Analysis of 2016 Mains GS Paper 1

2016 Mains GS Paper 1 Analysis/ UPSC Mains Subject Wise Weightage

The UPSC civil services mains exam is due to start on 28th October 2017 and aspirants would now be neck-deep into their IAS preparation. The General Studies Paper 1 is the first of the GS papers and this is scheduled to be held in the forenoon session (9:00 AM – 12:00 AM) on 30th October 2017. GS paper I covers the subjects history, geography, Indian heritage and culture, and society. This article brings you an analysis of the 2016 UPSC mains GS paper 1.

Question paper format

There were 20 questions in the paper all of which were compulsory. Each question carried 12.5 marks. The paper totalled 250 marks. There was no change in the format from the previous few years.

2016 GS paper 1 Analysis

The paper was as usual a combination of factual and analytical questions. Let us understand the break-up of the questions under different headings. The following pie chart reveals that most of the questions were from geography.



The detailed break-up is given in the following tables where subtopics from each subject are given:





Art and culture


Freedom struggle


World history





Questions on art and culture:

  1. Early Buddhist Stupa-art, while depicting folk motifs and narratives successfully expounds Buddhist ideals. Elucidate.
  2. Krishnadeva Raya, the King of Vijayanagar, was not only an accomplished scholar himself but was also a great patron of learning and literature. Discuss.

Questions on freedom struggle

  1. Explain how the Uprising of 1857 constitutes an important watershed in the evolution of British policies towards colonial India.
  2. Discuss the role of women in the freedom struggle especially during the Gandhian phase.
  3. Highlight the differences in the approach of Subhash Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi in the struggle for freedom.

Questions on world history

  1. The anti-colonial struggles in West Africa were led by the new elite of Western-educated Africans. Examine.





Region, religion, empowerment


Development, poverty, population, globalization





Questions on region, religion and empowerment

  1. Has the formation of linguistic States strengthened the cause of Indian Unity?
  2. What is the basis of regionalism? Is it that unequal distribution of benefits of development on regional basis eventually promotes regionalism? Substantiate your answer.
  3. Why are the tribals in India referred to as the Scheduled Tribes? Indicate the major provisions enshrined in the Constitution of India for their upliftment.

Questions on poverty, population, development and globalization

  1. “An essential condition to eradicate poverty is to liberate the poor from deprivation.” Substantiate this statement with suitable examples.
  2. To what extent globalization has influenced the core of cultural diversity in India? Explain.











Physical Geography


Industrial Location



Questions on climate

  1. Discuss the concept of air mass and explain its role in macro-climatic changes.

Questions on resources

  1. The effective management of land and water resources will drastically reduce the human miseries. Explain.
  2. South China Sea has assumed great geopolitical significance in the present context. Comment.
  3. Present an account of the Indus Water Treaty and examine its ecological, economic and political implications in the context of changing bilateral relations.
  4. Enumerate the problems and prospects of inland water transport in India.
  5. In what way micro-watershed development projects help in water conservation in drought prone and semi-arid regions of India.

Questions on urbanization

  1. With a brief background of quality of urban life in India, introduce the objectives and strategy of the ‘Smart City Programme’.
  2. Major cities of India are becoming more vulnerable to flood conditions. Discuss.

Questions on Physical Geography

  1. “The Himalayas are highly prone to landslides.” Discuss the causes and suggest suitable measures of mitigation.


We bring you another pie chart which gives the percentage of questions asked from the various subtopics:

Also See | Strategy for IAS Mains Exam: GS Paper I (History, Geography, and Society)

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