UPSC Essay Topics – UPSC Essay Previous Year Question Paper

By Balaji

Updated on: March 22nd, 2023

UPSC Essay Topics has been a subject of discussion every year due to their uncertainty. The Essay Topics for UPSC range from diverse topics including economic growth, women empowerment, art & culture, media & society, etc. One should at least analyze the last 10 years’ Essay Previous Year Question Paper UPSC to get an idea about Important UPSC Essay Topics for 2023. Practicing the UPSC Essay Topics from the previous year helps during the UPSC Mains exam and the aspirant, through immense practice, can ace the essay paper.

The UPSC Essay exam plays a very decisive role in the UPSC Mains examination. The paper carries 250 marks and candidates are expected to write two essays in three hours, ranging between 1000 to 1200 words. Candidates should read newspapers daily, to get an idea about the UPSC Essay Topics.

Table of content

  • 1. UPSC Essay Topics 2023 (more)
  • 2. UPSC Essay Topics for 2022 (more)
  • 3. Essay Previous Year Question Paper UPSC (more)
  • 4. UPSC Essay Topics Previous Year’s (more)
  • 5. Philosophical UPSC Essay Topics (more)
  • 6. Essay Topics for UPSC on Indian Culture & Society (more)
  • 7. UPSC Essay Topics on Education (more)
  • 8. Science and Technology UPSC Essay Topics (more)
  • 9. UPSC Essay Topics on Women Empowerment (more)
  • 10. Essay Topics for UPSC on Polity & Administration (more)
  • 11. Essay PYQ UPSC on Economic Growth, Development Sectors (more)
  • 12. Notes on UPSC Essay Topics (more)
  • 13. How to Score Marks on UPSC Essay Topics? (more)

UPSC Essay Topics 2023

The UPSC Essay paper is one of the 9 papers of the UPSC Mains. The essay paper analysis the perspective of the candidates on social, economic, and political issues. UPSC generally picks up topics that are either Current Affairs oriented or are impacting the present society to a large extent. Some of the relevant UPSC Essay Topics which could be asked during the UPSC Exam may include:

  • Religion
  • Social Media
  • Privacy/Surveillance
  • Democracy
  • Urbanization
  • Globalization
  • Bureaucracy/Civil Service
  • Constitution
  • Water Security
  • Tourism
  • Media
  • Judiciary
  • Poverty/Hunger/Food Security
  • Human Resources- Employment
  • Innovation
  • Development
  • Education/Higher Education/Foreign University in Higher Education

UPSC Essay Topics for 2022

Candidates should be aware of the recent trends of the UPSC exam. It means the types of questions asked, and the important UPSC Essay Topics recently. The Essay Topics for UPSC asked in the mains 2022 exam are also mentioned below.

  • Forests are the best case studies for economic excellence
  • Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world
  • History is a series of victories won by the scientific man over the romantic man
  • A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ship is for
  • The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining
  • You cannot step twice in the same river
  • A smile is the chosen vehicle for all ambiguities
  • Just because you have a choice, it does not mean that any of them has to be right

Essay Previous Year Question Paper UPSC

It would be immensely helpful if you have access to the previous year’s Essay topics. You would get a clear picture of the types of essay topics that have been asked in the last year. That’s why we have provided the essay of the previous year’s question paper UPSC below.

UPSC Essay Topics Previous Year’s

The essay paper is an important aspect of the Civil Services Exam. Having a regular reading habit and watching analysis of topics helps a lot during the UPSC Essay paper. Practicing UPSC Essay Topics from the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers would definitely help in the long run. Below is a list compiled of some of the topics that were asked in the UPSC Essay paper, and would be beneficial for candidates if they practice it.

  • Culture is what we are, civilization is what we have
  • Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
  • What is research, but a blind date with knowledge!
  • Best for an individual is not necessarily best for the society
  • Wisdom finds truth
  • Ships don’t sink because of water around them, ships sink because of water that gets into them
  • Patriarchy is the least noticed yet the most significant structure of social inequality
  • Technology as the silent factor in international relations

Philosophical UPSC Essay Topics

Every year, UPSC tends to give two or more essay topics related to philosophical thoughts, schools of Indian Philosophy or quotes from famous lines by eminent personalities. To cover and know a basic background to write on philosophical topics, for reference students can refer to Philosophy Books for UPSC. The UPSC Essay Topics asked on Philosophical/ Quotes asked are-

  • Be the change you want to see in others.
  • Reality does not conform to the ideal but confirms it.
  • The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
  • Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.
  • If youth knew if age could.
  • An Useless life is an early death.
  • Search for truth can only be attained through spiritual means.
  • Lending hands to someone is better than giving a dole.
  • Words are sharper than a two-edged sword.

Essay Topics for UPSC on Indian Culture & Society

The UPSC Essay Topics on Indian society, Art & Culture are always very diverse. Static content on this can be read from the basic books on Society referred to during the exam. Candidates can refer to the Art & Culture Notes for UPSC for their preparation. The topics asked are-

  • Are new cults and godmen threats to the traditional religion.
  • Modernism and our traditional socio-ethical values.
  • Indian society is at a crossroads.
  • The composite culture of Indian society
  • Where the Youth culture of today is heading towards
  • As civilization progresses, culture declines.

