[Answerkey] UPSC Prelim-2016: Paper-2 Comprehension, Assumption, Inference, Corollary, Conclusion- solved with explanations

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India Yearbook
  1. CSAT Paper-II comprehension: Observation
  2. Preparing inference-assumption for Prelim 2017?
  4. SETs: Assumption-inference
    1. INFERENCE: Food security and biodiversity
    2. INFERENCE: Climate adaptation
    3. INFERENCE: Biodiversity is water purifier?
    4. INFERENCE: Needs form basis of society
    5. INFERENCE: Agriculture GHG
    6. INFERENCE: Diet for 2050
    7. IMPLICATION: Comparing National Income
    8. Assumption: Lactose tolerance
    9. IMPLICATION: Banking services
  5. SETs: Corollary and Misc. MCQs
    1. Corollary: CO2, Soil Carbon
    2. Corollary: Crony Capitalism
    3. Misc: Manual Scavenging
    4. Misc: Economics and politics
  6. SETs: Multi-question Passages
    1. Accountability, Vigilance, Civil services
    2. Justice, religion, communion
    3. Biofuel & climate mitigation
    4. Food supply and demand

CSAT Paper-II comprehension: Observation

UPSC CSAT 2016 Paper-2 Comprehension, assumption, inference type MCQs solved with explanations

  • From length and time wise, it’d seem most of paper-II came from environment. But that’s because lot of ‘one paragraph-one MCQ’ type sets asked from Environment. Otherwise, quantitatively, comprehension MCQs are almost evenly distributed among polity vs environment vs economy- in the same 7-10 range. (Ref: Above graph).
  • Significant number of comprehension MCQs- required candidate to identify inferences. There is no single-standard theory for it. So, and many of the answer choices are open to multiple interpretations. Hence, only UPSC official Answerkey can stoke the debate fire about which answer is correct!
  • Two years back, UPSC had made paper-II qualifying in nature due to protests. It seems the examiner wants to get ‘even’ by gradually making paper tougher/lengthy every year. Lesson being: you can’t take paper-II in casual manner just because it requires only 33% passing marks.

Preparing inference-assumption for Prelim 2017?

  1. In many of these passages- one sentence would run for 4-5 lines, giving lots of data and logics embedded within. Those who simply rely on bullet-point readymade study material for everything- they’d find it difficult to process mentally at fast pace.
  2. Therefore, you’ve to cultivate habit of regularly reading newspaper columns, editorials, articles.
  3. For assumption inference- Plenty of techniques and practice sets in the book Analytical Reasoning by Analytical Reasoning by M.K.Pandey (BSC Publication).
  4. MK Pandey is sufficient. If still time, energy and money left you may also consult ManhattanGMAT Critical Reasoning Guide. Especially for its “t-diagram” strategy.

Besides, even in banking sector officer level exams, the passages are getting longer / tougher. So time and energy spent in preparation of this topic, is not going in vain, if you’re planning for banking sector as a career backup.


What is assumption?

  • Assumption + Premise makes the passage.
  • If we make negative statement of the correct assumption then entire passage will become invalid. (using this method, we can safely reach the correct option. Go through passages to see this technique in action).

What is inference?

  1. It is the conclusion reached from the given premises, on the basis of evidence and reasoning.
  2. It is possible that more than one option will be ‘probably true’ from the premise given in the passage. But we’ve to pick the option that is ‘definitely true’.
  3. T-diagraming technique helps in quickly eliminating the wrong options. Go through Answerkey to see t-diagram technique in action.

As t-diagram looks like this

Conclusion: blah…blah…blah (this you’ve to prepare)
For conclusionAgainst conclusion
  1. Point
  2. Point
  3. Point
Background info: blah..blah..blah.

Not every passage will contain both for and against arguments. But in future, if UPSC starts asking new variety of MCQ e.g. “which of the following statements will strengthen or weaken the author’s position etc.”, then manually you’ll have to test it by putting them in t-diagram.

What is Corollary?
Ans. It’s an inference that follows directly from the proof of another proposition.
Ref: Nishith Sinha’s CAT Reasoning Book, page 4.4

SETs: Assumption-inference

INFERENCE: Food security and biodiversity

We are witnessing a dangerous dwindling of biodiversity in our food supply. The green revolution is a mixed blessing. Over time farmers have come to rely heavily on broadly adapted, high yield crops to the exclusion of varieties adapted to the local conditions. Mono-cropping vast fields with the same genetically uniform seeds helps boost yield and meet immediate hunger needs. Yet high-yield varieties are also genetically weaker crops that require expensive chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides. In our focus on increasing the amount of food we produce today, we have accidentally put ourselves at risk for food shortages in future.
Let’s make t-diagram first

Conclusion: HYV = food insecurity in future.
For conclusionAgainst conclusion
  • Green revolution=> HYV Monocrop
  • They are not adapted to local conditions, weak genetically, need more chemical inputs.
  • HVY = more food @short term.

25. Which among the following is the most logical and critical inference that can be made from the above passage?

(a) In our agricultural practices, we have become heavily dependent on expensive chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides only due to green revolutionPossibly true but not definitely true, because they’ve used absolute term “only due to”.
(b) Monocropping vast fields with high-yield varieties is possible due to green revolutionTrue. But not the most critical inference.
(c) Monocropping with high-yield varieties is the only way to ensure food security to millionsPossibly true but not definitely true, because they’ve used absolute term “only way”.
(d) Green revolution can pose a threat to biodiversity in food supply and food security in the long run
  • Definitely true, from the t-diagram. Besides, since other options are not fitting, this is the most logical and critical inference.
  • Another technique: MK Pandey Inference Chapter: Cause-Effect rule no. 3: “if an action is being undertaken, and if such an action usually leads to a particular effect, it is probably true such an effect would occur.” Hence Answer D.

