Geography for IAS is a quasi scientific subject , which ensures great marks to all the candidates who have science background  or carry why and how curiosity of learning .  Geography has high mark potential in IAS mains because of multiple reasons firstly because  of high map and diagram capability , secondly map question , thirdly it has perfect structuring potential and finally its present day relevance in understanding the human aspect of geography.

Principles of Geography
Physical Geography

i) Geomorphology :Factors controlling landform development; endogenetic and exogenetic forces; Origin and evolution of the earth’s crust; Fundamentals of geomagnetism; Physical conditions of the earth’s interior; Geosynclines; Continental drift; Isostasy; Plate tectonics; Recent views on mountain building; Vulcanicity; Earthquake and Tsunamis; Concepts of geomorphic cycles and Landscape development ; Denudation chronology; Channel morphology; Erosion surfaces; Slope development ; Applied Geomorphology:Geohydrology, economic geology and environment , Glacial landforms

ii) Climatology:Temperature and pressure belts of the world; Heat budget of the earth; Atmospheric circulation; atmospheric stability and instability. Planetary and local winds; Monsoons and jet streams; Air masses and fronto genesis, Temperate and tropical cyclones; Types and distribution of precipitation; Weather and Climate; Koppen’s, Thornthwaite’s and Trewartha’s classification of world climates; Hydrological cycle; Global climatic change and role and response of man in climatic changes, Applied climatology and Urban climate.

iii) Oceanography :Bottom topography of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans; Temperature and salinity of the oceans; Heat and salt budgets, Ocean deposits; Waves, currents and tides; Marine resources:biotic, mineral and energy resources; Coral reefs, coral bleaching; sea level changes; law of the sea and marine pollution.

iv) Biogeography :Genesis of soils; Classification and distribution of soils; Soil profile; Soil erosion, Degradation and conservation; Factors influencing world distribution of plants and animals; Problems of deforestation and conservation measures; Social forestry; agro-forestry; Wild life; Major gene pool centres.

v) Environmental Geography:Principle of ecology; Human ecological adaptations; Influence of man on ecology and environment; Global and regional ecological changes and imbalances; Ecosystem their management and conservation; Environmental degradation, management and conservation; Biodiversity and sustainable development; Environmental policy; Environmental hazards and remedial measures; Environmental education and legislation.

Human Geography

i) Perspectives in Human Geography:Areal differentiation; regional synthesis; Dichotomy and dualism; Environmentalism; Quantitative revolution and locational analysis; radical, behavioural, human and welfare approaches; Languages, religions and secularisation; Cultural regions of the world; Human development index.
ii) Economic Geography:World economic development:measurement and problems; World resources and their distribution; Energy crisis; the limits to growth; World agriculture:typology of agricultural regions; agricultural inputs and productivity; Food and nutrition problems; Food security; famine:causes, effects and remedies; World industries:locational patterns and problems; patterns of world trade.

iii) Population and Settlement Geography:Growth and distribution of world population; demographic attributes; Causes and consequences of migration; concepts of over – under-and optimum population; Population theories, world population problems and policies, Social well-being and quality of life; Population as social capital.

Types and patterns of rural settlements; Environmental issues in rural settlements; Hierarchy of urban settlements; Urban morphology:Concepts of primate city and rank-size rule; Functional classification of towns; Sphere of urban influence; Rural – urban fringe; Satellite towns; Problems and remedies of urbanization; Sustainable development of cities.

iv) Regional Planning:Concept of a region; types of regions and methods of regionalisation; growth centres and growth poles; regional imbalances; environmental issues in regional planning; planning forsustainable development.

v) Models, Theories and Laws in Human Geography :System analysis in Human Geography; Malthusian, Marxian and Demographic Transition models; Central Place theories of Christaller and Losch; Von Thunen’s model of agricultural location; Weber’s model of industrial location; Rostov’s model of stages of growth. Heart-land and Rimland theories; laws of international boundaries and frontiers.

Geography of India

1. Physical Setting :–
Space relationship of India with neighbouring countries; Structure and relief; Drainage system and watersheds; Physiographic regions; Mechanism of Indian monsoons and rainfall patterns, Tropical cyclones and western disturbances; Floods and droughts; Climatic regions; Natural vegetation; Soil types and their distributions.

2. Resources:
Land, surface and ground water, energy, minerals, biotic and marine resources; Forest and wild life resources and their conservation; Energy crisis.

3. Agriculture:
Infrastructure:irrigation, seeds, fertilizers, power; Institutional factors:land holdings, land tenure and land reforms; Cropping pattern, agricultural productivity, agricultural intensity, crop combination, land capability; Agro and social forestry; Green revolution and its socioeconomic and ecological implications; Significance of dry farming; Livestock resources and white revolution; aqua-culture; sericulture, apiculture and poultry; agricultural regionalisation; agro-climatic zones; agro-ecological regions.

