1. History & Culture MCQs in UPSC Prelim 2017
    1. Art, Culture, Religion, Festival (5 MCQs)
    2. Ancient India: Indus Valley Horse (1 MCQ)
    3. Medieval India: Kakatiya Port (1 MCQ)
  2. Freedom Struggle (7 MCQ)
    1. Before Gandhi’s Entry
    2. From Gandhi’s Entry to Independence
    3. Communist related
  3. Science and Technology (6 MCQs)
    1. Public Health (2 MCQs)
    2. ICT, Gadgets (2 MCQs)
    3. Space Physics (2 MCQs)

History & Culture MCQs in UPSC Prelim 2017

so far, I’ve completed the answerkeys for Economy, Geography, Environment and Agriculture. They’re available under Mrunal.org/ANSWERKEYs
UPSC Prelim 2017 Analysis History

Topic#1: Culture
subtopic 2016 and before 2017’s Prelim GS Paper
religion 2013,14: complex questions about interpretation of Vedanta and philosophical schools. Sarvastivadin philosophy.

  • Buddism: Two MCQs 1) Bodhisatva, 2) Ajanta.
  • Southern sects vs. Brahminism
  • Again two MCQs on Buddhism: 1) Painting 2) Sarvastivadin
  • But nothing related to Brahminism.
painting 2016: Boddhisatva theory asked, commonness between Ajanta and Mahabalipuram asked painting of Bodhisattva Padmapani is found in __ cave? Ans. Ajanta.
Architecture Since 2013, Complex questions on rock cut temples each year. Thankfully nothing from rock cut temples. But now Sun temple asked. So back to same level of  difficulty level!
  • 2016: Love story in Malavikagnirnitra
  • 2015: classical language status.
  • Festivals of Maharashtra and Uttarakhand.
  • Song & Dance forms of North East.


Art, Culture, Religion, Festival (5 MCQs)

3. With reference to the religious history of India, consider the following statements:
1. Sautrantika and Sammitiya were the sects of Jainism.
2. Sarvastivadin held that the constituents of phenomena were not wholly momentary, but existed forever in a latent form.
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 History: Krishna Reddy (Macgrawhill Publication) Page A280

  • It lists Sautrantikas and Sammtiyas as Buddhism sects. So first statement is wrong.

Same book, same page also gives a note on Sarvastivadins

  • This sect of Buddhism believes that all things exist, and exist continuously, in the past and the future as well as in the present.  So second statement is right.

Difficulty: ★★★  Routine GK books cover only three sects of Buddhism i.e. Hinayana, Mahayana and Theravada. This Krishna Redddy book is meant for Optional Subject History.

Guessmaster-giri: irrelevant. Factual GK asked.

19. The painting of Bodhisattva Padmapani is one of the most famous and oft-illustrated paintings at
(a) Ajanta
(b) Badami
(c) Bagh
(d) Ellora

New NCERT, Std. 11. An Introduction to Indian Art ( Page 54 shows big photo with caption: Padmapani boddhisattva at ajanta Cave no. 1)

Difficulty: ★★★  difficult to memorize and recall, so many caves and so many paintings. Besides, these days, aspirants rely mostly on Nitin Singhania book and therefore tend to downplay NCERs- while he has given this photo on page 2.5, but caption doesn’t say it’s of Padmapani, else would have been easy.

Guessmaster-giri: irrelevant, because this is Factual GK, one word options.

20. Consider the following pairs:
Traditions- Communities
1. Chaliha Sahib Festival- Sindhis
2. Nanda Raj Jaat Yatra- Gonds
3. Wari-Warkari- Santhals
Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched ?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) None of the above

Google searching reveals:

  1. Chaliha Sahib: Sindhi festival regarding Jhulelal. So first pair is right.
  2. Nanda Raj Jaat Yatra: Nanda Devi related festival in Uttarakhand. Gonds are not native to this state, as per Majid Hussain’s Indian Geography page 13.19. so 2 is wrong.
  3. Wari-Warkari:  Wari is a pilgrimage for the Warkari sect related to Pandharpur god Vithoba in  Maharashtra, and it’s part of Bhakti movement rather than festival of a particular tribal group. Besides, Santhals are not native to this state, as per Majid Hussain’s Indian Geography page 13.22. So #3 is wrong.

