To sum up the paper in one word- UNPREDICTABLE.
Galactic increase in questions from Current Affairs & Governmental Schemes unlike previous years.
More than half of the paper is based on currents & social schemes.
Though few questions were predictable like: Neem-coated urea (too much in the news if you had opened up DD News mistakenly then also it is unlikable that you won’t have came across it), Agenda 21, INDCs, Shale Gas, TPP, Ease of doing business Index, Li-fi & Payment bank.
Still, predictable questions form miniscule part only.
Governmental Schemes:too many. It seems those who would have followed PM Modi religiously would get through the prelims.
Like: Digi-Locker (if you would have liked the page of I&B Ministry on fb then you would have seen many times the pamphlets of Digi-locker)
Atal Pension Yojna,
SGB & GMS,
SWAYAM (*never heard of this in news),
Stand up India,
Mission Indradhanush, etc.
Most questions were from EASY (single-option) to Medium & Difficult like Rashtriya Gramin Abhiyan (that required to check every option).
Overall, it was of MEDIUM difficulty.
Questions on E&E were difficult like State Butterfly,Red Sanders, TEEB, Karai Camel, Green House Gas Protocol, Millet promotions etc. Substantial questions were from this section.
Drip Irrigation, question on virus, were easy but with confusing options.
So, overall E&E was DIFFICULT.
Polity: disappointing. Only few questioms were asked. Question of Gram Nyayalaya was predictable.
History: Very disappointing. Most aspirants prepare only Indian National Movement & leave Ancient & Medieval. Also, questions were fact-based in Ancient & Medieval History.
Geography: Very few questions were asked. Most questions were current based like River Inter-linking. No question on Distaster Management. Geography was not disappointing as most aspirants focus only on 11th & 12th NCERT
IR: Most questions were current-based & difficult. Question on convention of desertification, Gulf Cooperation Council, Box (Amber box, blue box), European Stability Mechanism, etc were of sort that you will jump to speak “ye kya hai” & can make you extremely angry as well.
Question only on ISA, Peace conference, etc. were doable.
Economics:only questions on basic economics were easy like on deficit budget, payment banks,
IFPR, IFC Masala Bond, MCLR, etc. were difficult. More questions were from agricultural economics.
New Feature:For the 1st-time too many questions were based on “sometimes seen in the news”.
Like on: Transciptone, Net-metering, Base-Erosion & Profit Sharing, Impact-cover: Difficult
Bitcoin: you will see it sometimes in news but “it’s difficult to understand”.
Only easy question was on Core Banking Solutions (CBS).
So, overall this new section was difficult.
Overall the paper was disappointing as most aspirants don’t go that deep into current affairs & govt. schemes. Also, questions from Indian National Movement, Polity & Geography were VERY LESS.
I had never seen such a dramatic shift in UPSC GS paper from previous years. You may literally drench in sweat if you haven’t focused on Current Affairs & Govt. Schemes as most aspirants generally do.
Coaching:No benefit of coaching as such (class-room teaching). If everyone knew current affairs will be given this much weightage everyone would have followed Apps like Online Tyari & others. May be it was done to curb proliferation of coaching centres.
PIB: If one would have JUST followed PIB (or IYB) then 40+ questions could have been solved without exaggeration.
The paper was very unexpected so cut-offs may go down. It shouldn’t go beyond previous years cut-off i.e. 107.34/200
Best Wishes to all those who appeared for the exam
(Thank God I’ll be appearing next year. Bach Gye!!)
With Great Love,
Er. Amit Yadav