UPSC GS PAPER - 2

upsc GS paper 2, Analysis have been done in detail. whole syllabus have been divided into parts and each part have been analysed along with previous year paper and how to study those parts. Each of them Consist

Syllabus Analysis

Recommended Book

Preparation Strategy

Previous Year paper

Total topic in GS paper 2 is total 20 in number which could be grouped together in four broader topic. It could be like -

1. Governance

2. Indian Constitution and Polity

3. International Relation

4. Social Justice

GOVERNANCE

 

SYLLABUS:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

  2. Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

  3. Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

  4. Role of civil services in a democracy.

 

SUB TOPICS OF GOVERNANCE:

1.Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

  • For this part, firstly one needs to be very well acquainted with various governmental development interventions and programmes concerning rural development, urban development, social development, infrastructural development and other various other interventions for inclusive development of the nation.

  • Now, when talking about inter emotions and programme, sector specifications approach will be very useful such as allowing FDI in a various sector or bringing out reforms in Education, Health Sector, Irrigation sector, Agriculture sector etc. with the launch of schemes like Ayushman Bharat, Make in India, MNREGA etc

  • Next part is focussed on getting acquainted with issues such as its efficacy, pros and cons, study of its implementation lastly any suggestions for the betterment of these programmes.

 

Previous year questions:

 

2019

 

1. Implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based projects/programmes usually suffers in terms of certain vital factors. Identify these factors and suggest measures for their effective implementation. (10 marks)

 

2. ‘In the context of the neo-liberal paradigm of developmental planning, multi-level planning is expected to make operations cost-effective and remove many implementation blockages’- Discuss (15 marks)

 

2018

 

1. “Policy Contradictions among various competing sectors and stakeholders have resulted in inadequate ‘protection and prevention of degradation’ to environment.” Comment with relevant illustrations.

2017

 

2. “Poverty Alleviation programs in India remain mere showpieces until and unless they are backed up by political will.” Discuss with reference to the performance of the major poverty alleviation program in India.

 

2016

 

1. “Demographic Dividend in India will remain only theoretical unless our manpower becomes more educated, aware, skilled and creative.” What measures have been taken by the government to enhance the capacity of our population to be more productive and employable

 

2. Has the Indian governmental system responded adequately to the demands of Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization started in 1991? What can the government do to be responsive to this important change?

 

2014

 

1. Though 100 percent FDI is already allowed in non-news media like a trade publication and general entertainment channel, the Government is mulling over the proposal for increased FDI in news media for quite some time. What difference would an increase in FDI make? Critically evaluate the pros and cons.

 

2. An athlete participates in Olympics for personal triumph and nation’s glory; victors are showered with cash incentives by various agencies, on their return. Discuss the merit of state sponsored talent hunt and its cultivation as against the rationale of a reward mechanism as encouragement.

 

3. Should the premier institutes like IITs/IIMs be allowed to retain premier status, allowed more academic independence in designing courses and also decide mode/criteria of selection of students. Discuss in light of the growing challenges.

 

2013

 

1. The product diversification of financial institutions and insurance companies, resulting in overlapping of products and services strengthens the case for the merger of the two regulatory agencies namely SEBI and IRDA. Justify.

 

2. The basis of providing urban amenities in rural areas (PURA) is rooted in establishing connectivity. Comment

 

Analysis:

 

If you see previous years question , now this can be very well answered when you have a good grasp over the topic already discussed in almost all the books, reference or NCERT and if you add-on with the current developments, it shall be more perfect.

 

Ex. Has the Indian governmental system responded adequately to the demands of Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization started in 1991? What can the government do to be responsive to this important change?

 

Sources

Press Information Bureau, The Hindu, India Year Book.

 

2.Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

  • The sub-topic focusses on the role played by Civil society organisations like NGOs, SHGs various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders in alleviating poverty and unemployment, aiding in-development initiatives concerning health, education and social sectors, organising various awareness generation programs on ongoing schemes of government.
     

  • There have been many success stories of SHG and NGOs in various sectors etc. and they must be incorporated while studying about the role of NGOs and SHGs in the development role.
     

  • There are also issues such as poor resources, promoting interests of a section of people, slowing down the initiatives of government through environmental blockages, lack of transparency in foreign funding which plague these organisations and bodies but measures have been taken by the government in strengthening these institutions must also be incorporated in the study.

 

Previous year questions:

 

2017

 

1. Is the National Commission for Women able to strategise and tackle the problems that women face at both public and private spheres? Give reasons in support of your answer.

 

2. ‘The emergence of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in contemporary times points to the slow but steady withdrawal of the state from developmental activities’. Examine the role of the SHGs in developmental activities and the measures taken by the Government of India to promote the SHGs.

 

2015


1. Examine critically the recent changes in the rules governing foreign funding of NGOs under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 1976.

 

2. The Self Help Group (SHG) Bank Linkage Programme (SBLP), which is India’s own innovation, has proved to be one of the most effective poverty alleviation and women empowerment programmes.

Elucidate.

 

3. How can the role of NGOs be strengthened in India for development works relating to protection of the environment? Discuss throwing light on the major constraints.

 

4. “For achieving the desired objectives, it is necessary to ensure that the regulatory institutions remain independent and autonomous.” Discuss in the light of experiences in recent past.

 

2014

 

1. The setting up of a Rail Tariff Authority to regulate fares will subject the cash strapped Indian Railways to demand subsidy for obligation to operate non-profitable routes and services. Taking into account the experience in the power sector, discuss if the proposed reform is expected to benefit the consumers, the Indian Railways or the private container operators.

