UPSC Civil Services Mains Geography Paper-I of 2018


A Must Read for Civil Services Geography Optional of UPSC

For the civil services mains examination, UPSC provides 41 optional subjects. Each aspirant should select one optional paper of their choice and appear in two papers (Paper-I and Paper-II). Among these options, for a long time, Geography has been one of the most popular optional subjects among civil services aspirants. Though the syllabus is vast, it is equally preferred by engineering, science, art, and humanities graduates.

The first step to prepare for the Geography Optional is thoroughly reading and understanding the NCERT Geography Books. Even before that understanding the contents of each of the 10 NCERT Geography Books. With that in mind, the key topics covered in each of these books are given below for a high-level understanding before you dive deep into the option.



Time Allowed: Three Hours Maximum Marks: 250


Please read each of the following instructions carefully before attempting questions.
There are EIGHT questions divided in TWO SECTIONS and printed both in HINDI and in ENGLISH. The candidate has to attempt FIVE questions in all.

Question Nos. 1 and 5 are compulsory and out of the remaining, THREE are to be attempted Choosing at least ONE question from each Section.

The number of marks carried by a question/part is indicated against it. Answers must be written in the medium authorized in the Admission Certificate which must be stated clearly on the cover of this Question-cum-Answer (QCA) Booklet in the space provided. No marks will be given for answers written in a medium other than the authorized one.

Word limit in questions, wherever specified, should be adhered to.

Illustrate your answers with suitable sketches/maps and diagrams, wherever considered necessary. These shall be drawn in the space provided for answering the question itself. Attempts of questions shall. be counted in sequential order. Unless struck off, the attempt of a question shall be counted even if attempted partly. Any page or portion of the page left blank in the Question-cum-Answer Booklet must be clearly struck off.


Q1. Answer the following questions in about 150 words each: 10x5 = 50

(a) "Landscape is a function of structure, process and stage." Critique the statement.[10]

(b) Explain the role of evaporation in the hydrologic cycle.[10]

(c) Describe the causes and consequences of sea level changes. [10]

(d) Distinguish between intrazonal and azonal soils. Describe in brief the characteristics and importance of azonal soils. [10]

(e) Explain the natural and anthropogenic causes and mitigation measures of frequent flooding in Mumbai. [10]

Q2. (a) Evaluate how far Kober's geosynclinal theory explains the mountain building process. [20]

(b) Critically examine the basis and scheme of climatic classification proposed by G.T. Trewartha. [15]

(c) Discuss the objectives and principles of environmental education. Describe the basic concerns of formal and non-formal environmental education in India. [15]

Q3. (a) Explain the origin, progress and retreat of the Indian monsoon and discuss its impact on the Indian economy. [20]

(b) "Geomorphological changes are largely responsible for environmental hazards in the Himalayan region." Comment with relevant examples, [15]

(c) "Controlling population growth is the sustainable solution to environmental problems." Express your views with suitable arguments. [15]

Q4. (a) Describe the potential marine energy resources with reference to their benefits, harvestability and environmental impacts. [20]

(b) Explain the ecosystem approach to environmental management and highlight its advantages and disadvantages. [15]

(c) Discuss the causes of degradation of tropical rainforests and suggest remedial measures for their prevention, conservation and development. [15]


Answer the following questions in about 150 words each: 10x5 = 50

Q5. (a) "Geography is a contested and multiparadigmic discipline with a strong eurocentricity that has only recently been challenged." Comment. [10]

(b) Discuss the degree of importance of transportation costs as a factor of industrial location with respect to "footloose industries". [10]

(c) Explain the concepts of "megalopolis" and "exopolis" with regard to the growth of cities indicating whether the two can and do overlap. [10]

(d) Write a note on "forward and backward linkages" in Perroux's thesis of economic growth and regional development.

(e) Outline briefly the "age of mass consumption" as described by Rostow in his multi-stage theory of growth'. [10]

Q6 (a) "Areal differentiation has provided the theoretical justification for studying 'regions' and 'regional geography." Comment. [20]

(b) Citing examples from Asia and Europe, comment upon the contexts within which pronatalist population policies are advanced. What could be the implications of these policies on women's workforce participation? [15]

(c) Comment upon the contributions of D.M. Smith in outlining 'welfare' as a key focus in the geographies of social well-being. [15]

Q7. a) "Famine is a social phenomenon rooted in institutional and political economic arrangements, which determine access to food by different classes and strata." Comment [20]

(b) Provide a brief outline of ideas related to "sense of place" as propounded by Yi-Fu Tuan and Relph in the humanistic geography that emerged in the 1970's. [15]

(c) Elaborate upon the influence of Marxist philosophy on geographical research, outlining key themes addressed by Marxist geographers since the 1970's. [15]

Q8. (a) "Welfare geography emphasizes spatial inequality and territorial justice." Comment with reference to the main ideas and scope of the subfield. [20]

(b) Discuss critically the manner in which quantitative revolution provided the methodological foundation for models and modelling in geography. [15]

(c) Discuss in brief the main thesis in "Limits to Growth" (1972) and also provide a critique of the same. [15]

Written by Venkadesh Narayanan, IRAS

He is a Mechanical Engineer and an MBA with over 30 years of experience in Consulting and Coaching Civil Services aspirants. He is a former member of Indian Civil Services (IRAS 2000 Batch) who opted for Geography and Psychology papers during his CS Mains.

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