[MAINS FULL MOCK] GENERAL STUDIES (GS) PAPER 4- IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 2) UPSC Mains Answer Writing [1st JANUARY,2021]

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  • January 1, 2021
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Hello Everyone,

Please find below the Full Length Mock Test – General Studies (GS) Paper 4.

This is a part of TLP 2020 (Phase 2)- UPSC Mains Answer Writing Initiative.

All the Best 🙂



There are 14 questions. All questions are compulsory.

The duration for the test is 120 minutes. 

Marks and word limit have been indicated against the question

Content is more important than the number of words.



Q1. (a) If laws and conscience contradict each other, which one should prevail and why? (150 words) (10)

(b) Define the following terms with the help of suitable examples: (200 words) (10)

    1. Post-truth
    2. Devotion  
    3. Patriotism 
    4. Tolerance

Q2. Given below are two quotations of moral thinkers/philosophers. For each of these, bring out what it means to you in the present context: 

(a) “Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.” (150 words (10)

(b) “You only lose what you cling to.” (150 words) (10)

Q3. (a) What is the moral foundation of corporate social responsibility (CSR)? Explain. (150 words) (10)

(b) Do you think lack of performance linked financial incentives in the government lead to corruption? Critically comment. (150 words) (10)

Q4. (a) With the help of suitable examples, discuss the role of positive attitude and emotional maturity play in a public servant’s professional life. (150 words) (10)

(b) What according to you is the guide of last resort for a civil servant? Substantiate your response. (150 words) (10)

Q5. Given below are two quotes by moral philosophers. Bring out their significance in the present societal context. (150 words) (10)

(a) “The goal is not to be better than the other man, but your previous self.”

(b) “Compassion is the radicalism of our time.”

Q6. What are the key challenges of corporate governance in India? What are the legal and institutional mechanisms in place to regulate corporate governance? Discuss. (150 words) (10)

Q7. Are politics and ethics mutually unreconcilable? Critically comment. (150 words) (10)

Q8. Should national interest take precedence over global good in international relations? Share and substantiate your views. (150 words) (10)



Q9. You are the officer in-charge of implementing a welfare scheme for poor widowed women. One day an old lady meets you in your office and asks for your support. Even though she is eligible to avail the benefits of the scheme, she doesn’t have the mandatory documents. Your enquiries also show that she is really destitute and living in a pitiable condition. You are in a dilemma as to what to do. Giving her the benefits of the scheme without proper documentation would clearly be a violation of rules. But denying her the support would be cruel and inhuman. 


What would be your response in this situation? (250 Words) (20)

Q10. You have joined as an Assistant Engineer in the public works department. Within  month of your joining, a foot-over bridge collapses in your jurisdiction. Upon internal enquiry, it comes out that your predecessor had approved the bridge design and awarded other requisite clearances to the contractor without due caution and safeguards. In lieu of the same, he and your superiors were bribed heftily. When your superiors get to know the facts of the case, they start pressurising you to prepare a sabotage report and blame anonymous vandals for the collapse. It would not only save the officers in your department but also make you the eye candy of the superiors. You might be awarded with bigger and more important projects in the future and you will have a secure career. However, if you don’t follow suit, your superiors have threatened to drag your name also in the case. 


What can be the best course of action for you in this situation? Explain. (250 Words) (20)

Q11. You and your best friend work in the same company. Both of you have been best buddies since your childhood and share each other’s deep secrets. You come from a humble background whereas your friend has always been wealthy and extravagant. Your mother is sick and undergoing treatment in a private hospital. You are finding it difficult to meet the treatment expenses from your salary. In fact, you have taken personal loan to ensure that the treatment goes on unaffected. 

One day in the office, you happen to come across a confidential file that contains the proposal to recommend one employee from the office for promotion. You get to know that your and your friend’s names are being considered for promotion. However, since there is only one vacancy, only one of you will get the promotion. You know that your friend has misreported his date of birth in the official data. Your mind tells you to disclose this information to the bosses without revealing your identity. This way, you would get the promotion and get the much needed financial cushioning. 

What decision will you take in this situation? Will you listen to your mind? (250 words) (20)

Q12. Milgram (1963) examined justifications for acts of genocide offered by those accused at the World War II, Nuremberg War Criminal trials. Their defence often was based on “obedience” – that they were just following orders from their superiors. 


Milgram wanted to investigate whether Germans were particularly obedient to authority figures as this was a common explanation for the Nazi killings in World War II. Milgram selected participants for his experiment by newspaper advertising for male participants to take part in a study of learning at Yale University. 


He conducted a series of experiments and came up with the conclusion- Ordinary people are likely to follow orders given by an authority figure, even to the extent of killing an innocent human being. Obedience to authority is ingrained in us all from the way we are brought up. 


Do you find any similarity between the results of the Milgram experiment and indoctrination of terrorists? Analyse. (250 words) (20)

Q13. You are an honest and upright officer. You are made in-charge of a revenue division in the Income Tax Department. You come to know that your division has a poor track record in terms of corruption. Subordinate officers along with the superiors have created a mechanism wherein money flows regularly from the public in lieu of even the regular services provided by the department. You take up the matter and hold a meeting with your officers telling them that any such activity would’t continue further and that you won’t tolerate complaints of graft and corruption. Moreover, you are particular about your image and convey it to the officers also that you don’t need any money from the general public and that you are being paid by the Government for performing your duties. Although the staff seems to have agreed to your instructions, very soon you find yourself in a fix. Firstly, the staff doesn’t feel motivated enough for obvious reasons. Secondly, even general public has started approaching and requesting you to start the old system for it ensured speedy disposal of cases. 


Analyse the situation and give your comments. Also discuss the way out of this. (250 words) (25)

Q14. You are an advisor to the Minister of External Affairs on issues pertaining to bilateral relations. The minister is scheduled to visit a powerful country holding immense strategic and economic opportunities for India. If India can enter into a strategic partnership with the host country, it would help India in tackling challenges related to  internal security, defence, energy, food, S&T etc. However, the host country has poor track record in terms of its treatment of its neighbours. In fact in the United Nations, many resolutions have been passed against it for violation of human rights in its neighbouring countries over territorial disputes. The neighbouring countries of the host nation are important for India’s energy security as they have huge petroleum reserves which get exported to India as well. Moreover, the minority community in your country considers these countries sacred for their historical and religious value. They are protesting the visit of the minister and demanding that he must condemn the atrocities made by the host country and also pay a visit to its neighbours. Doing so however will send negative signals to the host nation and whatever goodwill India has earned will be lost. 

In a situation like this, what are the options available for the minister? Analyse. What would be your advice to the minister and why? Substantiate. (250 Words) (25)


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