 

2013

 

1. Discuss the recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission which have been a departure from the

previous commissions for strengthening the local government finances.

 

2. The legitimacy and accountability of Self Help Groups (SHGs) and their patrons, the micro-finance outfits, need systematic assessment and scrutiny for the sustained success of the concept. Discuss.

 

3. The Central Government frequently complains on the poor performance of the State Governments in eradicating suffering of the vulnerable sections of the society. Restructuring of Centrally sponsored schemes across the sectors for ameliorating the cause of vulnerable sections of population aims at providing flexibility to the States in better implementation. Critically evaluate.

 

4. The basis of providing urban amenities in rural areas (PURA) is rooted in establishing connectivity. Comment?

 

Analysis:

 

If you see the previous years question this is very relevant in todays political scene and you have a good grasp of things happening around you and  analytical approach is also required.

Ex. In the Indian Governance system, the role of non-state actors has been only marginal. Critically examine this statement.

 

Sources

Press Information Bureau The Hindu, Yojana and Kurukshetra magazines India Year Book.

 

3.Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

This sub-topic deals with studying the important aspects of governance like transparency, accountability, effectiveness in decision-making process.

  •  It is one of the most important topics which is much closer to the real duties of a civil servant. The topic also includes measures taken by Government in enhancing transparency, accountability, participation and effectiveness of governance with the help of tools like RTI, Citizens charter and grievance redressal mechanisms.

  • Their effectiveness and weaknesses like delay in disposing of RTI related queries, delay in appointment of heads of Lokpal and Lokayukta, poor enforcement of decisions by information commissions and lack of enforcement mechanisms.

  • There have been a lot of cases which were helpful in enhancing transparency in government departments lately, such case studies must be studied as it will help one in answering the question effectively with suitable examples.

 

Previous year questions:

 

2019

 

1. “The Central Administrative Tribunal which was established for redressal of grievances and complaints by or against central government employees nowadays is exercising its powers as an independent judicial authority.” Explain. (10 Marks)

 

2018

 

1. E-governance is not only about utilization of the power of new technology, but also much about critical importance of the ‘use value’ of information. Explain.

 

2. The Citizens’ Charter is an ideal instrument of organizational transparency and accountability, but it has its own limitations. Identify the limitations and suggest measures for greater effectiveness of the Citizens’ Charter

 

2017

 

1. Discuss the role of Public Accounts Committee in establishing accountability of the government to the people.

 

2016

 

1. “Effectiveness of the government system at various levels and people’s participation in the governance system are interdependent” Discuss their relationship in the context of India.

 

2. In the integrity index of Transparency International, India stands very low. Discuss briefly the legal, political, social and cultural factors that have caused the decline of public morality in India.

 

3. Has the Indian governmental system responded adequately to the demands of Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization started in 1991? What can the government do to be responsive to this important change?

 

2015

 

1. In the light of Satyam Scandal (2009), discuss the changes brought in corporate governance to ensure transparency, accountability.

 

2. “If amendment bill to the Whistleblowers Protection Act, 2011 tabled in the Parliament is passed, there may be no one left to protect.” Critically evaluate.

 

2014

 
1. The size of the cabinet should be as big as governmental work justifies and as big as the Prime Minister can manage as a team. How far is the

 

2013

 

1. Many State Governments further bifurcate geographical administrative areas like Districts and Talukas for better governance. In light of the above, can it also be justified that more number of smaller States would bring in effective governance at State level? Discuss.

 

2. Electronic cash transfer system for the welfare schemes is an ambitious project to minimize corruption, eliminate wastage and facilitate reforms. Comment.

 

3. Though Citizens’ charters have been formulated by many public service delivery organizations, there is no corresponding improvement in the level of citizens’ satisfaction and quality of services being provided. Analyse.

 

4. ‘A national Lokpal, however strong it may be, cannot resolve the problems of immorality in public affairs.’ Discuss.

 

Analysis:

 

If you see the previous years question this is very well demonstrates that how reading ARC reports and newspaper is a prerequisite for answering questions on the issue of Governance.

 

Ex. Effectiveness of the government system at various levels and peoples participation in the governance system are inter-dependent. Discuss their relationship with each other in the context of India.

Sources

Governance in India Laxmikanth ARC 12th Report- Citizen Centric Administration ARC 11th Report- Promoting e-Governance. The Hindu, Yojana and Kurukshetra magazines.

 

4.Role of civil services in a democracy.
 

  • Now, this sub-topic requires you to have an in-depth knowledge of the Civil services system in India whereby knowing the role played by civil services in policy making & its implementation and the role of civil servants in development and upholding the law and order & constitutional obligations of the country.
     

  •  The challenges that civil servants face like extreme political interference, external and internal pressures in performing the functions and the constitutional provisions relating to recruitment/suspension/dismissal/reduction in rank (Article 311) must also be dealt with.

 

Previous year questions:

 

2017

 

1. Initially Civil Services in India were designed to achieve the goals of neutrality and effectiveness, which seems to be lacking in the present context. Do you agree with the view that drastic reforms are required in Civil Services. Comment.

 

2016

 

1. “Traditional bureaucratic structure and culture have hampered the process of socio-economic development in India.” Comment.

 

2014

 

1. The penetration of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in rural areas in promoting participation in development programmes is facing socio-cultural hurdles. Examine.

