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Preparation Strategy for GS Paper III- UPSC Mains

Nov 30, 2021

Preparation Strategy for GS Paper III- UPSC Mains

GS Paper III of UPSC Mains examination is titled "Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management," and the UPSC tests the aspirant's knowledge and understanding of the topics mentioned above in the form of a subjective paper comprising 250 marks. As the title suggests, we will discuss in detail how you can effectively prepare for each of the topics of the GS Paper III. Let's get started with the syllabus first. It is imperative to understand the syllabus and analyze it properly during UPSC exam preparation.

Syllabus of GS Paper III of UPSC Mains Civil Services Examination

General Studies‐III: Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment. 
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it. 
  • Government Budgeting. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Food processing and related industries in India- scope' and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management. 
  • Land reforms in India. 
  • Effects of liberalization on the Economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth. 
  • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc. 
  • Investment models. 
  • 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
  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment. 
  • Disaster and disaster management. 
  • 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, 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. 

Also read: Preparation Strategy for GS Paper II of UPSC Mains

How to Prepare for General Studies Paper III of UPSC Mains

It is evident that aspirants need to cover a vast syllabus and have a comprehensive understanding of it. To make it simpler for you, we will discuss the preparation tips of each section of the GS Paper III individually. 

Science & Technology: For this section, aspirants must focus on various achievements of India in the field of Science & Technology and famous personalities related to the field. It is essential to have a basic knowledge of various scientific discoveries that help us in our daily lives. 

Questions of this section range from topics on Information Technology, Biotechnology, Issues related to Intellectual property rights, space, etc. It is imperative to keep a check on Current Affairs pertaining to Science and Technology.

Also read: Most Important Topics for Science & Technology- UPSC Prelims and Mains

Previous Year's Questions on Science & Technology asked in GS Paper III.

1. What is India's plan to have its own space station, and how will it benefit our space program?

2. How can biotechnology help to improve the living standards of farmers?

3. What is the CyberDome Project? Explain how it can be useful in controlling internet crimes in India.

Economic Development: Since there are many micro topics covered in this section, it is recommended to make short notes. For instance, for Government Budgeting and Economic Survey. 

Focus on the economic and industrial growth accelerated by liberalization and infrastructure & investment and disinvestment models. Understand in detail the challenges faced by the Government while improving infrastructures like railways, airports, ports, etc. 

As far as agriculture is concerned, aspirants must prepare individual topics by also taking into account important trends and patterns such as cropping patterns, irrigation trends, etc.

If you are new to Economics, it is recommended to start reading NCERT books from Class IX to Class XII to understand the fundamentals of Economics. Once you are clear with the basics, proceed further in preparation with the advanced books for Economy such as Indian Economy by Vivek Singh for a comprehensive understanding. 

Previous Year's Questions on Economic Development asked in GS Paper III.

1. Do you agree with the view that steady GDP growth and low inflation have left the Indian Economy in good shape? Give reasons in support of your arguments.

2. It is argued that the strategy of inclusive growth is intended to meet the objectives of inclusiveness and sustainability together. Comment on this statement.

3. Public expenditure management is a challenge to the Government of India in the context of budget-making during the post-liberalization period. Clarify it.

Environment and Biodiversity: From this section, you can expect questions related to climate change, global warming, concepts of biodiversity, environmental pollution and degradation, effects of human activities on the environment. 

To better prepare the Environment and Biodiversity section, you should focus on the current affairs on the environment and wildlife. You should also refer to various learning resources such as Newspapers (The Hindu/The Indian Express), environmental surveys, the official website of the Ministry of Environment, the Annual report of the Environment Ministry for the present year, and NCERT textbooks from Class VI to Class X to get a conceptual clarity. 

Also read: Preparation Strategy for GS Paper I- UPSC Mains

Previous Year's Questions on Environment and Biodiversity asked in GS Paper III.

1. Define the concept of the carrying capacity of an ecosystem as relevant to an environment. Explain how understanding this concept is vital while planning for the sustainable development of a region.

2. What are the key features of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) initiated by the Government of India?

3. Coastal sand mining, whether legal or illegal, poses one of the biggest threats to our environment. Analyze the impact of sand mining along the Indian coasts, citing specific examples.

Also read: How to Write Good Quality Answers for UPSC Mains

Security and Disaster Management: When preparing for this section, focus on important topics such as Internal Security challenge in India, Extremism, Terrorism, Money-laundering, Disaster Management in India, National Disaster Management Act 2005, PM Cares fund, etc. 

The role of neighbouring and external countries and how they are affecting India's security and actions taken against them should be studied extensively during preparation. Similarly, you should be well-versed with the knowledge of how disasters affect the Economy. Particularly focus on NDMA guidelines for specific disasters to substantiate your answers.

Also, refer to the IDSA website for useful insights on Security and Disaster Management topics. It will help you to make your answers more enriching and substantive. 

Previous Year's Questions on Security and Disaster Management asked in GS Paper III.

1. 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.

2. 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 the prevailing security environment while discussing the scope and reasons for opposing the UAPA by human rights organizations.

3. Disaster preparedness is the first step in any disaster management process. Explain how hazard zonation mapping will help disaster mitigation in the case of landslides.

Read more: Tips to Prepare Ethics Paper for UPSC Mains

Recommended Books for UPSC General Studies Paper III of IAS Mains Exam

  • Indian Economy for Civil Services Examination- Ramesh Singh
  • Challenges to Internal Security of India by Ashok Kumar and Vipul
  • Class X NCERT- Understanding Economic Development
  • Class XI NCERT- Indian Economic Development
  • Class XII NCERT- Macroeconomics
  • IGNOU Notes on Disaster Management and Cyber Security
  • NITI Aayog reports
  • PrepLadder's Complete NCERT Notes- PrepSummary (Class VI to Class XII)

So, this is how you can prepare for GS Paper III of UPSC Mains and pave your way to the Final personality round. We hope this article will help you put your best foot forward and simplify your GS Paper III preparation.  

Make your GS Paper III preparation more effective and productive with PrepLadder. It is an excellent source of quality and reliable material for UPSC Civil Services aspirants and has everything you need to ace the Civil Services exam on one single platform. 

This includes concise, effective, and well-planned video lectures by our Dream Team for UPSC, a well-structured and high yield QBank, highly competitive PrepTests based on real exam patterns, and Previous Year Papers in the form of tests

Keep following our articles and our Telegram channel to apprise yourself with the latest information about the exam. 

All the best for your exam.

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Auther Details

Raminder Singh

Raminder is a Content Manager at PrepLadder. He has worked in several aspects of the education industry throughout his career and has assisted numerous candidates in cracking major competitive exams.


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