How to prepare governance for UPSC CSE Mains?

The UPSC Mains examination 2023 is in September, and fresh notification for the Prelims/Mains 2023 is scheduled to be released on 1st February 2023. Aspirants are looking for the right kind of strategy in various papers that can certainly help them ace this examination of uncertainty. Candidates are expected to develop an awareness of an array of topics. The UPSC main examination has papers of General Studies (GS) with their micro-topics.

Governance comes under UPSC Mains GS paper-2. It has a sizable chunk of marks under its syllabus for the examination. In this article, we shall discuss a suitable strategy that will help aspirants prepare and work on a smart strategy for the important Governance portion of the GS Paper 2.

Before we proceed to discuss the strategy,  we need to understand the fundamental aspects for which the official notification and Syllabus of UPSC will be our guiding light.

What are the Broad Areas in Governance of GS-2?

  • As most of the candidates are aware that the UPSC Main examination, in the present pattern, has four general studies papers. General studies-2 broadly deals with polity, constitution, governance, social justice, and international relations.
  • Over the years there has been a continuous change, and evolving patterns have dominated the main examination since the new pattern was introduced in 2013.
  • General studies-2 has been observing fluctuations and an inconsistent range of scores. 
  • So a good coverage with the strategy will certainly help aspirants score better, thereby offering a better chance to get the desired ranks in the IAS  exam.

Does the UPSC Notification Hold the Key to a Good Score?

  • The UPSC notification itself mentions something very crucial that every aspirant must read before they venture on this journey or prepare a strategy. 
  • It states -” The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues and ability to analyse and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives, and demands. The candidates must give relevant, meaningful, and succinct answers.”
  • Therefore, sufficient knowledge in the topic as expected from an educated person coupled with a basic understanding of the issues, their various dimensions, and an ability to write analytical answers with a good presentation is needed.
  • It is essential to note that to delve deep into the topic, repeated reading and revision from limited sources, will prepare the base. 
  • Regular, diligent answer writing practice ensures further success for the smarter approach. 
  • This along with the practice of previous year’s questions will give a fair idea of the dynamics questions and their nature. 
IAS exam aspirants can boost their preparation with the help of the following links:

  1. Previous Years’ UPSC Question Papers
  2. Topic-wise GS 2  Questions of UPSC Mains
  3. IAS Polity Questions & Answers
  4. 100+ Difference Between Articles for UPSC
  5. General Studies GS 2 Structure and Strategy

What is the importance of the syllabus to prepare Governance for UPSC Mains?

  • First of all the candidates should acquaint themselves with the syllabus and understand the conceptual depth required for each of the topics. 
  • Students can take help from this linked article to have a better idea of the syllabus prescribed for UPSC Main Examination and Previous Year Questions for Governance in GS2.
  • The governance syllabus prescribed in the UPSC Main examination includes governance along with polity, dealing with various legislations acts and constitutional provisions, functioning of the legislative and executive, and the judiciary.
  • And the other section deals with powers and responsibilities of various statutory, quasi-judicial bodies, issues arising out of the implementation of the scheme, challenges, and the role of civil services in a democracy.

For each of these broad classifications of categories, one needs to tweak the approach or a little. Let’s discuss the first case.

  • Candidates have to have a thorough knowledge of the polity as well as constitutional mechanisms, its various other dimensions, challenges for our democracy, processes, such as election, selection or nomination to constitutional bodies, and reforms if any. 
  • Here apart from adequate knowledge and understanding of the issues and the statutory or constitutional mechanisms,  one needs to have a  fair idea concerning the current events and why the said issue has featured in question.
  • They can be covered from the regular standard reference books.
  • Must follow regular current affairs along with relevant events.
  • In the latter case, the syllabus is more dynamic, so are the questions of the Main Examination, being application-oriented, with dynamics than the first block.

Important Reports to Prepare for Governance for UPSC Mains

  • Here candidates are required to update themselves on the latest developments following regular articles in the national daily such as the Hindus, Indian Express, PIB division updates, along with selected reports or publications released by the government from time to time. 
  • Publications such as the ARC report, Economic Survey, and selected chapters from the India yearbook are quite useful.
  • Similarly, candidates can take a look at the reports and documents released by other important bodies such as NITI Aayog vision documents. 
  •  Similarly, updates on debates on issues on Sansad TV are quite useful for this purpose.
  • Candidates can access the important briefs for the Sansad TV discussions on this linked page, with notes to help themselves in their preparation.

What are Some Basic Tenets to Follow?

Let’s discuss some basic principles candidates should follow, practice, so that they reap the best benefit, and not get lost in the quest of amassing tons of materials and yet finding only a few of them useful on a fateful day.

  • Candidates should limit their sources to a few sources and prioritize more revisions.
  • Should keep in mind which information to take in which information to leave, to not lose steam in the rush of resources.
  • As the official document of UPSC mentions, it is a test of basic understanding, so it is essential to have one, across topics.
  • Writing practice and presentation in a time-bound manner should be given high priority.
  • It is well known that knowledge without adequate presentation on the answer papers of the examination is not going to give the desired result.


The syllabus of governance in the GS2 paper can be tackled with a  detailed strategy and a thorough approach prioritizing more practice, honing up the skills of presentation and answer writing.

 Similarly, multiple revisions from limited sources will enable the candidate to recall better, keeping up the facts from various reports on the tip. It also adds to the ability to link across topics in answers. Candidates must prepare a plan, stick to it and take the help of quality resources, saving their crucial time. They also need to practice an adequate number of previous questions to acquaint themselves with the real exam-like environment. This will ensure a very good score, above average in the paper GS-2 where governance consists of a sizable chunk of the overall marks in this paper. 

Related Links:

UPSC Posts IAS Salary
Last India Rank for IAS, IPS, IFS NCERT Notes for UPSC
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