 

2. Has the Cadre based Civil Services Organization been the cause of slow change in India ? Critically examine.

 

Analysis:

 

If you see the previous years question  - Answering this question requires a fine understanding of the topic as well as examples to support the notion or refute it and for it, reading a newspaper and being updated with the current development is very necessary.

 

Ex. “Traditional bureaucratic structure and culture have hampered the process of socio-economic development in India.” Comment.

 

Sources

Governance in India Laxmikanth. The Hindu.

 

Important Points to focus and Trend Analysis

 

For this topic, it is recommended to not rely on any other source for preparing other than recommended. As you can notice the evolving nature of the topic from the past UPSC questions and you must have underworld as to how newspapers and above mentioned sources would suffice.

 

It is also very important to be able to connect the dots, that is assimilating current affairs with the static topic very effectively.

Therefore equal attention is given to both the topics of Governance and Social justice and so no topic or subtopic should be given less importance.

 
 

INDIAN CONSTITUTION AND POLITY

SYLLABUS:

  • Indian Constitution - historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.

  • Separation of powers between various organs, Dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

  • Parliament and State Legislatures structure, functioning, the conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

  • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary, Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

  • Salient features of the Representation of People s Act.

  • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

 

SUB TOPICS:

 

1.Indian Constitution - historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure; Comparison of Indian constitutional scheme with other countries.

 

A.Historical Underpinnings and evolution of Constitution:

 

This covers the pre-independence events which led to strengthening the foundation of Indian Constitution right from Regulating Act of 1773 to Government of India Act of 1935. Evolution of Modern Constitution will have topics from the first idea of constituent assembly in 1934 by M.N.Roy to the commencement of the constitution on 26th January 1950.

 

B.Salient Features of the Indian Constitution and Basic structure Doctrine:
 

  • The features of the Indian constitution have to be looked in detail like sources of the Constitution, forms of government, Fundamental Rights (FR), Fundamental Duties, Directive Principles of State Policies, Supremacy of the Constitution, Integrated and Independent Judiciary specifically Judicial supremacy vs Parliamentary sovereignty have to be studied in detail.
     

  • It is important to have a good understanding of how basic structure doctrine of the Constitution evolved with a focus on important case laws involved particularly Keshavanda Bharati vs the State of Kerala.
     

C.Significant Provisions and Amendments of Constitution:
 

  •  It is very important to study and analyse the significant provisions of the constitution such as citizenship, legislature, executive, emergency provisions, Panchayat and Special provisions relating to different classes.
     

  • The key here would be to read the original bare text of the Constitution. It would be very helpful and then leverage it with the current topics.
     

  • Important amendments to the constitution should also be studied like 42nd amendment, 44th amendment etc. The background and the causes of bringing it up must be also looked at in detail.
     

D.Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.
 

  • For this sub-topic, it is mandatory to have an understanding of the salient features of Constitutions across the World US, UK, Russia, France, Canada, Australia etc.
     

  • Borrowed features of Indian Constitution like Written Constitution, Rigidity or flexibility of the Constitution, a Parliamentary form of Government, Federal Features, Fundamental Rights, Directive principles of state policies, Emergency provisions, etc.

 

Previous year questions:

 

2019

  1. What can France learn from the Indian Constitution’s approach to secularism?
     

2018

  1. (COMPARING Constitution) India and USA are two large democracies. Examine the basic tenants on which the two political systems are based.
     

  2. Under what circumstances can the Financial Emergency be proclaimed by the President of India? What consequences follow when such a declaration remains in force? 
     

2017
 

  1. Examine the scope of Fundamental Rights in the light of the latest judgement of the Supreme Court on Right to Privacy.
     

2016
 

  1. Discuss each adjective attached to the word ‘Republic’ in the preamble. Are they defendable in the present circumstances stances? 
     

2015

  1. Discuss the possible factors that inhibit India from enacting for its citizens a uniform civil code as provided for in the Directive Principles of State Policy.
     

  2. Khap Panchayats have been in the news for functioning as extra-constitutional authorities, often delivering pronouncements amounting to human rights violations. Discuss critically the actions taken by the legislative, executive and the judiciary to set the things right in this regard.
     

  3. Does the right to clean environment entail legal regulations on burning crackers during Diwali? Discuss in the light of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and Judgement(s) of the Apex Court in this regard.
     

2014

  1. What do you understand by the concept “freedom of speech and expression”? Does it cover hate speech also? Why do the films in India stand on a slightly different plane from other forms of expression? Discuss.
     

2013
 

  1. Discuss Section 66A of IT Act, with reference to its alleged violation of Article 19 of the Constitution.   

 

Sources

Introduction to The Constitution Of India D.D. Basu. NCERT (Polity- class 9th, 10th and 11th). The Constitution of India (Bare Text).

 

2.FEDERATION AND LOCAL GOVERNANCE:

Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

  • For this sub-topic, it is essential to have an understanding of powers and functions of State and the Central government and issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure Distribution of Legislative, Executive and Financial powers between the Centre and the States.
     

  • Administration: Co-operative Federalism, Role of Governor, Formation of New States, Misuse of Article 356 (President s Rule), River water disputes, Emergency Provisions, All-India Civil Services etc. Finance: Goods and Service Taxes (GST), The role of Finance Commission; distribution of taxes among States and between States and the Centre. etc.
     

  • Legislation: Circumstances under which Parliament can legislate in the State field.
     

  • Devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges: Various factors affecting the effective functioning of the panchayats have to be dealt with.