Accordingly, answer “A”: 1 only.

Difficulty: ★★★  difficult to memorize and recall so many festivals of so many communities and sects.

Guessmaster-giri: If you belong to or know about particular region or community’s festivals then by long shot possible. But that demography is small, and this is factual GK pairings, so I put it under “irrelevant”.

25. Which of the following is/are famous for Sun temples?
1. Arasavalli
2. Amarakantak
3. Omkareshwar
Select the correct answer using the code given below :
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

India Yearbook 2017, Chapter 30 lists Omkareshwar and Amarkantak among major pilgrimage centres of Madhya Pradesh. But this doesn’t help in elimination. Routine history, culture books not throwing any sun temple names except Modhera (Gujarat) and Konark (Odisha).

Difficulty: ★★★  tough because Arasavalli not given in the routine books.

Current Affairs Span: The Hindu 3rd February 2017 mentioned Arasavalli temple. But then Hindu would cover many such southern temples on weekly basis throughtout the year- so difficult to compile, memorize.

Guessmaster-giri: irrelevant, because this is Factual GK. Even if casually you know Amarakantak is Narmada origin, but still for elimination, you need to have specific knowledge whether Omkareshwar has sun temple or not? And if you’re sure on that, then by elimination you can arrive at “A”: only 1, because there is no “none of the above”. But then it’s ‘knowledged elimination’ not guessmaster-giri.

87. With reference to Manipuri Sankirtana, consider the following statements:
1. It is a song and dance performance.
2. Cymbals are the only musical instruments used in the performance.
3. It is performed to narrate the life and deeds of Lord Krishna.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1, 2 and 3.
(b) 1 and 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1 only

  • As per Nitin Singhania page 10.6. statement 1 and 2 are correct.
  • It says two drummers and ten singer dancers usually present. Meaning either cymbals are not the only instrument OR they’re using drums instead of cymbals. In either interpretation- statement 2 is wrong. Hence answer “B” 1 and 3 only.
  • ccrtindia says  Males dancers play Pung and Kartal during Manipuri Sankirtana.] in either case,#2 is wrong so answer remains “B”.

Current Affairs Span: 2013, UNESCO added it in some unique list for 2013.
Difficulty: ★☆☆ Easy to medium depending on your revision of Nitin’s book.

Guessmaster-giri: Possible with background knowledge

  • from Nitin Singhania book: that Manipuri has something to do with Vaishnavism = Krishna. So this eliminates “D”.
  • then, guessmaster-giri’s first and foremost rule that since statement #2 has extreme word “only”. So it ought to be wrong. This eliminates “A” and “C”, and we arrive at correct answer “B”.

Again, please understand the fine line between

“knowledged ticking” Guessmaster-giri with background knowledge
  • In case of Omkareshwar, you need specific knowledge that it doesn’t have Sun Temple.
  • Hence guessmaster-giri irrelevant.
  • In case of Manipuri- vague knowledge is sufficient that Manipuri has something related to Lord Krishna.
  • Then guessmaster-giri possible, because second statement has extreme word “ONLY”, so you can eliminate.
  • But next year, UPSC examiner might as well reverse the system and make all ‘extreme’ statements correct.
  • So in the preparation of these answerkeys, I’m not prescribing ‘guessmaster-giri’ but only checking the validity of the चंचल-तत्वs hyperbole clickbait statement “Strategy to clear prelims WITHOUT studying ANYTHING.”


