[Debatable MCQs] Private Answerkeys Versus UPSC Official Answerkeys of 2018, 2017, 2016

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Mrunal Polity Lecture
  1. Prologue
  2. Debate-wars in Prelims-2018 Answerkeys
    1. Only Aral Sea is shrinking
    2. Eggs cooked in 5 star hotel not subject to GST
    3. Could bacteria alter earth’s early atmosphere?
    4. Is Throne a leaf modification?
    5. Voting power in Presidential Election
    6. Stupid white marble
    7. Money bill
    8. Opportunity cost of public good?
    9. Human capital formation
  3. Debate-wars in Prelims-2017 Answerkeys
    1. Cabinet form of Government
    2. Right to vote
    3. Steady or unsteady increase in Tax revenue?
    4. National Career Service doesn’t help illiterates
    5. Nutrition Mission raises egg consumption?
    6. Gypum doesn’t help water conservation
    7. Harappans did not know about the horses
    8. Butterfly absence doesn’t mean fungal infection
    9. Small finance bank not meant for young startups to go Rural
  4. Debate-wars in Prelims-2016 Answerkey
    1. Who appoints Chief Secretary?
    2. Whether UN-REDD+ removes poverty?
    3. Does Drip irrigation fight soil salinity?
    4. Krishna Deva’s Taxation
    5. Epilogue
    6. Which private answerkey was most accurate for UPSC Prelims in last 3 years?

Prologue

  • After the Prelims exam is over, coaching classes / websites release private answerkeys.
  • UPSC releases official answerkey after entire selection process is over. So, 2019-June Prelim’s official answerkey can be expected somewhere in 2020-April.
  • Each year, there are always a few questions where private answerkey vs official answerkey differs. Usually happens when:
    • History questions where authentic factoid is not available at all in any book or web resources. OR sometimes Multiple sources give different answers e.g. did Harappans know about horses?
    • Polity’s opinion based question or vaguely worded question, where sometimes examiner’s interpretation is different than coaching experts.
    • Environment, economy, geography, science – whether x would lead to y or z or both y and z- depends on how far you drag the logic based on your understanding of the optional subject science PG degrees. (e.g. whether butterfly absence will result fungal infection, whether gypsum help in water conservation?)
  • So, today I’m looking at the last 3 years’ UPSC Civil Services IAS/IPS Prelims question papers & catalogue the discrepancy between official answerkey vs ‘unofficial (private) answerkeys’- namely Mrunal, VisionIAS, Insights and ShankarIAS. In the epilogue we’ll also see which of them was most accurate?
  • However, for some questions I feel UPSC answerkey is wrong but they’re running a sadistic game- “A candidate must appeal online within 7 days of exam completition”, but they’ll release official answerkey after almost one year, so there is no way a person can ‘appeal’ against the wrong answer because deadline is over!

Debate-wars in Prelims-2018 Answerkeys

Only Aral Sea is shrinking

whether Aral sea is drying up?

Q28. Which of the following has/have shrunk immensely/dried up in the recent past due to human activities ? (Set-D)

  1. Aral Sea
  2. Black Sea
  3. Lake Baikal

Select the correct answer using the code given below :

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 2 only
  4. 1 and 3

Why debate wars?

  • The Aral Sea, in Central Asia, used to be the fourth largest lake in the world, after the Caspian Sea, and Lakes Superior and Victoria. Now barely 10% of it is left. BBC-2014. This eliminates B and C, because they don’t contain #1.
  • And we also need not find about Black Sea, because neither A nor D have option #2.
  • So, it all boils down to whether Lake Baikal has shrunk immensely or not? And accordingly, the answer could have been A or D. But It was difficult to ascertain it because authentic sources were hard to find.

Official UPSC Answer – A: only Aral Sea is shrinking.

Eggs cooked in 5 star hotel not subject to GST

GST on eggs UPSC answerkey

Q82. Consider the following items: (Set-D)

  1. Cereal grains hulled
  2. Chicken eggs cooked
  3. Fish processed and canned
  4. Newspapers containing advertising material

Which of the above items is/are exempted under GST (Goods and Services Tax)?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1, 2 and 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Why debate wars?

