General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management
This paper contains a wide range of issues from Indian economy to science to disaster management. Though the range of subjects is more, UPSC does not expect the candidate to be a scholar in them. This is evident from the notification, where it’s mentioned-
“The nature and standard of questions in the general studies(Paper II to Paper V) will be such that a well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialized study. The questions will be such as to test a candidate’s general awareness of a variety of subjects, which will have relevance for a career in civil services. The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues, and ability to analyze, and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives and demands. The candidates must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.”
The GS-III paper contains dynamic and static part. Static part of the syllabus for this paper is expected to be completed before the prelims exam. The chances of static part being asked as a question are also remote.
Example, Questions such as what is Economic growth? What is GDP? How is it calculated?Willnot be asked. Instead questions such as –“The nature of economic growth in India in recent times is often described as jobless growth. Do you agree with this view? Give arguments in favor of your answer.”is being asked.
As you can see from the above example, questions from this paper will becompletely dynamic and the preparation should revolve around current affairs. A candidate, therefore, has to have ‘Eagle in the sky’ strategyi.e. S/he should be aware of everything around but swoop down and pick only what is required for the exam.
Tips for the candidate before we discuss the syllabus topic wise:
• Take a photo-copy of syllabus and read it regularly.
• Memorize the syllabus.
• As the questions from this paper are highly current affairs oriented. Remembering the syllabus will ease the effort in picking the right information from the ocean of study materials and websites.
• Go through the question paper from 2013 (the year from which new pattern started). It will give a picture of what to expect in this paper.
NOTE: One should memorize the entire syllabus (GS+Optionals) as there are many benefits. We have a separate article for that.
Now let us discuss the topics individually,
Topic 1: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Questions from this topic will be dynamic. However to tackle these questions one should have a sound information about the basics of economy.
One should be able to connect the static part such GDP, Bank rates, Repo Rate, etc. to the present economic happenings of the country. The questions here do not expect you to know the micro details about the issue. Instead you are expected to have macro view and sound analysis of the issue.
Example, Question from 2015 - The nature of economic growth in India in recent times is often described as jobless growth. Do you agree with this view? Give arguments in favor of your answer.
Here one is expected to give the reasons for jobless growth along with basic numbers such as GDP growth of the nation and the rate of employment. They do not expect you to know the growth numbers across the sectors. Importance is given to the arguments/analysis you have given, than just the facts you have mentioned in your answer.
• What is planning?
• Types of planning (Physical, Financial, Perspective, Regional, National Imperative and Indicative planning)
• How planning has evolved in India since independence and theGist of five year plans from 1950 (refer India Yearbook)
• 12th five year plan (summary)
• Changes in the planning structure (Planning Commission to NITI Ayog)
Mobilization of resources:
• Natural Resources
• Human Resources
• Financial Resources (Taxes, Revenue, Expenditure, Disinvestments, etc.)
Growth and Development:
• Economic growth and Human development (HDI)
• GDP and GNP, Urban and Rural Growth
• Growth in various sectors- Agriculture, Manufacturing, Health, Education, etc.)
• Rate of employment.
• Employment across three sectors – Agriculture, Manufacturing & Service
• Reasons for unemployment
• Skill development and Employment generation schemes (MNREGA, Roshni, Himayat, etc.)
Note: One should also be able to inter link the various subheadings. E.g., one should know how the resources will impact economic growth, which in turn will affect the rate of employment.
• NCERT class 12thIntroductory Microeconomics
• NCERT class 12thIntroductory Macroeconomics
• Indian Economy for Civil services by Ramesh Singh (Latest edition). This is a very important book as it will cover the entire syllabus with facts and analysis.
• India Yearbook for planning in India (since independence, will give you an entire picture) and government programs.
• Economic Survey – read it completely and make notes from it. It will be useful for both prelims and mains.
• Along with one regular newspaper (The Hindu or Indian Express) candidate should also go through important articles in Economic Times or Business Standard (Not the entire paper. Just the important article)
• mrunal.org can be referred for concepts in economy.
Topic 2: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
This is a small topic. One should study this through questions:
• What is Inclusive growth?
• Necessity of Inclusive growth?
• How to achieve Inclusive growth?
• Government schemes related to Inclusive growth
For the above questions you can refer a standard book such as Ramesh Singh and newspapers. After getting familiar with this topic, read the 12th Five Year plan document – “Faster, More Inclusive and Sustainable Growth”. Reading the summary will suffice.
Topic 2: Government Budgeting
Here there are two parts; firstly one is expected to have a basic knowledge about Budget and the various steps involved in the budget formation by the government. One should also be aware of different stages in which the budget is passed in parliament.
Second part to this topic is to know the important sub-parts of Budget. E.g.,
• Indian Polity by Laxmikanth (5th Edition) (for the basic information regarding the first part)
• Read the highlights of the budget (of the particular year)
Website: mrunal.org has extensively covered the Indian Budget.