Ancient India: Indus Valley Horse (1 MCQ)

Topic#2 & 3: Ancient & Medieval
subtopic 2016 and before 2017’s Prelim GS Paper
  • 2016: First historian deciphered Ashoka edicts was __?
  • 2013: characteristic of indus civilization asked.
  • Indus valley vs Aryan comparison asked. So prem resurfaces from 2013.
Medieval Medieval dictionary terms asked:

  • 2014: Mahattar,  Pattakila
  • 2016: Araghatta, Eripatti, Taniyurs, Ghatikas
Thankfully that “dictionary” lunacy is over
Medieval occupations: Maaaghadha, Banjaara. Nothing.
Prem for Southern Dynasty: Vijayanagar taxation system. (2016) Prem continues with Kakatiya Port.

anyways let’s solve the MCQs asked in Prelims-2017:
77. With reference to the difference between the culture of Rigvedic Aryans and Indus Valley people, which of the following statements is/are correct?
1. Rigvedic Aryans used the coat of mail and helmet in warfare whereas the people of Indus Valley Civilization did not leave any evidence of using them.
2. Rigvedic Aryans knew gold, silver and copper whereas Indus Valley people knew only copper and iron.
3. Rigvedic Aryans had domesticated the horse whereas there is no evidence of Indus Valley people having been aware of this animal.
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Let’s check:

Metal Knowledge?

Rigvedic Aryans ? Indus Valley people? Conclusion
No need to search, because NEW NCERT is sufficient to prove this statement wrong. NEW NCERT Class 12, Ch. 1, page 10

  • All the gold jewelry found at Harappan sites was recovered from hoards.

Tamilnadu Class 11, Page 21

  • Harappan men and women wore ornaments made of gold, silver, copper, bronze and semi precious stones.
Second statement is wrong. Indus Valley people also knew gold and silver also. This eliminates B and D. and we are left with “A” or “D” in both cases, first statement about warfare is right.

Horse Knowledge?

Rigvedic Aryans ? Indus Valley people?
NEW NCERT Class 6 ch. 5

  • There are many prayers in the Rigveda for cattle, children (especially sons), and horses. Horses were yoked to chariots that were used in battles, which were fought to capture cattle.

Tamilnadu Class 11, Page 24

  • The Aryans had superior weapons as well as swift horses which might have enabled them to become masters of this region.
Tamilnadu Class 11, Page 20

  • The use of horse is not yet firmly established.

Indian History by Krishna Reddy, Page A93

  • The presence of horse in is attested to in Mohenjodaro, Harappa, Ropar and Lothal, but is restricted to the later phase of Harappan culture.

Ancient Indian History, RS Sharma, Page 98

  • The horse also appears in the later or the post-urban Harappan phase at Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa, Lothal and roper.  The existence of horse has not been reported from most recent excavations at Harappa in 1986-95. In Dholarvia Kutch, there is no indication of any bones of the horse.

A L Basham’s Cultural History of India, Page 17

  • The data about camel and horse are less conclusive.

R.C. Majumdar’s Advanced History of India, page 19

  • The remains of skeletons prove that the humped bull, buffalo, camel were domesticated. There are some doubts about the horse. [so even Majumdar and Basham would differ about Camel!]

A History of Ancient & Medieval India, Upinder Singh (Pearson), Page 157

  • The issue of horse is controversial and hinges on the stratigraphic context in which the remains have been found and the identification of the species they belong to. For instance, it is not easy to ascertain whether the bones in question belongs to half ass or domesticated horse….While horse bones may not be completely absent at the Harappan sites, they’re not prolific either.

In the third statement, the ending part is: there is no evidence of Indus Valley people having been aware of horse.

  • If we go by Krishna Reddy or RS Sharma- atleast in the post-urban Indus places some people would be aware of Horse. Hence answer C
  • If we go by Tamilnadu Class 11, A.L.Basham, Upinder Singh, answer is “A” because Indus Valley people’s knowledge of horse is inconclusive or debatable just like Shahid Afridi’s knowledge of LBW.
  • Final answer: when UPSC will declare official Answerkey NEXT year after the ‘entire’ exam process is over. (i.e. prelims, mains, interview).
  • Update: Official UPSC Answer –C: Harappans did not know about the horses

Difficulty: ★★★ because you need to have total 6 facts to correctly tick this i.e. Two civilization x (Metal +horse + armour).

