[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. Topic 4 ,Wrote from a global perspective :(

    .Started off that meaning of growth and security is different at different time and is much more complex now than in the past.
    Multitude of security issues facing every nation right now ( energy , economy , food , environment , social equality etc )
    Science succeeded in solving issues in past ( food revolution , industrial revolution)
    However brought multiple problems which required application of human angles to solve ( World wars , inequality , exploitation)
    Than pointed that along with science nation needs scientific thinking ( Narendra Dabholkar , National Science policy)
    Pointed out that though problems can be solved by science and technology ( gave examples of specific food , industry and environment ) but due to cross border nature of climactic issues coordination is required.
    talked about social , economic and political aspects of security issues solved by science ( better living standard , more income, empowerment to educated ) and also new issues arising ( inequality , resource destruction and IPR regime)
    Wrote about need of ethics in science to solve issues ( science not for individual profit but for social good )
    Concluded that panaceas do not exist , Science is a powerful tool but without a ethical , humane and collaborative environment it can not solve the growth and security problem .
    Examples that I pointed during essay were primarily from India and some global.

    Please suggest any improvement

    1. Will it be wrong if we write it from global perspective..?

      1. Not sure … that’s why I asked people to give suggestion :)

        1. I have heard many of them witing from a global perspective.

    2. you have broadly covered every aspect of security pertaining not just to defence but it is also about combating any shortage of food commodities and energy security which seems to be the driving force behind several diplomatic negotiations in international political platforms. every topic expressed in the larger analysis is what would eventually decide the intellectual depth of a candidate which upsc intends to judge at the end of the day

      1. Can’t agree any less..

    3. “the ” in essay means it is specific to india .

  2. did upsc give lined blank answer sheet or ruled(lined)answer sheet?

  3. did upsc give blank answer sheet or ruled(lined)answer sheet?

  4. Thank you sir…..
    U r superman to me…

  5. I would go for Science and technology is the panacea for the growth and security of the nation.

    1. Science and tech in agriculture-Improve crop yield, Crop awareness by more imparting scientific knowledge about crops, fertilizers, use of e-krishi sewa Kendra’s, Kisan call centre’s, krishi vikas kendras. Efficiency in agriculture by mechanization, better prediction of Rains, Droughts etc. Moving away from rain-fed agriculture by efficient utilization of water resources, Rain water harvesting for recharging the ground water in future use. Increase in the growth of agriculture sector. Food security, Rich farmers and reduction in food imports. Increase in GDP, per capita income.

    2. Science & Tech in Education- Development of scientific temper(Fundamental Duties) in citizens by Spreading education in remote areas through e-learning (Increase in literacy rate.) , Research in new areas no need to go abroad for scientific education, Increasing awareness for adapting and developing new technologies. Lead’s to holistic development of young workforce of India.

    3. Science & Tech in Economy- Finding new sources of mineral and oil resources with the help of better technology help in securing energy security of the country. Growth in power sector by reducing transmission losses by adapting and investing in research and development of new technologies, Will lead to growth in manufacturing sector by removing infrastructure bottlenecks, reducing Incremental Capital Output Ratio, increasing efficiency in production due to better technology, Increase in manufacturing, increase in jobs. Increase in exports, reduction in CAD hence more growth and more GDP.

    4. Science & Tech in Climate Change – Development in the areas of green energy, reduction in global CO2, Prediction of tsunami’s, earthquake, natural disasters(saving human life).Help in controlling and predicting Global Climate Change

    5. Science & Tech in Health Care- New research and development in medical science will lead to prevention and cure of various epidemic diseases.

    6. Science & Tech in Governance: Science and tech will help in bringing transparency in governance and making Govt Servants accountable for their work. Implementing aadhaar (UID) direct cash transfersupliftment of poor’s etc.

    7. Science & Tech in Security of nation: Securing maritime and land boundaries (reduce infiltration) with the help of better technology. Creating Coastal Surveillance hubs and monitor the naval vessels with the help of GPS. Securing aerial routes for the incoming and outgoing aircraft’s, Modernization of soldiers will lead to saving of human life.
    Research & development in manufacturing aircrafts, warships, aircraft carriers, UAVs, missiles will lead to reduction in large chunk of unnecessary imports and India can move from the largest importer to Major exporter (Hence increase in GDP).

  6. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) along with GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness) would be the right indices for judging the wellbeing of a country I WUD GO FOR IT BCOZ IT GIVE ME ENOUGH SPACEE TO ENHANCE MY SELF. I CAN COMPARE EASILY BETWEEN THEM

    1. how would you fill that space?

