[Download] Essay 2013 Question Paper of UPSC Civil Service Mains

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  1. Essay Paper 2013 UPSC Mains
  2. 2013 vs 2012 Paper

Essay Paper 2013 UPSC Mains

Write an essay on any one of the following topics, in not more than 2500 words. (250 marks)

  1. Be the change you want to see in others (Gandhi)
  2. Is the Colonial mentality hindering India’s Success?
  3. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) along with GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness) would be the right indices for judging the wellbeing of a country
  4. Science and technology is the panacea for the growth and security of the nation.

Courtesy: Mr.Abhi Kapoor

  • @Mains-Players: which essay did you write and what points did you include in it? (Reply after Mains is over.)
  • @Non-Mains 2013 players: Which essay would you write and what points will you include in it? (You may post comment right now!)

Want to see Hindi version of Essay Titles? Click on following


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2013 vs 2012 Paper

2012 2013
No word limit mentioned. they’ve specifically instructed “Not more than 2500” words
Attempt any one out of four essays. Same. Attempt one out of four essays.Despite speculation that more than one essay will be asked.
200 mark| 3 hours 250 marks | 3 hours (which you already know)
Asked essay about Gandhi’s idea on ‘Swadhinata’, ‘Swaraj’ and ‘Dharmarajya’, and their contemporary relevance to Indian democracy. Gandhi Prem continues: Be the change you want to see in others.
Science vs. Mysticism Sci.Tech=Growth + security for nation.
Economy on Economy: PPP= Boon / bane? Love for economy continues: GDP + Gross Domestic Happiness (GDH)
women related essay asked
  • No, despite wide speculations due to frequent news of crime against women.
  • Similarly, nothing on Criminalization of politics, Indo-China, Indo-Pak, elections, Mangalyaan, Chess, Bharat Ratna etc.
  • However, to drag the speculation non-seriously: During Bhutan elections (July 2013), most newspapers mentioned about its “Gross National Happiness (GNH)”. So examiner must have got inspiration from there to ask essay on GDP vs GDH.
Three essays are in ‘question’ format- requiring you to take a ‘stand’. Observe

  1. Is the criticism that the ‘Public-Private-Partnership’ (PPP) model for development is more of a bane than a boon in the Indian context, justified?
  2. Science and Mysticism: Are they compatible?
  3. Managing work and home – is the Indian working woman getting a fair deal?
Only one essay in ‘question’ format:Is the Colonial mentality hindering India’s Success?

To download all the Essay papers- from 1993 upto the latest 2014 exam, click me.

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145 Comments on “[Download] Essay 2013 Question Paper of UPSC Civil Service Mains”

  1. i would have opted essay topic number-3,i.e gdp along with gnh.
    reason is – if anyone would have studied indian economy from ramesh singh’s book(which is absolutely MUST for indian economy,both from prelims and mains point of view),that person would have got loads of points for the essay,as a complete chapter is dedicated on this topic.
    and finally thanks to mrunal sir for uploading this article,from this one can conclude,how important economy subject is,as almost in every year there was one topic related to economy.

  2. Seriously speaking now a days topics are simple , but it is difficult to write decently on Such topic , so variation should be more in essay marks.

  3. Yup Marudavanan i too thought the same .For 3 we could have wrote some thing on growth development quantative and qualitative indicators

  4. Yup Marudavanan i too thought the same .For 3 we could have wrote some thing on growth development quantitative and qualitative indicators

  5. Would have gone for the 2nd one..history being my optional and just saw the video of raghuram rajan talking about the same…would have included his positives and not negatives..

  6. Hi mrunal,
    Can you please suggest me how to choose any topic in essay paper. For example i am from science background and i don’t know extensively about gandhiji to write an essay as asked in Q1,so on.. Is it better to choose easy topics or hard once but involving technical . ?

