Model Answers for UPSC CSE 2020 GS 1 Paper

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This year’s UPSC Mains GS 1 has been moderate in difficulty as many questions were straightforward and directly related to the syllabus. The geography section had maximum weightage with eight questions- Q. 4-7, and 14-17 worth 100 marks. This was followed by the ‘society’ section of GS 1 with six questions- 8-10, and 18-20 worth 75 marks.

Surprisingly, the weightage given to the ‘art and culture’ section has significantly increased this time with four questions- 1, 2,11,12 worth 50 marks from the section being asked in the exam. The weightage of modern history has decreased with only two questions- 3 and 13 worth 25 marks. Also, there was no question from the world history or post-independence history of India.

Most of the questions (around 13 out of 20 in GS1) came directly from Samajho's Corner Notes & SMP.
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Geography

In geography section, questions were conventional and straightforward in nature with some repeated questions from the previous year’s theme, including those on interlinking of rivers or flooding of urban. Most of the questions required present-day examples. Also, UPSC has given enough space for climate change issue, which has been in news throughout the year keeping in mind the frequent occurrence of extreme weather events in the recent past. 

Q1. Discuss the geophysical characteristics of the Circum-Pacific Zone. (Answer in 150 words, 10 marks)

Topic in syllabus: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, tsunami, volcanic activity, cyclone. 

Moderately difficult.

Straightforward and factual question about the Circum Pacific Zone. Covered in Geography SMP by Rohit Sir. Could use a diagram to fetch better marks in this question.


Q2. The process of desertification does not have climate boundaries. Justify with examples. (Answer in 150 words, 10 marks)

Topic in syllabus: geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps)

Difficult and conceptual. 

This question required conceptual understanding of desertification and also some factual knowledge for examples to justify your answer. Rather than desertification meaning the literal expansion of deserts, it is a catch-all term for land degradation in water-scarce parts of the world. This degradation includes the temporary or permanent decline in quality of soil, vegetation, water resources or wildlife, for example. 

UN CONVENTION TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION (UNCCD)

IMPORTANT DATA AND KEY FINDINGS OF REPORTS TO QUOTE IN MAINS ANSWERS

THE PARADOX OF FLOODS AND DROUGHTS IN INDIA


Q3. How will the melting of Himalayan glaciers have a far-reaching impact on the water resources of India? (Answer in 150 words, 10 marks)

Topic in syllabus: Geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps)

Easy and straightforward. A repeated theme on Himalayan glaciers and its melting and its impact. A lot of content with respect to climate change and glacial melting has been covered in Samajho's App. Could have easily been done with the help of available content. 

CLIMATE VULNERABILITY OF INDIA

STUDIES ON THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND INITIATIVES TO COUNTER IT


Q4. Account for the present location of iron and steel industries away from the source of raw material by giving examples. (Answer in 150 words, 10 marks)

Topic in syllabus: factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).

Easy and straightforward question. 

This question could be easily answered from Geography NCERT. 


Q5. The interlinking of rivers can provide viable solutions to the multi-dimensional inter-related problems of droughts, floods and interrupted navigation. Critically examine. (Answer in 250 words, 15 marks)

Topic in syllabus: Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent)

An easy and repeated theme of interlinking of rivers asked in the past year also.

Could have been easily answered if previous year questions were solved by the aspirant. The topic is covered in detail in Samajho's Corner. 

RIVER INTERLINKING IN INDIA


Q6. Account for the huge flooding of million cities in India including the smart ones like Hyderabad and Pune. Suggest lasting remedial measures. (Answer in 250 words, 15 marks)

Topic in syllabus: urbanization, their problems and remedies. Urban flooding has been a significant issue recently in million cities.  

Easy and based on the repeated theme of urban flooding asked in previous year questions.

Could have been easily done if the candidate had done previous year questions.  

URBAN FLOODING: REASONS AND SUGGESTIVE MEASURES


Q7. India has immense potential of solar energy though there are regional variations in its developments. Elaborate. (Answer in 250 words, 15 marks)

Topic in syllabus: Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent). 

Easy given solar energy is a conventional topic and a lot of content available on it. Multiple articles on solar energy and other renewable energy are available on Samajho's corner. 

CHALLENGES FOR INDIA IN ACHIEVING THE SOLAR ENERGY TARGET

ROLE OF CLEAN ENERGY IN THE HOLISTIC DEVELOPMENT OF INDIA

INTERNATIONAL SOLAR ALLIANCE


Q8. Examine the status of forest resources of India and its resultant impact on climate change. (Answer in 250 words, 15 marks)

Topic in syllabus: Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent). 

Easy and factual from current affairs – State of Forest Report 2019. The report was covered in detail in Samajho's corner the knowledge of which would have helped in answering the question. Vegetation and Forest cover including forest conservation is covered in geography SMP.

