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UPSC Changes in Syllabus of Geography Mains

UPSC Changes in Syllabus of Geography Mains

In view of the variety of changes being introduced for reforming the Civil Services Examination, the UPSC introduced knowledge based changes in the syllabus of Civil Services Examination.

Most of the changes that have been made reflect the underlying theme of knowledge and analysis base As far as Geography is concerned, the changes indicate the introduction of topics of contemporary relevance. India, as a country has really opened up in the last one and a half decades, both in terms of economy as well as culture. In this backdrop, it is pertinent that a Civil Servant to-be gets a knowledge of those concepts. Hence, the new changes !

What are these Changes ?
These changes are as follows along with their relevance—

● Fundamentals of Geomagnetism
● Recent view on mountain building
● Tsunamis
● Landscape Development
● Denudation chronology
● Channel Morphology
● Erosion surfaces
● Slope development
● Geohydrology, economic geology and environment

● Atmospheric stability and instability
● Weather and Climate
● Global Climate change & role and response of man in climatic changes,
● Applied Climatology and Urban climate.

● Heat and Salt Budget
● Waves
● Coral bleaching
● Law of the sea and marine pollution

● Soil degradation
● Wild life
● Major gene pool centres

Environmental Geography
● Human ecological adaptations
● Influence of man on ecology and environment
● Ecosystem conservation
● Environmental management
● Biodiversity and sustainable development
● Environmental policy
● Environmental hazards and remedial measures
● Environmental education and legislation

Human Geography
Perspectives in Human Geography
● Languages, religions and secularisation.

Economic Geography
● Food securities.

Population and Settlement Geography
● Population theories, World Population policies, social wellbeing and quality of life
● Population as social capital, Types and patterns of rural settlements
● Environmental issues in rural settlements.
● Urban morphology
● Remedies of urbanisation
● Sustainable development of cities.

Regional Planning
● Regional development strategies.

Models, Theories and Laws in Human Geography
● Perroux and Boudeville.

Physical Setting
● Rainfall pattern Resources
● Forest and wild life resources and their conservation
● Soil types and their distributions.

● Cropping pattern
● Aquaculture
● Seri, apiculture & poultry
● Agro-ecological regions.

● Agro-based industries
● Industrial houses and complexes including public sector undertakings
● Special Economic zones
● Tourism including eco-tourism Transport, Communication and Trade
● Trade Policy
● Indian Space Programme

Cultural Setting
● Historical Perspective of Indian Society
● Linguistic diversities
● Religious Minorities
● Cultural regions
● Health Indicators

● Remedies of urbanisation Regional Development and Planning
● Regional planning and development of Island territories

Political Aspects
● Inter-state issues
● Cross border terrorism
● India's role in World affairs
● Geopolitics of South Asia
Contemporary Issues
● Ecological issues
● Tsunamis
● Deforestation, desertification and soil erosion
● Environmental awareness
● Linkage of rivers
● Globalisation and Indian Economy

Topics and their Significance

1. Geomagnetism : To broaden the horizon of Geography, elements of Geology have been incorporated. This makes the syllabus wide and diverse and at the same time more scientific. And serious students do not need to be afraid of this, since "logic" should be the order of the day. The topic requires an understanding of principles of geomagnetism, causes of geomagnetism, geomagnetic polarity reversal and the distribution of geomagnetic field, impact of geomagnetism on climate and on earth’s history.

2. Recent views on mountain building is an extension of Plate Tectonics. The topic requires a deep insight into the works of Miya Sharo, the Mantle Flowage Model and case studies of Cyprus type of subduction and obduction of Irian Jaya.

3. Tsunamis : This Japanese term has become very much known in the local parlance also and will require the candidates to know the causes of Tsunamis, the generation of seismic sea waves, the components of the Tsunamis warning systems and ways and means to mitigate Tsunamis warning system.

4. The topic of landscape development requires an understanding of the models of landscape development, i.e., Davis, Penck, King, Crickmay, Peltier, Cotton and the Entropy Maximisation Model of Chorley, Shumm and Stanley.
5. Denudation chronology is another or alternative explanation of Cycle Concept It also deals with morphometric analysis, basin morphometry, etc.
6. River morphology : The topic is about various types of river channels and the river flow.