4 . Industry :
Evolution of industries ; Locational factors of cotton, jute, textile, iron and steel, aluminium, fertilizer, paper, chemical and pharmaceutical, automobile, cottage and agro-based industries; Industrial houses and complexes including public sector undertakings; Industrial regionalisation; New industrial policies; Multinationals and liberalization; Special Economic Zones; Tourism including eco -tourism.

5. Transport, Communication and Trade:
Road, railway, waterway, airway and pipeline networks and their complementary roles in regional development; Growing importance of ports on national and foreign trade; Trade balance; Trade Policy; Export processing zones; Developments in communication and information technology and their impacts on economy and society; Indian space programme.

6. Cultural Setting:
Historical Perspective of Indian Society; Racial, linguistic and ethnic diversities; religious minorities; major tribes, tribal areas and their problems; cultural regions; Growth, distribution and density of population; Demographic attributes:sex-ratio, age structure, literacy rate, work-force, dependency ratio, longevity; migration (inter-regional, intra- regional and international) and associated problems; Population problems and policies; Health indicators.

7. Settlements:
Types, patterns and morphology o f rural settlements; Urban development’s; Morphology of Indian cities; Functional classification of Indian cities ; Conurbations and metropolitan regions; urban sprawl; Slums and associated problems; town planning; Problems of urbanization and remedies.

8. Regional Development and Planning:
Experience of regional planning in India; Five Year Plans; Integrated rural development programmes; Panchayati Raj and decentralised planning; Command area development; Watershed management; Planning for backward area ,desert , drought prone, hill, tribal area development; multi-level planning; Regional planning and development of island territories.

9. Political Aspects:
Geographical basis of Indian federalism; State reorganisation; Emergence of new states; Regional consciousness and interstate issues; international boundary of India and related issues; Cross border terrorism; India’s role in world affairs; Geopolitics of South Asia and Indian Ocean realm.

10. Contemporary Issues:
Ecological issues:Environmental hazards:landslides earth quakes , Tsunamis , floods and droughts, epidemics; Issues relating to environmental pollution; Changes in patterns of land use; Principles of environmental impact assessment and environmental management; Population explosion and food security; Environmental degradation; Deforestation, desertification and soil erosion; Problems of agrarian and industrial unrest; Regional disparities in economic development ; Concept of sustainable growth and development; Environmental awareness; Linkage of rivers; Globalisation and Indian economy.

NOTE:Candidates will be required to answer one compulsory map question pertinent to subjects covered by this paper

Sample Question paper for IAS Mains geography
Instructions for UPSC Geography Mains
Illustrate your answers with suitable sketches, maps and diagrams wherever necessary. These shall be drawn in the space provided for answering the question itself.

Each paper has 3 hours and 250 marks.

There are EIGHT questions divided in two Sections and printed both in HINDI and in ENGLISH.
Candidate has to attempt FIVE questions in all.
Question Nos. 1 and 5 are compulsory and out of the remaining, THREE are to be attempted choosing at least ONE question from each Section.

The number of marks carried by a question/part is indicated against it.

Answers must be written in the medium authorized in the Admission Certificate which must be stated clearly on the cover of this Question-cum-Answer (QCA) Booklet in the space provided. No marks will be given for answers written in medium other than the authorized one.

Word limit in questions, wherever specified, should be adhered to.

Attempts of questions shall be counted in chronological order. Unless struck off, attempt of a question shall be counted even if attempted partly. Any page or portion of the page left blank in the Question-cum-Answer Booklet must be clearly

Geography Optional Paper 1:SECTION A

Q1. Answer the following:150 each:10 x 5 = 50 marks
1) Define the term ‘meander’ and describe the basic characteristics of entrenched meander and ingrown meander.
2) Discuss the salient features of ‘sirocco’ and ‘mistral’.
3) Discuss an account of the nature of biosphere as an ecosystem.
4) State the uniqueness of the Eurasian Steppe Biome.
5) Illustrate the origin and nature of Sargasso Sea and Lagoon

Q2. Answer following (20 + 15 + 15 marks)
1) State the concept of plate tectonics. How does it help in explaining the formation of Himalayas and Appalachain Mountains.
2) Describe the origin and development of thunderstorms with examples.
3) Enumerate the major causes of increasing degradation of environment in hills and hillslopes, and state its down-valley impact.

Q3. Answer following (20 + 15 + 15 marks)
1) Discuss the nature and origin of Indian monsoon and recent techniques of its prediction.
2) State the concept of erosion surfaces and highlight the factors responsible for their development.
3) Give a critical account of reasons and consequences of marine pollution.