INFERENCE: Climate adaptation

Climate adaptation may be rendered ineffective if policies are not designed in the context of other development concerns. For instance, a comprehensive strategy that seeks to improve food security in the context of climate change may include a set of coordinated measures related to agricultural extension, crop diversification, integrated water and pest management and agricultural information series. Some of these measures may have to do with climate changes and others with economic development.

Let’s make t-diagram first

Conclusion: while making climate adaptation policies keep in mind other development aspects also.
For conclusionAgainst conclusion
  • Food security- against climate change challenge will include R&D etc. aspects
  • This aspects in turn, may have climate + economy dual-angles.

42. What is the most logical and rational inference that can be made from the above passage?

(a) It is difficult to pursue climate adaptation in the developing countriesOutside the premise. Since 1st world, 3rd world mention not given. No mention that 3rd world or poverty is cause or catalyst behind climate change.
(b) Improving food security is a far more complex issue than climate adaptationProbably true but not definitely true from the given passage.
(c) Every developmental activity is directly or indirectly linked to climate adaptationEntire passage focused on climate adaptation. Every statement uses the word “may be”. Here they’ve used absolute term “every”. Hence, not a fitting rational inference.
(d) Climate adaptation should be examined in tandem with other economic development assumptions.Since others are wrong. This has to be right option. Because it uses the word ‘should be’,  and not ‘must be’

Inference: Biodiversity is water purifier?

Understanding of the role of biodiversity in the hydrological cycle enables better policy-making. The term biodiversity refers to the variety of plants, animals, microorganisms, and the ecosystems in which they occur. Water and biodiversity are interdependent. In reality, the hydrological cycle decides how biodiversity functions. In turn, vegetation and soil drive the movement of water. Every glass of water we drink has, at least in part, passed through fish, trees, bacteria, soil and other organisms. Passing through these ecosystems, it is cleansed and made fit for consumption. The supply of water is a critical service that the environment provides.

Let’s make t-diagram first

Conclusion: Biodiversity and hydrological cycle depend on each other.
For conclusionAgainst conclusion
  • Water => biodiversity
  • Biodiversity=> water passes thru org. => clean water.
Background info: Biodiversity means variety of org.

43. Which among the following is the most critical inference that can be made from the above passage ?

(a) biodiversity sustains the ability of nature to recycle waterDefinitely True from the premise and Since other options are wrong, This must be general dong.
(b) We cannot get potable water without the existence of living organismsProbably true but not definitely true. Because Passage doesn’t hint such extreme or absolute notions that there are no other methods to purify water.
(c) Plants, animals and microorganisms continuously interact among themselvesTrue but not the ‘most critical inference’.
(d) Living organisms could not have come into existence without hydrological cycleScientifically true. But not given in the premise. Hence it’s not the most critical inference from the passage.

INFERENCE: Needs form basis of society

To understand the nature and quantity of Government proper for man, it is necessary to attend to his character. As nature created him for social life, she fitted him for the station she intended. In all cases she made his natural wants greater than his individual powers. No one man is capable, without the aid of society, of supplying his own wants; and those wants, acting upon every individual, impel the whole of them into society.

Let’s make t-diagram

Conclusion: Man’s can’t fulfill all his wants as a loner, hence society formed.
For conclusionAgainst conclusion
  • Man’s wants >> his power
  • Join as a society = fulfill wants.
Background info:
  • Nature equipped everyone according to his aukaat.
  • Understand man and society, then we can talk of how much government needed for them.

46. Which among the following is the most logical and rational inference that can be made from the above passage?

(a) Nature has created a great diversity in human societyTrue from the background info. But not the most logical inference.
(b) Any given human society is always short of its wantsProbably true but not definitely true, due to absolute term “any given society”. Besides, passage talks about nature of human-wants rather than of society’s wants so, difficult to infer.
(c) Social life is a specific characteristic of manNot possible to infer because Passage doesn’t hint that other mammals, bees, ants etc. don’t have social life, internal-hierarchy, governance in their own natural way.
(d) Diverse natural wants forced man towards social systemDefinitely true. Because other options are wrong. And yes, definitely true according to passage.

INFERENCE: Agriculture GHG

About 15% global GHG emissions come from agricultural practices. This includes nitrous oxide fertilizers; methane from livestock, rice production, and manure storage; and carbon dioxide (CO2) from burning biomass, but this excludes CO2 emissions from soil management practices, Savannah burning and deforestation. Forestry, land-use, and land-use change account for another 17 percent of greenhouse gas emissions each year, three quarters of which come from tropical deforestation. The remainder is largely from draining and burning tropical peatland. About the same amount of carbon is stored in the world’s peatlands as is stored in the Amazon rainforest.

Let’s make T-diagram

Conclusion: nearly 1/3rd of total GHG emission comes from agri., deforestation and land use.
For conclusionAgainst conclusion
  • Agri fertilizer, animal husbandry etc.=> 15% GHG
  • Forestry + land change (like deforestation, grass burning) = 17%, and out of that,
    • 12.75% from tropical deforestation
    • 4.75% from tropical peatland.

So total 15+17 = 32% GHG from above sources.

Background info: Carbon stored in peatland = carbon stored in Amazon rainforest.

