UPSC Mains GS 3 Strategy

Looking for the best UPSC Mains GS 3 Strategy for UPSC Mains?

Well, you landed in the right place then.

Please remember the following important mantra given by the UPSC:

The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues, and ability to analyze, and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives, and demands. The candidates must give relevant, meaningful, and succinct answers.” 

UPSC Mains GS Paper 3 is the most important and wide-ranging paper in UPSC mains. UPSC Mains GS-3 paper comprises of 5 different sections:

  • Economy and Infrastructure
  • Agriculture
  • Science and Technology
  • Environment and Disaster Management
  • Internal Security

GS 3 is not as vast as GS1, and also it is easy scoring than GS1 and GS2. GS 3 syllabus is precisely defined vis a vis vague and generic syllabus of other GS papers. So, you can thoroughly make for Mains GS 3 Strategy if you have a good grip on the UPSC syllabus. Again, you might be tempted to do in-depth research but as the above mantra indicates you need only a basic understanding of the issues.

Let us have a look deeply into the UPSC syllabus content for GS 3 Mains paper.

Part 1: Macroeconomic issues

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development, and Employment.
  • Inclusive Growth and issues arising from it (very important).
  • Government Budgeting.
  • Land Reforms in India.
  • Effects of Liberalization on the Economy, Changes in Industrial Policy, and their Effects on Industrial Growth.
  • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.
  • Investment Models.

Questions in GS 3 Mains paper are mostly asked from dynamic topics. Prepare current affairs from sources mentioned, make a small-notes on important current affairs for UPSC Mains. Gather committees, reports related to issues etc, are very important to make GS 3 Strategy.

For example, if there is a question on PPP you should mandatorily quote the Kelkar committee. Also, your answers should be linked to the static part i.e LPG reforms, industrial policy resolution 1948, bank nationalization 1968, land reforms, etc. so you should have a good grip on post-independent Indian economics. Include comments of Indian and International economists like Arvind Panagariya, Chief economic advisor, IMF chief, etc.

Prepare topics like Monetary Policy, RBI’s role in the economy, Employment viz. skill training, GST, Economic Survey Vol. II, 25 years of LPG subsidy, Civil Aviation Policy, etc.

Sources for GS 3 Strategy: 
  • Indian Economy for Civil Services Examinations – Ramesh Singh
  • Budget (any coaching material compilation)
  • Economic Survey (Gist)
  • Niti 3-year Action Plan report (a good resource for policy recommendations that come in handy while you write conclusion)
  • For Mains Preparation Click Here

 Part 2: Agriculture and allied activities 

  • Major Crops – Cropping Patterns in various parts of the country, – Different Types of Irrigation and Irrigation Systems; Storage, Transport, and Marketing of Agricultural Produce and Issues and Related Constraints; E-technology in the aid of farmers.
  • Issues related to Direct and Indirect Farm Subsidies and Minimum Support Prices; Public Distribution System – Objectives, Functioning, Limitations, Revamping; Issues of Buffer Stocks and Food Security; Technology Missions; Economics of Animal-Rearing.
  • Food Processing and Related Industries in India- Scope’ and Significance, Location, Upstream, and Downstream Requirements, Supply Chain Management.

Questions in this section for UPSC Mains are often repeated. Prepare time tested areas like Farm subsidies, MSP, Irrigation, green revolution, PDS, etc. Points in this area should include static, current affairs, committees, reports, and important facts with your suggestions. Add popular quotes like “If agriculture goes wrong, nothing else will have a chance to go right in the country.” -M. S. Swaminathan. 

On a question on agriculture, you should be able to link statically related to the green revolution, land reforms, current affairs related to govt schemes, Ashok Dalwai committee, doubling the farmer’s income quote, and your own suggestions.

