1. Science-Tech: Compared to Last year
    1. Road-ahead for Science-Tech preparation
    2. Sci-Tech: ICT related
    3. Sci-Tech: Space Mission
    4. Sci-Tech: Medicine Related
  2. Polity: Compared to last year
    1. Road ahead for Polity
    2. Polity: The Union & Parliament
    3. Polity: State and Local Administration 
    4. Polity: Yearbook and Misc. Type

Science-Tech: Compared to Last year

Polity Answerkey

Pattern mostly continued from last year
2015 (total 9 MCQs) 2016 (total 10 MCQs)
Medicine: three MCQs

  • Two MCQs on Virus: 1) H1N1 virus associated with ? (Ans. Swine Flu) 2) Ebola affected countries
  • 3) Nanotech in medicine
Medicine, Public Health: four MCQs

  • Virus-prem continues, this time asked: Virus can infect  (Ans. bacteria, fungi, plants)
  • What is transcriptome?
  • Two yearbook type MCQ: 1) Mission Indradhanush 2) Food safety- labelling
Space-Nuke-Physics tech:

  • 1 ISRO MCQ asked: Use of IRS satellites
  • 1 Non-ISRO type Space MCQ: Goldilock zones
  • 1 intl. collaboration research:  Ice-cube detector
Space-Nuke-Physics tech: focused towers factual / low-profile news items hence bit difficult.

  • 2 ISRO MCQs asked: Astrosat features, MARS Missions
  • 1 Non-ISRO type Space MCQ: Nasa’s GL-10
  • 1 intl. collaboration research MCQ:  Thermo-nuke experimental Reactor

  • What is near field comm. (NFC)
ICT prem-continues, albeit easy and straight forward questions:

  • Project loon (although “two mains old” topic)
  • Li-fi technology.

Not much point in comparing with CSAT-2014, because that year, mostly direct theory type questions from NCERTs and GS Manuals. So, in history culture, CSAT-2016 follows 2014 patterns but in science tech it follows 2015 pattern.

Road-ahead for Science-Tech preparation

  • From above table, we can see that weight and pattern wise, there is not much change between 2015 and 2016 papers. But the science tech portion looks tedious because 1) more time was spent in preparation of polity and geography 2) some of the questions are from low-profile/factual type news.
  • Although nothing asked from NCERT science-textbooks (except Virus Question). You should begin preparation from there- even for worst case it’ll come handy for SSC-CGL and state services exams.
  • TheHindu should form the ‘core’ for Science-Tech current preparation. Although beyond a point cost: benefit declines e.g. this time UPSC asked weigh of Astrosat; but not possible to memorize weight other dozen satellites for next year’s prelims!
  • Yojana and Kurukshetra should also come handy- but you’ve to read them ‘issue wise’. For example, this year May-2016 Kurukshetra had really good material on clean energy technology- for both prelims and mains. Similarly there is coverage of IPR, grassroot innovation, Ayush-Public healthcare etc. in either of the magazines at regular interval.

Sci-Tech: ICT related

10. ‘Project Loon’, sometimes seen in the news, is related to
(a) waste management technology
(b) wireless communication technology
(c) solar power production technology
(d) water conservation technology

Mrunal’s GS3 Mains-2014 revision article  – as you can see, this is two mains old topic. Not just in science-tech, practically in every topic they’ve done this- asking stuff that occurred one or two mains ago.

80. With reference to ‘Li-Fi’, recently in the news, which of the following statements is/are correct?
1. It uses light as the medium for high-speed data transmission.
2. It is a wireless technology and is several times faster than ‘WiFi’.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

  • Li-fi gives data transfer rate of 10 gigabytes per second. So 1st statement is right.
  • Li-Fi device circulates data via LEDs that emit an intermittent flicker at a speed imperceptible to the human eye. So, 2nd statement also right.

Ref: theHindu  OR Indianexpress , Feb 2016.

Sci-Tech: Space Mission

22. What is ‘Greased Lightning-10 (GL-10)’, recently in the news?
(a) Electric plane tested by NASA
(b) Solar-powered two-seater aircraft designed by Japan
(c) Space observatory launched by China
(d) Reusable rocket designed by ISRO

May 2015: NASA has developed and successfully flight tested a battery-powered plane with 10 engines that can take off and land like a helicopter and fly efficiently like an aircraft, says theHindu. Tough question because It’s difficult to even memorize ISRO affairs for 6 months!

62. With reference to `Astrosat’, the astronomical observatory launched by India, which of the following statements is/are correct?
1. Other than USA and Russia, India is the only country to have launched a similar observatory into space.
2. Astrosat is a 2000 kg satellite placed in an orbit at 1650 km above the surface of the Earth.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Its color photo is given in the backside of the last page of India Yearbook 2016, but description doesn’t contain the information we seek. Let’s check September 2015 TheHindu

  1. USA, Russia, Japan and Europe have such space observatories. Hence 1st statement wrong.
  2. Astosat weighs 1513 kgs. Hence 2nd statement also wrong.

