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IASbaba UPSC Civil Services Mains Strategy Paper 3


Decoding Directives
Paper 1
Paper 2
International Relations
Paper 3
Paper 4

Civil Services (Mains) Examination General Studies

Strategy for Paper 3

Total Marks: 250

The 3rd General Studies paper is considered to contain the broadest portion including a whole range of
subjects encompassing a variety of topics, ranging from the Indian Economy to the External Security Issues.
A budding bureaucrat is expected to know and understand a wide range of issues, in depth as well as in
breadth, with a thorough understanding with its aspects dealing with issues from its scope to implementation.
Issues like economy and development, of which one or the other aspect is always in the news, can never be
dealt with by studying a mere static portion and employing rote memorization as ones weapon in their
arsenal to attack the CS(M).

This article discusses about the Preparation Strategy for General Studies-3. The strategy gives you
1. Topic-wise analysis
2. Book recommendations (minimum) and
3. What to Read and How to read/Understand the subject.

Please note that, there are Two most important things a beginner should do, before one starts off with his/her
Firstly, memorize the syllabus.
Secondly, go through last 5 years UPSC (Mains) question papers.
You can (we believe, you should) follow IASbabas initiative Think Learn & Perform (TLP) for writing

One has to be well versed with all the dimensions of the topics given in the syllabus. If you are able to
understand them, then half the battle is won! While reading a newspaper or going through any material, it
will help you in picking up the relevant issues from the exam perspective. While reading the newspaper keep
an eye on the topics mentioned in the syllabus. Newspaper gives you more information and dimensions that
you seldom find in a book. UPSC knows the Art of testing Analytical Ability and we assure you of surprises
from their end, to knock you off your chair, if you dont study smartly!

which implies, you need to read:

NCERT Economics- 11th + 12th
Economic Survey
Mrunal: Economics + Environment
India Year Book
12th Five-Year Plan
Newspapers (Sci + Tech + Environment + other related topics)
Stay up-to-date with Major Schemes

1. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development
and employment.

Broad economic concerns related to macro economy like inflation, BoP, GDP- Try to relate the present
macro-economic situation in the economy and the steps taken by Government & RBI to deal with it
Various sectoral contributions to GDP like primary, secondary, tertiary and issues such as employment
generation and productivity concerns of each sector
Constraints in mobilising various resources like land, capital, human and other natural resources
Multi-dimensional issues like environmental degradation, opposition from local community etc.
Relate it with the recent displacement issues and the stalling of the Land Bill and proclamation of the
era of Ordinance Raj
Problems in allocation of resources to various sectors
Historic contribution to Indian economy,
Changing pattern of planning from centralised to decentralised,
Relevance of planning in India for allocation of resources,
Setting of goals coordination of various agencies
Planning machinery in India and its weaknesses: Both Procedural and Institutional
Economic Growth & Development

Difference between Growth and Development

Necessity of growth for achieving development in various dimensions like social, economic and political
Read Amartya Sens definition of Economic Development here, to get an overall idea of development as
there must be a reason for UNDP to adopt HDI
Reasons for poor growth of economy in recent times,concentrated growth (in various sectors and in
regions) and its drawbacks etc
You can easily relate it with Regional Imbalance on which there have been various commissions working on
and even Economic Survey terming it as a growth inhibitor.

Youth output in India,
Sectoral composition of employment,
Ways and means of achieving employment for youth in organised sectors with high productivity,
Reasons for poor employment generation(jobless growth),
Education-industry gap,
Skill gap,
Reasons for Informalization of economy and measures to reverse it
You must be aware of the recent initiatives for employment generation like Skill India, SETU as well as rise in
the field of financial inclusion to bring about a sense of entrepreneurship to make Make in India, a reality.

Read: Newspapers: Information + Different Dimensions > MUST>Development of Analytical Ability

Employment: Growth
NCERT-11th Ch 5 + 7
NIOS: L-38 & 39
IYB: Labour & Employment

Let us go through previous years UPSC questions

We flaunt Indias demographic dividend, we ignore the dropping rates of employability. What are we missing
while doing so? Where will the jobs that India desperately needs come from? Explain.


2. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it

Challenges of achieving inclusive growth
Measures to achieve it
Government schemes related to it
Inter-relationship between Financial Inclusion-Inclusive Growth-Skilling India-Social Change

For example,
Growth in the last two decades is concentrated in few metropolis and in the educated middle class.
Ways of spreading this growth to the unreached and vulnerable like rural areas, vulnerable population like
women and various sectors like agriculture etc
Geographical + Financial + Psychological Inclusion is the key

Newspapers: Information + Different Dimensions> MUST> Development of Analytical Ability

August, Yojana-2015- Click

Let us go through previous years UPSC questions

Capitalism has guided the world economy to unprecedented prosperity. However, it often encourages
shortsightedness and contributes to wide disparities between the rich and the poor. In this light, would it be
correct to believe and adopt capitalism for bringing inclusive growth in India? Discuss.
3. Government Budgeting
Basic idea about the budgeting process and various definitions related to it like revenue deficit, fiscal
deficit etc.
Various types of budgeting like line items, zero based budget, program planning budgeting and other
Types and issues in accounting and auditing government accounts

Major sources of revenue for government and broad allocation to various sectors with effective
utilisation of revenues
Capital expenditure vs revenue expenditure and measures to curb revenue expenditure etc
Indian Polity by LAXMIKANTH-4th Edition
Newspapers: Information + Different Dimensions> MUST> Development of Analytical Ability

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.