48. Which among the following is the most logical and rational inference that can be made from the above passage?

(a) Organic farming should immediately replace mechanized and chemical dependent agricultural practices all over the world
  • We’re not given individual breakup of how much Agri fertilizer vs. Animal husbandry vs rice production contribute in allover 15% GHG that comes from Agri sector. So difficult to infer role of chemical-mechanical agriculture in GHG emission and whether organic farming will make large impact on GHG reduction.
  • Passage doesn’t absolute term “all over world”,  it’s mainly focused on tropical areas.
(b) It is imperative for us to modify our land use practices in order to mitigate climate change.Definitely true. Because other options are difficult to infer.
(c) There are no technological solutions to the problem of greenhouse gas emissionsOverstatement. Absolute term “no” is used. Passage nowhere laments about impossibility of solutions but merely describes the sources of GHG emission.
(d) Tropical areas are the chief sites of carbon sequestrationFrom background info. IF tropical peatland + amazon rainforest were both burned than it’d be 2 x 4.75% = less than 10% of GHG emission. So difficult to infere that a large carbon mass is ‘stored’ within them.

INFERENCE: Diet for 2050

As we look to 2050, when we will need to feed two billion more people, the question of “Which diet is best?” has taken on new urgency. The foods we choose to eat in the coming decades will have dramatic ramifications for the planet. Simply put, a diet that revolves around meat and dairy a way of eating that is on the rise throughout the developing. world, will take a greater toll on the world’s resources than one that revolves around unrefined grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables.
Let’s make t-diagram

Conclusion: non-animal type veg food = less stress on natural resources.
For conclusionAgainst conclusion
  • 3rd world also taking more meat, milk type died.
  • To produce meat, milk – more natural resources required.
Background info: 2 bn people to be added by 2050.

64. What is the critical message conveyed by the above passage?

(a) Our increasing demand for foods sourced from animals puts a greater burden on our natural resources.Definitely true from the ‘for conclusion’ points. Besides other options not fitting.
(b) Diets based on grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables are best suited for health in developing countries.Probably true but not definitely true. Passage is focused on resource consumption rather health benefit. Hence difficult to infer.
(c) Human beings change their food habits from time to time irrespective of the health concernsProbably true but not definitely true. Passage is focused on resource consumption rather health benefit. Hence difficult to infer.
(d) From a global perspective, we still do not know which type of diet is best for us.It’s not the most critical message in the Passage. Author merely states that we’re focusing more due to rising population by 2050. most critical message is how 3rd world’s love for meat-milk will put more pressure on resources than fruit-veg-grains.

IMPLICATION: Comparing National Income

“The conceptual difficulties in National Income comparisons between underdeveloped and industrialized countries are particularly serious because a part of the national output in various underdeveloped countries is produced without passing through the commercial channels.”

66. In the above statement, the author implies that:

(a) the entire national output produced and consumed in industrialized countries passes through commercial channelsProbably true but not definitely true, because of  word “Entire output” is used. Difficult to verify this statement from the passage and premise.
May be 1st world’s 0.001% is passing thru non-commercial but it’s negligible, compared to the larger nuisance of non-commercial channels in 3rd world countries.
(b) the existence of a non-commercialized sector in different underdeveloped countries renders the national income comparisons over countries difficultProbably true but not definitely true, because

  • It is not the ‘existence’ of channel but the ‘process that is moving output through it’- which is making the comparison difficult.
  • There may be non-commercial channels in industrialized countries but may be their national output not passing through it.
  • Hence difficult to verify.
(c) no part of national output should be produced and consumed without passing through commercial channelsProbably true but not definitely true because

  • Author doesn’t hint or preach that such thing is undesirable, or responsible for poverty in 3rd world. Nor he says such things will help turning 3rd world into 1st world industrialized country.
  • It may also be possible that if industries countries began producing part of their output via non-commercial channel, may be comparison will be easier with 3rd world!

In short, difficult to verify from the given premise and passage, hence difficult to say that author would imply such thing.

(d) a part of the national output being produced and consumed without passing through commercial channels is a sign of underdevelopmentDefinitely true.

PS: According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, imply and infer are synomonyms hence we needn’t change strategy.

Assumption: Lactose tolerance

All humans digest mother’s milk as infants, but until cattle began being domesticated 10,000 years ago, children once weaned no longer needed to digest milk. As a result, they stopped making the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the sugar lactose into simple sugars. After humans began herding cattle, it became tremendously advantageous to digest milk, and lactose tolerance evolved independently among cattle herders in Europe, the middle East and Africa. Groups not dependant on cattle, such as the Chinese and Thai, remain lactose intolerant.

Let’s make a t-diagram

Conclusion: non-cattle junta has difficulty in tolerating lactose from milk.
For conclusionAgainst conclusion
  • Our ancestors didn’t need lactase enzymes after breast-feeding stage.
  • 10k years back, we learned to handle cattle => milk => lactose digestion ability re-developed in Africa-Europe.
  • But those who didn’t use cattle, can’t tolerate lactose.

65. Which among the following is the most logical assumption that can be made from the above passage?
MIND IT!! You’ve to find assumption, not inference. While finding assumption, we must keep two things in MIND:

  • Assumption + Premise => leads to conclusion.
  • Negating Correct assumption will destroy the argument. Then whole premise, passage and conclusion will become invalid.
(a) About 10,000 years ago, the domestication of animals took place in some parts of the worldThis is not ‘assumption.’ it can be inferred from the facts given- I.e. Europe-Africa cattle herders immune while China-Thai people have trouble- because they didn’t depend on cattle.
(b) A permanent change in the food habits of a community can bring about a genetic change in its members
  • If we take this as wrong statement, then entire passage is negated. Then it’ll be a mere coincidence why Europe-African cattle hearders tolerate lactose- perhaps because they got infected by some virus or radiation and became x-men mutants who could digest milk!
  • Hence this is the correct assumption. Because without this statement, entire passage will become negated, nullified and irrelevant.
(c) Lactose tolerant people only are capable of getting simple sugars in their bodies
  • If this assumption was logical then Chinese and Thai would have become extinct species, due to their inability to get simple sugar in body during adult life,  they would die even digesting apples and grapes! Hence, it’s wrong as an assumption.
  • Passage doesn’t hint there are no other sources of simple sugar apart from milk. Hence this statement doesn’t fit into inference category either.
(d) People who are not lactose tolerant cannot digest any dairy productCan be inferred from the facts given in passage- about lactase enzyme and Europe-African cattle hearders. Hence it is not an ‘assumption.’

