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New Changes in Syllabus

Keeping in the view element of uncertainly that is involved in the civil services examinations; we believe that the recent additions and deletions in the Syllabi should be taken with a positive mindset. To explore the essence of the changes, let us elucidate them in the following paragraphs

Why this change? Well, a lot of table-talk has been carried out regarding the reforms in the Exams. And now, the time has come to implement some of them. 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 servants to get a fell of those concepts. Hence, the new changes!

What are these changes? Exactly what are these changes? We may chalk them on in a nutshell as follows: Now, it will be better if we take up a few of the above and discuss their relevance.


• Fundamentals of Geomagnetism.
• Recent view on mountain building.
• Tsunamis
• 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 centers

• Human ecological adaptations
• Influence of man on ecology and environment
• Ecosystem conservation
• Environmental management
• Bio-diversity and sustainable development
• Environmental policy
• Environmental hazards and remedial measures
• Environmental education and legislation


• Languages, religions and secularization

• Food securities

• Population theories, World Population policies, social well-being and quality of life
• Population as social capital, Types and patterns of rural settlements
• Environmental issues in rural statements
• Urban morphology
• Remedies of urbanization
• Sustainable development of cities.

• Regional development strategies

• Perroux and Boudeville


• Rainfall pattern

• I Forest and wild life resources and their conservation
• Soil types and their distributions.

• Cropping pattern,
• Aqua-culture
• Seri, apiculture & poultry
• Agro-ecological regions.

• Agro-based industries
• Industrial houses and complexes including public sector undertakings
• Special Economic zones
• Tourism including eco-tourism

• Trade Policy
• Indian Space Programme

• Historical Perspective of Indian society
• Linguistic diversities
• Religious Minorities
• Cultural regions
• Health Indicators

• Remedies of urbanization

• Regional planning and development of Island territories

• Inter state issues
• Cross border terrorism
• India's role in World affairs
• Geopolitics of South Asia

• Ecological issues
• Tsunamis
• Deforestation, desertification and soil erosion
• Environmental awareness
• Linkage of rivers
• Globalisation and Indian Economy


Paper - I
1. 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. Sethusamudram Project). Hence, this topic seems to be significant in that regard. In the same vein, a whole lot of topics like
2. "Environment Policy, hazards and remedies including legislation is absolutely relevant for a policy-maker of the future.
3. Special Economic Zones: This is yet another topic which has been and is continuing to be the hot topic of today.
4. And on top of this, a knowledge of agro-based industries and industrial houses in general will help the ardent civil servant to dispense justice in a logical manner
5. Tsunamis: No wonder, after that huge thumboldt in 2004, this Japanese term has become very much known in the local parlance also. Hence a through study of this topic is indeed required.
6. Geomagnetism to broaden the horizon of Geography, elements of geology has 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.
7. Recent views on Mountain Building: is an extension of plate tectonics.
8. Denudation chronology: is another or alternative explanation of cycle concept.
9. River morphology: The topic is about various types of river channels and the river flow.
10. Slope analysis extension of cycle of erosion concept
11. Geohydrology & Economic Geology: a topic of Geology which will contain Darcy's Law, Various methods or mineral resource formation.
12. Applied Climatology will be a very scientific presentation of the role of climate in town planning, aviation, tourism geography etc
13. Urban Climate: is on the various facets of urban heat island effects, Venturi effect, etc.
14. Waves : The dynamics of generation, types and movement, another example of application of is physics in geography.
15. Coral bleaching: detailed study of the morphology of corals and its association with dinoflagelates i.e., znoxanthellae.
16. Wild life: A much awaited topic to be inserted
17. Gene pools: Extension of the topic of Biodiversity
18. Environmental Hazards: The topic in any case has been there only its management needs to be taken proper care of.
19. Environmental education and legislation: An indication of the multi dimensional nature of geography.
20. Population Geography: Population Geography is much like Sociology with insertion of analytical topics like social well-being, population as Social capital and Sustainable development of cities.

Paper II

In Paper II, the topics have become very contemporary, very specialized and theoretical as well such as sericulture aquaculture, apiculture in Indian agriculture section. The topics of Indian Industrial geography have become more inclined towards economics with the introduction of topics like Industrial Houses, Public Sector undertakings, SEZs, eco tourism and trade policies.

The Culture setting section like population geography has become more oriented towards sociology, once again as is indicated by Historical perspective on Indian societies and a topic like a wellness industries, such as health indicators.

Well, these go on to make the syllabus of Geography much more diverse and wide. Geography is no longer pure geography alones but a combo of many subjects.

The new contents in the syllabi has not only made the subject multi-dimensional, multi-disdplinary and contemporary but also very scientific and specialized. The advantage of this new syllabus distinctly goes to sincere students. The changes will make it very-very difficult to teach and coach and equally difficult to grasp. The topics are now knowledge based, observation based, skill based, and specialty based. Consequently, can be taught only by knowledge based teaching and creative teaching.

Geography is like never before and can no way it can be approached in a conventional manner. It is theoretical as well as practical and applied. A glimpse of the topics makes one feel that it is an extension of G.S. But GS is always informative while Geography analytical. The only limitation with these topics seems to be the non-availability of study material.

Here are some tips and strategies to handle your Geography paper in the mains exams for the IAS. First here's how you should write your answers.

  • You should first understand the question and only then attempt to answer it. The question could be discussion-based or analytical or you need to elaborate or elucidate. As a result you are needed to answer according what the question wants. Whatever the query is, you are required to give an orderly and logical presentation of information.
  • There should not be any contradiction within or between the answers. What the examiner is looking for in your answers is concept and how organised your thinking is. Thinking pattern is best reflected in the structure of an answer.
  • There should not be any extreme views when you are debating an issue.
  • There is no need to quote anyone.
  • Answers should be well balanced. Every component of the question should be given equal weightage.
  • The idea is that you might know about all topics but you should develop your own language to write them.
  • Focus should be on memorising facts and then back up with your language. Your expression does not require you to write difficult English words. It should be as simple as possible.

Listed below are some of the main topics that should be covered. Since some sections come only on alternate years, please follow the trend and exclude a topic if it has been majorly covered in the previous year and choose another in the same category. This does not mean short question may not come.

Geography IAS Mains Paper I

Plate tectonics, earthquakes and volcanism are significant sections in Geomorphology. The Union Public Service Commission keeps on alternating queries between endogenic and exogenic forces every year.

In this section, you can expect significant number of questions from tropical cyclones and climatic changes.

Marine resources, which include biotic, mineral and energy resources and ocean currents are few of the important areas in Oceanography.

Perspectives in Human Geography

Economic Geography
Energy crisis

Population and Settlement Geography
Distribution of world population Causes and consequences of migration Functional classification of towns

Regional Planning
Growth centers and growth poles

Models, Theories and Laws in Human Geography
Systems analysis in Human Geography Central Places theories of Christaller and Losch Laws of international boundaries and frontiers

Geography IAS Mains Paper II

Physical setting
Structure and relief Natural vegetation

Energy crisis

Agricultural intensity Agro and social forestry Livestock resources and white revolution

Location factor of cottage industry

Transport, Communication and Trade
Growing importance of ports on national and foreign trade, trade balance Developments in communication technology and its impact on economy and society

Morphology of Indian cities Conurbations and metropolitan regions Urban sprawl Slums and associated problems

Regional Development and Planning
Decentralised planning Multi-level planning Geography and regional planning

Political Aspects
Geographical basis of Indian federalism India and geopolitics of the Indian ocean

Contemporary Issues
Environmental hazard like landslide Changes in pattern of land use Principles of environmental impact assessment and environmental management