 

Previous year questions:

 

2019

  1. From the resolution of contentious issues regarding distribution of legislative powers by the courts, ‘Principle of Federal Supremacy’ and ‘Harmonious Construction’ have emerged. Explain.

 

2018

  1. How is the Finance Commission of India constituted? What do you about the terms of reference of the recently constituted Finance Commission? Discuss. 2018

  2. Assess the importance of Panchayat system in India as a part of local government. Apart from government grants, what sources the Panchayats can look out for financing developmental projects.   2018

 

2017

  1. “The local self-government system in India has not proved to be effective instrument of governance”. Critically examine the statement and give your views to improve the situation.    2017

 

2016

  1. Discuss the essentials of the 69th Constitutional Amendment Act and anomalies, if any that have led to recent reported conflicts between the elected representatives and the institution of the Lieutenant Governor in the administration of Delhi. Do you think that this will give rise to a new trend in the functioning of the Indian federal politics?           2016

  2. To what extent is Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, bearing marginal note “Temporary provision with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir”, temporary? Discuss the future prospects of this provision in the context of Indian polity. 2016

  3. Did the Government of India Act, 1935 lay down a federal constitution? Discuss. 2016

 

2015

  1. The concept of cooperative federalism has been increasingly emphasized in recent years. Highlight the drawbacks in the existing structure and the extent to which cooperative federalism would answer the shortcomings.            2015

  2. In absence of a well-educated and organized local level government system, `Panchayats’ and ‘Samitis’ have remained mainly political institutions and not effective instruments of governance. Critically discuss.         2015

 

2014

  1. Though the federal principle is dominant in our Constitution and that principle is one of its basic features, but it is equally true that federalism under the Indian Constitution leans in favour of a strong Centre, a feature that militates against the concept of strong federalism. Discuss.        2014

 

2013

  1. Recent directives from Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas are perceived by the `Nagas’ as a threat to override the exceptional status enjoyed by the State. Discuss in light of Article 371A of the Indian Constitution.        2013

  2. Many State Governments further bifurcate geographical administrative areas like Districts and Talukas for better governance. In light of the above, can it also be justified that more number of smaller States would bring in effective governance at State level? Discuss.          2013

  3. Constitutional mechanisms to resolve the inter-state water disputes have failed to address and solve the problems. Is the failure due to structural or process inadequacy or both? Discuss.

 

Analysis:

 

Ex.Discuss the essentials of the 69th Constitutional Amendment Act and anomalies if any that have led to recently reported conflicts between the elected representatives and the institution of the Lieutenant Governor in the administration of Delhi. Do you think that this will give rise to a new trend in the functioning of the Indian federal politics?

Now this question can be answered very well if one follows the newspapers religiously as the topic is very frequent nowadays. But in order to write a good answer, one must also have good command over the special provisions relating to Delhi (Article 239AA) inserted by the 69th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992.

Sources

  • Introduction to The Constitution of India D.D. Basu Administrative Reforms Committee s (ARC II) 13th report on Organizational Structure of Government of India Administrative Reforms Committee s (ARC II) 6th report on Local Governance . The Constitution of India (Bare Text)

  • The Hindu newspaper. Laxmikanth (Indian Polity). The Constitution of India (Bare Text)

3.Separation of powers between various organs, Dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
 

  • For this sub-topic it is must to have a basic understanding of various organs of the state Legislative, Executive and the Judiciary and focus on issues like overlapping functions of the three organs of the State; Concept of Checks and balance; Judicial Activism, Judicial Overreach., UPSC, NITI Ayog, Finance Commission etc.
     

  • Dispute Redressal mechanisms and Institutions Judiciary, Tribunals, Lok Adalat, Lokayukta, Inter-State Council, Zonal Councils also form an important part of the syllabus.
     

A.Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary, Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
 

  • The Executive will comprise of President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Governor, Chief Minister, Attorney General, Advocate General of the State, Cabinet Ministers, Council of Ministers both at the Centre and the State.
     

  • Judiciary will include Supreme Court, High Courts and Lower Judiciary of the states.
     

  • It is important to read about the powers of these courts very exhaustively.
     

  • Pressure groups can range from Business Groups (FICCI, ASSOCHAM), Trade Unions, Agrarian Groups (All India Kisan Sabha), Linguistic Groups, Tribal Organisations, etc.

 

Previous year questions:

 

2019

  1. Do you think the Constitution of India does not accept the principle of strict separation of powers rather it is based on the principle of ‘checks and balances’? Explain. (10 Marks)

  2. “The Central Administrative Tribunal which was established for redressal of grievances and complaints by or against central government employees nowadays is exercising its powers as an independent judicial authority.” Explain. (10 Marks)

 

2018

  1. Whether the Supreme Court Judgement (July 2018) can settle the political tussle between the Lt. Governor and elected government of Delhi? Examine.            2018

 

2017

  1. Critically examine the Supreme Court’s judgement on ‘National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014’ with reference to appointment of judges of higher judiciary in India.                2017

 

2016

  1. What was held in the Coelho case? In this context, can you say that judicial review is of key importance amongst the basic features of the Constitution?            2016

 

2015

  1. Resorting to ordinances has always raised concern on violation of the spirit of separation of powers doctrine. While noting the rationales justifying the power to promulgate ordinances, analyze whether the decisions of the Supreme Court on the issue have further facilitated resorting to this power. Should the power to promulgate ordinances be repealed?          2015

 

2014

  1. Starting from inventing the ‘basic structure’ doctrine, the judiciary has played a highly proactive role in ensuring that India develops into a thriving democracy. In light of the statement, evaluate the role played by judicial activism in achieving the ideals of democracy.   2014

 

2013

  1. The Supreme Court of India keeps a check on arbitrary power of the Parliament in amending the Constitution. Discuss critically.  2013

 

4.THE EXECUTIVE:

Executive (structure, organization, functioning); Ministries and Departments (of Union and State govts.)