A straight-forward syllabus putting its demands in the simplest way possible

Details about Crops + Cropping Patterns & Irrigation Systems- Can be easily dealt with once youve
thoroughly prepared Geographys syllabus + A basic understanding can also help you deal with an
indirect question in Paper 1.
Infrastructural bottlenecks in agriculture in terms of transportation, storage, proper packaging (within
India/exports) etc
The indirect effects it has in poor realisation of income for farmers, increased prices for consumers and
the overall inflation effect on the economy
The reasons for fragmented markets in India and major provisions of APMC act in various states and
the many bottlenecks ready to throttle the economy in it
These are some of the issues that are covered with great depth in newspapers like The Hindu, Indian Express,

etc. One should make sure to go through some of the highlights of the speeches made by key Ministers. Many
of the dynamic points can be lifted from our Prime Ministers Speech itself.
Measures taken by some states to overcome these bottlenecks for eg Apni Mandis, Rythu Bazaars, etc
Use of technology for integration of markets
Various initiatives in marketing like contract farming, commodity trading, entry of private agencies in
marketing etc
Recent initiatives by GOI in overcoming these through model APMC Acts, Mega Food Park scheme,
warehouse receipts etc must be known.

Newspapers: Information + Different Dimensions> MUST> Development of Analytical Ability

Let us go through previous years UPSC questions

In the villages itself no form of credit organisation will be suitable except the cooperative society. All Indian
Rural Credit survey. Discuss this statement in the background of agriculture finance in India. What constraints
and challenges do financial institutions supplying agricultural finance face? How can technology be used to
better reach and serve rural clients?
It was covered in previous months of Yojana as well
Yojana, August 2015
Nachikets Recommendation

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

Track down the following:

Various forms of subsidies given by GOI and various state agencies
Benefits + Negative Consequences on Economy, Environment, etc. One must inter-relate the benefits
as well as the consequences with other discipline. Analytical discussion should be the key here.
New methods & successful experiments adopted by States can be used as a case-study:
The 8+ Percentage Growth phenomena of Gujarat + if it can be replicated elsewhere:
If yes: How + When + Natural Factors + Schemes that can be used + Technology, etc
If No: Why + Alternate solutions
Objectives of PDS and its evolution from mid 1960s:
Issues of poor targeting,
Examples of some innovative measures adopted in few states like Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh PDS
Model in overcoming these weaknesses
How: Through GPS + E point of sale + Social Auditing and other measures.
Food security concerns of India:
Measures adopted by Govt for overcoming food insecurity through various means
Overstocking of food,
Food wastage in godownsowing to poor storage,
Excessfoodgrains vs hunger population,

Revamping of PDS and

The recent recommendations of Shanta Kumar committee
Cash transfer vs kind transfer,
WTO constraints in maintaining food stocks,
Indian position in WTO and its obligations: Recent decisions + Indias stand on it
Questions pertaining to the above topic can be in the form of:
Various technology missions for increasing productivity in agriculture and allied activities
Various extension measures taken by GOI and the institutions involved in it
The reasons for poor extension and hence the need for technology adoption in our farms
For example, if the question is:
What is the general productivity level of agriculture sector in India and various other countries
and the successful measure taken to improve it?
If one has a good knowledge about the agriculture sector vis--vis the other countries, he/she can easily
answer the first part of the question.
And, if one follows The Hindus Agriculture Section of Thursdays issue, he/she can easily answer the second
part of the question:
Setting up of KVKs,
Collaboration with Israel,
National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture,
ICARs National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture and various models and modes adopted to
reach out to our farmers.

Newspapers: Information + Different Dimensions> MUST> Development of Analytical Ability

6. Economics of Animal-Rearing, Food processing and related industries in India Scope and
significance, Location, Upstream and Downstream requirements, Supply Chain Management

Mrunal Click
Newspapers: Information + Different Dimensions> MUST> Development of Analytical Ability

7. Land reforms in India

If an ordinance is being passed and an Ordinance Raj is in place, the issue must be extremely important.
And UPSC, in the question given below is not only trying to understand your knowledge but also, a viewpoint
of a budding officer, free of a biased mind-set and employing analytical skills to the best possible manner.
Have a look:

Let us go through previous years UPSC questions

The right to fair compensation and transparency land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement act, 2013
has come into effect from 1 January 2014. What implication would it have on industrialization and agriculture
in India?

Land Settlement Policies Modern History
Newspapers: Information + Different Dimensions> MUST> Development of Analytical Ability

8. Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on
industrial growth.