  • By default, fresh unbranded agriculture items are exempt from GST. So, if Fish is canned and processed =  some GST % would be levied. By elimination we are left with either A or C.
  • Debate wars were mainly centred around: “if Chicken eggs cooked in 5 star hotels’ it’ll be subjected of GST. So answer should be ‘A’, whereas others disagreed that it’s asking about eggs in simple manner without overstretching the origin of cooking so answer should be C.

Official UPSC Answer – C: cereal grains, cooked eggs and newspapers not subjected to GST.

Could bacteria alter earth’s early atmosphere?

Q42. Consider the following statements: (Set-D)

  1. The Earth’s magnetic field has reversed every few hundred thousand years.
  2. When the Earth was created more than 4000 million years ago, there was 54% oxygen and no carbon dioxide.
  3. When living organisms originated, they modified the early atmosphere of the Earth.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Why debate wars?

  • NCERT Biology Class 12 page 127: “There was no atmosphere on early earth. Water vapour, methane, carbon dioxide and ammonia released from molten mass covered the surface.” So #2 is wrong, CO2 was present, we are left with A or C.
  • In both options first statement is correct, but experts were divided over third statement- because early Early atmosphere of earth had no free oxygen, the (life) forms until then could at best be only “anaerobic” (as per NIOS and NCERT books). So those living organisms did not have size or capacity to alter the atmosphere, atleast not in a significant manner. Accordingly, some ticked  ‘A’ while others ticked ‘C’.

Official UPSC Answer – C: 1 and 3

Is Throne a leaf modification?

Q17. Which of the following leaf modifications occur(s) in the desert areas to inhibit water loss? (Set-D)

  1. Hard and waxy leaves
  2. Tiny leaves
  3. Thorns instead of leaves

Select the correct answer using the code given below :

  1. 2 and 3 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Why debate wars?

  • As per NIOS biology page 159 & 176: Thorn is not a ‘leaf modification’, it is an ‘aerial modification of stem’. “Spine” is a leaf modification to protect the plant and help in reducing transpiration. So by elimination Answer should ‘B’.
  • However, Goh Cheng Leong Page 136 mentioned that “Desert plants have few or no leaves, and the foliage is either waxy, leathery, hairy or needle shaped to reduce water loss through transpiration. Some of them are entirely leafless, with pricks or thrones.” So accordingly, Answer should be D.
  • Thus, experts were divided between A or D. It also shows the question is wrongly framed and should have been cancelled. I had got my students to file online complaint in UPSC 7 day Complaint portal that since it has multiple correct answers as per authentic books so question should be cancelled. (Portal requires candidate’s roll number and date of birth so I couldn’t complaint myself.)
  • However, in official Answerkey they’ve not cancelled the question. But, God will bleed someday- just like once they had in EPFO answerkey. Ofcourse it doesn’t mean I wish their questions / answers should come out wrong- they should frame question-answer in accurate and un-debatable fashion.

Official UPSC Answer – D: all three are leaf modifications.

Q62. The identity platform ‘Aadhaar’ provides open “Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)”. What does it imply?(Set-D)

  1. It can be integrated into any electronic device.
  2. Online authentication using iris is possible.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct ?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Why debate wars?

  • first statement says ‘any electronic device’ but Microwave oven, VHS player or digital alarm could not be used for Aadhar authentication so some felt first statement is wrong, and accordingly, the answer could be B or D.
  • However, the features were lifted verbatim from Nandan Nilekani’s Blog in TimesofIndia in 2016, where he said, ” Aadhaar provides open Application Programming Interfaces or APIs, which can be integrated easily into any electronic device. These APIs enable online authentication using a fingerprint or iris.” Therefore both statements are right (Option C), and UPSC has also kept ‘C’ as the official answer.

Official UPSC Answer – C: both statements are correct.

Voting power in Presidential Election

Q87. With reference to the election of the President of India, consider the following statements: (Set-D)

  1. The value of the vote of each MLA varies from State to State.
  2. The value of the vote of MPs of the Lok Sabha is more than the value of the vote of MPs of the Rajya Sabha.

Which of the statements given above is/are Correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 or 2

Why debate wars?