Topic 4:Major crops - cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems; storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers
This partcontains about agriculture, crops, farming both static and dynamic part. Static part questions such as –
Which part of the country grows more rice? What are the suitable conditions for cultivating rice?
Is not being asked now, rather - In view of the declining average size of land holdings in India which has made agriculture non-viable for a majority of farmers, should contract farming and land leasing be promoted in agriculture ? Critically evaluate the pros and cons.(2016)
In the above question, we have to connect small land holding to the contract farming and land leasing by giving both positives and negatives of it.
Similar to the previous topics in this too we have sub-topics which one should remember, which will help the candidate in studying in an organized manner.
Crops and Cropping Pattern:
• Factors which decide the cropping pattern.
• Different crops across the country with ideal conditions for growth.
• Crops can be divided and studied according to:
1. Food Grains
2. Commercial crops
3. Plantation crops
For e-technology in the aid of farmers, candidate should mainly remember the government programs.
• Types of irrigation (Canal, tank, well, sprinkle, drip, surface)
• Area covered under irrigation, Government programs;
• Major crops, Cropping patterns and irrigations system can be studied from any standard Indian geography textbook such B.S. Khullar (selected topics).
• Yojana magazine (selected editions)
• India Year book and Economic survey (mainly for programs and data)
Newspaper: For updated information and analysis.
Topic 5:Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing
Very important topic as we can expect at least one question. With TPP and WTO in news, questions on be subsidies can be expected almost every year. One should also remember the colored boxes for subsidies under WTO agreement. Food security is another important topic.
Topic 6:Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
Due to the fast changing life style, processed food consumption is on the rise. Hence Food processing is one of the fastest growing industries. Along with the topics mentioned above one should be aware of all the government schemes related to this topic.
Topic 7:Land reforms in India
Land reforms mean the changing of traditional customs, laws and regulation involving land ownership. It also encompasses agrarian reforms which involve increase in agricultural production, soil health, elimination of intermediaries and distribution of land resources. Question asked here can be linked to agricultural productivity based on reforms or has reforms helped in alleviating poverty.
Example, from 2013 exam-
Establish relationship between land reforms, agricultural productivity and elimination of poverty in the Indian economy. Discuss the difficulties in designing and implementation of agriculture – friendly land reforms in India. (200 words)
Note: In this topic more emphasis should be on land reforms since independence and its effects on socio economic growth.
• Article for reference:
Topic 8:Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth
This can be studied from a single source i.e., Indian Economy for civil services by Ramesh Singh.
Topic 9:Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
Questions here will be dynamic. One needs to relate the analysis part asked in the question to the data mentioned in government reports. One should be aware of the latest programs taken up by the government in Infrastructure development.
Source: India Yearbook and Economic Survey
Topic 10:Investment models
Here many students do not have clarity on what to study for investment models. We will try and give you an outline regarding this topic
Note: We do not claim this to be an exhaustive list.
Source: Wikipedia+Newspapers+Yojana (selected edition)
Topic 11: Science and Technology-
• Developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
• Achievements of Indians in science & technology.
• Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
• Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, Nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights
Since the topic is vast it requires enormous amount of energy and time to cover everything. One should intelligently work and have a good Cost-Benefit Ratio. For mains the questions can be expected only from technology part and not the basic science. That too, the latest ones in news.
Example,How does the 3D printing technology work? List out the advantages and disadvantages of the technology. (100 words)(2013 exam)
An article regarding 3D printing had appeared in The Hindu in 2013.
Basic part – NCERT 10th and India Year Book- Science and Technology Chapter. Current developments in science and technology read The Hindu’s Science and technology section.
Topic 12:Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
Topic 13:Disaster and disaster management
For this the only study material required is from National Disaster Management Agency website. Most of the material you find in the market is an edited version of this. Link to the website is given below,
In this topic you have to remember certain basics (given in the below chart) which when combined with National Disaster Management Act will help you tackle all sorts of questions. Also remember important events of disasters to quote as examples.
• Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
• Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
• Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
• 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
Here questions are asked on how developmental activities or underdevelopment of that region can create favorable environment for extremism or insurgencies. For example displacement of people due to large scale project like building of dam and failure of government to effectively rehabilate them may lead to growth of discontent among people.
Spread of extremist ideologies among people for example Maoism, naxalism etc. Reasons - Socio economic conditions, perception of injustice, misgovernance and inability of the system to engage the people.
Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security – here questions can be asked on the role of neighboring countries in creating problems on security front or some non-sate actors like ISIS, Al-Qaeda, etc.
What are the linkages between terrorism and organized crime and how it is relevant to India?
• IDSA website
• Important provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
• National Cyber Security Policy 2013 – Analysis
Topic 15:Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate
For this topic you need not go through any book, only the information on Wikipedia is enough. Make a note of 10-15 points about each force/agency.