Analysis of 2016 Mains GS Paper 2

2016 Mains GS Paper 2 Analysis

One of the most important facets of a sound UPSC civil services exam preparation is to go through the previous years’ UPSC question papers. This gives a good insight into the kind of questions asked by the UPSC also into the trends followed by the commission. This is useful information which should be applied by aspirants into their preparation for the IAS exam. This article gives you an analysis of the 2016 Mains General Studies Paper 2.

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 2 Analysis

Take a look at the following pie chart which reveals the break-up of the questions based on topics asked in the UPSC syllabus for GS paper 2.

A few tables are given below that indicates the subtopics from which the questions in GS 2 (2016) have been asked.




Basics of Constitution








Separation of powers


Federalism and local governance



Questions on the basics of the Constitution:

  1. Discuss each adjective attached to the word ‘Republic’ in the preamble. Are they defendable in the present circumstances stances?

Questions on the legislature:

  1. The Indian party system is passing through a phase of transition which looks to be full of contradictions and paradoxes.” Discuss.

Questions on bodies:

  1. Exercise of CAC’s powers in relation to the accounts of the Union and the States is derived from Article 149 of the Indian Constitution. Discuss whether audit of the Government’s Policy implementation could amount to overstepping its own (CAG) jurisdiction.
  2. What is a quasi-judicial body? Explain with the help of concrete examples.

Questions on separation of powers:

  1. What was held in the Coelho case? In this context, can you say that judicial review is of key importance amongst the basic features of the Constitution?

Questions on federalism and local governance:

  1. Discuss the essentials of the 69th Constitutional Amendment Act and anomalies, if any that have led to recent reported conflicts between the elected representatives and the institution of the Lieutenant Governor in the administration of Delhi. Do you think that this will give rise to a new trend in the functioning of the Indian federal politics?
  2. Did the Government of India Act, 1935 lay down a federal constitution? Discuss.
  3. To what extent is Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, bearing marginal note “Temporary provision with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir”, temporary? Discuss the future prospects of this provision in the context of Indian polity.





Social service, sectors – policies and schemes




Groups (Pressure groups, NGO, civil services)



Questions on social services and social sectors (policies and schemes):

  1. Professor Amartya Sen has advocated important reforms in the realms of primary education and primary health care. What are your suggestions to improve their status and performance?
  2. “Demographic Dividend in India will remain only theoretical unless our manpower becomes more educated, aware, skilled and creative.” What measures have been taken by the government to enhance the capacity of our population to be more productive and employable?
  3. Examine the main provisions of the National Child Policy and throw light on the status of its implementation.
  4. Has the Indian governmental system responded adequately to the demands of Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization started in 1991? What can the government do to be responsive to this important change?

Questions on governance:

  1. “Effectiveness of the goverment system at various levels and people’s participation in the governance system are inter-dependent.” Discuss their relationship with each other in context of India.
  2. In the integrity index of Transparency International, India stands very low. Discuss briefly the legal, political, economic, social and cultural factors that have caused the decline of public morality in India.

Questions on groups:

  1. “In the Indian governance system, the role of non-state actors has been only marginal.” Critically examine this statement.
  2. “Traditional bureaucratic structure and culture have hampered the process of socio-economic development in India.” Comment.











Question on neighbours:

  1. “Increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in India and growing interference in the internal affairs of several member-states by Pakistan are not conducive for the future of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation).” Explain with suitable examples.

Questions on non-neighbours:

  1. Evaluate the economic and strategic dimensions of India’s Look East Policy in the context of the post-Cold War international scenario.

Questions on organisations/agreements:

  1. “The broader aims and objectives of WTO are to manage and promote international trade in the era of globalization. But the Doha round of negotiations seem doomed due to differences between the developed and the developing countries.” Discuss in the Indian perspective.
  2. What are the aims and objectives of the McBride Commission of the UNESCO? What is India’s position on these?


The following pie chart indicates the percentage of questions asked from the various subtopics in the GS 2 paper in 2016:

Also See | Analysis of 2016 Mains GS Paper 1

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