UPSC Mains General Studies Paper-III Syllabus & Structure

The UPSC Civil Services Mains Examination consists of 9 papers conducted over a period of 5 days. Out of these, the first two papers in IAS Exam-English and compulsory Indian language, are qualifying in nature. Candidates have to secure at least 25% marks in these two to be eligible for merit ranking, based on the rest of the UPSC Mains papers and the interview.

Check the table below to understand the scheme and subjects of IAS examination:

UPSC IAS Exam Pattern of IAS Exam
Preliminary Examination
  • General Studies
  • Aptitude Test
Mains Examination
  • Qualifying
    • Paper-A (One of the 22 Indian Languages)
    • Paper-B (English)
  • Papers to be counted for merit
    • Paper-I (Essay)
    • Paper-II (GS-I)
    • Paper-III (GS-II)
    • Paper-IV (GS-III)
    • Paper-V (GS-IV)
    • Paper-VI (Optional Paper-I)
    • Paper-VI (Optional Paper-II)
Personality Test

In this series of articles, we will be talking about the structure of General Studies Papers in Mains. Candidates targeting UPSC 2020 may check the linked article.

IAS Mains General Studies-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 Mains General Studies Paper-III for IAS

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 GS-I 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.

It is always advisable to check IAS Toppers of previous years’ exams so as to know their strategies to ace the examination.

Syllabus of Mains General Studies Paper-III for IAS

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

Topic Subtopic
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
    • Nanotechnology
    • Biotechnology
  • 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. It is equally important to pay attention to IAS Daily Current Affairs

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.

IAS aspirants may also check out the following links for more information on UPSC IAS preparation:

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