There were 20 Compulsory Questions for a total of 250 marks. The first 10 questions were to be answered in 150 words and each were of 10 marks. Questions 11-20 were each of 15 marks to be answered in 250 words each.
The syllabus for GS Paper III can be broadly divided into the following groups:
2. Economic Development
3. Bio diversity
6. Disaster Management
In the 2018 paper the number of questions asked under each of the above groups is as follows:
1. Technology: THREE QUESTIONS.
Q.5 is asked in the context of 125th birth anniversary of eminent physicist Satyendra Nath Bose who was born on this day in 1894. Those who have updated themselves on this event will find it easy to answer this question.
Q.15 & 16 are related to biotechnology and the growing importance of nuclear energy to meet India's energy needs. A strong conceptual clarity with facts on these two topics is sufficient for writing a good answer to these questions.
2. Economic Development: EIGHT QUESTIONS.
This year questions on economic development has dominated with 40% questions being asked on this topic.
Q.1 relates to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Aspirants who have sound theoretical knowledge on SDGs and the government initiatives to achieve these goals would find this easy to tackle.
Q.2 is a rather straightforward question from the Union Budget 2018.
Q.3 is also a concept-based question related to the crucial factor of MSP in agriculture and its impact on farmers' livelihood.
Q.4 is related to supermarkets. It is an application-based question wherein the aspirant is expected to know about the role of supermarkets in the context of the Indian economy and their role in eliminating middlemen.
Q 11 is again a straightforward theoretical question on NITI Aayog and Planning Commission. Aspirants should have a sound factual understanding of the differences between NITI Aayog and the erstwhile Planning Commission.
Q.12 This question is in the context of the new era of protectionism unleashed by US President Donald Trump and its macroeconomic implications on Indian economy such as the depreciation of the rupee and the strengthening of the dollar. Aspirants should therefore have a sense of the recent wave of protectionism and its impact on world trade.
Q.13 is a straight question on the features of the National Horticulture Mission (NHM) and its success in increasing the income of farmers. Those who have studied and updated about NHM would have no difficulty in answering this question.
Q.14 India is celebrating 2018 as the national year of millets. Agriculture ministry has also proposed to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization to declare the year 2019 as international year of millets. This question has been asked in this context. Aspirant should have adequate knowledge about millets production and consumption in India to answer this question effectively.
3. Biodiversity: TWO QUESTIONS.
Qs 7 & 17. Both are purely factual questions and the aspirant is expected to know the theoretical concepts of each topic with examples.
4. Environment: TWO QUESTIONS:
Q.6. This question is related to the knowledge about the concept of solid waste and its safe removal from the environment.
Q. 8. Recently Sikkim became the first `organic state' in India. Students are expected to know the ecological and economic benefits of organic farming. This is mostly straightforward question based on current affairs.
5. Security: FOUR QUESTIONS:
These questions are related to India's internal and external security which is now gaining importance in the Mains examination.
Q.9 This is a question on CPEC which is considered to be a threat to India's sovereignty. One has to have a thorough knowledge of the concept of CPEC and why India is trying to keep a distance from it.
Q. 10 is related to Left Wing extremism especially the new strategy adapted by the Union government called SAMADHAN. One is expected to know the origin and impact of LWE on the internal security of India and the measures adopted by the government to counter this menace.
Q. 19 is related to the data security in the digital world especially in the context of Aadhar and privacy related issues. One should also know the details of the B N Srikrishna Committee report.
Q. 20 is related to the issue of illicit drug trafficking and its linkages to other illicit activities like money laundering, human trafficking etc. The aspirant is expected to have a holistic view of the issue including the counter measures to prevent such crime.
6. Disaster Management: One Question:
Q. 18: In this question, aspirant is expected to know about Sendai Framework and Hyogo Framework in some detail and its differences and also the measures taken by the government before and after signing the Sendai framework.
To sum up, the paper is a mix of theoretical knowledge and application based questions. There is more emphasis on issues related to economy and security. The other topics such as biodiversity, environment, disaster management, technology have also been touched upon. Aspirants who are strong in their theoretical part and also are updated in current affairs would find this paper easier to tackle.