  • Statement 1- Correct: Value of 1 MLA’s vote is based on total population of state to be divided by the total MLAs. Hence it ought to vary from state to state.
  • Statement 2- vaguely worded, and open to multiple interpretation:
    • Interpretation 2(i): While the value of an MLA’s vote depends on the population of the state he or she belongs to, the value of an MP’s vote remains the same at 708 so statement#2 is wrong.
    • Interpretation 2(ii): If you interpret it as ‘collective’ value then LS has more seats than RS, the (collective) value of vote of MPs of LS > RS then #2 should be right.
  • Accordingly, experts were divided over answer A or C. UPSC has also kept ‘A’ as the official answer.

Official UPSC Answer –A: only first statement right.

Stupid white marble

Q12. With reference to the cultural history of India, consider the following statements : (Set-D)

  1. White marble was used in making Buland Darwaza and Khankah at Fatehpur Sikri.
  2. Red sandstone and marble were used in making Ilara Imambara and Rumi Darwaza at Lucknow.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct ?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Why debate wars?

  • ICSE Class 9 textbook Page 150 says Buland Darwaza constructed in red and yellow standstones with white marble inlay in the span of the arches. Other random google books reveal that Khankah too contains white marbles. So, statement#1 ought to be right.
  • Second statement is wrong. “Rumi Darwaza, Bara Imambara, Chhatar Manzil are monuments are fragile in terms of structural strength (because) The common material used for raising most of the monuments in Lucknow was brick and plaster,  says TimesofIndia.
  • So, accordingly answer should have been “A”, all four ‘unofficial’ Answerkeys were unanimous in this regard but UPSC has kept ‘D’ as the official answer, which means either UPSC examiner had referred to some other book from library which says different things, or he had made a mistake. But, UPSC complaint window is only 7 days after prelims whereas official Answerkey declared almost one year after prelim is over- so there is no way anyone could have known the official correct answer to complain / challenge it!
Mrunal A
Vision A
Insights A
Shankar A
Official UPSC Answerkey D

Money bill

Q86. Regarding Money Bill, which of the following statements is not correct? (Set-D)

  1. A bill shall be deemed to be a Money Bill if it contains only provisions relating to imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax.
  2. A Money Bill has provisions for the custody of the Consolidated Fund of India or the Contingency Fund of India.
  3. A Money Bill is concerned with the appropriation of moneys out of the Contingency Fund of India.
  4. A Money Bill deals with the regulation of borrowing of money or giving of any guarantee by the Government of India.

Why debate wars?

  • Article 110(1)(A): a  Bill  shall be  deemed  to  be  a  Money  Bill  if it contains provision related to relating to imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax.
  • Article 110(1)(c): the custody of the Consolidated Fund or the Contingency Fund of India, the payment of moneys into or the withdrawal of moneys from any such Fund.
  • Article 110(1)(g)  any  matter  incidental  to  any  of  the  matters specified  in  sub-clauses  (a)  to  (f)

Depending on how you interpret these provisions, your answer may vary.

Official UPSC Answer – C statement.

Opportunity cost of public good?

Q32. If a commodity is provided free to the public by the Government, then (Set-D)

  1. the opportunity cost is zero.
  2. the opportunity cost is ignored.
  3. the opportunity cost is transferred from the consumers of the product to the tax-paying public.
  4. the opportunity cost is transferred from the consumers of the product to the Government.

Why debate wars?

  • From the finite money available, Government could build a street light or a water tap. So, opportunity cost is involved in pursuing either one of the activities.
  • People were divided over C or D- some interpreting that opportunity cost is borne by the Decision Maker (Government), while others saying opportunity cost is borne by the person who eventually pays for it (Tax payer). It was difficult to ascertain from the standard books.

Official UPSC Answer – C: opportunity cost transferred to tax payers.

Human capital formation

Q34. Consider the following statements: Human capital formation as a concept is better explained in terms of a process, which enables (Set-D)

  1. individuals of a country to accumulate more capital.
  2. increasing the knowledge, skill levels and capacities of the people of the country.
  3. accumulation of tangible wealth.
  4. accumulation of intangible wealth.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 only
  3. 2 and 4
  4. 1, 3 and 4

Why debate wars?

  • clear cut answer not available in routine books, so it was subjected to multiple interpretations. accumulation of capital or tangible wealth can be done even by illiterate person if he has ownership over land or natural resources, so #1 or #3 do not necessarily mean Human capital formation. So answer could be B or C.
  • Intangible wealth also includes patents and intellectual property rights- so if more patents are generated it shows population is more educated- pointing to human capital formation. Whereas some people countered it that intangible wealth could have been acquired by foreigners or only a handful of rich people.