 

2014

  1. Instances of President’s delay in commuting death sentences has come under public debate as denial of justice. Should there be a time limit specified for the President to accept/reject such petitions? Analyse.

  2. The size of the cabinet should be as big as governmental work justifies and as big as the Prime Minister can manage as a team. How far the efficacy of a government then is inversely related to the size of the cabinet? Discuss. 

 

Sources

  • The Constitution Of India D.D. Basu.

  • Administrative Reforms Committee s (ARC II) 7th report on Capacity Building for Conflict Resolution The Constitution of India (Bare Text)

  • Lakshamikant , The hindu and Indian Express news paper.

 

5.LEGISLATIVE AND ELECTIONS:

Parliament and State Legislatures structure, functioning, the conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these; Salient features of the Representation of People s Act.

 

To dwell into detail of structure and functioning of the legislatures (State and Central) focusing on

 

1) The composition of the Parliament specifically on marginalised groups representation.

 

2) The procedure of passage of the bills like Money Bill, Financial bills and Ordinary Bills and the similarities and distinctions between these bills.

 

3) The role of Opposition, anti-defection, criminalization of members of legislatures, accountability measures in parliament through various committees and procedures, misuse of the powers, immunities and privileges of the parliament, etc.

 

The Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and its Members as envisaged in Article 105 of the Constitution leaves room for a large number of un-codified and un-enumerated privileges to continue. Assess the reasons for the absence of legal codification of the parliamentary privileges .

 

A.Salient features of the Representation of People s Act.

 

Important areas to focus on this part are

  • RPA Act, 1950 Allocation of seats in Central as well as states legislatures, Qualification of voters, Delimitation of Constituencies.

  • RPA Act, 1951- Conduct of elections to Parliament and State Legislature, Qualification and Disqualification of the MP s and MLA s etc. Issues such as Electoral reforms, Qualification and Disqualification of the MP s and MLA s, Office of profit, Anti-defection, etc.

Previous year questions:

 

2019

  1. “Parliament’s power to amend the constitution is a limited power and it cannot be enlarged into absolute power”. In the light of this statement explain whether parliament under article 368 of the constitution can destroy the Basic structure of the constitution by expanding its amending power?

  2. Individual parliamentarian’s role as the national lawmaker is on a decline, which in turn, has adversely impacted the quality of debates and their outcome. Discuss.

 

2018

  1. Why do you think the committees are considered to be useful for parliamentary work?  Discuss, in this context, the role or the Estimates Committee.

  2. In the light of recent controversy regarding the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), what are the challenges before the Election Commission of India to ensure the trustworthiness of elections in India?

 

2017

  1. ‘Simultaneous election to the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies will limit the amount of time and money spent in electioneering but it will reduce the government’s accountability to the people’ Discuss. 

  2. To enhance the quality of democracy in India the Election Commission of India has proposed electoral reforms in 2016. What are the suggested reforms and how far are they significant to make democracy successful? 

  3. The Indian Constitution has provisions for holding joint session of the two houses of the Parliament. Enumerate the occasions when this would normally happen and also the occasions when it cannot, with reasons thereof. 

 

2016

  1. The Indian party system is passing through a phase of transition which looks to be full of contradictions and paradoxes.” Discuss. 2016

 

2014

  1. The ‘Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and its Members’ as envisaged in Article 105 of the Constitution leave room for a large number of un-codified and un-enumerated privileges to continue. Assess the reasons for the absence of legal codification of the ‘parliamentary privileges’. How can this problem be addressed? 2014

 

2013

  1. The role of individual MPs (Members of Parliament) has diminished over the years and as a result healthy constructive debates on policy issues are not usually witnessed. How far can this be attributed to the anti-defection law, which was legislated but with a different intention?   2013

 

Sources

  • Introduction to the Constitution of India D.D. Basu The Hindu The Constitution of India (Bare Text)

  • The Representation of People Act, 1950. (Bare Act) The Representation of People Act, 1951. (Bare Act)

 

7.BODIES:

Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies; Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

  • This part has topics from the bodies mentioned in the constitution such as Election Commission, UPSC, SPSC, Finance Commission, National Commission for SCs and ST s, a Special officer for Linguistic Minorities, Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), Attorney General and Advocate General of the State.
     

Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

  • Non- Constitutional Bodies like NITI Aayog, National Human Rights Commission, and Central Vigilance Commission etc.

  • Statutory Bodies NHRC, CVC, CIC, Lokpal, Lokayukta,

  • Regulatory SEBI, RBI, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, TRAI, CCI, etc. 4) Quasi-judicial bodies NHRC, CIC, National Green Tribunal, etc.

  • When studying about different bodies and organisation, it is prudent to compare and read, pointing out the similarities and differences between different bodies, it will immensely help in remembering effectively about such bodies/organisations.

 

Previous year questions:

 

2018

  1. “The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has a very vital role to play.” Explain how this is reflected in the method and terms of his appointment as well as the range of powers he can exercise. 

