -2006
  • Should a moratorium be imposed on all fresh mining in tribal areas of the country? -2010
  • Urbanization is a blessing in disguise. -1997
  • Urbanisation and its hazards -2008

2.3MNCs

  • 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

2.4Sectors of Economy

  • 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

3.1Values in Education

  • 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

3.2Scheme implementation

  •  “Education for all” campaign in India: myth or reality. -2006
  • Restructuring of Indian education system. -1995

3.3Higher education

  • Privatization of higher education in India. -2002
  • Credit – based higher education system – status , opportunities and challenges -2011

4) Quote based, Philosophy, Ethics

4.1Character, honesty

  • We may brave human laws but cannot resist natural laws. -2017
  • 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

4.2Knowledge

  • There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. -2003
  • Disinterested intellectual curiosity is the lifeblood of civilisation. -1995

4.3Compassion

  • Joy is the simplest form of gratitude. -2017
  • Compassion is the basic of all morality would -1993
  • Lending hands to someone is better than giving a dole. -2015
  • Be the change you want to see in others (Gandhi)-2013

4.4Truth

  • Truth is lived, not taught -1996
  • When money speaks, the truth is silent. -1995
  • Search for truth can only be a spiritual problem. -2002

4.5Youth, Discipline

  • 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

4.6Towards excellence

  • 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

[email protected] Politics

  • 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

[email protected] / Quote type

  • If women ruled the world -2005
  • The hand that rocks the cradle -2005

5.3Empowerment overall

  • 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

5.4Compared to men

  • 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

6.1Globalization

  • Geography may remain the same ; history need not. -2010
  • 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

6.2International Org./ Bilateral

  • 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

6.3Security

  • Good fences make good neighbours -2009
  • Terrorism and world peace -2005
  • True religion cannot be misused. -1997
  • In the Indian context , both human intelligence and technical intelligence are crucial in combating terrorism -2011
  • Is autonomy the best answer to combat balkanization? -2007
  • Are we a ‘soft ’ state ? -2009

7) Science-Technology

7.1Science and Religion

  • Spirituality and scientific temper. -2003
  • Science and Mysticism : Are they compatible ?-2012

7.2Science and Education

  • Modern technological education and human values. -2002
  • Value-based science and education. -1999
  • The march of science and the erosion of human values. -2001

7.3Computer and internet

  • ‘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

7.4Sci-Tech: others

  • 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

visit Mrunal.org/download for more papers.

The essay paper is an important aspect of the UPSC civil services exams. It can make or break your outcome. There are two sections in this paper. Each section gives you four topics out of which you have to choose one topic each. Each essay you write is marked out of 125 making a total of 250 marks.

Click here to downloadthe UPSC Mains Essay Paper 2016.

 

While you don’t have to study separate content for the civil services essay paper, for your general studies preparation is enough to cover possible topics, you do have to remember certain aspects of writing a good essay if you want to have an edge over your fellow UPSC aspirants. A lot of IAS aspirants make the mistake of not focusing on the essay paper because of its general nature. However, there are many advantages of concentrating on this paper such as:

  • You have the option of selecting one topic out of four. You should be able to leverage this to your advantage and shine in this paper.
  • The essay paper is an area where you can let lose your creativity while displaying your knowledge about the topics.
  • Also, you have three hours to write about 1000 to 1200 words per topic (word limit for essay in UPSC exam). Hence, you can do justice to the essay topic as you have ample time to structure your thoughts and then start writing.

 

Let us look at how your essay should be structured

Your essay should ideally have an introduction, content, basic theme and conclusion. The introduction and conclusion are self-explanatory. Content should give a historical perspective to your topic. It should also include facts and events related to your topic. Try to cover relevant aspects of the topic. The basic theme should talk about your views on the topic. Take a stand but a balanced one. You should also describe negative and positive aspects of the topic chosen.

 

How to select the UPSC essay topic

  • Go through all the given topics well.
  • Choose a topic that you are most aware of and have significant knowledge about.
  • Try to avoid provocative issues like feminism since you don’t know about the examiner’s gender or personal bias.
  • Select the topic only if you are sure of the meaning. For example, know what IT refers to in a given case – information technology or income tax.
  • Don’t necessarily pick a topic because it excites you. You should have content and a balanced approach while writing about it.

 

Features of a good essay

  • It should resonate with the topic given. Don’t stray from the topic merely to fill up the word count.
  • It should engross the reader. A good essay should ignite the reader’s curiosity about the topic. It should not be boring. The reader should feel like going on reading it.
  • It should be multi-dimensional. Don’t have a single viewpoint. Analyse the topic from different perspectives. You can provide new insights about the topic and impress the examiner.
  • It should be simple but effective and coherent. You need not write the Queen’s English but let the language drive home whatever point you are trying to make.
  • It should be grammatically perfect. Not only does it enhances your essay’s clarity it also avoids a negative impression.
  • It should be neat. This is why it is important to first think about what you want to write before you start. Clearly picture in your head the order of things you want to write in your essay. This avoids scratching.
  • There should be continuity in your essay. Don’t jump from one point to another. Make your shifts seamless and smooth. Let there be a natural flow of points. This indicates clarity of thoughts.
  • It should contain quotes, headings, sub-headings and diagrams if required.
  • It should be structured appropriately.

 

Things to avoid in a UPSC essay paper

  • Avoid writing in the first person.
  • Avoid being too aggressive in your writing. You want to portray an image of a composed person with balanced views. Aggressiveness can also show inflexibility.
  • Avoid being pessimistic in your writing. UPSC wants officers with a cheerful and positive disposition!
  • Avoid writing in points. Remember you are writing an essay.
  • You don’t have to agree with the stand taken by the question. Sometimes, a question can be a statement giving a particular view. You can write both negative and positive aspects of it.
  • Don’t stray away from the topic.
  • Don’t get too personal and name politicians or political parties unnecessarily. You are going to be a bureaucrat, not a politician or journalist!
  • Avoid giving quotes that you are not sure of. Don’t attribute quotes to the wrong people. And, definitely do not make up quotes. You can’t fool the examiner. Doing so will certainly get you penalised.

 

You can write good essays if you develop the habit of reading good UPSC essays on a regular basis. Incorporate reading essays as a part of your UPSC civil services preparation. Remember, practice makes perfect! For essay writing practice, take part in the BYJU’S essay writing contest and win a cash prize along with learning. Click here for more. UPSC Essay Writing Contest

 

For more on UPSC essay writing, read Useful technique to practice on essay topics for UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam

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