UPSC essay topics list

UPSC essay topics -Mains 2019

SECTION A – 125 marks

Write any one of the following essays in 1000-1200 words.

  1. Wisdom finds truth
  2. Values are not what humanity is, but what humanity ought to be
  3. Best for an individual is not necessarily best for the society
  4. Courage to accept and dedication to improve are two keys to success

SECTION B – 125 marks

Write any one of the following essays in 1000-1200 words.

  1. South Asian societies are woven not around the state, but around their plural cultures and plural identities
  2. Neglect of primary health care and education in India are reasons for its backwardness
  3. Biased media is a real threat to Indian democracy
  4. Rise of Artificial Intelligence: the threat of jobless future or better job opportunities through reskilling and upskilling


UPSC essay topics- Mains 2018

SECTION – A – 125 marks

Write any one of the following essays in 1000-1200 words.

  1. Alternative technologies for a climate change resilient India
  2. A good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge
  3. Poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere
  4. Management of Indian border disputes – a complex task

SECTION – B – marks

Write any one of the following essays in 1000-1200 words.

  1. Customary morality cannot be a guide to modern life
  2. “The past’ is a permanent dimension of human consciousness and values
  3. A people that values its privileges above its principles loses both
  4. Reality does not conform to the ideal, but confirms it

UPSC essay topics- Mains 2017

SECTION – A – 125 marks

Write any one of the following essays in 1000-1200 words.

  1. Farming has lost the ability to be a source of subsistence for majority of farmers in India.
  2. Impact of the new economic measures on fiscal ties between the union and states in India.
  3. Destiny of a nation is shaped in its classrooms.
  4. Has the Non- Alignment Movement(NAM) lost its relevance in a multipolar world.

SECTION – B – 125 marks

Write any one of the following essays in 1000-1200 words.

  1. Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.
  2. Fulfillment of ‘new woman’ in India is a myth.
  3. We may brave human laws but cannot resist natural laws.
  4. Social media is inherently a selfish medium.


UPSC essay topics- Mains 2016

SECTION – A – 125 marks

Write any one of the following essays in 1000-1200 words.

  1. If development is not engendered, it is endangered
  2. Need brings greed, if greed increases it spoils breed
  3. Water disputes between states in federal India
  4. Innovation is the key determinant of economic growth and social welfare

SECTION – B – 125 marks

Write any one of the following essays in 1000-1200 words.

  1. Cooperative federalism: Myth or reality
  2. Cyberspace and internet: Blessing or curse to the human civilization in the long run
  3. Near jobless growth in India: An anomaly or an outcome of economic reforms
  4. Digital economy: A leveller or a source of economic inequality


UPSC essay topics- Mains 2015

SECTION – A – 125 marks

Write any one of the following essays in 1000-1200 words.

  1. Lending hands to someone is better than giving a dole.
  2. Quick but steady wins the race.
  3. Character of an institution is reflected in its leader.
  4. Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make a man more clever devil.

SECTION – B – 125 marks

Write any one of the following essays in 1000-1200 words.

  1. Technology cannot replace manpower.
  2. Crisis faced in India – moral or economic.
  3. Dreams which should not let India sleep.
  4. Can capitalism bring inclusive growth?


UPSC essay topics- Mains 2014

SECTION – A – 125 marks

Write any one of the following essays in 1000-1200 words.

1.With greater power comes greater responsibility.

2.Is the growing level of competition good for the youth?

3.Are the standardized tests a good measure of academic ability or progress?

4.Words are sharper than the two-edged sword.

SECTION – B – 125 marks

Write any one of the following essays in 1000-1200 words.

  1. Was it the policy paralysis or the paralysis of implementation which slowed the growth of our country?
  2. Is sting operation an invasion on privacy?
  3. Fifty Golds in Olympics: Can this be a reality for India?
  4. Tourism: Can this be the next big thing for India?


UPSC essay topics- Mains 2013

Write an essay on any one of the following topics, in NOT MORE than 2500 words. (250 marks)

1. Be the change you want to see in others – Gandhi.

2.Is the Colonial mentality hindering India’s Success?

3.A Compilation of Essays | Year Wise Question Trend Analysis GDP (Gross Domestic Product) along with GDH (Gross DomesticHappiness) would be the right indices for judging the well- being of a country.

4. Science and technology is the panacea for the growth and security of the nation.


UPSC essay topics- Topic Wise Analysis

Economy and Development

  1. Is the criticism that the ‘Public-Private-Partnership’ (PPP) model for development is more of a bane than a boon in the Indian context, justified ?-2012
  2. Should a moratorium be imposed on all fresh mining in tribal areas of the country? -2010
  3. Are our traditional handicrafts doomed to a slow death? -2009
  4. The focus of health care is increasingly getting skewed towards the ‘haves’ of our society. -2009
  5. Special economic zone: boon or bane -2008
  6. Protection of ecology and environment is essential for sustained economic development. -2006
  7. BPO boom in India. -2007
  8. Globalization would finish small-scale industries in India. -2006
  9. Economic growth without distributive justice is bound to breed violence. – 1993
  10. Ecological considerations need not hamper development. -1993
  11. Multinational corporations – saviours or saboteurs -1994
  12. Resource management in the Indian context. -1999
  13. Urbanization is a blessing in disguise. -1997



