Important topics for UPSC Prelims 2017

  1. LEMOA
  2. PMGKY
  3. CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research
  4. Heart of Asia conference
  5. CRISPR and cas9
  6. Kigali amendment to Montreal protocol
  7. TFA and National Committee on Trade Facilitation 
  8. HGP-W
  9. VVPAT
  11. Rashtriya Vayoshri
  13. Point Nemo
  14. Ross Sea
  15. GIFT City and INX
  16. Coalition for Epidemic Preparations
  17. Brundt Land Commission
  18. Bird Life International
  19. Barnase Barstar
  20. GM Mustard
  21. Team Indus
  22. GSLV Mark III and Cryogenic engine
  23. Agro irradiation
  24. Food fortification
  25. Graphene
  26. LIGO and INDIGO
  27. Optical fibre
  28. Quantum communication
  29. BNHS
  30. IEA
  31. Einstein’s ring
  32. New WPI and IIP series
  33. CPI and GDP
  34. Basel 3
  35. World Bank group
  36. Functions of RBI
  37. GST Council and GST Network
  38. Convention on Biodiversity
  39. Ecotone
  40. Tributaries of Kaveri
  41. WPA 1972
  42. BS Norms
  43. ICJ
  44. Ordinance
  45. President’s Rule
  46. Article 370
  47. Schedule VII
  48. Lokpal
  49. Article 142
  50. CAPF
  51. Green Highway
  52. CERT-IN
  53. FATF
  54. Heat wave
  55. White label ATMs
  56. PMKSY
  57. NHRC
  58. NGT
  59. Lok Adalat
  60. ICAO
  61. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code
  62. National Food Security Act and Maternity Benefit Scheme
  63. Nitrogen cycle
  64. Coral reefs
  65. Global Warming Potential
  66. Mangroves
  67. Druzhba, Prabal Dostyak, Al Nagah and Sagarmatha joint exercises
  68. Invasive tree species (Semai Karuvelam)
  69. INS Arihant, INS Vikrant and INS Kalvari
  70. Kanchenjunga, Namdapha, Kamlang, Mahatma Gandhi, Nokrek, Orang, Panna and Nameri National Parks
  71. Important dams on river Indus and its tributaries

Important MCQs –

All the best! 🙂

Leveraging Performance Appraisal bias for better marks in UPSC CSE Mains

Every evaluator / performance appraiser who is not trained well or is tired or bored of evaluating / appraising is a victim of the following four bias –

1) Primacy bias – The first impression affects the way the evaluator perceives the rest of your answer

2) Recency bias – The event occurring (conclusions) before the evaluator gives the marks determines the marks the candidate will get

3) Spill over bias – If the first answer is outstanding, the evaluator tends to perceive the candidate to be an excellent candidate, and hence the positiveness has a spill over effect on the rest of your answers

4) Centralising tendency bias- The evaluator who is bored of correcting or who hasn’t read your answer well or doesn’t understand your answer well will tend to give you a central score i.e. close to the average

How to use them to your advantage –

In Essay – Leverage the primacy and recency bias by writing excellent introduction and conclusion. Further, try writing Section A first so that the positives of it spills over to your second essay.
In GS and Optional – Leverage the Centralising tendency bias by attempting all the question with whatever little knowledge you have. Use the primacy bias to start your answer to the point and drift away from the question in case you have run out of points or you don’t know what else to write.

All the best!

Time to de-stress..

With only about 15 days left for the D-Day, all of us are stressed; mostly because we haven’t completed our syllabus and because our productivity has drastically fallen. That’s a really deadly combination.

Many of us would have made plans and targets. And tried to adjust them in the limited time we have. But are they really realistic? Whom are we fooling? Ourselves?

By keeping targets which are unachievable, only to satisfy our present, we are in effect planning stress (If I do not complete GS 1 by 20/11/16, I am screwed…).

Why have we set targets and deadlines? Why are we even studying now? Because they form the means to our ends. The ends being scoring well in Mains. But are they really your ends?

Our ends is nothing but happiness. And by replacing our means with our ends, we are breeding unhappiness for ourselves.

We might study for hours and hours together. But nothing will really enter our heads unless we study for the purpose of our lives and not for the sake of examination. When we do that, we will find that we will enjoy learning, we would be able to retain more of what we learn and we would become more productive. We would be at peace with ourselves…. and maybe clear UPSC CSE 2016.