Guessmaster-giri: irrelevant. All statements have extreme words so can’t eliminate merely by that. And even by elimination of gold and metal knowledge, the entire thing hangs on horse.
Indus Valley Horse in Mohenjo Daro
UPSC free learning channels with clickbaits

Medieval India: Kakatiya Port (1 MCQ)

1. Which one of the following was a very important seaport in the Kakatiya kingdom?
(a) Kakinada
(b) Motupalli
(c) Machilipatnam (Masulipatnam)
(d) Nelluru

Indian History: Krishna Reddy (Macgrawhill Publication) Page B72
Ganapati was the most powerful of Kakatiya sovereigns. Motupalli, now in Krishna district, was an important seaport in his kingdom, frequented by foreign merchants.

Another source: theHindu article in February 2014. but theHindu tends to publish such things on weekly basis. Who can prepare and revise such long revision note.

Difficulty: ★★★ [It’s already difficult to memorize four major kingdoms of south: Chola, Chera and Fracture Pandya + Vijayanagar, let alone such small time kingdoms. This could be easy for History optional senior player because they’ve to prepare such GK for the map question for Mains.]

Before 2011, preliminary paper-II was not aptitude but your optional subject. So, in that era, Krishna Reddy’s book used to be “Laxmikanth” of history optional prelims! It seems some of the MCQs made in that era (for optional subject MCQs), are now being recycled here.

Guessmaster-giri: irrelevant. This is 4 single word GK options. And even to eliminate, one needs to know the geographical span of Kakatiya dynasty vs location of above places.

Freedom Struggle (7 MCQ)

Topic#4 to 6: Freedom Struggle
subtopic 2016 and before 2017’s Prelim GS Paper
4) Freedom Struggle: Before Gandhi’s entry Moderate vs. extremist: twice asked in 2015, 2016. Examiner asked non-Congress organizations of the early phase of nationalism. (or may be because pro-congi examiners are now replaced in Modi-raj as we saw in the agriculture schemes MCQ section.)
5) Freedom Struggle: after Gandhi’s entry Cabinet Mission, Cripps Mission Chronology from 2nd RTC to RIN Mutiny.
6) Freedom Struggle: Communist Nothing specific? New found love for this topic

  • Trade dispute act.
  • Factory act.

Before Gandhi’s Entry

88. Who among the following was/were associated with the introduction of Ryotwari Settlement in India during the British rule?
1. Lord Cornwallis
2. Alexander Reed
3. Thomas Munro
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
UPSC History Answerkey Land revenue
Pratik Nayak’s Lecture HFS3/P5: British India: Land Revenue system phases:

  • Phase-I: Lord Cornwallis: Permanent settlement system (1793). So, #1 is wrong.
  • Phase-IV: Thomas Munro: Ryotwari system, so #3 is right.
  • Only C option fits this way.

Other sources:

  • New NCERT Std. 8, Our Past-III, Chapter 3 Ruling the Country Side.
  • Lucent GK page 94- though it mentions Charles Reed instead of Alexander Reed. Though Magrawhill General Studies Manual confirms on page A.151 that it was Alexander Reed who started Ryotwari in 1792, and it was continued by Thomas Munro from 1801.

Difficulty: ★☆☆  [Easy because given in all standard preparation sources. Though Alexander Reed is not so famous but the options are designed such way that it doesn’t matter. Had they kept an option “only 3” then it’d be a tough question.]

Guessmaster-giri: Irrelevant, because its factual GK and land revenue system is the minimum preparation every serious candidate has to do!

62. Consider the following pairs:
1. Radhakanta Deb: First President of the British Indian Association
2. Gazulu Lakshminarasu Chetty: Founder of the Madras Mahajana Sabha
3. Surendranath Banerjee: Founder of the Indian Association
Which of the above pairs is/are correctly matched?
(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
UPSC History Answer key Chetty
Pratik Nayak’s Lecture HFS7P2: Rise of Nationalism-

  • Madras Mahajansabha (1884): M.Viraghavachari , B.Subramaniya Aiyer and P. Ananda Charlu. So pair #2 is wrong, this eliminates “C” and “D”. We are left with “A” or “B”.
  • India Association (1876): Surendranath Banerjee and Ananda Mohan Bose. So, #3 is right. Only Option B fits this combination. [other sources: Tamilandu board History Textbook Class12, page 142, ]

Now just to find out who was Chetty? Ref: Tamilnadu board History Textbook Class12, page 177:

The earliest political organisation, the Madras Native Association was started in July 1852. Lakshminarasu Chetty and Srinivasa Pillai were the founders of this organization. The Madras Native Association was sharply critical of the policies of the East India Company’s rule. Subsequently in 1884, the Madras Mahajana Sabha was established by P. Anandacharlu and P. Rangaiya Naidu. The Madras Native Association was ultimately merged with this organization.