Official UPSC Answer – C: 2 and 4 are correct.

Debate-wars in Prelims-2017 Answerkeys

Cabinet form of Government

49. Out of the following statements, choose the one that brings out the principle underlying the Cabinet form of Government: (Set-D)
(a) An arrangement for minimizing the criticism against the Government whose responsibilities are complex and hard to carry out to the satisfaction of all.
(b) A mechanism for speeding up the activities of the Government whose responsibilities are increasing day by day.
(c) A mechanism of parliamentary democracy for ensuring collective responsibility of the Government to the people.
(d) A device for strengthening the hands of the head of the Government whose hold over the people is in a state of decline.

Why debate wars?

  • NCERT Class 9: Democratic Politics page 87: “Since it is not practical for all ministers to meet regularly and discuss everything, (hence) the decisions are taken in Cabinet meetings. That is why parliamentary democracy in most countries is often known as the Cabinet form of government.” Therefore, some expert felt that cabinet form of Government helps in work distribution and thereby speeding up efficiency so B is the right answer.
  • However, other experts went by the interpretation given in M.Laxmikanth’s book on Indian Polity: “Parliamentary system is also known as Cabinet Government. It provides for collective responsibility of the executive to the legislature.” so C should be the answer.

Official UPSC Answer – C: parliamentary democracy & collective responsibility.

Right to vote

36. Right to vote and to be elected in India is a (Set-D)

  1. Fundamental Right
  2. Natural Right
  3. Constitutional Right
  4. Legal Right

Why debate wars?

New NCERT Std. 11, Introduction to Indian Constitution Page 66 and 67 mentioned that right to vote is a Constitutional right, whereas certain SC judgements saying it’s a legal right / fundamental right. So, accordingly experts were divided over A, C and D. UPSC kept C is the official answer.

Official UPSC Answer – C : it’s a Constitutional right.

Steady or unsteady increase in Tax revenue?

44. Consider the following statements : (Set-D)
1. Tax revenue as a percent of GDP of India has steadily increased in the last decade.
2. Fiscal deficit as a percent of GDP of India has steadily increased in the last decade.
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

Why debate wars?
fiscal deficit tax revenue trend of India Mrunal economy

If we look at the overall trend from 2007 to 2017 there is gradual increase but on yearly basis there have been ups and downs. So, debate wars were about the interpretation of the word ‘steadily’.

Official UPSC Answer – D Neither tax revenue nor fiscal deficit steadily increased.

National Career Service doesn’t help illiterates

13. Consider the following in respect of ‘National Career Service’: (Set-D)
1. National Career Service is an initiative of the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India.
2. National Career Service has been launched in a Mission Mode to improve the employment opportunities to uneducated youth of the country.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Why debate wars?

  • This portal was launched by Labour ministry to provide placement for diploma & degree holders. So #1 is wrong.
  • In #2: people were not paying close attention to the keyword ‘uneducated’. So, most had ticked B as the answer but, this portal doesn’t help uneducated or illiterate person, it helps only diploma / degree holders. So, option D: neither 1 nor 2 is correct.

Official UPSC Answer – D

Nutrition Mission raises egg consumption?

98. Which of the following are the objectives of ‘National Nutrition Mission’? (Set-D)
1. To create awareness relating to malnutrition among pregnant women and lactating mothers.
2. To reduce the incidence of anaemia among young children, adolescent girls and women.
3. To promote the consumption of millets, coarse cereals and unpolished rice.
4. To promote the consumption of poultry eggs.
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 1, 2 and 3 only
(c) 1, 2 and 4 only
(d) 3 and 4 only

Why debate wars?

  • Mission’s explicit objectives are only statement1 and 2.
  • While this mission will certainly (and indirectly) increase consumption of millets, coarse cereals (#3) and eggs (#4) once people become aware of their nutritional benefits, but promoting their ‘consumption’ is not the explicit objective of this mission.
  • So, people were divided between A and B and C- because in the 2016’s UN-REDD+ question, UPSC official even kept ‘indirect benefit’ of poverty removal as one of the benefit. But in official answekey of 2017, they have gone only by literal interpretation of explicitly mentioned ‘direct benefits’, and they chose ‘A’ as the official answer.