IMPLICATION: Banking services

In the last decade, the banking sector has been restructured with a high degree of automation and products that mainly serve middle-class and upper middle-class society. Today there is need for a new agenda for the banking and non-banking financial services that does not exclude the common man.

44. Which one of the following is the message that is essentially implied in the above passage?
(a) Need for more automation and more products of bank
(b) Need for a radical restructuring of our entire public finance system
(c) Need to integrate banking and non-banking institutions
(d) Need to promote financial inclusion

Passage laments the automated banking services focused on middle class while excluding common man. Therefore “D” is most aptly implied that we need financial inclusion ie. Bank and non-banking fin services catering all families, including common man’s.

Sets: Corollary and Misc. MCQs

Corollary: CO2, Soil Carbon

An increase in human-made carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could initiate a chain reaction between plant and microorganisms that would unsettle one of the largest carbon reservoirs on the planet soil. In a study, it was found that the soil, which contains twice the amount of carbon present in a plants and Earth’s atmosphere combined, could become increasingly volatile as people add more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. This is largely because of increased plant growth. Although a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, carbon dioxide also supports plant growth. As trees and other vegetation flourish in a carbon dioxide-rich future, their roots could stimulate microbial activity in soil that may in turn accelerate the decomposition of soil carbon and its release into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

Let’s make T-Diagram

Conclusion: Man-made CO2 will catalyze the process of CO2 release from Soil.
For conclusionAgainst conclusion
  • Soil = 2x CO2 (Plant+Atm)
  • If Manmade CO2=>More Plant growth => root microbes=> Soil decomposition=>CO2

67. Which among the following is the most logical corollary to the above passage ?
We’ll go by Nishith Sinha’s CAT definition: Corollary = inference.

(a) Carbon dioxide is essential for the survival of microorganisms and plants.
  • Probably true. But there could be microorganisms that could survive without CO2. From the given premise, difficult to infer that ‘for all microbes’ CO2 is essential.
(b) Humans are solely responsible for the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
  • No. Microbes also release CO2 via soil decomposition. Plants breath out CO2.
(c) Microorganisms and soil carbon are mainly responsible for the increased plant growth.
  • No. the contextual word “Mainly” responsible makes an overstatement. Oxygen, nutrients etc. also have role to play.
(d) Increasing green cover could trigger the release of carbon trapped in soil.
  • Definitely true.  roots => microbes stimulated => Soil decomposition => CO2.

Corollary: Crony Capitalism

By killing transparency and competition, crony capitalism is harmful to free enterprise, opportunity and economic growth. Crony capitalism, where rich and the influential are alleged to have received land and natural resources and various licenses in return for payoffs to venal politicians, is now a major issue to be tackled. One of the greatest dangers to growth of developing economies like India is the middle-income where crony capitalism creates oligarchies that slow down the growth.

Let’s prepare t-diagram

Conclusion: If India wants growth, it must stop crony capitalism.
For conclusionAgainst conclusion
  • Rich people=> pay politicians => get license=> create oligarchies => no competition, transparency, opportunity => growth hurt.

41. Which among the following is the most logical corollary to the above passage ?

(a) Launching more welfare schemes and allocating more finances for the current schemes are urgently neededNo clear information given in passage whether such move is required or will lead to decline of crony capitalism.
(b) Efforts should be made to push up economic growth by other means and provide licences to the poor
  • Since other options are wrong. This ought to be right.
  • Economic growth keyword is given in passage.
  • Rich get licenses and then create oligopolies that hurt growth.  So this also follows from t-diagram.
(c) Greater transparency in the functioning of the government and promoting the financial inclusion are needed at presentIntroduces new premise ‘financial inclusion’. But no mention in passage indicates that lack of financial inclusion is responsible for bottleneck in economic growth or rise in crony capitalism.
(d) We should concentrate more on developing manufacturing sector than service sector.No clear information given in the passage whether crony capitalism is less prevalent in mfg. Sector than in service sector.

Misc: Manual Scavenging

Safe and sustainable sanitation in slums has immeasurable benefits to  women and girls in terms of their health, safety, privacy and dignity. However, women do not feature in most of the schemes and policies on urban sanitation. The fact that even now the manual scavenging exists, ones to show that not enough has been done to promote pour-flush toilets and discontinue the  use of dry latrines. A more sustained and rigorous campaign needs to be launched towards the right to sanitation on a very large scale. This should primarily focus on the abolition of manual scavenging.
45. With reference to the above passage, consider the following statements:

1. Urban sanitation problems can be fully solved by the abolition of manual scavenging only.No. Because it uses absolute terms like “fully” and “only”. Hence probably true/ in doubt area; but not definitely true.
2. There is a need to promote greater awareness on safe sanitation practices in urban areas.Yes, definitely true. All keywords covered. Meaning also fits within the premise of passage.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both I and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Misc: Economics and politics

The nature of the legal imperatives in any given state corresponds to the effective demands that state encounters, and that these, in their turn, depend, in a general way, upon the manner in which economic power is distributed in the society which the state controls.
47. The statement refers to:
(a) the antithesis of Politics and Economics
(b) the interrelationship of Politics and Economics
(c) the predominance of Economics over Politics
(d) the predominance of Politics over Economics

Let’s arrange sequence
This is a statement given by Harold Laski.

  1. State controls economic power distribution in society.
  2. Depending on economic power, juntaa will demand (xyz type of) legal imperatives from state.