So, Chetty is definitely not the founder of #2.

Difficulty: ★★★ [tough it’s given in the routine books, but nearly impossible to memories and recollect the founders of Madras Mahajan Sabha, and without that, you can’t get right answer.]

Guessmaster-giri: Irrelevant, because this factual GK. Even if you know #3 is right, you’re still left with three options to choose from!

From Gandhi’s Entry to Independence

12. In the context of Indian history, the principle of “Dyarchy (diarchy)” refers to
(a) Division of the central legislature into two houses.
(b) Introduction of double government i.e., Central and State governments.
(c) Having two sets of rulers; one in London and another in Delhi.
(d) Division of the subjects delegated to the provinces into two categories.
UPSC History Answerkey Dyarchy
Pratik Nayak’s Lecture HFS8/P3: Government of India act 1919 provided for dyarchy in provinces i.e. provincial subjects were classified into two parts 1) transferred and 2) reserved.

Difficulty: ★☆☆  Easy. From LucentGK to Laxmikanth, this is given in every book.

Guessmaster-giri: irrelevant. This is the minimum preparation every serious candidate must have done. Besides, if you’ve vague idea that diarchy means ‘dual rule’ then also you’ll be left among B, C and D, even if you eliminate “A” thinking dyrchy has to do something with executive branch and not legislature.

43. With reference to Indian freedom struggle, consider the following events :
1. Mutiny in Royal Indian Navy
2. Quit India Movement launched
3. Second Round Table Conference

What is the correct chronological sequence of the above events ?
(a) 1-2-3
(b) 2-1-3
(c) 3-2-1
(d) 3-1-2
UPSC History Answerkey Quit India Movement
Pratik Nayak’s Lecture HFS10 to HFS11: correct chronology is 3-2-1.

  • 2nd RTC: 1931, September to December
  • Quit India movement: 1942, August.
  • RIN Mutiny: 1946, 18th February

Other sources: LucentGK (page 113 to 117), Tamilnadu Class12, Spectrum, General Studies Manual and so on.

Difficulty: ★☆☆  Easy. Given in all standard preparation sources, and events are far away from each other. Sometimes UPSC asks events only a few months apart from each other, then it’d have been tough.

Guessmaster-giri: Irrelevant. This is the minimum preparation every serious candidate must have done. It’s possible with background information that 2nd RTC happened first and RIN mutiny was last. So, only “C” fits like that, but then it’s not guessmaster-giri, it is an knowledged arrangement of events!

51. The object of the Butler Committee of 1927 was to?
(a) Define the jurisdiction of the Central and Provincial Governments.
(b) Define the powers of the Secretary of State for India.
(c) Impose censorship on national press.
(d) Improve the relationship between the Government of India and the Indian States.

A brief History of Modern India, Spectrum Publications, Chapter 12- The Indian States, Page 322:

The Butler Committee (1927) was set up to examine the nature of relationship between the states and Government.

Difficulty: ★★☆  [Easy to Medium depending on your revision and recalling power. Because Butler Committee is not as famous as Simon Commission, which is also tied with same year 1927.]

Guessmaster-giri: Irrelevant, because this factual GK.

Communist related

90. The Trade Disputes Act of 1929 provided for
(a) the participation of workers in the management of industries.
(b) arbitrary powers to the management to quell industrial disputes.
(c) an intervention by the British Court in the event of a trade dispute.
(d) a system of tribunals and a ban on strikes.

