IAS Mains General Studies Paper 3 - Strategies, Best books and Previous Year's Questions

Updated On -

Sep 23, 2020

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Sudeshna Bhar

Exams Prepmaster

 UPSC IAS 2020 Prelims will be conducted on October 04, 2020, and the IAS 2020 Mains Exam Dates has not been announced yet. On the other hand, as per the UPSC 2021 Calender, the UPSC Civil Services Prelims 2021 Exam will be held on June 27, 2021, and Civil Services (Main) 2021 is expected to be conducted in September 2021. 

In UPSC IAS Mains Exam, General Studies papers play a major role. There are 4 general studies paper in UPSC Mains examination and each general studies paper of 250 marks with a duration of 3 hours.

GS Paper 3 consists of themes of Technology, Agriculture, Environment, Economic Development, Biodiversity and Security & Disaster management. Here we are providing UPSC Mains Exam General Studies Paper 3 Preparation Tips along with the topics and full syllabus analysis.

Candidate must go through each topic in the civil services general studies paper 3. All the questions in general studies paper-III is compulsory. Answer the questions in not more than 200 words each. One thing must remember, that content of the answer is more important than its length. Being tricky by nature, this paper gives you an advantage over other aspirants if you score well.

The paper requires both factual and analytical knowledge of the candidate

Check IAS Exam Pattern


Preparation Tips & Strategies for IAS Mains GS Paper 3

In order to achieve the best score and opportunities, candidates must be aware of complete GS syllabus. Every candidate should keep in mind the following preparation tips:

  • Revise the most important topics thoroughly.
  • Eat well, sleep well and keep a good health.
  • Be confident & mind free.
  • Be focused and determined.

Do your best and crack the IAS Exam Mains GS Exam.


Broad Classification of IAS Mains: General Studies Paper 3

In this post, we list out the sources for various topics in General Studies Paper 3, along with the best preparatory study material.

Topic Broad Classification Source/Books
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment. Economics Any standard book on Indian Economy, Uma Kapila, Ramesh Singh etc.
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it. Economics Sriram notes, yojana
Government Budgeting Economics Economic Survey of India & Indian Polity by Laxmikanth
Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers. Agriculture Shankar IAS academy book on the subject & NCERT books
Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing. Agriculture Shankar IAS academy book on the subject, Sriram notes & IGNOU notes
Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management. Agriculture Shankar IAS academy book on the subject, Mrunal
Land reforms in India. Agriculture Shankar IAS academy, Sriram notes
Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth. Economics Uma Kapila & NCERT
Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc. Economics Sriram notes, GK today
Investment models. Economics Gk today
Science and Technology – developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology. S&T Self-prepared notes on topics mentioned on Gk today’s science and technology section on the website, YouTube videos
Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights. S&T Sriram notes, YouTube videos on related topics
Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment. Environment Shankar IAS academy, Mrunal
Disaster and disaster management. DM Sriram notes, ARC
Linkages between development and spread of extremism. Security Self-prepared notes, Shankar IAS academy
Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security. Security Self-prepared notes, Shankar IAS academy, IDSA book
Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security Security Newspaper articles, IDSA book (read below for link) free eBook available for download
Money-laundering and its prevention. Security Sriram notes, Shankar IAS academy
Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism. Security Sriram notes, Shankar IAS academy
Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate Security Sriram notes, Shankar IAS academy, Internet website of security agencies

Previous year Questions asked in IAS Mains GS Paper 3

Answer all the questions in not more than 200 words each. Content of the answer is more important than its length. Here, we listing some previous year questions for your better understanding and the ability to analyze.

  1. Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy is the sine qua non to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Comment on the progress made in India in this regard.
  2. Comment on the important changes introduced in respect of the Long-term Capital Gains Tax (LCGT) and Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) in the Union Budget for 2018-2019. 
  3. What do you mean by Minimum Support Price (MSP)? How will MSP rescue the farmers from the low-income trap?
  4.  Examine the role of supermarkets in supply chain management of fruits, vegetables and food items. How do they eliminate the number of intermediaries?
  5. Discuss the work of ‘Bose-Einstein Statistics’ done by Prof. Satyendra Nath Bose and show how it revolutionized the field of Physics.
  6.  What are the impediments in disposing of the huge quantities of discarded solid wastes which are continuously being generated? How do we remove safely the toxic wastes that have been accumulating in our habitable environment?
  7. What is a wetland? Explain the Ramsar concept of ‘wise use’ in the context of wetland conservation. Cite two examples of Ramsar sites from India. 
  8.  Sikkim is the first ‘Organic State’ in India. What are the ecological and economical benefits of Organic State?  
  9. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is viewed as a cardinal subset of China’s larger ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative. Give a brief description of CPEC and enumerate the reasons why India has distanced itself from the same.
  10. Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) is showing a downward trend, but still affects many parts of the country. Briefly explain the Government of India’s approach to counter the challenges posed by LWE. 
  11. How are the principles followed by the NITI Aayog different from those followed by the erstwhile Planning Commission in India? 
  12. How would the recent phenomena of protectionism and currency manipulations in world trade effect macroeconomic stability of India?
  13. Assess the role of National Horticulture Mission (NHM) in boosting the production, productivity and income of horticulture farms. How far has it succeeded in increasing the income of farmers?
  14.  How has the emphasis on certain crops brought about changes in cropping patterns in the recent past? Elaborate the emphasis on millets production and consumption.
  15.  Why is there so much activity in the field of biotechnology in our country? How has this activity benefitted the field of biopharma?
  16. With growing energy needs should India keep on expanding its nuclear energy programme? Discuss the facts and fears associated with nuclear energy.
  17.  How does biodiversity vary in India? How is the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 helpful in the conservation of flora and fauna?
  18.   Describe various measures taken in India for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) before and after signing ‘Sendai Framework for DRR (2015-2030)’. How is this framework different from ‘Hyogo Framework for Action, 2005?
  19. Data security has assumed significant importance in the digitized world due to rising cybercrimes. The Justice B. N. Srikrishna Committee Report addresses issues related to data security. What, in your view, are the strengths and weakness of the Report relating to the protection of personal data in cyberspace?
  20. India’s proximity to two of the world’s biggest illicit opium-growing states has enhanced her internal security concerns. Explain the linkages between drug trafficking and other illicit activities such as gunrunning, money laundering and human trafficking. What countermeasures should be taken to prevent the same? 

Download IAS 2018 GS-III in PDF

Download IAS 2019 GS-III in PDF


Books for IAS Mains GS Paper 3

Before going for big books, it is compulsory to read following NCERT textbooks

  • NCERT Class X – Understanding Economic Development
  • NCERT Class XI – Indian Economic Development
  • NCERT Class XII – Macroeconomics (chapters 2,5 and 6 are very important)
  • ET Newspaper

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.

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