  1. Credit – based higher education system challenges -2011 – status , opportunities and
  2. Is an egalitarian society possible by educating the masses ?-2008
  3. Independent thinking should be encouraged right form the childhood. –
  4. “Education for all” campaign in India: myth or reality. -2006
  5. What is real education? -2005
  6. Modern technological education and human values. -2002
  7. Privatization of higher education in India. -2002
  8. Irrelevance of the classroom. -2001
  9. Value-based science and education. -1999
  10. Literacy is growing very fast, but there is no corresponding growth in education. -1996
  11. Restructuring of Indian education system. -19952007


Democracy, Society, Culture, Mindset

  1. In the context of Gandhiji’s views on the matter, explore, on an evolutionary scale, the terms ‘Swadhinata’, ‘Swaraj’ and ‘Dharmarajya’. Critically comment on their contemporary relevance to Indian democracy -2012
  2. Does Indian cinema shape our popular culture or merely reflect it? -2011
  3. Geography may remain the same ; history need not. -2010
  4. From traditional Indian philanthropy to the gates-buffet model-a natural progression or a paradigm shift? -2010
  5. globalization’ vs. ‘nationalism’ -2009
  6. National identity and patriotism -2008
  7. How has satellite television brought about cultural change in Indian mindsets? -2007
  8. Globalizations and its impact on Indian culture. -2004
  9. Responsibility of media in a democracy. -2002
  10. Indian culture today: a myth or a reality? -2000
  11. Modernism and our traditional socio-ethical values. -2000
  12. Why should we be proud of being Indians? -2000
  13. Youth culture today. -1999
  14. Mass media and cultural invasion. -1999
  15. The composite culture of India. -1998
  16. The Indian society at the crossroads. -1994
  17. Modernisation and westernisation are not identical concepts. -1994
  18. New cults and godmen: a threat to traditional religion -1996
  19. True religion cannot be misused. -1997


Women Empowerment

  1. Managing work and home – is the Indian working woman getting a fair deal? -2012
  2. Women’s reservation bill would usher in empowerment for women in India. -2006
  3. The hand that rocks the cradle -2005
  4. If women ruled the world -2005
  5. Whither women’s emancipation? -2004
  6. Empowerment alone cannot help our women. -2001
  7. Women empowerment: challenges and prospects. -1999
  8. Woman is god’s best creation. -1998
  9. Greater political power alone will not improve women’s plight. -1997
  10. The new emerging women power: the ground realities. -1995
  11. Men have failed: let women take over. -1993


Polity and Administration

  1. Creation of smaller states and the consequent administrative, economic and developmental implication -2011
  2. In the Indian context, both human intelligence and technical intelligence are crucial in combating terrorism -2011
  3. Evaluation of panchayati raj system in India from the point of view of eradication of power to people. -2007
  4. Justice must reach the
  5. Is autonomy the best answer to combat balkanization? -2007
  6. The country’s need for a better disaster management system. -2000
  7. Are we a ‘soft’ state ?-2009poor-2005
  8. Role of media in good governance -2008
  9. Judicial activism and Indian democracy. -2004
  10. How should a civil servant conduct himself? -2003
  11. What have we gained from our democratic set-up? -2001
  12. Urbanisation and its hazards -2008
  13. Food security for sustainable national development -2005
  14. Water resources should be under the control of the central government.2004
  15. The misinterpretation and misuse of freedom in India. -1998
  16. The language problem in India: its past, present and prospects. -1998
  17. Reservation, politics and empowerment. -1999
  18. When money speaks, the truth is silent. -1995
  19. Politics without ethics is a disaster. -1995
  20. Judicial activism. -1997
  21. The vip cult is a bane of Indian democracy -1996
  22. Need for transparency in public administration -1996
  23. Whither Indian democracy? -1995
  24. Politics, bureaucracy and business – fatal triangle. -1994
  25. How far has democracy in India delivered the goods? -2003
  26. What we have not learnt during fifty years of independence. -1997
  27. My vision of India in 2001 a.d. -1993


Science and Technology

  1. Science and Mysticism: Are they compatible ?-2012
  2. The march of science and the erosion of human values. -2001
  3. Increasing computerization would lead to the creation of a dehumanized society. -2006
  4. The lure of space. -2004
  5. Spirituality and scientific temper. -2003
  6. The cyberworld: its charms and challenges. -2000
  7. The modern doctor and his patients. -1997
  8. Computer: the harbinger of silent revolution. -1993


 International relations and International Issues

  1. India’s role in promoting ASEAN cooperation. -2004
  2. The masks of new imperialism. -2003
  3. As civilization advances culture declines. -2003
  4. The implications of globalization for India. -2000
  5. My vision of an ideal world order. -2001
  6. India’s contribution to world wisdom. -1998
  7. The world of the twenty-first century. -1998
  8. Preparedness of our society for India’s global leadership role. -2010
  9. The global order: political and economic -1993
  10. Importance of Indo-US nuclear agreement -2006
  11. Good fences make good neighbours -2009
  12. Terrorism and world peace -2005
  13. Restructuring of UNO reflect present realities -1996


Philosophy and Ethics based

  1. Discipline means success, anarchy means ruin -2008
  2. Attitude makes, habit makes character and character makes a man. -2007
  3. There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. -2003
  4. If youth knew, if age could. -2002
  5. The paths of glory lead but to the grave. -2002
  6. The pursuit of excellence. -2001
  7. Search for truth can only be a spiritual problem. -2002
  8. Disinterested intellectual curiosity is the lifeblood of civilisation. -1995
  9. Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds. -1995
  10. Youth is a blunder, manhood a struggle, old age a regret-1994
  11. Useless life is an early death. -1994
  12. He would reigns within himself and folds his passions and desires and fears is more than a king. -1993
  13. Compassion is the basic of all morality would -1993
  14. Truth is lived, not taught -1996

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