Tough question due to factual orientation and since 2-TF (Two statement true false) hence even by elimination, difficult to arrive at correct answer.

54. India is an important member of the  ‘International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor’. If this experiment succeeds, what is the immediate advantage for India?
(a) It can use thorium in place of uranium for power generation
(b) It can attain a global role in satellite navigation
(c) It can drastically improve the efficiency of its fission reactors in power generation
(d) It can build fusion reactors for power generation

This was in news during June 2016, in context whether BREXIT would impact the funding of this project.
As such project started in 2006, to find whether Nuclear fusion can be a source of energy and electricity in future. Ref: Indianexpress, June 2016. Tough question, because as such it was a low profile news item.

66. Consider the following statements:
The Mangalyaan launched by ISRO
1. is also called the Mars Orbiter Mission
2. made India the second country to have a spacecraft orbit the Mars after USA
3. made India the only country to be successful in making its spacecraft orbit the Mars in its very first attempt
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Statement 1 and 3 are right. As per Mrunal’s summary note on this topic
Second statement- whether only India and USA have spacecrafts orbiting mars? Answer is no. European Space Agency’s Mars Express (2003) has two components 1) Mars Orbiter 2) Beagle 2 Lander. Hence 2nd statement is wrong. Tough question because Mars Mission had peaked its utility by Mains-2014. After two years, if some actual information is asked- difficult to arrive at correct answer.

Sci-Tech: Medicine Related

6. In the context of the developments in Bioinformatics, the term ‘transcriptome’, sometimes seen in the news, refers to
(a) a range of enzymes used in genome editing
(b) the full range of mRNA molecules expressed by an organism
(c) the description of the mechanism of gene expression
(d) a mechanism of genetic mutations taking place in cells

As such most of us know that word transcription has something to do with “DNA/gene” but through gut-feeling it’s difficult to solve because answers given in options “B” and “C” are very close. Verbatim definition given in Textbook of Veterinary internal medicine– so option “B” is correct.
7. ‘Mission Indradhanush’ launched by the Government of India pertains to
(a) immunization of children and pregnant women
(b) construction of smart cities across the country
(c) India’s  own search for the Earth-like planets in outer space
(d) New Educational Policy
Science Answerkey UPSC
Mrunal’s Lecture BES166/P3: HRD-healthcare.
India Yearbook 2016, chapter 31 Diary of National Events- December 2014 section confirms.

9. With reference to pre-packaged items in India, it is mandatory to the manufacturer to put which of the following information on the main label, as per the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011?
1. List of ingredients including additives
2. Nutrition information
3. Recommendations, if any, made by the medical profession about the possibility of any allergic reactions
4. Vegetarian/non-vegetarian
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1, 2 and 3
(b) 2, 3 and 4
(c) 1, 2 and 4
(d) 1 and 4 only

According to official notification , Labels have to contains 1, 2 and 4- that much is confirmed. And since UPSC has not given any option on “All correct”. Hence answer C

34. Which of the following statements is/are correct?
Viruses can infect
1. bacteria
2. fungi
3. plants
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

  • NCERT Class 12 Biology Ch.6 page 101:  Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase (1952) worked with viruses that infect bacteria called bacteriophages. This eliminates “B”.
  • NCERT Class 8 Science Ch.2 Table 2.2 gives examples of Plant diseases caused by Virus. Therefore, Answer could be either “C” or “D”.
  • By gut-feeling, if virus can infect bacteria and plants, then fungi has no ‘aukaat’ to remain immune. Hence answer should be “D”.

Alternate approach: Tamilnadu stateboard class 11 Science textbook directly confirms:
According to the type of the host they infect, viruses are classified mainly into
the following four types.
1. Plant viruses including algal viruses-RNA/DNA
2.Animal viruses including human viruses-DNA/RNA
3.Fungal viruses(Mycoviruses)-ds RNA
4.Bacterial viruses (Bacteriophages) including cyanophages-DN
Hence answer “D”

Polity: Compared to last year

2015 (total 12 MCQs) 2016 (total 6 MCQs)
Questions from preamble, DPSP, fundamental rights. Nothing direct. Except Garima Abhiyaan (if you count that as sub-topic of Art.21)
Questions from Parliament- Bill passing
  • Continued. 1) prorogation and bill lapse 2) state list laws
State and local administration- 2 MCQs
  • Three MCQs- 1) Gram Nyayalaya 2) min. age for PRI, 3)Chief Secretary

Not much to analyze further because no. of MCQs are decreased. “XYZ topic in Polity” was in news but they did not ask…if I make a list like, may be it’ll run 5 pages long.