  2. How far do you agree with the view that tribunals curtail the jurisdiction of ordinary courts? In view of the above, discuss the constitutional validity and competency of the tribunals in India. 

 

2017

  1. Is the National Commission for Women able to strategize and tackle the problems that women face at both public and private spheres? Give reasons in support of your answer. 

 

2016

  1. Exercise of CAC’s powers in relation to the accounts of the Union and the States is derived from Article 149 of the Indian Constitution. Discuss whether audit of the Government’s Policy implementation could amount to overstepping its own (CAG) jurisdiction. 

  2. What is a quasi-judicial body? Explain with the help of concrete examples.

 

2015

  1. What are the major changes brought in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 through the recent Ordinance promulgated by the President? How far will it improve India’s dispute resolution mechanism? Discuss.

  2. “For achieving the desired objectives, it is necessary to ensure that the regulatory institutions remain independent and autonomous.” Discuss in the light of the experiences in recent past.

 

2014

  1. National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in India can be most effective when its tasks are adequately supported by other mechanisms that ensure the accountability of a government. In light of the above observation assess the role of NHRC as an effective complement to the judiciary and other institutions in promoting and protecting human rights standards.

  2. The setting up of a Rail Tariff Authority to regulate fares will subject the cash strapped Indian Railways to demand subsidy for obligation to operate non-profitable routes and services. Taking into account the experience in the power sector, discuss if the proposed reform is expected to benefit the consumers, the Indian Railways or the private container operators.

 

2013

  1. Discuss the recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission which have been a departure from the previous commissions for strengthening the local government finances. 

  2. The product diversification of financial institutions and insurance companies, resulting in overlapping of products and services strengthens the case for the merger of the two regulatory agencies, namely SEBI and IRDA. Justify. 

 

Sources

  • Indian Polity Lakshmikanth The Hindu/Indian Express. The Constitution of India (Bare Text)

  • Laxmikant, Indian Polity The Hindu.

 

Important Points to Focus and Trend analysis

Analysing the trend from 2013 to 2019 we notice that each subtopic has been given almost equal importance.

Though the above topics may seem factual and static, the questions asked by UPSC can only be answered if one has a track of recent issues. If one is done with basics, a relative study and understanding of the issue become much easier.

 

3. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

 

SYLLABUS as per UPSC:

  1. India and its neighbourhood- relations.

  2. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India s interests.

  3. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India s interests, Indian Diaspora

  4. Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate. UNO and its various bodies, agencies must be studied with respect to their structure, role, relevance and reforms.

The subtopic of international relations:

1.India and its neighbourhood- relations.

  • This sub-topic deals with the relation of India with its neighbouring countries such as Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, etc. The focus must be on gathering facts and analysing them along with a focus on current international affairs. The most important aspect is to compare and illustrate the past relations as well as critically examine the current scenario.

 

Previous year questions:

2017

1. ‘China is using its economic relations and positive trade surplus as tools to develop potential military power status in Asia’. In the light of this statement, discuss its impact on India as her neighbour.

2015

1. Increasing interest of India in Africa has its pro and cons. Critically examine.

2. Project ‘Mausam’ is considered a unique foreign policy initiative of Indian Government to improve relationship with its neighbours. Does the project have a strategic dimension? Discuss.

3. Terrorist activities and mutual distrust have clouded India – Pakistan relations. To what extent the use of soft power like sports and cultural exchanges could help generate goodwill between the two countries? Discuss with suitable examples. 

 

2013

1. What do you understand by ‘The String of Pearls’? How does it impact India? Briefly outline the steps taken by India to counter this.

2. The protests in Shahbag Square in Dhaka in Bangladesh reveal a fundamental split in society between the nationalists and Islamic forces. What is its significance for India?

3. In respect of India-Sri Lanka relations, discuss how domestic factors influence foreign policy.

 

Sources

Challenge and Strategy: Rethinking India s foreign policy Rajiv Sikri. MEA Website. http://www.mea.gov.in/india-and-neighbours.htm The Hindu/Indian Express.

 

2.Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India s interests.

  • This sub-topic concerns India s bilateral, multilateral, regional and global groupings such as SAARC, BIMSTEC, ASEAN+6, Heart of Asia conference, Raisins Dialogue, MTCR, Australia Group, Wassenaar Agreement and also relating to NPT, CTBT and membership relating to NSG and other nuclear-related groups.

  • Basically, the subtopic is very wide and thus it needs to be comprehensively read and understood. Reading newspaper will give you an extra advantage.

 

Previous year questions:

 

2019 

1. ‘The time has come for India and Japan to build a strong contemporary relationship, one involving global and strategic partnership that will have a great significance for Asia and the world as a whole.’ Comment. (10 marks)

 

2018

 
 1. “India’s relations with Israel have, of late, acquired a depth and diversity, which cannot be rolled back.” Discuss.

2. A number of outside powers have entrenched themselves in Central Asia, which is a zone of interest to India. Discuss the implications, in this context, of India’s joining the Ashgabat Agreement, 2018.

3. In what ways would the ongoing U.S-Iran Nuclear Pact Controversy affect the national interest of India? How should India respond to this situation?

 

2017

1. The question of India’s Energy Security Constitutes the most important part of India’s economic progress. Analyse India’s energy policy cooperation with West Asian countries.

 

2015

1. Discuss the impediments India is facing in its pursuit of a permanent seat in UN Security Council.

 

2014
 1. With respect to the South China sea, maritime territorial disputes and rising tension affirm the need for safeguarding maritime security to ensure freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region. In this context, discuss the bilateral issues between India and China.