Spectrum, Chapter 15:
TDA 1929 made compulsory the appointment of made compulsory the appointment of Courts of Inquiry and Consultation Boards for settling industrial disputes; It forbade trade union activity of coercive or purely political nature and even sympathetic strikes. So accordingly, “D” is the fitting answer.

But some candidates may dispute it doesn’t specifically say “TRIBUNAL” so even “C” could be the answer. Let’s crosscheck with another source

Modern India by Sumit Sarkar (Pearson Publication), Page 234
The Trade disputes Act of April 1929 imposed a system of tribunals and tried to ban strikes ‘undertaken for objects other than furtherance of a trade dispute or if designed to coerce Government and/or inflict hardships on the community.’

So, again “D” is the fitting answer. But then again,

Hairsplitters This act allowed strikes in some cases outside above Venn Diagram. So “D” is wrong. “C” could be the answer.
Guessmasters If UPSC examiner wanted to make this statement false, he’d have used EXTREME word “all types of strikes”.
Myself UPSC examiner is not doing that much hairsplitteryTM ,if we look at previous years’ papers. So, I would go by “D”. [and not because by mere “trend” that it doesn’t have extreme word so it ought to be right.]

Difficulty: ★★☆  [Medium to Tough because though it’s hinted in Spectrum, but in real exam, the candidate could have second thoughts between C or D.]

Guessmaster-giri: Irrelevant, because even if you apply logic that the British rule was draconian so “A” is definitely wrong. Still you’re left with B, C or D.

99. Consider the following statements:
1. The Factories Act, 1881 was passed with a view to fix the wages of industrial workers and to allow the workers to form trade unions.
2. N.M. Lokhande was a pioneer in organizing the labour movement in British India.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Tamilnadu Class 12 History book, Page 118
Lord Ripon introduced the Factory Act of 1881 to improve the service condition of the factory workers in India. The Act banned the appointment of children below the age of seven in factories. It reduced the working hours for children. It made compulsory for all dangerous machines in the factories to be properly fenced to ensure security to the workers.

McGraw-Hill General Studies Manual, Page A154
The living and working conditions of labourer were bad; so Government imposed some restrictions on employment of women and children by the factory act of 1881 and 1891.

In both of above source, no mention of wage fixing or trade union. So, first statement is wrong.

Modern India by Sumit Sarkar (Pearson Publication), Page 52
In Bombay, middle class philanthropic efforts to improve labour conditions began fairly early with N.M. Lokhende starting weekly Dinabandhu in 1880….and even starting a Bombay Mill-hands Association in 1890. This, however, was not a trade union, it merely involved Lokhande setting up an office to give free advice to mill-hands who came to him.

Hairsplitters Above description doesn’t suggest “Labour movement” per se and Lokhande was only confined to Bombay, and he was only giving free coaching advice and not doing dharna-pradarsha and strike like an असली (TRUE) Labour leader is supposed to do! So, statement #2 is wrong
Guessmasters If UPSC examiner wanted to make this statement false, he’d have used EXTREME word “ONLY PIONEER” or “THE PIONEER”. But statement #2 says “A PIONEER”,  So, it’s not an ‘absolute/extreme’ statement, therefore it CANNOT be a wrong statement.
  • UPSC examiner is not doing that much hairsplitteryTM , if we look at previous years’ papers and their official Answerkey released one year after completion of the exam.
  • word web dictionary defines “pioneer” as “someone who opens up and explore a new area.”
  • so that’s what Lokhende was doing in Bombay by his magazine and his organization. He may not be a full-fledged communist trade union leader type person by himself, but he explored and opened that particular area for others, so he’s ‘a pioneer’.
  • So, for those reasons, I take #2 as correct statement. [and not merely because statement #2 doesn’t have extreme word.]

Difficulty: ★★★  Tough, because even if you know first statement is wrong from Tamilnadu State book, still without knowing the contribution of Lokhande in Freedom Struggle, you can’t arrive at the right answer.