7. Erosion surfaces will require a study of peneplain, panplain, etchplain and its evidences such as accordant interstream levels.

8. Slope analysis : It is an extension of cycle of erosion concept
9. Geohydrology and economic geology a topic of Geology which will contain Darcy's Law, various methods or mineral resource formation.
10. Atmospheric stability and instability will comprise the study of humidity, the factors responsible for stability and the types of stability such as orographic instability, convectional instability and frontal instability and effects of instability such as the various forms of precipitation caused by adiabatic temperature

11. Applied climatology will be a very scientific presentation of the role of climate in town planning, aviation, tourism geography etc.
12. Urban climate is on the various facets of urban heat island effects, Venturi effect, etc.

13. Waves : The dynamics of generation, types and movement, another example of application of physics in geography.

14. Coral bleaching : A detailed study of the morphology of corals and its association with dinoflagellates i.e., znoxanthellae.

15. Law of the sea and marine population : We are at a juncture where talks about biosphere reserves and ecological problems are going on with alacrity. (viz. Sethu Samudram Project). Hence, this topic seems to be significant in that regard. In the same vein, a whole lot of topics like

16. Environment Policy, hazards and remedies including legislation is absolutely relevant for a policymaker
of the future.

17. Wild life : A much awaited topic to be inserted.

18. Gene pools : Extension of the topic of Biodiversity.

19. Environmental hazards. The topic in any case has been there. Only its management needs to be taken proper care of.

20. Environmental education and legislation : An indication of the multi dimensional nature of geography.

21. Special economic zones : This is yet another topic which has been and is continuing to be the hot topic of today and on top of this, knowledge of agro-based industries and industrial houses in general will help the ardent civil servant to dispense justice in a logical manner.

22. Population geography : Population Geography is much like Sociology with insertion of analytical topics like social wellbeing, population as social capital and sustainable development of cities.

23. The topic on languages, religion and secularisation will be dealing with the concept of languages, their evolution, types, classification, distribution and the recent trends in language and linguistic forms.
Religion will require the study of the origin and evolution of religion, its diffusion, and its types and distribution, alongwith the concept of neo-religion and its impact on lifestyle and culture.

24. Food securities deal with the concept of food insecurities and will be the concept of food security and will be mostly dealing with the concept of food security that has evolved during India’s representation on World Food Bank.
25. Although population theories have been existing in the syllabus as part of the Models and Theories, but the topic has been respecified and it comprises not only the Demographic Transition Theory but also the topics like Epidemiological Transition, Mobility Transition, Social Capillarity plus all the concepts associated with sustainability aspects of the growth of population.

Population policies require a case study of population problems and policies of Romania, Brazil, China, Iran and Nigeria.
26. Social well-being and quality of life is totally an analytical and perspective based topic where the requirements from the candidates will be the study of HDI, GDI, GEM and case study of Brazil type, China type and Russian type economy.
27. Population as a social capital is again a perspective based topic that will comprise the study of the debate related to population as a problem or population as a resource.

28. Environmental issues in rural settlement are partly associated with the planning for rural settlement and partly the factors which have led to evolution of rural settlements.

29. Urban Morphology is the reinsertion of the topic which was lifted out of the syllabus in the year 2000, when the syllabus was changed. It is a theoretical description of the arrangement of the various types of activities in the cities as well as their application on a worldwide scale.

30. Remedies of urbanisation and sustainable development of the cities are more less the same type of topics related to planning of the cities and introduction of a variety of concepts for development, i.e., a long lasting development. The topic will require a very good understanding of the interrelationship of the psyche of the people, the sociological component as well as increasing the energy efficiency of the cities.