    Please reply. Thanks

    1. hey dude..
      stick with topics that u r comfortable with and which you can write a lot about. Since you are from science background u will have hell lot of things to write about snt. whereever u look, u will be seeing SnT only..so relate that with growth and security aspects of he nation..Voila!! u will be writing for more than 20 pages..
      and dont listen to those crappy comments about intellectual people who went for tough topics thinking that every tom, dick and harry is writing SnT and I’ll stand out by writing something out of the world. Better play safe and try to assure urself of minimum marks in essay- ie-50%.
      Have a broad perspective and include various dimensions while writing an essay. Read UPSC notification about what they expect from essay. ” you will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.” From my personal experience, you will get 50% marks if you address all the dimensions mentioned in the essay statement. Remember that you are not going to write an academic or research paper. U r expected to be a ‘glorified stenographer’. So write in simple, lucid language with appropriate government jargons such as inclusiveness, participatory, dovetailing, streamlining,people-centric and so on. Go through government/plan documents or pib articles to get a feel.

      1. Good suggestions.tnx

    2. I am from science background, junior researcher by profession but I chose first topic as I think this topic can reflect my personality. So I personally don’t think that background matters, it is all about the fodder material you have for any topic and the understanding. Good luck

  7. mrunal ji i salute u for putting the papers faster than others

  8. being a economics student i’ll go for the 3rd topic: GDP and GDH .I Have a good concepts to analyze this topic …guys can u give me some suggestion on the 2nd topic:colonial mentality

  9. Would definitely have gone 4 science and technology,

  10. Thank u very much mrunalji for putting us in update mode with ur site which s helping many aspirents as success manthra

  11. Thank you mrunal ji..its very helpful.

  12. Hi mrunal….most of the people are writing on 4th topic….
    My question is
    1. Does opting for another essay gives any advantage?
    2. If we do write on 4th one….how do we ensure we get good marks…
    Do we write some unique points…Bcoz chances are we may write similar points like others…

    I would have taken gandhiji quote – be the change you want to be…

    – I look at it as responsibility/duty before right….so will try to introduce this with some constitution related stuff…
    – since Nobel winner mr Obama highlighted this many times in his speech…modern day relevance and how
    – will explain principle behind this quote and how it can be solution for many current problems
    – hence would include all the current problems – social, economical, political, historical, cultural, enviornmental etc.
    – how how can we introduce changes to solve these problems with many examples..
    – conclude with thought that change is permanent – so instead of violent revolution we can counter it by silent revolution by being the change

  13. English paper is for qualifying or they include marks in total?

    1. its just a qualifying paper…will not be counted in total marks

  14. I want to ask 2 things:-
    i) can we write essay in hindi, while remaining other papers in English?
    ii) does selection of topic also matters ? or is it just the content and style of presentation?

    1. pls rly to this comment

    2. I) NO
      II) topic does not matter . Content and Style does .

  15. I wuld hv optd d 4th one. It includes a wide range of perspectives, points, etc. Though 3rd one is also gud. Bt being a computer science student its much better to write on 4th one :)

  16. Sir one question.
    wats d job profile of district military welfare officer? Just a short brief if u cn. Plz.

  17. Uploaded compulsory English paper: Click ME
    from there, we can add two more essays (both compulsory)
    1. We Indians are hypocrites.
    2. Fitness and healthcare — latest fad in urban India.

  18. I Just prefer 1st topic
    “Be the change You want to see in others”.

    On introduction part i Will little introduce the definition of satyagraha that Ghandi followed
    By self suffering we can change the minds of opponent.etc

    Body part: Probabally we all know that train problem in mathametics if we are moving in train and what we see through window that all trees are moving.reason we think we are constant. So,we need to see any thing that we put ourselves constant and we will judge them that weather right or wrong, criticize them.
    But fact is that we are also indulging in the scene.So, kindly we need to start analyzing with ourselves that weather i am right or wrong that.then we get conclusion on the topic.
    2. We know the concept of leadership that inspires others.when u think u are leader then u may inspire others.
    3. The mirror is the best example that if see in front of mirror with a smile u ll receive the same reflection, like anger it reflects the same.

    Conclusion: As we are part of society we need see drastic change in society means stick to truth, environment friendly,etc.. that may reflect on others that leads to changing themselves.

    My first assignment in my life , if any wrongs Or suggestions let me know i ll change by myself.