From above sequence:

  • We don’t see politics and economics are against each other or have different paths. So A (Antithesis) is wrong.
  • Sequence doesn’t show domination of x over y. So C and D gone.
  • Thus, we’re left with answer B.

Sets: Multi-question Passages

Accountability, Vigilance, Civil services

Note:- For easier reference, I’ve broken the paragraph into bullet-numbered sentences.

  1. Accountability, or the lack of it, in governance generally, and civil services, in particular, is a major factor underlying the deficiencies in governance and public administration.
  2. Designing an effective framework for accountability has been a key element of the reform agenda.
  3. A fundamental issue is whether civil services should be accountable to the political executive of the day or to society at large.
  4. In other words, how should internal and external accountability be reconciled?
  5. Internal accountability is sought to be achieved by
    1. internal performance monitoring,
    2. official supervision by bodies like the —Central-Vigilance Commission-and-Comptroller and Auditor—General, and
    3. judicial review of executive decisions.
  6. Articles 311 and 312 of the Indian Constitution provide job security and safeguards to the civil services, especially the All India Services.
  7. The framers of the Constitution had envisaged that provision of these safeguards would result in a civil service that is not totally subservient to the political executive but will have the strength to function in larger public interest.
  8. The need to balance internal and external accountability is thus built into the Constitution. The issue is where to draw the line.
  9. Over the years, the emphasis seems to have tilted in favour of greater internal accountability of the civil services to the political leaders of the day who in turn are expected to be externally accountable to the society at large through the election process.
  10. This system for seeking accountability to Society has not worked out, and has led to several adverse consequences for governance.
  11. Some special measures can be considered for improving accountability in civil services.
  12. Provisions of articles 311 and 312 should be reviewed and laws and regulations framed to ensure external accountability of civil services.
  13. The proposed Civil Services Bill seeks to address some of these requirements.
  14. The respective roles of professional civil services and the political executive should he defined so that professional managerial functions and management of civil services are depoliticized.
  15. For this purpose, effective statutory civil service boards should be created at the centre and in the states.
  16. Decentralization and devolution of authority to bring government and decision making closer to the people also helps to enhance accountability.

Answer following questions:
1. According to the passage, which of the following factor/factors led to the adverse consequences for governance/public administration?
1. Inability of civil services to strike a balance between internal and external accountabilities
2. Lack of sufficient professional training to the officers of All India Services
3. Lack of proper service benefits in civil services
4. Lack of Constitutional provisions to define the respective roles of professional civil services vis-a-vis political executive in this context
Select the correct answer using the code given below :
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 4 only
(d) 2, 3 and 4

Question statement no. 2 and 3 are not mentioned. This eliminates B and D.
Question statement no. 4 is implied in para sentence no. 12 and 14.
Hence, we’re left with answer “C”

2. With reference to the passage, the following assumptions have been made :
1. Political executive is an obstacle to the accountability of the civil services to the society
2. In the present framework of Indian polity, the political executive is no longer accountable to the society

Which of these assumptions is/are valid?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Assumption + Premise = Conclusion. If we take correct assumption as negative, then entire passage will nullify. Let’s put both statements to this test:

1. Political executive is an obstacle to the accountability of the civil services to the society.
  • Let’s make its negative: political executives are facilitators of civil-services accountability to junta.
  • Then premises given in statement no. 9 and 10 will be nullified.
  • Hence this is correct assumption.
2. In the present framework of Indian polity, the political executive is no longer accountable to the society.
  • Let’s make its negative: political executive is accountable to society.
  • Again, premises given in statement no. 9 and 10 will be nullified.
  • Hence this is correct assumption.

3. Which one of the following is the essential message implied by this passage?
(a) Civil services are not accountable to the society they are serving.
(b) Educated and enlightened persons are not taking up political leadership.
(c) The framers of the Constitution did not envisage the problems being encountered by the civil services.
(d) There is a need and scope for reforms to improve the accountability of civil services
Read paragraph sentence 2 and 4. Answer is D

4. According to the passage, which one of the following is not a means of enhancing internal accountability of civil services?
(a) Better job security and safeguards
(b) Supervision by Central Vigilance Commission
(c) Judicial review of executive decisions
(d) Seeking accountability through enhanced participation by people in decision making process
Read para. sentence 5 and 6. Thereby A, B and C fits. Hence “D” is not meant for increasing internal accountability.

Justice, religion, communion

  1. In general, religious traditions stress our duty to god, or to some universal ethical principle.
  2. Our duties to one another derive from these.
  3. The religious concept of rights
    1. is primarily derived from our relationship to this divinity or principle
    2. and the implication it has on our other relationships.
  4. This correspondence between rights and duties is critical to any further understanding of justice.
  5. But, for justice to be practiced; rights and duties cannot remain formal abstraction.
  6. They must be grounded in
    1. a community (common unity)
    2. bound together by a sense of common union (communion).
  7. Even as  a personal virtue, this  solidarity is essential to the practice and understanding of justice.

5. With reference to the passage, the following assumptions have been made :
Negative of true assumption will make the passage/premise will become invalid. Let’s check.

1. Human relationships are derived from their religious traditions
  • Let’s make its negative statement: Human relationships are NOT derived from their religious traditions.
  • Then para sentence 1 and 2 will become invalid. Hence this is correct assumption. This eliminates “B”.
2. Human beings can be duty bound only if they believe in god
  • Let’s make its negative statement: An atheist is NEVER duty bound.
  • The primary theme of the passage is: “understand religion to understand justice and its rights-duties concepts.
  • That theme is still not invalidated. So assumption #2 is wrong. This eliminates “D”.
3. Religious traditions are essential to practice and understand justice
  • Let’s make its negative statement: Religious traditions are NOT essential to practice and understand justice.
  • Then premises given in para sentence 3 and 4 will be invalid.
  • Hence, #3 is correct assumption. This eliminates Answer “A”

Which of these assumption(s) is/are valid?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

6. Which one of the following is the crux of this passage?

(a) Our duties to one another derive from our religious traditionsOne of the premises in passage. Not the ‘crux’.
(b) Having relationship to the divine principle is a great virtueNot mentioned.
(c) Balance between rights and duties is crucial to the delivery of justice in a society Since others don’t fit, this has to be the right option. Read para sentence 5 to 7.
(d) Religious concept of rights is primarily derived from our relationship to god.One of the premises in passage. Not the ‘crux’.