31. Regional Development strategies will be dealing with the concepts of multi-level planning, singlelevel planning, planning from above or below as Stohr called it.
Booklist in the Perspective of Changed Syllabus
The Earth's Dynamic Surface —By K. Siddhartha
Geomorphology—By Bloom
Geomorphology—By Sparks
Economic Geology —By Shackleton
Environmental Geology —By Valdiya

Atmosphere, Weather and Climate— By K. Siddhartha
Climate History and Modern Man—By Chorley
Science and Wonders of Atmosphere— By Gedzelman

Bio and Environmental Geography
Biosphere : A Geography of Life —By Dr. Thomas and K. Siddhartha
Environmental Geology —By Valdiya
Living in the Environment —By Miller

Settlement Geography
Cities, Urbanisation and Urban System—By K. Siddhartha and S. Mukherjee
Urban Geography—By Herbert Thomas

How to Prepare
These changes in the syllabus are beneficial to the aspirants in a variety of ways—
● As Geography is tending to become multi-disciplinary it would provide more coverage for General Studies.
● A lot of unwanted competition will be weeded out; the nonserious candidates can be weeded out by these changes.
● The subject will become much more exclusive
● The questions will become more predictable and straight forward.
These changes are not at all difficult to handle. They can be tackled with élan if thoughtful inputs go into the preparation.
Quality education to IAS aspirants will be of paramount importance in their preparation.




Objective 10 questions

1. Why the document you created at home displays with a different font at school?

Because you have a different printer at school than at home Because you have a different monitor at school than at home

font you used at home is not installed on your school computer Because the version of Windows is different

2. Which keyboard shortcut centers selected text?

Ctrl+C Alt+C There is no keyboard shortcut for this operation Ctrl+E

3. What is the default file extension for all Word documents?


4. Which key moves your cursor from one cell to the next in a table?

Tab Shift Enter Ctrl+Enter

5. How many different documents can you have open at one time?

No more that three Only one As many as your computer memory will hold No more than your Taskbar can display

6. In order to email a Word document from within Word:

Go to File/Send To/Mail Recipient Save the file as an email attachment Start Outlook and attach the file while open in Word This is an impossible operation

7. Which keystroke will take you at the beginning or the end of a long document?

Ctrl+PageUp and Ctrl+PageDown Shift+Home and Shift+End Ctrl+Home and Ctrl+End The only way is by using the right scroll bar

8. How many margins are on a page?

Two (header and footer) Four (top, bottom, right, left) Two (landscape and Portrait) Two (top and bottom)

9.In order to save a Word document as a web page you need to:

Put the appropriate graphics and links on the document Save the document in simple text format Use your web browser as an editor and save as URL Save as HTML

10. A document in portrait prints:

The same characters per line with the same document in landscape More characters per line than the same document in landscape Less characters per line than the same document in landscape Smaller fonts in order to fit the same amount of characters per line with landscape




1. Femina Miss India World award for 2012 has been awarded to –

Vanya Mishra
Prachi Mishra
SimranKaur Mundi
Crystle Stewart

2. Who among the following is the winner of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award for the year 2011? –

Sachin Tendulkar
Saurav Ganguli
Sanjeeva Kumar Singh
Gagan Narang

3. The Mascot of the 2008 Olympic Games was-


4. Which among the following has won 2012 IPL Tournament?

Chennai Super Kings
Kolkata Knight Riders
Deccon Chargers
Delhi Daredevils

5. Who has written “Unaccustomed Earth” ?

Jhumpa Laheri
Kiran Desai
Arundhati Roy
Khushwant Singh

6. Which of the following has been selected for best parliamentarian of the year award 2007 ?

Priya Ranjan Das Munshi
Mani Shankar Aiyyar
Sushama Swaraj

7. Duwuri Subbarao's name was in news recently as he has taken over as the Governor of

8. ISRO has launched successfully RISAT-1 satellites through PSLV-C19 on -

15th March,2012
30th March,2012
26th April,2012
4th May,2012

9. Which country was host 15th SAARC Summit in 2008 ?

Sri Lanka

10. Who among the following is the winner of the Wimbledon open Tennis Tournament 2008 of the Women's Single Title ? 

Serena Williams
Venus Wlliams
Maria Sharapova
Ana Ivanovic

Ana Ivanovic