NCERT 11th :Ch 1 + 3
NIOS- L 1+ 3 + 23 + 24 + 25 + 26 + 27 +28
Planning + Industry + Agriculture- IYB

Newspapers: Information + Different Dimensions> MUST> Development of Analytical Ability

Let us go through previous years UPSC questions

Normally countries shift from agriculture to industry and then later to services, but India shifted directly from
agriculture to services. What are the reasons for the huge growth of services vis-a-vis industry in the country?
Can India become a developed country without a strong industrial base?
Failure in the Development Agenda + Power Sector + Transportation facilities
Non-translation of the growth into growth in the Manufacturing sector
Service Sectors: One place- less demands
Highlight the need of Manufacturing Services: Trade Balance + Employment + Make in India


9. Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

Infrastructure financing,
Read: Infrastructure:
NCERT-11th Ch 8
NIOS L-29 + 30 + 32
IYB-Energy + Transport + Water
Newspapers: Information + Different Dimensions> MUST> Development of Analytical Ability
Let us go through previous years UPSC questions

National urban transport policy emphasizes on moving people instead of moving vehicles. Discuss critically the
success of various strategies of the government in this regard.
Let us evaluate:
Equitable allocation of road space with people, rather than vehicles
Unified Agency to Handle Passenger Transport
Integrating Land Use and Transport Planning
Importance in Smart Cities Project
But, the need of the hour is proper implementation:
Realignment of existing routes,
new forms of fare structures,
better interchange facilities
different organisational structures

10. Investment models.

Types of investment,
Investment models,
Investment strategies in India,
Controlling measures, etc.
Read about the following to get a broader picture:
Industrial Sector,
Public sector in India,

Newspapers: Information + Different Dimensions> MUST> Development of Analytical Ability

Let us go through previous years UPSC questions

Explain how private public partnership agreements, in long gestation infrastructure projects, can transfer
unsustainable liabilities to the future. What arrangements need to be put in place to ensure that successive
generations capacities are not compromised?
Why are they stuck- Reasons?
Solutions-Way ahead
So, here if we understand PPP and trace it through newspapers- we can write down the answers
Foreign direct investment in the defence sector is now said to be liberalized. What influence this is
expected to have on Indian defence and economy in the short and long run?

11. Biodiversity, Environment and Disaster Management

Ecology and Natural Resources

Environmental Pollution
Sustainable Development, Climate Change and EIA
Disaster Management
Newspapers: Information + Different Dimensions> MUST> Development of Analytical Ability
For Environment:
NIOS (exhaustive coverage)
Mrunals Environment Coverage
Disaster Management: Click & 2nd ARC Report: Crisis Management

Let us go through previous years UPSC questions

Should the pursuit of carbon credit and clean development mechanism set up under UNFCCC be maintained
even through there has been a massive slide in the value of carbon credit? Discuss with respect to Indias
energy needs for economic growth.

Drought has been recognized 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.
12. Science and Technology

Developments and achievements in India


Information Technology
Nuclear and Defence Technology
Robotics and Nanotechnology
IPR issues
Newspapers: Information + Different Dimensions> MUST> Development of Analytical Ability
NCERT: Relevant Chapters
Let us go through previous years UPSC questions

Can overuse and the availability of antibiotics without doctors prescription, the contributors to the emergence
of drug-resistant diseases in India? What are the available mechanisms for monitoring and control? Critically
discuss the various issues involved.
Remember Chennai Declaration?

In a globalised world, intellectual property rights assume significance and are a source of litigation. Broadly
distinguish between the terms copyrights, patents and trade secrets.
There is a need to create a basic foundation for the issue which have continuously been in news:
13. Security Issues

Development, Organized crime and Extremism

Role of external state and non-state actors
Internal security and communication issues
Cyber Security
Money Laundering, border management
Security Forces and Agencies
Newspapers: Information + Different Dimensions> MUST> Development of Analytical Ability
IDSA Website
2nd ARC Report: Capacity Building for Conflict Resolution

Let us go through previous years UPSC questions

International civil aviation laws provide all countries complete and exclusive severity 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.
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 Indias maritime security
China and Pakistan have entered into an agreement for development of an economic corridor. What threat
does it pose for Indias security? Critically examine

All these topics do not require any scholar understanding. You just need basic knowledge and
analytical perspective to relate the basics with contemporary developments.

End Note:
Whole Paper 3 can be smartly covered through newspapers provided you are thorough with little basic
Any paper requires a simple reading of all the NCERTs from 6th to 12th, as it builds a basic foundation
to start thinking in an objective and subjective matter.
Reading a whole book or several sources for these topics has many disadvantages. One of them is
cost benefit ratio. Second is wastage of your precious time and energy. If one plays smart here, he/she
can substantially devote his/her energy for other important topics having more weightage.
UPSC has taken a 360 degree turn and the solution to score more is on-the-spot innovative
thinking. Mugging up is a sheer waste of time.
Revision is the key to your success.Make your own plan, stick to a few resources & keep visiting them
often, critically examine the issues from every possible angle and study smart: Revise again and
Start writing practice after one reading of NCERT (Beginners). One should never wait to finish off
everything to start writing practice as the retention capacity is more when one writes.

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