Road ahead for Polity

  • Although weightage is halved from 12 MCQs to just six MCQs, nonetheless Indian Polity by M.Laxmikanth still should be used as ‘foundation’ for preparation of Constitution and polity – for all three stages of civil services exam.
  • Every once in a while, UPSC examiners get an ‘itch’ to ask things that are 2-5 mains old. 2016 is such example, They’ve asked random laws, NGO-movement type MCQs outside Laxmikanth but not much point in pursuing them, since cost: benefit is not that great (in terms of having synergy with CDS, CAPF, SSC-CGL, StatePSC- where polity – theory still continues to have good number of direct questions.)
  • For Mains-2016 Polity, Conventional wisdom suggest – put focuson Minority/Dalit Rights issue, referendum- BREXIT etc. topic which are in news.
  • Nowadays, Indianexpress runs “Explained / Simplified” type of articles – pertaining to Polity, IR and Science issues. While it may not possible to daily follow both theHindu and IE. But in IE, every once in a while, you can go through the “explained” section to see if any good maal has come esp. for mains. (Link: http://indianexpress.com/section/explained/)
  • Apart from that, PRSIndia.org because Mains-2015 direct question from one of the low-profile new item ordinance came- and that new had occurred hardly one month before exam.

Polity: The Union & Parliament

76. Which of the following statements is/are correct?
1. A Bill pending in the Lok Sabha lapses on its prorogation.
2. A Bill pending in the Rajya Sabha, which has not been passed by the Lok Sabha, shall not lapse on dissolution of the Lok Sabha.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer- B

  • Indian Polity by M.Laxmikanth Table 22.1: Statement 1 is wrong- prorogation doesn’t affect the bills of any other business pending before the house.
  • Same book, page 22.12 A bill pending in the Rajya Sabha but not passed by the Lok Sabha does not lapse. So, statement 2 is right.

70. The Parliament of India acquires the power to legislate on any item in the State List in the national interest if a resolution to that effect is passed by the
(a) Lok Sabha by a simple majority of its total membership
(b) Lok Sabha by a majority of not less than two-thirds of its total membership
(c) Rajya Sabha by a simple majority of its total membership
(d) Rajya Sabha by a majority of not less than two-thirds of its members present and voting

Answer- D

  • Reference- Page 14.3 Indian Polity by Laxmikanth- When Rajya Sabha Passes a Resolution If the Rajya Sabha declares that it is necessary in the national interest that Parliament should make laws on a matter in the State List, then the Parliament becomes competent to make laws on that matter. Such a resolution must be supported by two-thirds of the members present and voting.

Polity: State and Local Administration

75. Consider the following statements:
1. The minimum age prescribed for any person to be a member of Panchayat is 25 years.
2. A Panchayat reconstituted after premature dissolution continues only for the remainder period.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

  • Indian Polity by M.Laxmikanth Page 34.10- Compulsory provision no. 5: minimum age is 21 years, to contest election in Panchayat. Therefore statement 1) is wrong.
  • 2nd statement is not clarified in Laxmikanth but Disha Publication’s Polity compendium page P-121 confirms. (Its ebook was available for free during offer period @Mrunal.org)
  • Another source: As such question has been directly picked up from the practice set paper of Governance in India – M.Laxmikanth- Practice test 10; page no. P10.3 and question no. 16.

100. Consider the following statements :
1. The Chief Secretary in a State is appointed by the Governor of that State.
2. The Chief Secretary in a State has a fixed tenure.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer- D

  • Chief secretary is chosen by CM, but has no fixed tenure. Ref: Reference- Page 6.10, Governance in India – M.Laxmikanth: fourth para stated or Public administration by Laxmikanth Page 513, chapter 11 state and district administration.
  • Therefore, Statement 2 is wrong- no fixed tenure.
  • As such, chief secretary is ‘chosen’ by CM. But he is ‘appointed’ by Governor. Because all the executive actions of the state are taken ‘by and in the name of the Governor.’ Therefore, Answer, (A) only 1.

Polity: Yearbook and Misc. Type

15. With reference to the ‘Gram Nyayalaya Act’, which of the following statements is/are correct?
1. As per the Act, Gram Nyayalayas can hear only civil cases and not criminal cases.
2. The Act allows local social activists as mediators/reconciliators.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer- B

  • India Yearbook 2016 page 601, under heading Judiciary it says- Panchayat Courts also function in some states under various names like Nyaya Panchayat, Panchayat Adalat,  Gram Kachehri ,etc.,to decide civil and criminal disputes of  petty and local nature. That means first statement is wrong. (Original Act Section 11 also confirms)
  • 2nd statement is not given in Yearbook. Upon checking the text of the original Act- page 7, Point no.3: District court with consultation of DM, prepares panel of social workers to act as councilors. Hence 2nd statement is right.

Tough MCQ. Because difficult to proceed by elimination and minute detail asked from a low-profile act.

91. ‘Rashtriya Garima Abhiyaan’ is a national campaign to
(a) rehabilitate the homeless and destitute persons and provide them with suitable sources of livelihood
(b) release the sex workers from their practice and provide them with alternative sources of livelihood
(c) eradicate the practice of manual scavenging and rehabilitate the manual scavengers
(d) release the bonded labourers from their bondage and rehabilitate them

Answer- C
Rashtriya Garima Abhiyaan is an NGO-led movement for manual scavengers that was in news during 2012-13.   Tough question because factual info about an old-topic.
Now only last part remains in the GS1 Answerkey ie. Geography-Environment-Agriculture