Guessmaster-giri: Irrelevant because of above reason.
This concludes History, Culture answerkey, now let’s move on to the next subject:

Science and Technology (6 MCQs)

UPSC Prelim 2017 Analysis Science Technology

2016 and before 2017’s Prelim GS Paper
Three to four MCQs from public health. Virus is a favorite topic from H1N1, Ebola to even virus theory. 2 MCQs from public health, virus-prem continues with the question on Zika virus.
3-4 MCQs on Space physics, but used to be evenly spread between ISRO, Non ISRO and some international collaboration type GK. 2 MCQs but both non-ISRO only: eLISA and String Theory.
ICT “service technology” asked: NFC, Project Loon, Lifi ICT “gadget” asked: OLED; and ICT ‘yearbook’ asked: data centre etc.’s liability to report to CERT-IN

Public Health (2 MCQs)

23. Consider the following pairs:
Commonly used material vs. Unwanted or controversial chemicals found in them
1. Lipstick: Lead
2. Soft drinks: Brominated vegetable oils
3. Chinese fast food: Monosodium glutamate

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

  • Mrunal’s Mains 2015 lecture series: ML2/P2: FSSAI vs Maggie controversy: Mono sodium Glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer in Chinese food, but leads to obesity and liver inflation. So, 3 is right. Another source: McGraw-Hill General Studies Manual, Page F66, says the same.
  • This Google Book: Brominated vegetable oils are used as stabilizers in the baked goods, soft drinks, soups, jellies etc. but banned in UK after 1970.  so, #1 is right.

There is only one combination where 1 and 3 are together i.e. answer “D”: 1, 2 and 3 are correct.

Difficulty: ★★★  Tough because all chemicals are not covered in a single routine book. Yes, theHindu may have mentioned it in some food / diet article, but they mention 1500 compounds and chemicals round the year, so who can memorize! And even if you keep habit of noting it, after 3-4 years the bulk will be so large, you can’t revise it on the night before exam [because on that type of strategy you’ve to revise 15000 temples and festivals mentioned in annual theHindu also!]. So cost : benefit is bad.

Current Affairs Span:

  • 2013: brominated oil in coca cola controversy and 2014 when they declared to stop using it.
  • 2015:  MSG in Maggie controversy.

Guessmaster-giri: Most people know about MSG even from forwarded whatsapp groups, but this can’t be solved until you’re sure about brominated vegetable oil. And if still apply ‘guessing and common sense’ then soft drinks like Cocacola and Pepsi consist of only carbonated water, sugar and flavoring agent so, brominated ‘oil’ doesn’t fit because would not be ‘water soluble’. Then you’ll arrive at wrong answer “C”: 1 and 3 only. So, this is ANTI-GuessmasterTM MCQ.

56. Consider the following statements:
1. In tropical regions, Zika virus disease is transmitted by the same mosquito that transmits dengue.
2. Sexual transmission of Zika virus disease is possible.
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

Indianexpress’s “Zika Explained” article in 2016 and again in May 2017

  1. Dengue, Zika and chikungunya are spread through a common vector, the Aedes aegypti mosquito. So first statement is right.
  2. Although Zika virus is primarily transmitted through mosquitoes, it can also be sexually transmitted as well.

Difficulty: ★☆☆ [Easy, because this was a major public health topic and regularly covered in the newspapers during 2016. ]

Guessmaster-giri: Irrelevant because factual GK asked with no extreme words or word associations. Besides Zika was a major public health topic in 2016, so this much minimum preparation is necessary.

ICT, Gadgets (2 MCQs)

24. Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) are used to create digital display in many devices. What are the advantages of OLED displays over Liquid Crystal displays?
1. OLED displays can be fabricated on flexible plastic substrates.
2. Roll-up displays embedded in clothing can be made using OLEDs.
3. Transparent displays are possible using OLEDs.
Select the correct answer using the code given below
(a) 1 and 3 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 1, 2 and 3
(d) None of the above statements is correct

This google book says OLEDs can be formed on any substrate such as glasses, cloths, plastic and other bendable substrates. So accordingly, all three are possible. Answer “C”.

Difficulty: ★★★  Tough, because not part of routine reading.

