Current Affairs is the most important aspect of IAS/UPSC preparations. The significance of this can be gauged from the fact that close to 40 % of the questions asked in both Prelims and Mains have a direct Current Affairs stamp. Alternatively, one can safely assume that close to 85% of all the questions asked are in, one way or the other, linked to the Current Affairs. Being efficiently updated on Current Affairs will get you multiple steps closer to your IAS vision. A glance at the past few years’ question papers tells an interesting story. A question asked may appear as a standard History or Polity question, but a closer examination reveals the imprint of Current Affairs. Let’s take a few examples.
- In Prelims 2015 a question was asked on ‘Joint Session of the Parliament’. It does appear as a standard polity question. But the reason it was asked in the Exams by the UPSC reveals that the Joint Session of the Parliament dominated the headlines of newspapers months before the examination. Since the Govt. Could not pass the legislation concerning GST, it floated the idea of calling the Joint Session of the Parliament. Hence, this question.
- In Prelims 2013, a question on Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was asked. The reason being this committee was looking into the various aspects of umpteen scams that rocked the nation – CWG Scam, Coal Scam, 2G-Scam. Since these scams dominated the news UPSC had to ask something or the other about them. Hence it asked about PAC which was looking into these scams.
- Also in 2013, since the coal scam made the headlines, a question was asked about the nature of coal that’s occurring in India.
In light of above examples, one can safely assume that Current Affairs dominates all other areas of the syllabus and, in fact, pervades the entire syllabus by referencing with the domains concerning other subjects. Now, we do understand and comprehend the importance of Current Affairs in this examination but we also need to know how to proceed with mastering Current Affairs.
- Reading a standard National newspaper is the first step. One can choose The Hindu or the Indian Express to follow important developments in India and abroad.
- Making notes of the important developments is the second vital step in this process. Creating separate sections of your notebook earmarked for different aspects is a wise step. For Example, dedicating one portion of your notebook for polity, the other for Environment, and then the other for Economy and so on.
- One should make a selected reading of Economic & Political Weekly, Frontline, Yojana and Kurukshetra to have an informed understanding of all the issues that find relevance in your IAS syllabus.
- But, remember, anticipation of the questions that can be asked in the examinations has to be your target. One needs to follow 5W’s and 1H strategy to cover all angles of an issue and then the other for Economy and so on.
The 5W’s and 1H strategy:
- What has happened?
- Where did it happen?
- When did it happen?
- Who were the people/institutions involved?
- Why did it happen? AND
- Weekly revision of your Current Affairs notebook is highly advisable and recommended. A regular reading of the India yearbook is also highly necessary and will help in covering up the important sectors of the UPSC Current Affairs.