GS4 Important Topics

Ethics – Understand the following issues/values and thier need. Be ready with examples and solutions for them

  1. 8 deadly sins
    1. Wealth w/o work
    2. Knowledge w/o character
    3. Science w/o Humanity
    4. Politics w/o principles
    5. Pleasure w/o conscience
    6. Commerce w/o morality
    7. Religion w/o Sacrifice
    8. Rights w/o Responsibility
  2. Values learned from family
  3. Values learned from society
  4. Patriotism Vs Nationalism
  5. Work is worship
  6. Ethics Vs Legality
  7. Ethics Vs Economy
  8. Good governance Vs Ethical governance
  9. Ethical reasoning
  10. Emotional competence
  11. Ethical governance
  12. Ethical infrastructure
  13. Ethical issues the society is facing today
    1. Ethics in medical science and R&D field (Bioethics)
    2. Ethics in funding
    3. Abortion
    4. Prohibition
    5. Patriarchy
    6. Castesim
    7. Surrogacy
    8. Homosexuality
    9. Media ethics
    10. Freedom of privacy
    11. Environmental ethics
    12. Animal rights
  14. Ethos
  15. Voice and crisis of conscience
  16. Accountability Vs Answerability Vs Responsibility
  17. Accountability to self
  18. Qualities of civil servant
    1. Empathy
    2. Prudence
    3. Perseverance
    4. Probity
    5. Justice
    6. Tolerance
    7. Self Control
    8. Humility
    9. Abstinence
    10. Generosity
    11. Serenity
    12. Sarvodaya
    13. Moral courage / Courage of one’s conviction
    14. Spirit of service
    15. Integrity
      1. Professional integrity
      2. Moral integrity
      3. Organisational integrity Intellectual integrity
    16. Emotional competence
    17. Objectivity
    18. Altruism
  1. Internal struggle Vs External struggle. What makes the former important
  2. What does ethics seek to achieve?
  3. Bureaucratic inertia
  4. Citizen’s problem with current governance
  5. Citizen’s expectations from governance
  6. Power and civil service
  7. Work life balance in civil service
  8. Corporate governance and ethics
  9. Self regulation in corporate governance
  10. Institutional loyalty
  11. What is so ‘public’ about public service?
  12. “We should do to others what we want others to do to us” – Leadership
  13. “Just like it is impossible to know when and how much water a fish drinks, it is utmost difficult to know how much money government officials steal away while in charge of it.” –Corruption
  14. Karmaphala Siddhanta / As you sow, you reap


Case Studies – Out of the box solutions for the following are very important

  1. Methods of persuasion
  2. Dealing with vulnerables
    1. Solving communal tensions
    2. Overcoming patriarchy
    3. Overcoming utilitarianism (Tribal people’s rights)
    4. Overcoming caste discrimination
  3. Personal Cost Vs Public interest
  4. Organisational goals / Morale Vs Public interest / own values
  5. Dealing with sexual abuse
  6. Dealing with cow vigilants
  7. Ways to check corruption at work place
  8. Overcoming political pressure
  9. Orthodox loyalty Vs Public interest / own values
  10. Conflict resolution between two parties

GS 3 Important topics for Mains 2016

General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management.

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
    1. Ease of undoing business / Exit / Chakravyuha / NPA
    2. Transnational agreements and / Vs WTO
    3. GST and Growth
    4. What makes India a shining star in a rather gloomy world economy
    5. Reasons for fall in Indian exports.
    6. Is Indian economy under stress?
    7. Need for inflation targeting
    8. De-gloablaisation and xenophobia
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
    1. Cost of digital divide
  • Government Budgeting
    1. Need for FRBM, NK Singh Committee
    2. Advancing of General budget
  • 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; etechnology in the aid of farmers
    1. eNAM and APMC
    2. PMFBY
    3. PMKSY
    4. Organic farming – Pros and Cons
    5. Climate change and agriculture
  • 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;
    1. Shanta Kumar Committee
    2. Malnutrition – Pulses and Sanitation
    3. How to double farmer’s income by 2022
  • Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.
  • Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
    1. Mega food parks
  • Land reforms in India
  • Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth
    1. 25 years of LPG
    2. Start-ups – Need, cause of rise, government schemes, challenges. Is crowding out of start-ups taking place?
  • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
    1. UDAY
    2. Civil aviation policy
    3. Railways & Bibek Debroy committee report
  • Investment models.
    1. PPP and Kelkar committee recommendations
    2. Annuity based PPP
    3. FDI in Pharmaceuticals and Single brand retail
  • 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
    1. 4th Industrial Revolution (AI, IoT)
    2. Scramjet, Cryogenic and GSLV (Benefits)
    3. Spin off technologies arising from space tech
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
    1. IPR policy and the multinational agreements
    2. Space technology – for agriculture and internal security
    3. Superbugs / MDR
    4. TB
  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
    1. ISA and National Solar Mission
    2. INDC
    3. EIA
    4. Permanent solution to air pollution
    5. Success and future of Montreal protocol (and ozone depletion)
    6. Desertification
    7. Waste management
    8. River linking
  • Disaster and disaster management.
    1. NDMP
    2. Sendai Framework
    3. Drought
  • Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
    1. Why do insurgents / terrorists attack – urban areas / schools / military establishments
  • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
    1. ISIS
    2. Comprehensive Convention on 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 Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism
    1. Perils of a cashless economy
    2. Globalisation of terrorism (See RSTV)
    4. Black money (origin) and steps taken
    5. Geospatial bill
    6. Terror financing
  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.
    1. Para SF Commandos – Surgical Strike
    2. National Investigation Agency

