1. Instructions
  2. Section-A (130 Marks)
  3. Section-B (120 Marks)
    1. Q12: The Burhan Wani effect
    2. Q13: Sensationalism for TRP
    3. Q14: Cricketer accused of domestic violence
    4. Q15: Adopting a daughter
    5. Q16: Quota for NCC cadets
    6. Q17: Badminton Star’s tantrums


  • Here is a mock question paper for the upcoming UPSC Civil Services IAS/IPS Mains exam.
  • Time: 3 hours, Max. Marks: 250
  • Both sections, and all questions are compulsory.

Section-A (130 Marks)

Answer each of the following questions in 150 words and 10 marks (10 x 7= 70)

  1. “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”- Franklin Roosevelt. Discuss with respect to inculcating ethics & values in adolescents. (तरुणों में नैतिकता का आरोपण करना)
  2. “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” -Pluto. Illustrate.
  3.  “Moral principles (नैतिक सिद्धान्त) function better when they remain independent and unconnected with the religion.” Discuss.
  4. “Group decision-making brings effectiveness in addressing social problems.” Illustrate.
  5. “The heart of good governance (सुशासन) is in the effective grievance redressal (प्रभावी शिकायत निवारण).” Elaborate.
  6. “Rising incidents of mob-lynching (भीड़ द्वारा हत्या) represents a failure of the family & society more than the failure of administration.” Present your views.
  7. In June 2018, Government of India invited applications for the lateral entry (पार्श्व प्रवेश) of professionals at the Joint Secretary Level posts in the Union Ministries. What are your views on this initiative?

Answer each of the following questions in 250 words and 15 marks (15 x 4=60)

  1. “Women upliftment in India is an unequal contest between the irresistible forces of development and the immovable cultural norms.” Discuss the need for attitudinal change among men in this regard.
  2. In most states across the country, the transfers in schools, colleges, police and other government departments are made at the discretion of politicians and are often a rent-seeking opportunity. In February 2018, Punjab technical education minister Charanjeet Singh Channi devised a novel way to fix this: Asst. Professors were asked “In which government college do you want posting?” Wherever two persons wanted transfer to the same post, he’d flip a coin and winner will get transferred to place of his choice. Critically examine the merit of using such method in removing irregularities in transfers (बदलियों में अनियमितता) and suggest alternative measures.
  3. In November 2017, Madhya Pradesh passed a bill to award capital punishment to those convicted of raping girls aged 12 and below. Both the ruling party and the opposition party unanimously voted in favour of this bill saying, “Persons who rape little girls deserve death.” However, Amnesty International India said, “The death penalty is the ultimate violation of the right to life. We have found so many cases where children were left by the rapists after committing the crime but now we fear that criminals would kill the victim so that no evidence is found against them.” Present your stand on this debate with respect to utility of punitive laws (शिक्षात्मक कानून) in ensuring good behavior among the citizens.
  4. In 2010, Shah Faesal, from Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district, was the first person from the state to top the IAS exam. In April 2018, he tweeted “Patriarchy + Population + Illiteracy + Alcohol + Porn + Technology + Anarchy = Rapistan!” Later, some twitter users complained that Faesal’s tweet is proposing a theory that “rape” is somehow linked only to “illiteracy” and “population” and denigrating the image of India as “Anarchy”, “Rapistan / Most dangerous country for women”. Faesal has received a show-cause notice from the Union Government, which reads as following “..You have allegedly acted in a manner unbecoming of a public servant under the Civil service conduct rules. Now therefore, you are asked to explain your position within a period of 15 days, failing which the action as warranted under rules shall follow.” Faesal defends himself that “Service rules with a colonial spirit are invoked in a democratic India to stifle my freedom of conscience.” With special reference to this case, discuss your views on the Civil services conduct rules (सिविल सेवा आचरण नियम) in India.

Section-B (120 Marks)

Answer each of the following case study for 250 words x 20 marks.