Include opinions of popular policy personalities like Amartya sen, MS Swaminathan, PM Modi, etc

Sources GS 3 Strategy
  • Current affairs, Post-Independent India
  • PIB, Yojana, and Kurukshetra magazines 
  • For Mains Preparation Click Here 

 Part 3: Science & Technology

  • Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life.
  • Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology; Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology.
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-technology, Bio-technology and issues relating to Intellectual Property Rights

This topic in GS 3 paper terrifies many aspirants, and for good reason. There’s no single book or resource to help one navigate this section, and it all feels like one big maze. But there’s good news, the questions asked in Science and Technology are mostly from current affairs. Questions in UPSC Mains GS 3 are on the predictable side.

95% of the time questions are asked on latest technologies and their applications.

For example 

Genetic engineering and its applications in agriculture (2019).

Note down whatever scientific term or technology that’s frequently talked about in news such as Artificial General Intelligence, Blockchain, Machine Learning, Cryptocurrency, CRISPR-CAS9.

Note down all such scientific concepts that are in news and then scour the internet (especially Youtube) to understand them. There are many explainer videos on Youtube that explain the concept so well that even a school student can understand it.

While answering these questions in this topic always focus on the concept, why is it in news, practical applications, potential threats, benefits far into the future, etc.

Besides, focus on important contributions from famous Indian scientists like MS Swaminathan, Bhaba Homi, APJ Abdul kalam, etc. UPSC may unleash bouncers in this area. It asked about contributions by Visveswarayya and MS Swaminathan which stunned most of the aspirants.

Sources for GS 3 Strategy: 
  • Current affairs
  • Youtube
  • Any Sci & Tech magazine
  • For Mains Preparation Click Here 

 PART 4: Environment and Disaster Management

  • Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.
  • Disaster and Disaster Management

Prepare concise notes on NDMA (structure, functions, rules, etc), and international agreements such as Sendai Framework. Frequently asked questions are likely from Urban flooding, the latest current affairs from newspapers, the internet, and coaching material.

NDMA guidelines on Tsunami, cyclones, urban flooding, or any other disaster are among frequently asked topics in UPSC Mains. This time NDMA guidelines on biological and chemical disasters (keeping in mind the corona outbreak) and industrial disasters (LG polymers gas leak in Vizag) are possible topics.

Draw diagrams to illustrate concepts like river embankment, land zoning, watershed management, etc.

  • NCERT, NDMA guidelines
  • The Economic Survey chapter on Climate Change
  • India Year Book environment chapter
  • ARC recommendations (only summary)
  • For Mains Preparation Click Here 

Part 5: Internal security 

  • Linkages between Development and Spread of Extremism.
  • Role of External State and Non-state Actors in creating challenges to Internal Security.
  • Challenges to Internal Security through Communication Networks, Role of Media and Social Networking Sites in Internal Security Challenges, Basics of Cyber Security; Money-Laundering, and its prevention.
  • Security Challenges and Their Management in Border Areas – Linkages of Organized Crime with Terrorism.
  • Various Security Forces and Agencies and their Mandate.

There is a usual prediction with questions often repeating around terrorism, LWE, cybersecurity, etc. But last year UPSC bowled beamers not even bouncers by asking about Cyber Dome and over-ground workers (OGWs) role in terrorism. So prepare important minor issues as well that appeared in current affairs.

Prepare crisp and clear definitions of technical terms such as cybersecurity, terrorism, organized crime, money laundering, left-wing extremism etc.

Traditional topics connected with current affairs is the way to go. For example, Cross border terrorism and Mob lynchings, AFSPA, Money laundering viz. Fugitive Absconders Bill, NRC and Assam Accord, etc.

For questions on border security, draw a map of India to illustrate it in a better way in UPSC Mains 2021.

  • Internal Security of India-Tata Mcgraw Hills
  • Current affairs 
  • For Mains Preparation Click Here 

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Stick to a single source and read it again and again. Avoid the temptation of doing ‘Ph.D. Level Research’ on a topic.
  • Make short notes on each topic. Aspirants often neglect it. But believe us, short notes will be extremely useful for revision in UPSC Mains.
  • Some toppers might say that you don’t need much answer writing practices for this paper, but it might have worked for them but it has not a one-shot solution for everybody. One must practice answer writing to Previous year questions, or take a Mock Test. Whatever, before you enter the examination hall, you must have spent a lot of time on answer writing.



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