2. The aim of Information Technology Agreements (ITAs) is to lower all taxes and tariffs on information technology products by signatories to zero. What impact would such agreements have on India’s interests?

 

2013
1. The proposed withdrawal of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from Afghanistan in 2014 is fraught with major security implications for the countries of the region. Examine in light of the fact that India is faced with a plethora of challenges and needs to safeguard its own strategic interests.

2. Discuss the political developments in Maldives in the last two years. Should they be of any cause of concern to India?

 

Sources

Ministry of external affairs website, http://www.mea.gov.in/foreign-relations.htm The Hindu/Indian Express ORF website/magazine, https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak-category/india-matters/ The Diplomat website/Magazine, https://thediplomat.com/

 

3.Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India s interests, Indian Diaspora
 

  • This is not a static part but a dynamic sub-topic having topics ranging from effects of globalization, WTO policies, domestic policies of developed countries and their effect on other countries such as Trade wars, WTO rulings, H1b and L1 visa row to terrorism and economic policies.
     

  • The sub-topic also includes issues such as Indian diaspora their contribution to India and India s contribution to them.
     

  • Issues such as their problems, constitutional/statutory provisions if any under Indian law and their participation and their role in Indian economy.

 

Previous year questions:

 

2019

1. “The long-sustained image of India as a leader of the oppressed and marginalised nations has disappeared on account of its newfound role in the emerging global order.’ Elaborate (15 Marks)

2. What introduces friction into the ties between India and the United States is that Washington is still unable to find for India a position in its global strategy, which would satisfy India’s national self-esteem and ambitions’. Explain with suitable examples. (15 Marks)

 

2018

1. What are the key areas of reform if the WTO has to survive in the present context of ‘Trade War’, especially keeping in mind the interest of India?

 

2017

1. Indian Diaspora has an important role to play in South East Asian countries economy and society. Appraise the role of Indian Diaspora in South-East Asia in this context.

 

2016
1. “The broader aims and objectives of WTO are to manage and promote international trade in the era of globalization. But the Doha round of negotiations seem doomed due to differences between the developed and the developing countries.” Discuss in the Indian perspective.

 

2. Evaluate the economic and strategic dimensions of India’s Look East Policy in the context of the post Cold War international scenario.

 

3. "Increasing crossborder terrorist attacks in India and growing interference in the internal affairs of several memberstates by Pakistan are not conducive for the future of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation)." Explain with suitable examples.

 

2014

 

1. Some of the International funding agencies have special terms for economic participation stipulating a substantial component of the aid to be used for sourcing equipment from the leading countries. Discuss on merits of such terms and if, there exists a strong case not to accept such conditions in the Indian context.

 

2013

 

1. Economic ties between India and Japan while growing in the recent years are still far below their potential. Elucidate the policy constraints which are inhibiting this growth.

2. What is meant by Gujral doctrine? Does it have any relevance today? Discuss.

 

Sources

 

ORF website/magazine, https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak-category/india-matters/ The Diplomat website/Magazine, https://thediplomat.com/ The Hindu/Indian Express

 

 

4.Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate. UNO and its various bodies, agencies must be studied with respect to their structure, role, relevance and reforms.

  • International Organizations apart from UN such as WTO, IMF, World Bank, NDB, AIIB and International Solar Alliance must also be studied. It is very important to read random commissions and issues relating to these international bodies.

 

Previous year questions:

 

2019

1. ‘Too little cash, too much politics, leave UNESCO fighting for life.’ Discuss the statement in the light of US’ withdrawal and its accusation of the cultural body as being ‘anti-Israel bias’. (10 marks)

 

2017

1. What are the main functions of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)? Explain different functional commissions attached to it.

 

2016

1. What are the aims and objectives of the McBride Commission of the UNESCO? What is India’s position on these?

 

2014

1. India has recently signed to become founding member of New Development Bank (NDB) and also the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). How will the role of the two Banks be different? Discuss the strategic significance of these two Banks for India.

2. WTO is an important international institution where decisions taken affect countries in a profound manner. What is the mandate of WTO and how binding are their decisions? Critically analyse India’s stand on the latest round of talks on Food security.

 

2013

1. The World Bank and the IMF, collectively known as the Bretton Woods Institutions, are the two inter-governmental pillars supporting the structure of the world’s economic and financial order. Superficially, the World Bank and the IMF exhibit many common characteristics, yet their role, functions and mandate are distinctly different. Elucidate.

 

Analysis:

 

On the observation we can see that, the UPSC is quite unpredictable when it comes to asking questions relating to international bodies/agreements. This trend is also observed in the Preliminary Exam.

Ex. What are the aims and objectives of the McBride commission of UNESCO? What is India s position on these? Therefore, the key is to read more, revise more and to write more.

 

Sources

 

The Hindu/Indian Express Internet (Official websites and Wikipedia pages of these bodies would suffice)

Important Points to focus and Trend analysis

 

The topics are static as well as dynamic, but most of the questions asked are current affairs related. Thus, reading newspapers and magazines is very essential. The approach must not be only in memorizing facts and events, but it should also be focused on analysis and objective assessment. If we go by the trend from the past six to seven years, it is noticeable that maximum questions from this subject are asked related to International bodies and agreements.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

 

SYLLABUS as per UPSC:

  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

  • Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

SUB TOPICS:

 

1.Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
 

  • For this sub-topic, it is very essential to know about various welfare schemes and mechanisms that have been initiated by Government for the empowerment of vulnerable population such as women, minorities, children, disabled, poor, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes etc.
     

