How to Prepare for Internal Security and Disaster Management for IAS Mains

Out of the four General Studies papers in the UPSC civil services mains examination, the General Studies paper III is sometimes considered the most diverse in terms of the coverage of subjects. It incorporates the subjects of economics, internal security, disaster management, science and technology and agriculture. In this article, you can read about how to prepare for internal security and disaster management for the IAS exam which has three stages – Prelims, Mains and Interview.

The topics internal security and disaster management are diverse and also important for both the prelims and the mains exams. These topics are also highly linked with current affairs. Almost every question asked from them is related to current events. So, apart from standard textbooks, you should rely on newspapers and news analyses as well for these sections.

The PIB Summary and Analysis page will give you updates regarding government announcements, initiatives and projects. Visit the page now!!

The following links will further help their candidates in their exam preparation:

GS-III Internal Security and Disaster Management (Trend Analysis)

The following table gives the worth of the total mark of questions that were asked in the years mentioned. Candidates must take note of these for UPSC 2023 prelims and mains.

Subject Subtopic 2013
2014 2015 2016
Disaster Management Disaster Management 10 12.5 12.5 25
Security Development and Extremism 10 0 12.5 12.5
Security External Actors and Border Management 10 62.5 25 25
Security Cyber Security and Money Laundering 35 0 25 12.5

Disaster and Disaster Management for UPSC

  • Topic is very dynamic and gaining prominence because every year, natural disasters such as floods, landslides, earthquakes, etc. occur.
  • The recent cyclone Fani set an example for planned management of natural disasters by which huge human loss could be everted. Lessons can be drawn from it. This is a potential area for questions.
  • Apart from natural disasters, man-made disasters such as fires, chemical spills, groundwater contamination, etc. are also to be studied.
  • Stick to one standard textbook for the static part and refer to a good newspaper for the dynamic content.
  • NDMA publications and NCERT Class XI textbook (Natural Hazards & Disaster Management) are major sources for this section.

To read more on Disaster Management, IAS aspirants are suggested to check the linked article.

For your reference, we are giving the questions that were asked from this topic in the UPSC exam in the last few years.

2013 UPSC question:

  • How important is vulnerability and risk assessment for pre-disaster management? As an administrator, what are key areas that you would focus on disaster management?

2014 UPSC question:

  • Drought has been recognised as a disaster in view of its party expense, temporal duration, slow onset and lasting effect on various vulnerable sections. With a focus on the September 2010 guidelines from the National disaster management authority, discuss the mechanism for preparedness to deal with the El Nino and La Nina fallouts in India.

2015 UPSC question:

  • The frequency of earthquakes appears to have increased in the Indian subcontinent. However, India’s preparedness for mitigating their impact has significant gaps. Discuss various aspects.

2016 UPSC question:

  • With reference to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) guidelines, discuss the measures to be adopted to mitigate the impact of the recent incidents of cloudbursts in many places of Uttarakhand.
  • The frequency of urban floods due to high-intensity rainfall is increasing over the years. Discussing the reasons for urban floods. highlight the mechanisms for preparedness to reduce the risk during such events.

2017 UPSC question:

  • On December 2004, tsunami brought havoc on 14 countries including India. Discuss the factors responsible for the occurrence of Tsunami and its effects on life and the economy. In the light of guidelines of NDMA (2010) describe the mechanisms for preparedness to reduce the risk during such events.

2018 UPSC question:

  • 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?

2019 UPSC Question

  • Vulnerability is an essential element for defining disaster impacts and its threat to people. How and in what ways can vulnerability to disasters be characterized? Discuss different types of vulnerability with reference to disasters.

2020 UPSC Question

  • Discuss the recent measures initiated in disaster management by the Government of India departing from the earlier reactive approach.

Internal Security for UPSC

This topic can be subdivided into different subsections. Internal security syllabus for UPSC:

  • Linkages between development and spread of extremism. 
  • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security. 
  • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, the 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 mandate

Development and spread of extremism

  • This is a very narrow topic but very important as Naxal issues are frequently seen in the news.
  • You need to explore the relationship between poverty, lack of development, unemployment and the rise of left-wing terrorism such as Naxalism and Maoism. The issue’s origins, development, the response of the government and current situation should be studied. Since this is a narrow topic, you can make good notes for them and refer to them as and when needed.
  • Sources:
    • The Hindu newspaper
    • Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) website
    • Challenges to Internal Security of India by Ashok Kumar

A few questions that were asked in the UPSC mains from this topic are given below:


  • Article 244 of the Indian Constitution relates to the Administration of Scheduled areas and tribal areas. Analyze the impact of non-implementation of the provisions of the fifth schedule on the growth of Left Wing Extremism.


  • The persisting drives of the government for development of large industries in backward areas have resulted in isolating the tribal population and the farmers who face multiple displacements with Malkangiri and Naxalbari foci, discuss the corrective strategies needed to win the left-wing extremism (LWE) doctrine affected citizens back into the mainstream of social and economic growth.


  • The north-eastern region of India has been infested with insurgency for a very long time. Analyze the major reasons for the survival of armed insurgency in this region.


  • 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.


  • The banning of ‘Jamaat-e-Islami’ in Jammu and Kashmir brought into focus the role of over-ground workers (OGWs) in assisting terrorist organizations. Examine the role played by OGWs in assisting terrorist organizations in insurgency affected areas. Discuss measures to neutralize the influence of OGWs.