Biofuel & climate mitigation

  1. Biomass as fuel for power, heat, and transport has the highest mitigation potential of all renewable sources.
  2. It comes from agriculture and forest residues as well as from energy crops.
  3. The biggest challenge in using biomass residues is a long-term reliable supply delivered to the power plant at reasonable costs;
  1. the key problems are
    1. logistical constraints
    2. costs of fuel collection.
    3. Energy crops, if not managed properly, compete with food production and may have undesirable impacts on food prices.
    4. Biomass production is also sensitive to the physical impacts of a changing climate.
  1. Projections of the future role of biomass are probably overestimated,
    1. given the limits to the sustainable biomass supply,
    2. unless breakthrough technologies substantially increase productivity.
  2. Climate-energy models project that biomass use could increase nearly four-fold to around 150 — 200 exajoules, almost a quarter of world primary energy in 2050.
  3. However the maximum sustainable technical potential of biomass resources (both residues and energy crops) without disruption of food and forest resources
    1. ranges from 80 — 170 exajoules a year by 2050
    2. and only part of this is realistically and economically feasible.
  4. In addition, some climate models rely on biomass-based carbon capture and storage,
    1. an unproven technology
    2. to achieve negative emissions and to buy some time during the first half of the century.
  5. Some liquid biofuels such as corn-based ethanol, mainly for transport, may aggravate rather than ameliorate carbon emissions on a life-cycle basis.
  6. Second generation biofuels, based on ligno-cellulosic feedstocks — such as straw, bagasse, grass and wood — hold the promise of sustainable production that is high-yielding and emit low levels of greenhouse gases, but these are still in the R & D stage.

21. What is/are the present constraint/constraints in using biomass as fuel for power generation?

1. Lack of sustainable supply of biomassYes, ref. para sentence 4 and 5.
2. Biomass production competes with food productionYes, ref. para sentence 4d
3. Bio-energy may not always be low carbon on a life-cycle basisYes, ref. para sentence 9.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

22. Which of the following can lead to food security problem?

1. Using agricultural and forest residues as feedstock for power generationRef. para sentence 10. it gives examples of such things- woods, straw, grass. Since we’re not directly consuming such residue as edible food, therefore, it won’t create food security problem. Hence #1 is wrong, we’re left with “B” and “C”.
2. Using biomass for carbon capture and storageThis will not directly affect food security. Yes, indirectly may affect if lot of irrigated land is devoted to such biomass-capture crop- if it’s inedible. Lot of caveats and hairsplitting. So let’s take this statement as wrong” we’re left with “B”.
3. Promoting the cultivation of energy cropsYes, ref. para sentence 4c. This eliminates “A”

Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

23. In the context of using biomass, which of the following is/are the characteristic/characteristics of the sustainable production of biofuel?

1. Biomass as a fuel for power generation could meet all the primary energy requirements of the world by 2050Wrong Ref. sentence 6 and 7. even if max. potential reached, it’ll be just quarter (25%). This eliminates “A”
2. Biomass as a fuel for power generation does not necessarily disrupt food and forest resourcesWrong. Ref. sentence 4c. This eliminates “C” and “D”.
3. Biomass as a fuel for power generation could help in achieving negative emissions, given certain nascent technologiesBy elimination we’re left with “B”. Besides this statement is right, ref. para sentence 8.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

24. With reference to the passage, following assumptions have been made :

1. Some climate-energy models suggest that the use of biomass as a fuel for power generation helps in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions
  • Ref. para sentence 1. it says Biomass as fuel for power, heat, and transport has the highest mitigation potential of all renewable sources.
  • That means in the background some climate energy model would to have written positive theory in this regard.
  • Hence assumption is valid.
2. It is not possible to use biomass as a fuel for power generation without disrupting food and forest resources
  • If this assumption is true- it makes the entire passage invalid / weak / irrelevant, because passage is focused on how biomass holds promises despite having some challenges.
  • So #2 is wrong.

Which of these assumptions is/are valid?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Food supply and demand

  1. Historically, the biggest Challenge to world agriculture has been to achieve a balance between demand for and supply of food.
  2. At the level of individual countries, the demand-supply balance can be a critical issue for a closed economy,
  3. especially if it is a populous economy and its domestic agriculture is not growing sufficiently enough to ensure food supplies, on an enduring basis;
  4. it is not so much and not always, of a constraint for an open, and growing economy, which has adequate exchange surplus to buy food abroad.
  5. For the world as a whole, Supply-demand balance is always an inescapable prerequisite for warding off hunger and starvation.
  6. However, global availability of adequate supply does not necessarily mean that food would automatically move from countries of surplus to of deficit if the latter lack in purchasing power.
  7. The uneven distribution of hunger, starvation, under or malnourishment, etc., at the world-level, thus owes itself to the presence of empty-pock  hungry mouths, overwhelmingly confined to the underdeveloped economies.
  8. In as much as ‘a two-square meal’ is of elemental significance to basic human existence, the issue of worldwide supply of food has been gaining significance, in recent times, both because
    1. the quantum and the composition of demand has been undergoing big changes,
    2. and because, in recent years, the capabilities individual countries to generate uninterrupted chain of food supplies have come under strain.
  9. Food production, marketing and prices,
    1. especially price-affordability by the poor in the developing world,
    2. have become global issues that need global thinking and global solutions.