Official UPSC Answer – A: only 1 and 2

Gypum doesn’t help water conservation

21. Which of the following practices can help in water conservation in agriculture? ‎(Set-D)
‎1. Reduced or zero tillage of the land ‎
‎2. Applying gypsum before irrigating the field ‎
‎3. Allowing crop residue to remain in the field ‎
Select the correct answer using the code given below : ‎

  1. 1 and 2 only‎
  2. 3 only ‎
  3. 1 and 3 only ‎
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Why debate wars?

  • According to the Kurukshetra Magazine November 2017 special issue on irrigation: Tillage exposes the soil to drying, conversely, reductions in tillage help conserve soil water. So #1 is right.
  • The retention of crop residues helps in reducing water loss from the soil to the air and cools the soil. So, #3 is right.
  • According to some random research papers, Google books and FAO manual even gypsum application helps in water conservation, so answerkeys were divided between Option C or D.

Official UPSC Answer – C: only 1 and 3 help. Gypsum doesn’t help.

Harappans did not know about the horses

77. With reference to the difference between the culture of Rigvedic Aryans and Indus Valley people, which of the following statements is/are correct? ‎(Set-D)
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

Why debate wars?

  • NEW NCERT Class 12 history, Ch. 1:   All the gold jewellery found at Harappan sites was recovered from hoards. So, second statement is wrong, which eliminated B and D.
  • But then depending on which history book you refer, Harappans were aware or unaware about the horses.
  • So the experts were divided between option A and option C.

Official UPSC Answer –C: Harappans did not know about the horses

Butterfly absence doesn’t mean fungal infection

(Series-A) Q21. Due to some reasons, if there is a huge fall in the population of species of butterflies, what could be its likely consequence/consequences?

  1. Pollination of some plants could be adversely affected.
  2. There could be a drastic increase in the fungal infections of some cultivated plants.
  3. It could lead to a fall in the population of some species of wasps, spiders and birds.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

While majority of the unofficial answerkey were unanimous that it was “C”, but some candidates were doing hairsplittery by using random websites / pdfs and Birbal-ki-khichdi like logics on how butterfly genocide leads to drastic fungal infection.

Official UPSC Answer –C

Small finance bank not meant for young startups to go Rural

(Series-A) Q40. What is the purpose of setting up of Small Finance Banks (SFBs) in India?

  1. To supply credit to small business units
  2. To supply credit to small and marginal farmers
  3. To encourage young entrepreneurs to set up business particularly in rural areas.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

While majority of the unofficial answerkey were unanimous that it was “A”, but some candidates were doing hairsplittery about third statement that it is also right like Birbal-ki-khichdi- Small finance banks will encourage young entrepreneurs to setup biz in rural areas.

Official UPSC Answer –A. let this also be a case study that in economics MCQs, UPSC examiner doesn’t apply Birbal-ki-khichdi logics.

Debate-wars in Prelims-2016 Answerkey

Who appoints Chief Secretary?

25. Consider the following statements: (Set-A)
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

Why debate wars?

  • Chief Secretary (IAS) is the highest civil servant in the State Secretariat. He doesn’t have a fixed tenure.
  • But, experts were divided over the first statement- that all executive action of the State is done in the name of De-jure head Governor so first statement ought to be correct while other felt that it’s the Chief Minister who selects and appoints the Chief Secretary. So, accordingly answer could be either A or D.

Official UPSC Answer – D

Whether UN-REDD+ removes poverty?

29. Which of the following statements is/are correct: Proper design and effective implementation of UN-REDD+ Programme can significantly contribute to (SET-D)
1. protection of biodiversity
2. resilience of forest ecosystems
3. poverty reduction
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Why debate wars?

As per the FAO webpage of UN-REDD+ program, the explicit objectives are 1) reduce GHG emission by halting deforestation 2) increase GHG removal by expanding forest. So, accordingly, benefit statement 1 and 2 are directly linked. While REDD++ can help removing the poverty (statement3), albeit in an indirect manner. Besides some google books even said REDD++’s implications for poverty alleviation at the local level remain unclear.

So, after the exam, people were divided between A and D.

Official UPSC Answer – D: all three benefits.