Contemporary world history till 1914 – Key words


Locke, Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, Thomas, Benjamin, Montesquieu, Voltaire


Glorious Revol, Mercantilism, Absolutism, Renaissance, Protestants, 7 Years War


Mercantilism, Stamp Act 1765, No tax w/o rep, Locke, Reason, Thomas, Tea, Conf of Philadelphia, No tax on property


3 estates, Louis XVI, Royal Tennis Court, Bastille prison, Rousseau (Man is born free), Locke, Rationalism, Rights of Man and Citizen, Jacobins (Jacobian constitution gave right to vote for all and right to insurrection), Robespierre, Guillotine, Bourgeois, Napoleon, Humanism (Abolition of slavery)


Cavour, Mazzini




FR and AR, Napoleon, Language, Colonialism, Rights of Man and Citizen (Concept of nation)

Industrial Revol

Guild -> Putting out -> Factory; Textile, Iron, Steam, Transport (McAdamised Roads), Comm, Agro Revol, Cash crops, Enclosure movt

Impact – Child labor, Inequality, Sanitation, Crime, Globalization, Nuclear family, Trade protectionism, Env, ideology

The growing resentment among the workers and their consequent movements made the government conscious that Laissez Faire is not the sine qua non and the State has a responsibility to protect the vulnerable sections, if Capitalism itself is to be protected from workers revolution.


Gold, Glory (European hegemony) and God , Triangular slave trade, Destruction of civilization (Aztec), navy, Want of FTAs w/ other countries (sort of), Nationalism, IR, Mercantile capitalism, Race for colonies / Neo imperialism, drain theory, capture of port of calls, political control of the colonies, White man’s burden, diminishing geographical space


Restricted to coast earlier, Slavery (Destroyed families, inferiority complex), Mass killings (10 mln Congolese killed), Divide and Rule (Effect continues even now – Hutu Vs Tutsi), Neglect of edu and health, No economic devlp


Machu dynasty, Policy of seclusion (ltd external trade), Opium wars, Open door policy, Taiping rebellion, 1858 loss of territory North of Amur to Russia, Japan invasion (1894), Boxer rising 1899, Japan won against USSR, Western educated Chinese youth returned, Manchu overthrown, Warlord era, May 4th movt, Chinese Communist Party, Kuomintang / KMT, Purification movt n Encirclement campaign to destroy CCP, 2nd Sino Japan war, Mao Zedong, Rectification process, Cold war, Taiwan


Shotguns (military people) had real power not King, Feudalism, Japan USSR war 1905 (Manchuria had natural reserves needed for Japanese IR), Japan won – US policy of appeasement began, also psychological boost

Japanese IR – US entry in 1853, Western imperialism, Iwakura mission, Self-liberation and Meiji Restoration(Daminios and Samurai surrendered their powers), Constitution based on Prussian model, Compulsory primary edu, promotion of vernacular and Enlgish, therefore skilled work force emphasis on eco devlp, Bank of Japan

WWI -> high export. After WW -> Job loss -> Economic crisis & Competition from China -> Army invaded China in 1937 w/o PM’s knowledge


Opium wars and open door policy in China, Policy of Appeasement to Japan, Monroe doctrine (hegemony over Americas), Panama canal (Manufactured a rebellion in Columbia), Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson promoted investment in S.America