  7. What if the word limit has been crossed?

  8. Plsss judge my inputs for my essay

  9. Every one knows that science and technology topic is just go to topic.
    But don’t u guys feel that examiner might be expecting something new?
    After all this exam is more about expectation

  10. in essays asking to take a stand should one be writing for and against both that is expressing the counter opinion view too? please elucidate

    1. I would say do cover counter-points but present them as a word of caution or criticism from certain sections . That covers your back and you still keep batting for the stand that the topic wants you to take .

  11. I would write on the change you want to see ..one . It is an open topic and covers lot of dimensions . No preparation needed type topics are my forte !

  12. Hi Mrunal,

    I have opted for the 3rd essay. GDP along with GDH. The synopsis was something like this.
    1. Introduction – Gist of my entire argument.
    2. What is GDP?
    3. Impact of GDP on various sectors –
    a. economic
    b. non-monetary
    i. Failure of trickle down theory – poverty, inequality
    ii. environment, social change
    iii. others
    4. Need for GDH – social perspective
    5. World experience
    a. Bhutan’s argument on gross national happiness
    6. international outlook
    a. World bank vision
    b. ADB’s 2020 vision
    c. Doha 2012 meet
    7. India’s way to GDH
    a. economic reforms – success & failure
    b. schemes being implement and their effectiveness
    c. change orientation
    8. GDP + GDH for holistic and integrated development
    9. conclusion

    1. suggestions please..

  13. Dear sir
    I have written on the topic Science and technology is the panacea for the growth and security of the nation.
    I started with
    what is science and technology
    then the evolution of scientific age from ancient.
    historical relation between civilization growth and S&T

    2. positive Relation between S&T and growth
    a. social growth: agri, nutrition, medical, inclusiveness, education, some other relevant fields.
    b. economic growth: low cost infra, e governance vs business, gdp Vs innovation
    c. cultural growth: p to p contact, secularization etc.
    d. political growth: strategic importance, participation democracy
    e. environmental and ecology growth:climate change, crisis management etc

    3. positive Relation between S&T and security
    external aggression,counter terrorism,boarder management, piracy and trade route security,
    4. negative consequences
    5. conclusion: Ethics and S&T, suggestions to limit the negative.

    I wrote around 2400 words with examples.

  14. Hi Mrunal Sir,

    I have written the third essay..with following points
    1.In my introduction, I given the example of middle east counties where economic growth was more but development was less..
    2. explained the GDP concept as a quantitative process.
    3. merits of GDP
    4. issues of GDP that high GDP don’t ensure high development
    5. efforts of UNDP in developing HDI to address these issues.
    6. Bhutan Story of GNH
    7. explained the components of GNH
    8. Merits of GNH
    9. Issues in GNH that it does not include health, eduaction, security etc.
    10.wrote a separate para for development as a qualitative aspect. Quality cannot be measure objectively. For ex.Beauty.
    11.Development is unending and evolving
    12. its meaning changes from one country to othe county. given an example between India and US
    13. Need to to include missing topics in developing a inclusive development index.
    14. Partly agreed with the statement but gave some more factore to be included .
    15. Concluded with such inclusive development is needed for inclusive development.
    Can you evaluate these points, sir?

  15. Hi Everyone,

    I wrote the 1st topic which was a Gandhian quote.
    I believe in expressing oneself through one’s writing and especially when it comes to essays. Further, I have lost touch of writing so my writing speed has become terrible. Anyway, I loved writing it.
    I began by expounding the quote and substantiating its relevance as manifested through the plethora of quotes by other eminent as well as anonymous writers. I also took excerpts from the Bible to denote the significance of the quote and the principle behind it in the spiritual realm as well.
    In the body of the essay, I took examples from the lives of notable figures like Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln, etc. who embodied the essence of the quote by carrying the flame of change in themselves and enlightening the lives of those whom they touched. I tried explaining how we can also learn from the examples of such great people and be the change that we want to see in others. I also highlighted the difficulties in trying to swim against the flow of the stream and how to overcome them. With few interesting examples of the ‘Great Salmon Run’ and the inspirational ‘Flame Story’, I concluded my essay with a challenge to the readers to be the change they want to see in others.
    I think I wrote about 2250-2300 words, darkening certain words, expressions, etc. to make them catchy and the best thing was that I had time to go through it again and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    ENGLISH (COMPULSORY) was lengthy and I think it would have been difficult for those aspirants who hail from Hindi or other regional medium. For English medium candidates like me it was comparatively easier however, HINDI (COMPULSORY) was difficult for me especially the precis and the passage. The passage for the precis was so difficult with mouthful words that I haven’t even heard. I don’t think that such tough words are used in spoken Hindi at all. Other parts were fine. My attempt was about 200+ in Hindi and 296 in English (I didn’t know the meanings of certain words and certain antonyms).