Society

In the society section, the questions were from moderate to difficult which required a deeper understanding of Indian society and its prevailing issues, including questions on COVID 19 and the caste system. There were some opinion-based and open-ended questions that tested the critical thinking of the aspirants.

Q1. Has caste lost its relevance in understanding the multi-cultural Indian Society? Elaborate your answer with illustrations. (Answer in 150 words, 10 marks)

Topic in syllabus: Salient features of Indian society, Effects of globalization on Indian society

Moderate and requires a deeper understanding.

Contemporary examples required. 


Q2. COVID-19 pandemic accelerated class inequalities and poverty in India. Comment. (Answer in 150 words, 10 marks)

Topic in syllabus: Poverty and developmental issue.

Moderate based on current affairs.

We have to write how COVID 19 pandemic has widened the gap between rich and poor. Unemployment, migration, growing poverty etc. can be included.

DETAILED REVIEW OF THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON VARIOUS INDIAN SECTIONS AND THE WORLD


Q3. Do you agree that regionalism in India appears to be a consequence of rising cultural assertiveness? Argue. (Answer in 150 words, 10 marks)

Topic in syllabus: Regionalism.

Moderate and straightforward from the syllabus.

Regionalism is the expression of a common sense of identity and purpose by people within a specific geographical region, united by its unique language, culture, language, etc. Discuss the emergence of regional political parties as a result of secessionist tendencies. Son of the soil doctrine.


Q4. Is diversity and pluralism in India under threat due to globalisation? Justify your answer. (Answer in 250 words, 15 marks)

Topic in syllabus: Effects of globalization on Indian society

Moderate and straightforward. Could be easily done with the help of Samajho's content on society part of GS I. 


Q5. Customs and traditions suppress reason leading to obscurantism. Do you agree?  (Answer in 250 words, 15 marks)

Topic in the syllabus: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

Difficult given it is an opinion-based question. 


Q6. How have digital initiatives in India contributed to the functioning of the education system in the country? Elaborate your answer. (Answer in 250 words, 15 marks)

Topic in the syllabus: Social empowerment, also relates to GS II (Issues relating to education), there is no clear demarcation or compartmentalization of all the GS papers, many questions are interrelated.

Easy/moderate and straightforward with a lot of recent examples. Online learning has gained a lot of traction due to COVID-19, the opportunities and challenges of online education and government's initiatives which helped students during lockdown were in discussion the whole year. 

COVID INDUCED ONLINE LEARNING: A BOON OR BANE?

MINISTRY-WISE INITIATIVES 2019: MINISTRY OF HUMAN RESOURCE & DEVELOPMENT

ANNUAL STATUS OF EDUCATION REPORT (ASER) 2020

NATIONAL EDUCATION POLICY 2020 EXPLAINED

Art and culture

In the art and culture section, the questions were a little difficult given their factual as well as analytical nature.

Q1. Rock-cut architecture represents one of the most important sources of our knowledge of early Indian art and history. Discuss. (Answer in 150 words, 10 marks)

Topic in syllabus: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times. Straightforward yet difficult to write content/too specific. 


Q2. Pala period is the most significant phase in the history of Buddhism in India. Enumerate. (Answer in 150 words, 10 marks)

Topic in syllabus: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Difficult – Pala being less important in the syllabus.


Q3. Indian Philosophy and tradition played a significant role in conceiving and shaping the monuments and their art in India. Discuss. (Answer in 250 words, 15 marks)

Topic in syllabus: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times

Difficult due to the need for deep and analytical thinking to answer.

It required to interlink Indian philosophy and tradition with art and highlight it using examples.


Q4. Persian literary sources of medieval India reflect the spirit of the age. Comment. (Answer in 250 words, 15 marks)

Topic in syllabus: The salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Difficult given deeper knowledge required for Persian literature.

Modern History

The modern History section had straightforward questions, which could be easily answered from conventional sources. Overall, it could be said that a good score in this paper would be 100 + as the paper was of moderate difficulty and was not lengthy.

Q1. Evaluate the policies of Lord Curzon and their long term implications on the national movements. (Answer in 150 words, 10 marks)

Topic in syllabus: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues. 

Easy and straightforward can be answered from any conventional source. An article in Indian express covered this topic last year (https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-who-was-lord-curzon-to-whose-table-the-west-bengal-governor-recently-referred-6196847/)

Lord Curzon, India’s Viceroy between 1899 and 1905, was one of the most controversial and consequential holders of that post. The partition of the undivided Bengal Presidency in 1905 was one of Curzon’s most criticised moves. Curzon’s imperialistic policies provoked reaction which in turn stung political life in India. Out of his tyranny, a stronger sense of nationhood was born. 


Q2. Since the decade of the 1920s, the national movement acquired various ideological strands and thereby expanded its social base. Discuss. (Answer in 250 words, 15 marks)

Topic in syllabus: The Freedom Struggle-  its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.

An easy and repeated theme from the previous year.

Freedom struggle/national movement has been covered in detail in History SMP by Rohit Sir. 



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