Does Drip irrigation fight soil salinity?

58. Which of the following is/are the advantage /advantages of practising drip irrigation? (Set-D)
1. Reduction in weed
2. Reduction in soil salinity
3. Reduction in soil erosion
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) None of the above is an advantage of practising drip irrigation

Why debate wars?

Based on Kurukshetra magazines and Tamilnadu Agriculture University pages

Advantages of drip irrigation system: Disadvantages
  1. Water saving and higher yield
  2. High quality and increased fruit size
  3. Suitable for all types of soil
  4. Easy method of fertigation and chemigation
  5. Saving in labour
  6. Water is applied directly to the root zone of the crop as opposed to the soil surface where most weed seeds hibernate. As a result, germination of annual weed is reduced.
  7. Less soil erosion than flood irrigation.
  1. High initial investment
  2. Clogging of emitters
  3. Possible damage of system due to trampling by wild animals such as boar, elephant and Nilgai.
  • So, accordingly the answer should be C: 1 and 3.
  • However some google books / research papers / foreign university pages indicated that drip irrigation also helps reducing the salinity because Drip irrigation allows water with higher salt content to be used, as evaporation losses are minimal. Drip irrigation reduce the effects of salinity by maintaining continuously moist soil around plant roots and providing steady leaching of salt to the edge of the wetted zone.
  • However, there is no option where all 1, 2 and 3 are together so some alleged ‘entire question is wrong’.

Official UPSC Answer – C: 1 and 3

Krishna Deva’s Taxation

84. Regarding the taxation system of Krishna Deva, the ruler of Vijayanagar, consider the following statements : (Set-D)
1. The tax rate on land was fixed depending on the quality of the land.
2. Private owners of workshops paid an industries tax.
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

Why debate wars?

No authentic source / routine book mention specifics of Krishna Deva’s Taxation system. But from Indian History by Krishna Reddy, we find that in Vijaya Nagar empire:

  1. Land revenue varied according to nature of cultivated land. So, #1 is right.
  2. There were taxes on various professions. But whether workshop tax was specifically called ‘industries tax’, that is not mentioned. So #2 may or may not be true, accordingly (late) Shankar sir’s Answerkey kept both A or C.

Official UPSC Answer – C

Epilogue

GuessmastersTM may even suggest that in debatable questions the official answer is usually ‘C’, but such metakeyword analysis is surest way to dig your own grave. Besides, you can’t really know whether a particular answer is ‘debatable’ until you come out of the exam hall and refer to multiple private answerkeys & engage in comment-wars!

Which private answerkey was most accurate for UPSC Prelims in last 3 years?

  • Candidates tend to accept the unofficial score of whichever private answerkey is giving them maximum score.
  • However, upon comparing the private answerkeys of Mrunal, Vision, Insights and Shankar against the official UPSC answerkeys of given years, the result is as following:
Year Lowest deviation from official answerkey
2016 VisionIAS: 0 MCQs wrong; others 1 or more MCQs wrong
2017 ShankarIAS: only 3 MCQs wrong (National Career service, Gypsum, right to vote); others 4 or more MCQs wrong.
2018 VisionIAS: only 2 MCQs wrong (GST on eggs, White marble); while others 3 or higher.

Best wishes to serious players for the Prelims-2019 this Sunday.

Mrunal recommends

5 Comments on “[Debatable MCQs] Private Answerkeys Versus UPSC Official Answerkeys of 2018, 2017, 2016”

  1. I did calculate in 2018 cs pre,it made me 28 out off 100 only while officially i had got 47.74 out off 100 i.e. i missed by single right answer.But at start i felt that i should leave upsc looking answer keys of youtube classes walas.I was so frustrated that for upto September 2018 i had not read a single newspaper and now i am frustrated again by anxiety.

  2. Sir, What about the new changes, PMKISAN limit removed, Ministry of jal shakti etc.

    What do we mark in exam?
    The latest provisions?

  3. still cant believe of the governor not appointing CS

  4. Sir, please analyse this year’s paper so that it could guide us for future. It is very important from preparation point of view.

  5. UPSC has taken very serious to Mrunal.org’s paper analysis last 2 3 years.
    And end this year with lot of questions from environmental issues. It seems like that they are looking for environmental engineer or chemist. Isn’t it?

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