Current Span: OLEDs come in news round the year, because either 1) new TV launch or 2) Samsung, Apple upcoming mobiles 3) google glass to implement it. But it doesn’t mean Aspirant is supposed to get DREAM and prepare everything in and out about OLED’s applications.

Guessmaster-giri: Irrelevant because factual Question. You’ve to be sure of all three.
OLED Technology in Ironman and Mission Impossible swimming suit

35. In India, it is legally mandatory for which of the following to report on cyber security incidents?
1. Service providers
2. Data centres
3. Body corporate
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

In the pursuance of section 70-B of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (the “IT Act”), Central Government issued the Information Technology (The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team and Manner of Performing Functions and Duties) Rules, 2013, these CERT Rules also impose an obligation on service providers, intermediaries, data centres and body corporates to report cyber incidents within a reasonable time so that CERT-In may have scope for timely action.
Hence answer “D”. Ref: non-profit research body website.

Difficulty: ★★★  Tough because though cyber security was constantly in news because either NSA spying or ransomware but this specific info. Not given. (Yes, it’s easy through guessmaster-giri but in real exam, UPSC could have twisted, we don’t know. After all, it could have been possible that Government simply ordered only the body corporates to report or only 1 and 2 to report.)

Current Affairs Span: Rules were made in 2013.

Guessmaster-giri: Possible without any knowledge of the subject. Because one of the more ‘refined’ rule of guessmaster giri is: if one word or two word statements, and if by common sense you feel that all should be right then it’ll be right.
Consider following MCQs from 2016’s Prelim

From science From economy
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 3All correct as per Tamilandu Class 11 science text book.
77. Which of the following is/are the indicator/indicators used by IFPRI to compute the Global Hunger Index Report?
1. Undernourishment
2. Child stunting
3. Child mortality
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 , 2 and 3
(d) 1 and 3 onlyall three right as per IFRPI official website.

So as per that rule, 1,2 and 3 should be the answer without any knowledge of the subject. And it turns out to be the correct answer.

Space Physics (2 MCQs)

37. What is the purpose of ‘evolved Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (eLISA)’ project?
(a) To detect neutrinos
(b) To detect gravitational waves
(c) To detect the effectiveness of missile defence system
(d) To study the effect of solar flares on our communication systems

This 2016 TheHindu article mentions eLISA aims to measure gravitational waves in the frequency range from 0.1mHz to about 100 mHz.

Difficulty: ★★☆ Medium to Tough, depending on your taste of space related current affairs because already difficult to memorize and recollect all the ISRO developments of 2016.

Current Affairs Span: June 2016, when it appeared in theHindu And Indianexpress

Guessmaster-giri: Science students preparing for IIT entrance exam, may have mugged up in physics that interferometers measure wavelength. So accordingly, word pairing “wave” – to gravitational wave. Therefore, “B” should be the answer. But that’s a longshot and a small demography. So, I would put classify this under “irrelevant”.

69. The terms Event Horizon, Singularity, ‘String Theory and Standard Model are sometimes seen in the news in the context of
(a) Observation and understanding of the Universe
(b) Study of the solar and the lunar eclipses
(c) Placing satellites in the orbit of the Earth
(d) Origin and evolution of living organisms on the Earth

  • Nature is governed by four fundamental forces – electromagnetic, strong, weak and gravitational. Standard Model explains the first three forces. (TheHindu, 2017, April)
  • Event horizon is the imaginary boundary surrounding the black hole from beyond which light cannot escape.
  • The singularity constitutes the centre of a black hole and is hidden by the object’s “surface”.

Difficulty: ★★☆ [Easy to Medium depending on how regularly you follow universe related news on theHindu. If they had asked term vs. definitions pairs then it’d have been a tough question.]

Current Affairs Span: Sometimes seen in news meaning ‘during 2012-2015’ when CERN experiment, god particle etc. were hot topics. After that, theHindu did not mention it frequently. Latest entry I could find was TheHindu, 2017, April

Guessmaster-giri: Irrelevant because factual theory asked. If you heard the word association black hole and singularity, then “A” is right but that’s ‘knowledged ticking’ not ‘guessmaster-giri’.
UPSC IAS IPS & Kangana Ranaut