  • Also, there must be a comprehensive study of Pros and cons related to implementation and functioning of these initiatives like Janani Shishu Suraksha karyakram, Nai Manzil scheme, Sugam Bharat Abhiyan etc.
     

  • Then the focus must shift towards the various institutions that have been set up for promoting interests of these sections like National Commission for women, National Commission for Minorities, National Commission for protection of child rights etc. and the concerned statutes.
     

Previous year questions:

 

2019

 

1. The need for cooperation among various service sectors has been an inherent component of development discourse. Partnership bridges the gap among the sectors. It also sets in motion a culture of ‘collaboration’ and ‘team spirit’. In the light of statements above examine India’s development process. (15 marks)

 

2. Performance of welfare schemes that are implemented for vulnerable sections is not very effective due to the absence of their awareness and active involvement at all stages of the policy process. Discuss (15 marks)

 

2017

 

1. Does the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 ensure effective mechanism for empowerment and inclusion of the intended beneficiaries in the society? Discuss.

 

2016

 

1. Examine the main provisions of the National Child Policy and throw light on the status of its implementation

 

2014
 1. Do government’s schemes for up-lifting vulnerable and backward communities by protecting required social resources for them, lead to their exclusion in establishing businesses in urban economies?

 

Sources

India Year Book.

 

2.Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
 

  • This sub-topic of the Governance & Social Justice part requires an in-depth study of development and management of initiatives by the government on the promotion of health, education and skill development as to utilise the human capabilities.
     

  • Schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Mid Day Meals programme, National Health Mission, National Skill Development Programme and various other initiatives need to be studied very objectively with focus on its efficacy, implementation and the change that they have brought.
     

  • Comparison of the percentage of GDP spent on various sectors vis a vis other nations and the rationale in spending such huge sums on social services, their effectiveness must be looked at. Other areas concerning Health and Education such as the Right to Education Act, Aayushman Bharat scheme, NIIF rankings, National Health Mission and bodies and institutions such as MCI, UGC must also be studied in detail.
     

Previous year questions:

 

2019

1. Despite Consistent experience of high growth, India still goes with the lowest indicators of human development. Examine the issues that make balanced and inclusive development elusive. (10 Marks)

 

2018

 
 1. Appropriate local community-level healthcare intervention is a prerequisite to achieve ‘Health for All’ in India. Explain

 

2017

 
1. ‘To ensure effective implementation of policies addressing water, sanitation and hygiene needs, the identification of beneficiary segments is to be synchronized with the anticipated outcomes’. Examine the statement in the context of the WASH scheme.

 

2016

 
1. Professor Amartya Sen has advocated important reforms in the realms of primary education and primary health care. What are your suggestions to improve their status and performance?

 

2015

 
1. The quality of higher education in India requires major improvements to make it internationally competitive. Do you think that the entry of foreign educational institutions would help improve the quality of technical and higher education in the country? Discuss.

2. Public health system has limitations in providing universal health coverage. Do you think that private sector could help in bridging the gap? What other viable alternatives would you suggest?

 

2013


 1. Identify the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that are related to health. Discuss the success of the actions taken by the Government for achieving the same.

2. The concept of Mid Day Meal (MDM) scheme is almost a century old in India with early beginnings in Madras Presidency in pre-independent India. The scheme has again been given impetus in most states in the last two decades. Critically examine its twin objectives, latest mandates and success.

 

Sources

Press Information Bureau, Business Standard and The Hindu India Year Book.

 

3.Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

  • For this sub-topic focus must be on two aspects of destitution - Poverty and Malnutrition. Firstly, a plain and basic reading of NCERT (Economics- XIth) is required with a keen focus on various definitions of poverty, official measurement of poverty, recommendations of committees like Suresh Tendulkar and C. Rangarajan on deciding the poverty line and reasons for poverty.

  • Malnutrition is one of the problems affecting India in a big way and various committees and bodies have made recommendations for the eradication of Poverty and Malnutrition.

  • Solutions like Public Distribution System, National Food Security Act etc. and their broad principles, objectives, effectiveness, deficiencies and weaknesses must be incorporated while studying these topics.

 

Previous year questions:

 

2019

1. There is a growing divergence in the relationship between poverty and hunger in India. The shrinking of social expenditure by the government is forcing the poor to spend more on non-food essential items squeezing their food-budget – Elucidate. (10 marks)

 

2018

1. How far do you agree with the view that the focus on lack of availability of food as the main cause of hunger takes the attention away from ineffective human development policies in India?

 

2017

1. Hunger and Poverty are the biggest challenges for good governance in India still today. Evaluate how far successive governments have progressed in dealing with these humongous problems. Suggest measures for improvement.

 

2015

1. Though there have been several different estimates of poverty in India, all indicate reduction in poverty levels over time. Do you agree? Critically examine with reference to urban and rural poverty indicators.

 

Analysis:

 

On the previous question analysis, does require you to have a very deep understanding of the topic, it can be solved easily if you have a good basic understanding of the Poverty issue.

 

Ex.Though there have been several different estimates of poverty in India, all indicate a reduction in poverty levels over time. Do you agree? Critically examine with reference to urban and rural poverty indicators.

Sources

 

Press Information Bureau The Hindu, Yojana and Kurukshetra magazines. India Economy and Development, NCERT, Class 11th.

 

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