GS 2 Paper Broad Strategy

Polity is a crucial topic at all the 3 stages of IAS Exam, be it Prelims, Mains or Interview. The relevance and the significance of this subject will be evident even after you get into the service as it forms an important part of the administration. It widely discusses the various policies of the government, all about the constitution (individual rights, duties and responsibilities), rights-based issues of the vulnerable groups.

Compared to history or geography, candidates attempting civil services for the first time might not be well aware of the intricacies of Polity initially. Indian Polity is a must-read for civil service aspirants with a significant number of questions seen in the exam over the years, have been found to be direct and indirect and ranging from easy to moderate on the difficulty level. Whereas questions from social justice and governance will be related to current affairs topics such as welfare schemes, social security schemes, interventions with regard to poverty, health, education etc.

Let’s look at the number of questions asked from Indian Polity, social justice and governance over the past few years:


The importance of polity becomes even more evident as on an average 16%-18% of the questions came from Indian polity. Questions in the Polity section are taken from both basic as well as current affairs. It is advised that the candidates refer to the background of any current news related to the polity as most questions asked are inspired by current happenings and news. Sometimes, polity questions can get difficult due to the technicalities involved in the legal jargon but this can be overcome by developing conceptual clarity via repeated revisions instead of merely memorising the articles.

For example,

Polity – Prelims 2016

With reference to the ‘Gram Nyayalaya Act’ which of the statements is/are correct?

  1. As per the Act, Gram Nyayalayas can hear only civil cases not criminal cases
  2. The Act allows only social activists as mediators/reconciliations

Gram Nyayalayas were frequently in news and thus found a place in 2016 prelims paper. As seen here, topics related to dispute resolution, Lok Adalat etc. become important.

Social Justice and Governance – Prelims 2016

Regarding ‘Atal Pension Yojana’, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. It is a minimum guaranteed pension scheme mainly targeted at unorganized sector workers.
  2. Only one member of a family can join the scheme
  3. The same amount of pension is guaranteed for the spouse for life after a subscriber’s death.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

Questions from Social justice and governance are usually from current affairs.

Polity is a high scoring subject because:

  • Of the concise and factual nature of the syllabus.
  • Questions are straight forward (not too analytical) and if your revision is thorough then, you can get most of the answers correct if not for 100% accuracy
  • The difficulty level ranges from easy to moderate
  • Not many sources to refer apart from the two trusted and most referred books of Polity – By Laxmikanth and DD Basu

Books for GS Paper 2

Let’s have a look at the Sources to refer:


It is advised to go through the NCERT’s at least once before proceeding to other reference books or sources as it helps in clearing concepts and building a base, the most important of the lot being Indian Constitution at Work. The fact that it doesn’t take much of your time and the simplicity of the language is the best part of reading NCERT books. But it depends from person to person as some may skip this step altogether.

The next crucial step is to refer to the most prominent book for Indian Polity written by well-known M. Laxmikanth. This is indeed the most resourceful and comprehensive book to prepare for Polity from civil service exam perspective. The book covers almost the entire syllabus and has well-structured short chapters and practice papers. The book is factual in nature and the language is simple to comprehend. If an aspirant wants to enhance the preparation level, he/she can go for D.D. Basu’s ‘Introduction to the Constitution of India’ which covers Indian Polity in great detail. Each aspect of Indian Constitution has been dealt with elaborately and it goes into its deepest intricacies.


It is not essential to go through the entire report, however, read those topics that are syllabus specific and be very selective while reading it. It can be used extensively in answer writing in Mains.


Selective reading of current issues and previous years according to the topics listed in the syllabus.


Chapter 3 related to Polity must be dealt with in detail.


Current Affairs related to Polity must be prepared throughout the year from THE HINDU. It helps in prelims and a lot of descriptive questions asked in Mains have a strong current affairs flavour. Besides, it proves useful even in the interviews when an aspirant is expected to be up to date with the current happenings.

Now that the basics are clear from the above sources along with the POLITY CHAPTER from the Byju’s tablet, one can make notes from them and use it for further revisions. This gives a candidate an overall framework for Polity.

Right Approach

It is not an absolute requisite to mug up all the 450 articles of the constitution

There are a few very important articles which are absolutely necessary. However, if the basics are tackled and if you have revised the same a few times, most of the relevant articles will be automatically ingrained in your memory. Few articles like 72, 110, 266, 267, 312 etc. are of paramount importance.

The topics one chooses to read need not be in a particular sequence.

Often we are caught in this dilemma of should we go according to the table of contents? The answer to this is a clear NO. It is important to develop a keen interest in the subject in the initial stages itself. Hence start with a topic that interests you.  For instance, there is no hard and fast rule that one should read the process of the making of the Indian Constitution before completing the chapter on Fundamental Rights and Duties. Try and identify topics that are identical and can be covered in a flow. This way it takes lesser time as the majority of the topics of the similar pattern can be dealt with ease.

One should aim for Multiple Readings

In the first go, one should not try to remember everything. It is in the second reading that one should start making notes and ensure each chapter is read thoroughly. It is important to read from the sources a sufficient number of times as with each reading, the average time decreases drastically.

Keeping yourself updated on the current affairs front

As mentioned earlier in this article, questions from polity, social justice and governance are both static and dynamic in nature. Current affairs related to Policies and related provisions, Bills and Acts should be followed closely.

Take up many tests

Take up as many tests as possible before the D-day. The questions asked can look direct sometimes, but are often confusing. Revising and regular practice of multiple choice questions will help strengthen the understanding of the subject, helps you recall on the final exam day, saves one from making avoidable mistakes and also boosts one’s confidence.

Also, go through previous years Prelims and Mains paper and solve them. Taking up a good test series also helps in understanding the nature of questions and to prepare accordingly.

Check the social justice syllabus for UPSC exam here.

This is indeed a scoring and interesting part of the IAS exam provided if one is well prepared. Try and eliminate the ambiguity part.

Also, see:

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