68. According to the above passage, which of, the following are the fundamental solutions for the world food security problem?

1. Setting up more agro-based industriesDebatable, but by elimination method we don’t have to deal with this.
2. Improving the price affordability by the poorCorrect. Ref sentence 9/A. this eliminates “C”
3. Regulating the conditions of marketingCorrect. Ref sentence 9. this eliminates “A”.
4. Providing food subsidy to one and all
  • Ref sentence 9/A talking about price affordability of poor- hence giving subsidy to ‘all people (including rich people)’ can’t be the viable solution.
  • This eliminates “C” and “D”.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 and 2
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1, 3 an 4 only
(d) 1, 2, and 4

69. According to the above passage, the biggest challenge to world agriculture is:
(a) to find sufficient land for agriculture and to expand food processing industries
(b) to eradicate hunger in underdeveloped countries
(c) to achieve a balance between the production of food and non-food items
(d) to achieve a balance between demand for and supply of  food

Ref para sentence 1, 5, 6- they all hint about the challenge of supply and demand mismatch.
As such even “B” may look tempting, but since para sentence 1 verbatim gives “D” statement. So we’ve to go with “D”.

70. According to the above passage, which of the following helps/help in reducing hunger and starvation in the developing economies ?

1. Balancing demand and supply of foodDefinitely true, ref. para sentence 1, 5, 6. This eliminates “B”.
2. Increasing imports of foodProbably true but not definitely true.

  • Ref. para sentence 6- import not possible, if 3rd world nation doesn’t have purchasing power.
  • Ref. para sentence 3,4- import not closed economy. Possible for an open economy- provided they’ve ‘surplus’ forex.

So, this eliminates “B” and “D”.

3. Increasing purchasing power of the poorDefinitely true. Ref para sentence 6 and 9A.  Hence, we’re left with answer “C”.

4. Changing the food consumption patterns and practices
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 only
(b) 2, 3 and 4 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

71. The issue of worldwide supply of food has gained importance mainly because of:

1. overgrowth of the population worldwide
  • Although not directly given but, this is indirectly implied in sentence 8a- “quantum” of demand is undergoing changes. This can happen only by popular growth. Therefore, (need for more) supply gained importance.
  • So, answer could be “A” or “D”.
  • But let’s continue and see where the elimination method leaves us.
2. sharp decline in the area of food production
  • Probably true but difficult to verify from passage. Although indirectly implied in sentence 8/b and 9.
3. limitation in the capabilities for sustained supply of foodDefinitely true, Ref.8/b. This eliminates “A”.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer could be either “B” or “D”. UPSC official answer key will be the final judge.

Mrunal recommends

  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books
  2. Environment by ShankarIAS
  3. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  4. Art & Culture by Nitin Singhania (Hindi | English)
  5. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  6. Bipin Chandra: Post Independence
  7. Fast-track to Arithmetic Rajesh Verma
  8. MK Pandey’s Analytical Reasoning
  9. Disha’s Topicwise Paperset (Hindi | English)
  10. School Atlas
  11. Mains: Language papers
  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books 4 History,Geo,Sci
  2. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  3. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  4. Maths: Quantam CAT Sarvesh Kumar
  5. Objective General English SP Bakshi
  6. Word Power made Easy -Norman Lowe
  7. Topic wise Solved Paperset by Disha

So far 52 Comments posted

  1. Srikar

    Very nice sir pls solve maths questions also

  2. prabhat

    yes i solved this paper around 35 attempted … but due to time constraints and strictly adherence have to leave the rest though was able to solve them .. passage was way too long man .. i have to work on my speed of reading , understanding .. around 30 or 31 are correct … …. never prepared for Corollary and inference n all but lets see .. anyways…. Mrunal sir thank you so much , you have explained this perfectly in a short manner

    1. Raghuwire

      The idea is to attempt around 50 questions, so that even if you have mistakes, you can easily cross the 33 percent threshold. With that in mind, you could easily skip all the long passage questions, which took up time.

  3. ranchi rambo

    sir, please kindly help..
    around 7 answer keys i have matched have shown answer as “d” in the 66th question, only two excluding you have marked it “b”. sir i am just on border line in paper two.. but sailing through paper -1. please review your answer to 66th question in this paper. it wll be “b” or “D”.. please help..

  4. Akash

    Can anyone who followed Mrunal last year please tell when he starts the Mains lecture series?
    Also, should I be expecting to write Mains at 110 (gen) ?

    1. aspirant

      90% chances that u should write mains
      Reduced 10% not bcoz ur score is less but bcoz there might be some deviation in upsc keys from the ones available in market and plus some error on your end in calculating/marking/wrong bubble in omr etc

  5. Raghuwire

    It is either start preparation now or for next year. If you wait for result to start prep! It is already too late.

  6. Dr. Dixit Sharma

    Sir, will u be uploading videos regarding UPSC mains 2016. If yes, kindly give a rough idea or a post regarding which areas may be covered coz it will help in better time allocation and help us prevent duplication of efforts, coz if you are posting anything, we consider it the best source to cover the respective areas. Kindly reply

  7. omender

    Mrunal sir,
    kya koi student Electrical Engineering optional leta hai?
    please suggest

  8. Amit Yadav

    Akash … there are some questions like… drip irrigation, SDGs club of Rome’s,chief Secretary appointment….stands as different view point after settling dust of 7th august….so I was getting 117 but now am settle on 109.34 … case is same for everyone …I think cut off will be lie at range of 100 to104

    1. FAILURE

      I wish cut off will be 108-109 …………kya hoga

      Club of rome option is wrong

  9. Amrit

    I sad aspirant ….work hard …paper 1- 143 paper 2- 67 …less English …I sad
    I pass pre?

