UPSC Mains Subject Wise PYQs – Geography (2023-2013)

Geography is a significant subject that holds great importance in the UPSC Mains examination. It covers a wide range of topics, including physical, economic, and human geography. Aspirants who have opted for this subject need to have a comprehensive understanding of the natural and human processes that shape the world we live in.

The Geography mains questions from the past years’ exams will help aspirants understand the exam pattern, the weightage of different topics, and the level of difficulty of questions. By practicing these questions, candidates can identify their strengths and weaknesses and work on them accordingly. Moreover, answering these questions will also help aspirants develop a better understanding of the subject and enhance their analytical and writing skills.

Therefore, we highly recommend aspirants to go through these questions and include them in their study plan to improve their chances of cracking the UPSC Mains exam. The questions from the years 2013 to 2023 that we have compiled will not only give you an idea of the type of questions asked in the exam but also help you evaluate your preparation level. So, make sure to practice these questions and ace your Geography paper in the upcoming UPSC Mains exam.


  • Bring out the socio-economic effects of the introduction of railways in different countries of the world.
  • Discuss the consequences of climate change on the food security in tropical countries.
  • Why is the world today confronted with a crisis of availability of and access to freshwater Resources ?
  • How are the fjords formed? Why do they constitute some of the most picturesque areas of the world?
  • Why is the South-West Monsoon called Purvaiya’ (easterly) in the Bhojpur Region? How has this directional seasonal wind system influenced the cultural ethos of the region?
  • Comment on the resource potentials of the long coastline of India and highlight the status of natural hazard preparedness in these areas.
  • Identify and discuss the factors responsible for diversity of natural vegetation in India. Assess the significance of wildlife sanctuaries in rainforest regions of India.
  • Why did human development fail to keep pace with economic development in India?
  • From being a net food importer in the 1960s, India has emerged as a net food exporter to the world. Provide reasons.
  • Does urbanisation lead to more segregation and/or marginalisation of the poor in Indian metropolises?


  • Describe the characteristics and types of primary rocks.
  • Troposphere is a very significant atmospheric layer that determines weather processes. How?
  • Mention the significance of straits and isthmus in international trade.
  • What are the forces that influence ocean currents? Describe their role in fishing industry of the world.
  • Discuss the meaning of colour-coded weather warnings for cyclone prone areas given by India Meteorological Department.
  • Examine the potential of wind energy in India and explain the reasons for their limited spatial spread.
  • Discuss the natural resource potentials of ‘Deccan Trap’.
  • Elucidate the relationship between globalization and new technology in a world of scarce resources, with special reference to India.
  • Describing the distribution of rubber producing countries, indicate the major environmental issues faced by them.


  • Differentiate the causes of landslides in the Himalayan region and Western Ghats.
  • Despite India being one of the countries of the Gondwanaland, its mining industry contributes much less to its Gross Domestic Product(GDP) in percentage. Discuss
  • What are the environmental implications of the reclamation of the water bodies into urban land use? Explain with examples
  • Mention the global occurrence of volcanic eruptions in 2021 and their impact on regional environment.
  • Why is India considered as a sub-continent? Elaborate your answer.
  • Briefly mention the alignment of major mountain ranges of the world and explain their impact on local weather conditions, with examples.
  • How do the melting of the Arctic ice and glaciers of the Antarctic differently affect the weather patterns and human activities on the Earth? Explain.
  • Discuss the multi-dimensional implications of uneven distribution of mineral oil in the world.
  • What are the main socio-economic implications arising out of the development of IT industries in major cities of India?


  • Discuss the geophysical characteristics of the Circum-Pacific Zone.
  • The process of desertification does not have climatic boundaries. Justify with examples.
  • How will the melting of Himalayan glaciers have a far-reaching impact on the water resources of India?
  • Account for the present location of iron and steel industries away from the source of raw material, by giving examples.
  • The interlinking of rivers can provide viable solutions to the multi-dimensional inter-related problems of droughts, floods, and interrupting navigation. Critically examine.
  • Account for the huge flooding of million cities in India including the smart ones like Hyderabad and Pune. Suggestlasting remedial measures.
  • India has immense potential of solar energy though there are regional variations in its development. Elaborate.
  • Examine the status of forest resources of India and its resultant impact on climate change.


  • How can the mountain ecosystem be restored from the negative impact of development initiatives and tourism?
  • How is efficient and affordable urban mass transport key to the rapid economic development of India?
  • How do ocean currents and water masses differ in their impacts on marine life and the coastal environment?
  • Can the strategy of regional resource-based manufacturing help in promoting employment in India?
  • Discuss the factors for localization of agro-based food processing industries of North-West India
  • Empowering women is the key to control population growth.” Discuss
  • What is water stress? How and why does it differ regionally in India?
  • Assess the impact of global warming on the coral life system with examples
  • Discuss the causes of the depletion of mangroves and explain their importance in maintaining coastal ecology.