Q4. Answer following (20 + 15 + 15 marks)
1) Explain weathering and mass wasting, and describe their geomorphic significance.
2) Define zoogeographic region.Also describe he basic faunal makeup of the Neo-Arctic zoogeographic region.
3) Give an account of recent observation on coral bleaching with reference to Clive Wilkinson’s Report.

Geography Optional Paper 1:SECTION B

Q5. Answer the following:150 words each. 10 x 5 = 50 marks
1) Elaborate the concept of mental map.
2) Give an account of food security issues in developing countries.
3) Discuss the factors responsible for counter-urbanisation.
4) Explain the relevance of bottom-up and top-down approaches in the development of agrarian economy.
5) Critically analyse application of models in geography.

Q6. Answer following (20 + 15 + 15 marks)

1) Explain the necessary conditions of takeoff and subsequent stages of development of a nation as propounded by Rostow.
2) Discuss environmental and economic problems associated with coal production.
3) Discuss the contribution of geographers in the develodu pment of radical geography.

Q7. Answer following (20 + 15 + 15 marks)

1) Giving suitable examples, describe the importance of system analysis in geographical studies.
2) “Rural sustainability is necessary for urban sustainability.” Discuss the statement in the backdrop of integrated development approach.
3) “Indo-Gangetic hearth is considered to be one of the world’s richest cultural realms.” Examine.

Q8. Answer following (20 + 15 + 15 marks)

1) Explain the qualitative and quantitative methods of delineation of sphere of urban influence.
2) “World is passing through a global resource dilemma.” Comment
3) “Food productivity with purity of the ecosystem is the need of the hour.” Elaborate.
Geography Optional:Paper 2:SECTION A

Q1. Answer following. 5 x 10 = 50 marks.

1) On the outline map of India provided to you, mark the location of all of the following. Write in your QCA Booklet the significance of the locations, whether physical/commercial/economic/ecological/environmental/cultural in not more than 30 words for each entry:(2 x 5 =10 marks)
a) Guru Shikhar
b) Bhor Ghat
c) Shravanabelagola
d) Kalibangan
e) Ganga Sagar
2) Explain how eco-tourism, activities could be important livelihood options in the Himalayan and North-Eastern regions of the country.
3) How is drainage pattern determined by the water divide?
4) Location of thermal power plants and coal fields in India are mot mutually conducive. Analyse.
5) Why has agro and social forestry has failed to achieve its objectives?

Q2. Answer following (20 + 15 + 15 marks)
1) Bring out the distribution of Laterite soils in India and their specific use for agriculture.
2) Suggest the measures of wild-life conservation with reference to extinction of rare species.
3) Describe the problems of agro-based industries in India in general and cotton textiles in particular.

Q3. Answer following (20 + 15 + 15 marks)
1) Highlight the socio-economic and ecological roles of River Cauvery in its riverine tract.
2) Discuss the problems and prospects of National Waterway No. 1.
3) Explain the concept of ‘Make in India’ and indicate the essential inputs for its success.

Q4. Answer following (20 + 15 + 15 marks)
1) Describe the salient climatological characteristics of Rayalseema region.
2) ‘In spite of various negative impacts of Green Revolution, there is a demand for New Green Revolution.’ Elaborate.
3) What are the desired possible changes in our trade policy to promote the development of cottage industry?

Geography Optional Paper 2:SECTION B

Q5. Answer following:5 x 10 = 50 marks.
1) On the outline map of India provided to you, mark the location of all of the following. Write in your QCA Booklet the significance of these locations, whether physical/commercial/economic/ecological/environmental/cultural in not more than 30 words for each entry:(2 x 5 = 10 marks)
a. Mundra Port
b. Chandipur
c. Mahendragiri
d. Hazira
e. Vembanad Lake
2) Highlight the implications of declining child sex ratio in India.
3) Analyse the feasibility of “Smart Towns’ Development in India.
4) Comment on the criteria of identifying Drought Prone Areas in India.
5) Bring out the role of terrain in determining India’s political influence over neighbouring countries.

Q6. Answer following (20 + 15 + 15 marks)
1) Discuss the trends in emigration focusing on its major thrust.
2) Account for the multiple problems of urban agglomerations.
3) Evaluate the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme.
Q7. Answer following (20 + 15 + 15 marks)
1) How can a meaningful skill development programme contribute to the economic growth of hill areas?
2) Differentiate between ‘intensity’ and ‘magnitude’ of an earthquake and explain its varying impact in different parts of India.
3) Discuss the implications of India’s strategic location with reference to the Indian Ocean.

Q8. Answer following (20 + 15 + 15 marks)
1) India is involved in a number of border disputes. Explain the reasons and remedies.
2) Discuss the concept of Command Area Development and evaluate its success with reference to Indira Gandhi Canal.
3) How has an inappropriate urban land use policy accounted for undesirable development in and around metropolitan cities.