    1. sree

      67 means u r qualified bro dont worry

  10. aspirant

    Mrunal bhai
    Your old CSAT articles were a great help in solving paper 2..scoring fantastic marks with superb accuracy..even though it is only qualifying
    Attempted: 59
    Correct: 58
    Wrong: 1
    Score: 144.1

    Thanks a lot

  11. aspirant

    hi frnds
    anyone who has sociology optional and has appeared mains atleast once pls guide me in paper 2 of sociology..what to read from where..there is a long list of books, which i want to avoid reading or keep it to bare minimum..pls help

  12. Bhau

    Haan bhai Mein hu….bolo kya kam h …

  13. Amulya Animesh

    SIR ..getting around (as per ur solutions)
    134.66 – P1
    110 – P2

  14. Amit Yadav

    Not exceed 104 gen

  15. Anonymous

    Hi aspirant
    For paper 2 i trusted on ignou and got 152 marks in 2014 mains.
    It was a big achievement as i got just 49 marks in 2013 mains.
    Do mention case studies while answering the questions.

  16. Sree

    I think some of answers above csat varied with other institutions including CL and Shankar ias..so let’s wait for upsc key…

  17. govindan

    Mrunal, sir : After seeing Handout for PHASE II Examination of RBI’s Grade ‘B’ (DR), most of the aspirants are shattered. Difficulty level has been increased many fold. Our dream to become Grade ‘B” (DR) in Reserve Bank of India has become a question mark…..kindly…kindly….come to our RESCUE. Please give us some attention and help us to appear and come out successfully in the RBI’s Grade ‘B’ (DR) Examination -2016 Batch. There is hardly 10 to 15 day’s time for preparing for the Phase II Examination, your immediate attention and KIND HELP is required to face the Phase II. Kindly help us.


    I have a question sir… I am a student from Non Economics Background ( B.Tech and working in a PSU ) but after watching these video lectures and ppts , I have realised that I have started to like economics very much . I am thinking of having Economics as my Optional for 2017 but some people are advising me against it and telling that paper I is quite technical and you will not understand if you have not an economics background. Kindly Guide me sir that will your these economics articles be enough or what else i will have to do if I want to have Economics as my Optional. Waiting for your reply…( I have studied PA as my optional but I am loosing my Interest in that )

  19. upsc aspirant

    hii mrunal sir,firstly very much thank you for your special efforts for helping and guiding aspirants like us…sir i want to know what shall be probable cutoff for pre as i am getting about 108 and from general category….any chance ?

  20. prince

    world history aND IR lecture series urgently needed to MAINS PLAyers

  21. Sushma

    Please sir provide Geography lecture series….

  22. Sushma

    Please sir provide Geography lecture series. …

  23. pulak mandal

    sir can you start ancient and medieval history class?

  24. Pooja Mittal

    When can we expect the result to be out for Prelims?

    1. UPSCAsp

      September End. Max by Oct 3.

  25. Ram

    Sir , world history & IR ……

  26. nikunj

    sir i am a student of school of open learning Delhi university which declares graduation result in november. Am i elligible for 2017 cse? As it will be my last year of graduation and mains is scheduled in october so niether i will have degree at that time(filling daf)
    nor i will be exam passed as result of graduation will come one month later in november ……..totally confused…

  27. Saurabh Upadhyay

    Happy Teachers Day Sir.

  28. Jai

    Happy ‘MRUNAL SIR’ Day

    i would also like to wish Happy Teachers day to:-
    Rajtanil Madam
    Pratik Nayak Sir
    Kavan Limbasiya Sir
    Sunep Jamir Sir
    Ishani Pandaya Madam

  29. Anonymous

    Hi Anuj,
    I relied on ignou.
    I think mentioning a lot of case studies helped.

  30. ajay

    start lecture series on environment plz

  31. Aspirant

    Thanks for the revert..does ignou b.a. cover entire paper 2..or m a ignou is also required ..also if ignou is done then is there need to read books like nagla,Veena das, nadeem hasnain,yogendra Singh, ram ahuja etc.

  32. deshbandhu

    result kab awega pre ka

  33. mohammed

    mrunal ji when will be starting your main lecture series this year im eagerly waiting for it

  34. AB

    When are the maths solutions coming?

  35. Amrit

    kya ye satya h ki is varsh ka prashna patra lok seva ayog ke itihas ka sabse saral prashna patra tha …aur esa anumanit h ki cut off marks 140 ke kareeb honge?mere sabhi mitro ke lagbhag 140 se 150 aa rahe h …

    1. hindipurush

      @amrit ji
      bilkul sahi anumaan hai ..prashnapatra saral hone ke karan sabhi logon ko 140 se adhik ank prapt ho rahe hain aur aisa kaha ja raha hai ki vicchedak ank lagbhag 140 ke uprant hi honge..dhanyaavad

      1. Amrit

        Dhanyawad hindi purush ji …….vicchedak ank lagbhag 150 honge ..esa lagta h

  36. AAA

    Amrit you are discouraging other students, if fully absolutely right who score 140 can never asked to you and yourself also. Please faith in god and not spread the rumor

    1. Amrit

      I faithing God….very much …I no rumor…I sad becoge my friends 146 ,150 ..I only 140…I not hurt u

  37. AB

    Any source for practicing MCQs for Prelims?

  38. Ritesh Tirpude

    I am railway servent,preparing for upsc..need of your guidance

  39. nagaraj

    I am ph -1 category what is expected cut off this prelim-16

  40. Hobby

    Dosto… M getting 111 in paper 1… Is there any chance for me to write mains???

  41. Dipika

    UPSC Prelims 2016 results are out

  42. SHIV


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