    GS I, II and III were drastic changes, in terms of the question pattern, that UPSC attempted. Most of the questions sought the views of the examinees and required thinking since the themes were ‘critically examine’, ‘evaluate’, ‘justify’, etc. My attempt was about 60-70% in the three GS papers. GS IV again was highly practical and I attempted 200+.

    My optional was economics. While the Paper I was highly theoretical with straight forward questions on models and derivations, Paper II was more general and application based. My paper I was terribly bad while paper II was very good. Attempt at Paper I was only about 50% while for Paper II it was well over 80%.

    Since, the scores of earlier years’ toppers lie somewhere between 50-60%, I at least hope to qualify. Anyway, I am keeping my fingers crossed and continuing my preparation for 2014. This was my first attempt without any formal coaching and while having a job. So, its kind of bitter sweet.


  16. Science and technology…

    Intro— ( banner )


    My heart fills with pleasure when I see a person at grassroots doing innovation and bringing smiles to the masses…simultaneously I feel proud when India launches AGNI-5 …
    Growth .. inclusive growth explained
    security ….broader concept…..includes… from safe borders to food,education,livelihood etc.

    explored 12-13 dimensions.. (More points in context of India, developing and underdeveloped world )
    biotechnology – new medicines,hybrid crops,GM food,IPR issues
    health – new diagnostics, some innovative ideas for affordable,accessible health ,AYUSH, TKDL etc.
    Education – use of IT,
    defense – indigenisation
    environment – Solar,wind,geothermal,bio energy , shale gas, nuclear energy etc.
    IT – cyber security , tele medicine , online education,e-governence etc.
    Innovations at grass roots..
    agriculture – new implements, organic farming etc.
    Governance – online RTI ,
    + 2,3 more dimensions

    Discussed ethical issues like GM crops, drug trials , IPR etc and global connections at relevant place

    Finally 1,2 paragraph on spirituality, value based science and technology,ethics etc.

    then some suggestions to make scientific developments equitable and how to involve the most vulnerable sections

    Conclusion :-
    (not remembering exactly … bringing the main theme )
    A comprehensive scientific model considering the needs of most vulnerable section is need of hour.. It seems that we are marching towards that..
    But no rest until we wipe tears from every eye and bring smiles to every face .

    A holistic scientific development standing on ground of sustainability with equitably distributed fruits .. is the master key for promising future…

    1. good essay to some extent it is close to my structure.

      introduction: nehruji speech at indian science congress 1937
      nehru vision of planning as application of science.
      nehru vision of selfdependent nation can only ensure growth and security.
      how it worked for starting years takled about green revolution ,satellite , etc
      but then talked about STI POLICY 2013 bring that science has failed to help masses and served classes. then taled about inclusive growth and new policy
      vision of inclusive innovation linking science and tech to masses.
      talked about msme sector which employs mojaro chunk of population and role of innovation
      talked about green + gene revolution for food security.
      takled about water security and innovation,
      bio toilets (SCHEDULE CASTE)and social justice ,vision of constitution growth with justice .
      Strategic security
      naxalism ;:uavs , weapons
      communalism:scientific temper and social site monitoring
      external ecurity: army ,navy ,etc strenthening takled about missile ,etc
      but then said not panacea what is needed is good governance.
      takled about goodgovernace
      drew figures
      but again said no good governance without e governance so agin science and tech
      hen went on misuse of sciece talked about us prim prog (HUMAR RIGHT ISSUE)
      Quoted kofi annan” withouth growth cannot enjoy sec, withour sec cannot enjo growth, cannot enjoy either without human rights and goodgovernace
      then takled about scientific temper of nehru in discovery of india ,wrote a page and narendra dhabolkar murder,
      then takled about vivekananda vision of science in modern world,
      then albert einstein on spiritual science
      gandhi and science
      ended with quote of SHAW ON RATIONALITY

  17. Started with Marx’s quote “Philosophers have interpreted the world in various ways; point, however, is to change it!”, saying how arguably the greatest men of 19th and 20th century respectively, though differing hugely in their ideological orientations, focused on change, with former emphasizing the need to change the status-quo, while latter focusing more on commencing that change from one’s own life.

    Explained the theme as basically the congruence between one’s thoughts and deeds, represented par excellence by Gandhi. Then went on to, briefly, showing how Gandhi did it in his life, starting from his experiments in South Africa to improve the lot of the blacks and Indians there, referred to in Guha’s “Gandhi before India”, till his fast in Noakhali in the aftermath of communal violence (his request to Hindus in Delhi to stop the violence; else, he won’t have a face to say Muslims to do so in Pakistan = an example of being the change we wish to see!). Included things like his use of ‘charkha’ and ‘swadeshi’ to implement his ‘Sarvodaya’ model and principle of self-reliance; his cleaning the toilets to show dignity of labour, and his views on question of untoouchability; his experiments with vegetarianism in his early years in South Africa and celibacy in his later years; calling off of NCM after the Chauri Chaura incident as it violated his ideal of change flowing from non-violent movement, etc.