  19. Hella easy paper ! All 4 topics are doable . Candidates must have enjoyed writing this one .

    1. Hey thanks steve, really useful Especially for case studies.

      1. You are welcome nithesh… Just want to help others too…

  20. Would have written on the topic “1.Be the change you want to see in others (Gandhi)”

    1. Introduction: Why change is necessary and how individualistic change can bring about a total revolution in people’s thought process

    2. Body
    2a. Primarily Gandhiji’s contribution in Indian Struggle for freedom with his methods Satyagraha and Civil Disobedience, mostly focussing on Gandhiji’s personal self sacrifice of worldly pleasures, taking up of a langot, simple living and high thinking.
    2b. From here I will go to the current political sphere of corruption and sexual violence which is reflected in the leaders
    2c. In an economic point of view I will try to tell about the decrease in CAD due to decrease in imports and how people’s action represent the end result
    2d. Will talk about the women empowerment and the female leaders in various sectors of Indian Corporate Sector
    Basically in the whole body I will give examples of the importance of leadership in Social, Political, Economical, Cultural and Technological. Will try to show the Historic changes and how it depended upon the change in thought processes of Leaders, such as Lenin, Hitler etc. Will talk about the events that may lead to these changes; Nirbhaya incident etc. Also will talk about functions of parents, teachers in changing the thought process of the youth, training of people in higher positions, ethical training of officers etc.

    Conclusion: Narration on the youth of the country, change in collective consciousness, social evils that are present and how they can be eradicated only with change in thought process.

    1. Good indeed

      1. Amazing analysis

    2. I don’t think this would suffice the statement. I think, they are asking as to how Gandhi adapted himself to changes/challenges he faced and what results they produced.

      Why he wanted to work for the ill-treated workers of Africa? Why did he burn his identity papers? Why did he tonsure his head? Why did he clean bathrooms? Why tolstoy farm? Why did he change his attire to cotton clothes? Why did he use cotton wheel? Why did he fast many times? Why did he preach non-violence and practiced it? Why did he preach peaceful methods of agitation and stuck to it? Why did he started Harijan programme? What were the consequences of his actions? Did he change he wanted to really see?

      Are there any people who got inspired from this? Like Martin Luther King, James Lawson, Nelson Mandela, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Steve Biko, Aung San Suu Kyi and Philippine opposition leader during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, Benigno Aquino, Jr etc

      People who got inspired during Freedom struggle because of this and transformed themselves – Patel, Vinobha Bhave etc

      People who still draw inspiration now – Obama, Al Gore, John Lennon etc and peace activists who draw inspiration from him.

      Your intentions are correct Indranil. But the orientation wasn’t right I guess. This should be the orientation. These two links shall help in the orientation:



  21. I would have gone to, “GDP (Gross Domestic Product) along with GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness) would be the right indices for judging the well being of a country”. Reason 1, it gives me enough chances to give my opinion. Secondly, this is something which I personally started believing after I started my career in government. I also felt that this topic can also be correlated with the Gandhian principle of Enoughness and can be extended and cross linked with multiple social and environmental problems.

  22. Hi,

    I would’ve gone for topic 2: Is colonial mentality hindering India’s success.

    1. A topic of high contemporary relevance especially given the recent SC ruling about establishing Civil Service Boards to free the bureaucracy from the excessive political influence. This single issue has bought to the limelight the relevance of institutions like the Civil Services, which are colonial legacies, in the present Indian scenario.

    2. Lots of good points to write from, personally I think I’d have started with Kipling’s idea of “The white man’s burden” and how these attitudes have to an extent become institutionalized and ingrained in the Indian psyche.

    3. Challenges posed by this mentality in India’s journey to a world power v/s how can the pervasive presence of such a mentality aid us in the short term.

    4. What are the possible answers to this challenge? can include examples of how Tilak propounded his own version of Indo-aryan theory in the Arctic Home in the Vedas

    Altogether a very interesting and exciting topic.


    1. Brother…. are you not beating around the bush????

      I think, the essay should talk about 3 things mainly.
      1)What does colonial mentality mean? What are the aspects of colonial mentality in us? How are they being manifested?
      2)How are they effecting our success?
      3)solution to overcome the influence.

      I don’t know how “white man’s burden” is relevant here.

      1. Colonial mentality is basically the belief or acceptance that the culture or institutions of the colonial masters is superior to one’s own. The poem I believe is among one of the best manifestations of the idea as it talks of how the colonizers themselves believed that they were doing the native population a favor by colonizing them.