  • What are the determinants of left-wing extremism in the Eastern part of India? What strategy should the Government of India, civil administration and security forces adopt to counter the threat in the affected areas?

Cybersecurity, social media and internal security challenges, money-laundering

  • is a very relevant topic for the times. Many terrorists claim to have been influenced by social media sites and social media preachers for their terrorist acts.
  • With easy accessibility and a wide reach, social media is proving to be a challenge in tackling crimes of all nature.
  • Mob violence is also fuelled by social media messages that take no time to go viral.

A few UPSC questions are given for reference.


  • Money laundering poses a serious threat to the country’s economic sovereignty. What is its significance for India and what steps are required to be taken to control this menace?
  • What is a digital signature? What does its authentication mean? Give various salient built-in features of a digital signature.
  • What are the social networking site and what security implications do these sites present?
  • Cyberwarfare is considered by some defence analysts to be a larger threat than even Al Qaeda or terrorism. What do you understand by Cyberwarfare? Outline the cyber threats which India is vulnerable to and bring out the state of the country’s preparedness to deal with the same.

Preparing for Internal Disaster Paper for IAS Mains – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here


  • Religious indoctrination via digital media has resulted in Indian youth joining the ISIS. What are ISIS and its mission? How can ISIS be dangerous for the internal security of our country?
  • Considering the threats cyberspace poses for the country, India needs a “Digital Armed Force” to prevent crimes. Critically evaluate the National Cyber Security Policy, 2013 outlining the challenges perceived in its effective implementation.
  • Discuss the advantage and security implications of cloud hosting of server vis-a-vis in-house machine-based hosting for government businesses.


  • Use of the Internet and social media by non-state actors for subversive activities is a major concern. How have these have misused in the recent past? Suggest effective guidelines to curb the above threat.


  • Discuss the potential threats of Cyberattack and the security framework to prevent it.


  • 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?
  • 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?


  • A very important topic and dynamic too.
  • The newspapers are the most important sources for material. IDSA website is also a good source.
  • Management of border areas, linkages between organised crime such as drug trafficking, kidnapping, human trafficking and their links with terrorism are to be studied.

UPSC questions on this topic from the past year papers are given below.


  • How far are India’s internal security challenges linked with border management, particularly in view of the long porous borders with most countries of South Asia and Myanmar?


  • China and Pakistan have entered into an agreement for the development of an economic corridor. What thread does it dispose of India’s security? Critically examine.
  • In 2012, the longitudinal marking of the high-risk areas for piracy was moved from 65° East to 78° east in the Arabian Sea by International Maritime organisation. What impact does this have on India’s maritime security concerns?
  • How illegal transborder migration does pose a threat to India’s security? Discuss the strategies to curb this, bring out the factors which give impetus to such migration.
  • The diverse nature of India as a multireligious and multi-ethnic society is not immune to the impact of radicalism which has been in her neighbourhood. Discuss along with the strategies to be adopted to counter this environment.
  • International civil aviation laws provide all countries complete and exclusive sovereignty over the airspace above the territory. What do you understand by airspace? What are the implications of these laws on the space above this airspace? Discuss the challenges which this poses and suggests ways to contain the threat.


  • Human rights activists constantly highlight the view that the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) is a draconian act leading to cases of human rights abuses by the security forces. What sections of AFSPA are opposed by the activists? Critically evaluate the requirement with reference to the view held by the Apex Court.


  • Border management is a complex task due to difficult terrain and hostile relations with some countries. Elucidate the challenges and strategies for effective border management.
  • The terms ‘Hot Pursuit’ and ‘Surgical Strikes’ are often used in connection with armed action against terrorist attacks. Discuss the strategic impact of such actions.
  • “Terrorism is emerging as a competitive industry over the last few decades.” Analyse the above statement.


  • 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.


  • Indian Government has recently strengthened the anti-terrorism laws by amending the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967 and the NIA act. Analyze the changes in the context of prevailing security environment while discussing the scope and reasons for opposing the UAPA by human rights organizations. 
  • Cross-Border movement of insurgents is only one of the several security challenges facing the policing of the border in North-East India. Examine the various challenges currently emanating across the India-Myanmar border. Also, discuss the steps to counter the challenges. 


  • Analyse internal security threats and transborder crimes along Myanmar, Bangladesh and Pakistan borders including Line of Control (LoC). Also, discuss the role played by various security forces in this regard

To find more questions like these, visit the UPSC Previous Year’s Question Paper page.

Security Forces and Their Mandate

  • External and internal security forces such as the military forces (army, navy, air force), CAPF, IPS, intelligence agencies such as IB, RAW, etc.
  • You can refer to the official websites of these agencies for authentic information. Check out this link which gives precise information on them for a quick reference.

Read about various Internal Security Forces In India and their Mandate in the linked article.

Find more UPSC-related preparation materials and other articles through the links given in the table below:

Related Links

NCERT Books UPSC Exam Pattern Current Affairs Quiz
No of Articles in the Indian Constitution Green Revolution Meaning IAS Salary
Make in India Biosphere Reserves in India UPSC Calendar 2023


Leave a Comment

Your Mobile number and Email id will not be published.