  • Why is the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) needed? How does it help in navigation?
  • Why is India taking a keen interest in the resources of the Arctic region?
  • Define mantle plume and explain its role in plate tectonics.
  • What are the consequences of the spreading of ‘Dead Zones’ on marine ecosystems?
  • “The ideal solution of depleting groundwater resources in India is water harvesting system”. How can it be made effective in urban areas?
  • Defining blue revolution, explain the problems and strategies for pisciculture development in India.
  • What is the significance of Industrial Corridors in India? Identifying industrial corridors, explain their main characteristics.
  • Mention core strategies for the transformation of aspirational districts in India & explain the nature of convergence, collaboration & Competition for its success.


  • How does the Juno Mission of NASA help to understand the origin and evolution of the Earth?
  • “In spite of adverse environmental impact, coal mining is still inevitable for development”. Discuss.
  • Mention the advantages of the cultivation of pulses because of which the year 2016 was declared as the International Year of Pulses by United Nations.
  • How does the cryosphere affect global climate?
  • The growth of cities as I.T. hubs has opened up new avenues of employment, but has also created new problems”. Substantiate this statement with examples.
  • Account for variations in oceanic salinity and discuss its multi-dimensional effects.
  • Petroleum refineries are not necessarily located nearer to crude oil-producing areas, particularly in many of the developing countries. Explain its implications.
  • In what way can floods be converted into a sustainable source of irrigation and all-weather inland navigation in India?
  • What characteristics can be assigned to monsoon climate that succeeds in feeding more than 50 percent of the world population residing in Monsoon Asia?


  • With a brief background of the quality of urban life in India, introduce the objectives and strategy of the ‘Smart City Programme.’
  • Discuss the concept of air mass and explain its role in macro-climatic changes.
  • “The Himalayas are highly prone to landslides.” Discuss the causes and suggest suitable measures of mitigation.
  • The effective management of land and water resources will drastically reduce human miseries. Explain.
  • The South China Sea has assumed great geopolitical significance in the present context. Comment.
  • Major cities of India are becoming vulnerable to flood conditions. Discuss.
  • Present an account of the Indus Water Treaty and examine its ecological, economic, and political implications in the context of changing bilateral relations.
  • Enumerate the problems and prospects of inland water transport in India.
  • In what way do micro-watershed development projects help in water conservation in drought-prone and semi-arid regions of India?


  • Explain the factors responsible for the origin of ocean currents? How do they influence regional climates, fishing, and navigation?
  • Mumbai, Delhi, and Kolkata are the three megacities of the country but air pollution is a much more serious problem in Delhi as compared to the other two. Why is this so?
  • India is well endowed with freshwater resources. Critically examine why it still suffers from water scarcity.
  • The states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand are reaching the limits of their ecological carrying capacity due to tourism. Critically evaluate.
  • How far do you agree that the behaviour of the Indian monsoon has been changing due to humanizing landscapes? Discuss.
  • Smart cities in India cannot sustain without smart villages. Discuss this statement in the backdrop of rural-urban integration.
  • What are the economic significances of the discovery of oil in the Arctic Sea and its possible environmental consequences?


  • Most of the unusual climatic happenings are explained as an outcome of the El-Nino effect. Do you agree?
  • Why are the world’s fold mountain systems located along the margins of continents? Bring out the association between the global distribution of fold mountains and earthquakes and volcanoes.
  • Explain the formation of thousands of islands in the Indonesian and Philippines archipelagos.
  • Tropical cyclones are largely confined to the South China Sea, Bay of Bengal, and the Gulf of Mexico. Why?
  • Bring out the relationship between the shrinking Himalayan glaciers and the symptoms of climate change in the Indian sub-continent.
  • Whereas the British planters had developed tea gardens all along the Shivaliks and Lesser Himalayas from Assam to Himachal Pradesh, in effect they did not succeed beyond the Darjeeling area. Explain.
  • Why did the Green Revolution in India virtually bypass the eastern region despite fertile soil and good availability of water?
  • Account for the change in the spatial pattern of the Iron and Steel industry in the world.
  • Critically evaluate the various resources of the oceans which can be harnessed to meet the resource crisis in the world.
  • How does India see its place in the economic space of rising natural resource-rich Africa?


  • (a)What do you understand by the theory of ‘continental drift? Discuss the prominent evidences in its support. (b) The recent cyclone on the east coast of India was called ‘Phailin’. How are tropical cyclones named across the world? Elaborate.
  • (a) Bring out the causes for the formation of heat islands in the urban habitat of the world. (b) What do you understand by the phenomenon of ‘temperature inversion’ in meteorology? How does it affect the weather and the inhabitants of the place?
  • Major hot deserts in the northern hemisphere are located between 20-30 deg N latitudes and on the western side of the continents. Why?
  • (a) Bring out the causes for the more frequent occurrence of landslides in the Himalayas than in the Western Ghats. (b) There is no formation of deltas by rivers of the Western Ghats. Why?
  • (a) Do you agree that there is a growing trend of opening new sugar mills in the southern States of India? Discuss with justification. (b) Analyze the factors for the highly decentralized cotton textile industry in India.
  • With the growing scarcity of fossil fuels, atomic energy is gaining more and more significance in India. Discuss the availability of raw materials required for the generation of atomic energy in India and in the world.
  • It is said that India has substantial reserves of shale oil and gas, which can feed the needs of the country for quarter-century. However, tapping of the resource does not appear to be high on the agenda. Discuss critically the availability and issues involved.

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