        1. This should be in the framework of what chaitanya said
          we still follow the larger ideas of what colonial govt did
          we can frame this with
          education (finding difficult to change even today..)
          bureaucracy-legislature(immediately forming committees to supress the situation)

          1. What I mentioned is not the framework of my answer, just the reasons why I’d go for topic 2. I was just thinking out loud about those points. They could be included in the essay.

  23. you say P.CHIDAMBARAM as CHIDU, it’s o.k. but you are writing GANDHIJI as merely GANDHI- it’s wrong and not acceptable. atleast pay some gratitude to him.

    1. Its been almost 56 years since Gandhi walked on this planet, there will be a time in not so distant future probably 150 years when Chidambaram would be 56 years since he would also, Jayant, you should be consistent, you should also pay Chidambaram some gratitude.
      Gandhi is his name, not Gandhiji. I find no insult in calling him ‘Gandhi’ and most of the books have mentioned him Gandhi, have you checked with all the publications, the NCERT, State Boards and all the school college books, IGNOU et all? and yea have you raised a voice against those hollywood movies too? A-Team for instance…and when the Big guy from South Africa died, many news channels too? Grow up :) for instance I admire Gandhi, I am proud of Gandhi, Gandhi is my inspiration-> does it sound I don’t show him gratitude? English is a funny language, not your fault.

  24. i want to another civil services mains questions -2013 .sent to me sir .thanking u sir

  25. I wrote on the last topic..science is panacea..
    I argued against it stating science & tech is not a panacea because growth and security is more than just economic growth and tech advances. I buttressed it with examples like world wars…tech advances were a reason for it, cyber crimes etc etc to show that a mind catharsis is equally important and other aspects like culture etc for growth as an individual and nation and harmony

    1. aggie i think u r wrong the only option was to write in favor of the topic. it is not a debate u have to write an essay on given topic …read the qsn again…for example topic 1…can u write aginst that…only in second choice u can write in both the ways but not in 1 3 and 4 topic ..sorry

    2. Don’t worry Aggie….. As long as you have substantiated your view it fine…. Essay is all about how convincing your argument is and the organisation of your thought …

      Focus on your next exams.. Do not go by hearsay!

    3. Hi Aggie,
      I think your understanding of the topic was just perfect. We can start and extend the essay in multiple ways but what matters is the theme around which one has to write and you did only that. People may view this question differently as they have their own perceptions and judgements regrading what is good in science and technology. Science may be good as dicipline to pursue but technology it invents may not for there are people from APJ to Qadeer Khan. Actions of the scientists may not tune with challenges facing commonman_MNCs using it for commercial benefit. For science to be panacea, perfection in intensions and outcomes of not just in scietist’s endeavours but in actions of people who use them.

    4. Panacea : Definitely not and yes you can take a side but better to balance your views.
      few insights:
      Security of nation :
      Food Security- how science is helping in increasing food production. How its unsustainable and use of old age traditional wisdom might help.
      Energy Security- use of science tech in field like Solar and winds.
      Defense Sector, cyber security etc.
      Ecological Security.
      Growth of nation:
      Economic growth.
      e-Governance : avoiding corruption etc.
      Education – space technology for remote.
      Health – ….
      Biotech, nanotech etc

  26. Hey..I have attempted the 4th one about sci and tech…..started as all the nations req it..then about the some leaders who evisaged it…examples of Japan Germany Korea USA Israel..talked about military environmental energy social economic security..how various nations have gone to attain heights in these in achieving security….and growth in each sectors of the Economy ..agri industries services health …I am afraid because of the length..it’s only about 1300words…pls judge me guys

  27. Hey..I have attempted the 4th one about sci and tech…..started as all the nations req it..then about the some leaders who evisaged it…examples of Japan Germany Korea USA Israel..talked about military environmental energy social economic security..how various nations have gone to attain heights in these in achieving security….and growth in each sectors of the Economy ..agri industries services health …I am afraid because of the length..it’s only about 1300words…pls judge me guys evaluate me mrunal sir

  28. I have written about gdp as well as gnp…
    I enjoyed my whole essay writing…

    1. sorry gdh…afty giving gs paer 1 and 2..totally out of mind :)

    2. sorry gdh, not gnp…afty giving gs paer 1 and 2..totally out of mind :)

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