The Structure & Syllabus of UPSC Mains General Studies Paper III


The UPSC IAS Examination 2019 notification is almost out. This year the tentative calendar shows that the time between prelims and mains is even lesser than 2018. In this context, we are putting together a series on General Studies which will give a broad overview of the main features and structure of the question paper, the style of answering required for the mains examination and the detailed syllabus. This article is part of that series and we will discuss what is covered and the features of UPSC Mains General Studies Paper III.

The UPSC Syllabus for General Studies III is focussed on the following subjects:

  • Technology
  • Economic Development
  • Biodiversity
  • Environment
  • Security
  • Disaster Management

As we can see, there is scope for significant overlap between the topics covered in General Studies II and General Studies III.

Structure of UPSC Mains General Studies Paper III

The major features of the General Studies Paper III in Mains Exam are:

  • There are 20 questions printed in both English and Hindi, the questions can be answered only in the language specified during application.
  • The paper is divided into two sections, the first ten questions are of 10 marks each and have a 150 word limit for the answers, and the last ten questions are of 15 marks each and have a 250 word limit for the answers.
  • The paper has a special emphasis on Economic Development, so it is expected to have questions answers to which would theoretically spill over to Social Justice and international relations from GS II. Also, the questions from Environment may have some overlap with the Geography knowledge required for GSI and Economic Development and Biodiversity from GS II itself. Due to this, analysing each question and writing to the point answers within the word limit is important.
  • The questions related to Security and disaster management are mostly asked in the second half of the paper, so it is important to brush up on topics related to Internal Security and Disaster Management as well as new age topics like cybercrime.

Syllabus of UPSC Mains General Studies Paper III

The following is the Detailed Syllabus for General Studies III Paper in the UPSC Mains Examination:



Indian Economy

· Issues related to planning

· Mobilization of resources

· Growth

· Development

· Employment

Inclusive Growth

· Inclusive growth

· Issues arising from or related to inclusive growth


· Government Budgeting

Major Crops and Cropping Patterns

· Major crops and cropping pattern in different parts of the country

· Different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage

· Transport and marketing of agricultural produce

· Issues related to transport and marketing of agricultural produce

· E- technology in the aid of farmers

Subsidies, Poverty Alleviation and Agricultural Technology

· Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies

· Issues related to Minimum Support Prices

· Public Distribution System

  • Objectives
  • Functioning
  • Limitations
  • Revamp

· Issues related to buffer stocks and food security

· Technology missions

· Economics of Animal rearing

Food Processing and Related Industries

· Food processing and related industries in India

  • Scope and significance
  • Location
  • Upstream and downstream requirements

· Supply chain management

Land Reforms

· Land reforms in India


· Effects of Liberalization on the economy

· Changes in industrial policy

· Effects of changes in industrial policy on industrial growth


· Energy

· Ports

· Roads

· Airports

· Railways etc.


· Investment models such as Public Private Partnerships, Build Operate Transfer etc.

Science and Technology

· Developments in Science and Technology

· Applications of scientific developments in everyday life

· Effects of scientific developments in everyday life

Achievements of Indians in Science and Technology

· Important contributions of Indians in Science and Technology

· Indigenization of technology

· Developing new technology indigenously

General Awareness

· Awareness in the following fields:

  • IT
  • Space
  • Computers
  • Robotics
  • Nano- technology
  • Bio- technology

· Issues related to Intellectual Property Rights in these fields


· Conservation

· Environmental pollution and degradation

· Environmental Impact Assessment

Disaster Management

· Disasters

· Disaster Management


· Linkages between development and spread of extremism

· Role of state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security

· Challenges to Internal Security through communication networks:

  • Role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges

· Basics of Cyber Security

· Money laundering and its prevention

· Security challenges and their management in border areas:

  • Linkages of organized crime with terrorism

· Various Security forces and agencies and their mandates

As we can see from the syllabus, internal security occupies a major part of the syllabus along with agriculture and related topics.

While preparing for the General Studies Paper III, it is very important to look at the trends from the previous papers to understand the pattern of questions. We will be discussing the syllabus and questions in more detail in subsequent articles. Till then, please check out the following links for more information on UPSC:

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