    Main body laid stress on how being the change one wants to see is better than, and more pragmatic to, being cynical and passing remarks sitting on the shore about the pathetic state-of-affairs prevalent and the utopian order envisaged. This could be seen both at the level of individual and collectivity – be it the nation, or humanity at large. Then it could be in the sphere of personal life and in the realm of public life.

    Analysed this from the vantage point of several key institutions in our country (as to how they kind of lack it):
    – Judiciary
    Vishakha judgement way back in 1997, but Internal Complaints Committee set up by the apex court 16 years later, in backdrop of recent complaint by young intern lawyer; Reluctance that was shown initially on part of higher judiciary for assets declaration; The RTI controversy; The judgement on use of ‘red beacons’ (*the last one, not this most recent) but how they (the judges in SC and HCs) themselves are not getting rid of it at their level first, setting an example.
    – Media
    Their exposure of various scams (which I said was a must and welcome step given the fact that Media is the bulwark of ensuring accountability by mobilising public opinion), but the grave issue of “Paid News” as an instance of not putting the house in order! Then expecting fair trials from judiciary, but indulging in “trial by media”; likewise, expecting others to be responsible, but indulging in irresponsible reporting at times.
    – Political Parties
    Each party will criticise the Govt while in opposition (which is healthy for a vibrant, functional democratic set-up) and say they are not doing this and that, but when the same party comes in power, they will not do it themselves! e.g. on communal riots, every party will criticise the Govt of the day for not being able to control, but repeat the same mistakes when they are in power.

    At the international level, gave instances of contradictory and biased stances as:
    – Doha round : Developed nations giving massive subsidies to their rich farmers, but not allowing SSMs for small and marginal farmers of developing nations
    – Climate change: Industrialised countries still emitting much higher per capita emissions, but constraining emerging countries like India in their quest for legitimate socio-economic development.
    – So-called ‘strongest democracies’ and apparent proponents of human rights indulging in gross violations of human rights and destroying civilian lives in the guise of ‘humanitarian interventionism’
    – P-5 nations not giving up their nuclear arsenals as a first step, but enforcing others to sign the highly-discriminatory NPT!

    Then gave some shining examples of those personalities who have brought a ray of hope amid all this:
    – Mother Teresa: She didn’t merely preach compassion, she practiced it!
    – Nelson Mandela: Gave the world one of it’s most progressive constitutions, ensuring equal rights for all, and not indulging in any repressive measures towards whites for the long and ghastly regime of ‘apartheid’

    Wrote how it is important in the context of civil service, as to how civil service aspirants are all ‘ideal’ when they begin, and talk of massive corruption and inefficiency at the beginning, but unfortunately many toe the same line some years down the line; so, how it is important to be the change one wishes to see in the present system, on entering the system, and upholding the highest forms of integrity, absolute commitment to public service, high standards of efficiency, etc.

    Concluded by laying emphasis on need for the youth of the country at large to follow this principle in letter and spirit, to ensure that we reap the much talked-about demographic dividend, and embark upon truly inclusive growth and sustainable development. Finished off with following couplet by great Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, as a call to the youth to come and take part in the nation-building activity:
    “Gulon mein rang bhare, baad-e-naubahaar chale,
    Chale bhi aao, ke gulshan ka karobaar chale”
    (Blossoming flowers, the fresh morning breeze blows; Come so that the garden may bloom further…)

  18. helo sir.
    your studyplan are so useful. am preparing for upcoming officer grade B exam. i finished my mba (2012 passed out) and i dont have any job experience .can i able to apply to this exam because dey do ask job experience when applying. but i studied eligibility they haven’t asked about it specifically. and one more doubt is my father(late) government employee then am i belongs to creamy layer r non creamy layer? but i had my community certificate in MBC. looking forward for ur reply soon

  19. hey sir,
    i may have forgt to write question number 4 before attempting S&T question nor wrote topic name on top. how may marks at most i may get penalised ??

  20. i want cg psc mains exam eassy topic, will u plz help me?? ds is ma first time so i have no idea for eassy. plz help me

  21. please update me regarding all the details of UPSC…..


  22. Great work sir ….

    Thank you

  23. dear mrunal sir.please try to find out when is the mains result coming???

  24. hi everyone, thanx for tips for your good kind of essay.

    1. hi everyone, thanq so much sir for the tips.

  25. Thank you very very much, for giving list of imp. essay topics.

  26. plz sir guide me how develop essay writings

  27. advice me to write important toipics

  28. You really make it appear so easy with your presentation however I to find this topic to be really one thing that I believe I might never understand. It kind of feels too complicated and extremely huge for me. I am looking forward on your next submit, I will attempt to get the hang of it!

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