UPSC Essay Topics on Education

Education is one of the favorite UPSC Essay Topics. Mostly, every year an essay topic related to education is asked in the paper. To cover this topic, one needs to be updated with Current Affairs to include major changes and developments related to the field. The topics asked are-

  • Privatization of the higher education system in India.
  • Does growth in literacy correspond to growth in education?
  • Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make a man more clever devil.
  • Concept of Real Education
  • Restructuring of the Indian education system with respect to the NEP
  • Destiny of a nation is shaped in its classrooms.
  • “Education for all”: myth or reality.

Science and Technology UPSC Essay Topics

Science and Technology essay topics for UPSC can be generally covered from Current Affairs. Students can also refer to Science and Technology Book for UPSC to write a multidimensional essay. The UPSC Essay Topics may include:

  • The modern doctor and his patients.
  • The process of self-discovery has now been technologically outsourced.
  • Alternative technologies for a climate change-resilient India.
  • Technology cannot replace manpower.
  • Social media is inherently a selfish medium.
  • Value-based science and education.
  • Cyberspace and Internet: Blessing or curse to the human civilization in the long run.
  • The lure of space.
  • Spirituality and scientific temper.
  • The march of science and the erosion of human values.
  • The cyberworld: Its charms and challenges.
  • Science and Mysticism: Are they compatible?

UPSC Essay Topics on Women Empowerment

UPSC encourages gender equality in the workplace and hence, topics on women are always favorite. Through the essay, the main aim is to understand the candidate’s level of thinking and critical thinking ability. Stating data, references, and day-to-day examples can be added while writing essays, which will fetch extra marks. Some of the UPSC Essay Topics related to women and women empowerment include:

  • Challenges and prospects of Women empowerment
  • Ground realities of the new emerging women power
  • Fulfillment of ‘new woman’ in India is a myth.
  • Is the Indian working woman getting a fair deal- Managing work and home?
  • Hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.
  • What if all the developed countries had women as their heads?
  • Greater political power alone will not improve women’s plight.
  • Whither women’s emancipation?

Essay Topics for UPSC on Polity & Administration

To cover Polity and Administration topics, one can gain basic knowledge from Polity Books for UPSC and Public Administration Books for UPSC. These books provide static knowledge about the relevant issues and their background, which can be used while writing the UPSC Essay Topics on Polity and Pub Ad. Additionally, candidates can also follow Polity Notes for UPSC to prepare for the IAS Essay Topics.The essays on the topic include:

  • Is autonomy the best answer to combat balkanization?
  • Politics without ethics is a disaster.
  • Judicial activism and Indian democracy.
  • The language politics in India: its past, present, and future.
  • Is a better disaster management system need of the hour?
  • Cooperative federalism: Myth or reality.
  • Need for transparency in public administration.
  • The VIP cult is a bane of Indian democracy.

Essay PYQ UPSC on Economic Growth, Development Sectors

Essays on economic growth, development, and MNC sectors are asked mostly every year in the UPSC Essay Paper. To write essays on these topics, one can refer to Economy Notes for UPSC to get a general overview of the topics. Once the basics are clear, one can add examples, data, and figures, to make the essay multidimensional. The UPSC Essay Topics from this section may include:

  • Can tourism be the next big thing for India?
  • GDP (Gross Domestic Product) along with GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness) should be the right indices for judging the well-being of a country.
  • Are the Multinational corporations, saviors, or saboteurs?
  • Is the Digital economy a leveler or a source of economic inequality?
  • Is it the policy paralysis or the paralysis of implementation which slowed the growth of our country?
  • Future of BPO Culture in India
  • Crisis faced in India – moral or economic.
  • Is the near jobless growth in India, an anomaly or an outcome of economic reforms?


Notes on UPSC Essay Topics

While preparing for the UPSC Essay topics candidates must have adequate information on every topic to come up with a solid essay. Candidates can follow various UPSC Books, study materials, and notes for the preparation of Essay topics for UPSC. Below we have provided the direct link of the essay topics that candidates can refer to.

How to Score Marks on UPSC Essay Topics?

Writing is a window to your thought process. This is exactly what is accessed while the examiner goes through your answer script. An essay is basically a well-structured collection of ideas on any specific topic. Mastering the art to score maximum marks on the paper requires immense practice and perseverance. The essay is not merely a test of factual knowledge, but rather a test of creativity and spirit. To score good marks on the UPSC Essay Topics, follow these steps:

Select the Essay Topic Carefully

The UPSC Essay paper contains two sections, and candidates need to write one essay from each of the two given sections. Both essays are 125 marks each; 1000-1200 words. Before selecting, think over the topic, whether it is too controversial or do you have enough data to write on it, etc.

Ponder the Topic

Once the topic is selected, think over the topic and write the main keywords that you will use during the essay. Try giving a multidimensional approach to the essay and adhere to a good structure of intro-body and conclusion.

Structure well

The introduction paragraph is the essence of the UPSC Essay Topics and should contain a concise idea about the topic. The basic theme should talk about your views on the topic. The main body of the essay should be divided into small paragraphs but should be well interlinked. The language of the essay should be convenient, lucid, and easy to understand. The essay evaluates your critical thinking ability rather than the usage of fancy jargon. If required, facts and data should be included. The usage of quotes and sayings adds weight to the UPSC Essay Topics. The conclusion paragraph should be self-explanatory. Candidates should try to have a neutral or balanced approach while writing the essay.

Follow the ABC of Essay Writing

The ABC of essay writing stands for Accuracy/appropriateness, Brevity, and Consistency of the essay. Following this rule helps a lot while writing on the UPSC Essay Topics.

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