UPSC Burhan Wani

Q12: The Burhan Wani effect

“Burhan Wani, a young Kashmiri man, joined militancy in 2010 and started uploading photos on social media. He made militancy, an otherwise underground phenomenon, visible to people and lent reality-show like drama to a militant’s obscure life. The image of a young man with AK-47 emerging from the lush picturesque hills held a powerful appeal for the new Kashmiri generation that hadn’t experienced the horrors of kidnapping, extortion and murders committed by the terrorists in the ’90s. Burhan Wani’s social media propaganda gave a false moral glamour to militancy in the young minds. After his death in 2016, terrorists are portraying Burhan as a martyr and a saint using the social media, which is attracting even more Kashmiri youth to join militancy.” says an Indian Army officer dealing with counter-insurgency operations in J&K. As the Collector of a militancy-ridden Pulwama district in Kashmir, how will you counter this “Burhan Wani” effect?

Q13: Sensationalism for TRP

After the untimely death of Bollywood actress Sridevi in a Dubai hotel, Indian news channels have resorted to gross sensationalism to boost their TRPs. ABP News had an anchor standing in front of a bathtub with a large goblet of wine. He asked, “Why did Sridevi drink that day? Did she drink because of family problems? Was she stressed about the end of her career? Was she depressed?” Aaj Tak ran a 30 minutes show titled, “Maut kaa bathtub”, while another news channel organized a panel discussion on the subject ‘Sridevi ka Aakhri Dance: Death by excessive number of cosmetic surgeries?”

From Jessia Lal, Arushi Talwar, Sunanda Pushkar to Sridevi- women’s death is used for higher TRPs through insensitive, voyeuristic and sensationalistic news coverage (असंवेदनशील, दृश्यरतिक और सनसनीखेज समाचार). As the Minister for Information and Broadcasting how will you address this issue?

Q14: Cricketer accused of domestic violence

A noted cricketer’s wife has accused him of domestic violence and adultery. The charges are denied by the cricketer. But, some cricket fans have organized a twitter campaign demanding the BCCI to drop this person from the Indian cricket team. As the chairman of BCCI, examine the merits and demerits of succumbing to the demand of online cricket fans in this case. What will be your ultimate decision?

Q15: Adopting a daughter

A six-month-old girl was found crying in a heap of garbage near the Moradabad highway. Locals sent her to the state-run orphanage in Rampur. To adopt this girl, interested family has to file online form with the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA). Three families have expressed keen interest to adopt this girl. (गोद लेना)

  • First, is an IG rank IPS officer, who submitted that “I have a daughter and a son in Classes X and IX. My wife has been after me ever since she saw the girl’s face in newspapers. My wife says she will not spare me if the girl goes to a bad home. We have a good home, and decent income for the baby’s future.”
  • Second, is an IITProfessor at Banaras, who submitted that “I have three sons. When my wife was pregnant for the third time, we prayed for a daughter. The doctors told us not to go for a fourth child. I really want that girl. I promise good education for her.”
  • Third, is a local shopkeeper “My wife had an abortion because of some complications. She has been depressed for the last one year because we’ve no children. I can’t afford a computer at home so, I’m filling this form through cybercafe, and I may not be able to give as good education and facilities like some other rich people who’d have applied, but I will be very grateful if the baby is given to us.”

As the officer at CARA with the discretionary powers to accept any of these three petitions, whom will you hand over the baby’s custody? And why?

Q16: Quota for NCC cadets

An NCC cadet, Tapan Sen, has sent following petition to the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT)- “NCC Cadets spend three years of their life with an ambition to become an officer in defense or police. They sacrifice college life of fun & leisure to attend various local, state and national camps. They get rigorous training in discipline, leadership and physical fitness. While there is quota for sportspersons in the recruitment of defense, railways and public sector undertakings, no such a separate quota exists for us. Therefore, I request you to create separate quota for NCC cadets in government jobs, failing which, we will organize a mass protest across the country.” As the Secretary (DoPT), how will you address this petition?

Q17: Badminton Star’s tantrums

Under the rules of Olympic Games, only accredited sportspersons and their trainers are allowed in the Olympic games village. However, a young badminton star from India is adamant to have his father stay with him in the games village. At the last minute, he has threatened to pull out of the tournament, if his demand is not met. There is no replacement player available to represent India in his absence. As the Secretary of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), you could make a namesake ‘deputy-coach’ i-card for his father so he can stay in the Olympic-village. Will you do it? Justify your stand with respect to the urgency of the situation (परिस्थिति की अविलंबिता) versus the sanctity of the rules (नियमों की पवित्रता).

Visit Mrunal.org/ETHICS for more study material on Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude for GS Paper 4.