A Strategy for Mains: GS Paper-II

It is important for us to understand the components of the GS Paper-II, i.e. Polity, Governance, Social Justice and International Relations. Each of these components can be prepared well once aspirants understand the nature of the Civil Service (Mains) syllabus, notified by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The Civil Service (Mains) Examination, 2014, had many questions which could be solved easily if one had revised current affairs well. But, revising current affairs alone without a strong foundation in the subject is pointless.

GS Paper 2 Syllabus

Nature of the subjects

  • ‘Polity’ involves the study of the Indian Constitution, its features, amendments, provisions, constitutional and non-constitutional bodies, etc.
  • Governance’, involves the issues concerning the Government in action, such as, ‘Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation’, ‘Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures’, etc.
  • ‘Social Justice’,  involves, ‘Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources’, ‘Issues relating to poverty and hunger’, etc. to name a few.
  • ‘International Relations’, involves, ‘India and its neighborhood- relations’, ‘Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests’, etc.

These subjects have a static base which needs to be covered well, while analysis of current affairs puts the subject matter into better perspective, and questions generally asked are focused on these new developments.

Conquering GS Paper-II

Through our experience in interacting with students, and mentoring them to prepare for the Civil Services Examination, we have understood some of the key challenges which students face while preparing. These include lack of conceptual clarity from reading texts available in the market, inability to visualize the subject content while reading, inability to cope with the huge volume of UPSC syllabus, etc. Let’s take a quick look at some of the sources which you can use.

Subjects Sources
Polity BYJU’s Tablet + ‘Indian Polity’ by Laxmikanth(Do read this book at least 3 times) + ‘Indian Constitution at Work’ which is a Class XI NCERT book.
Governance BYJU’s Tablet + Select articles from ‘The Hindu’, BYJU’s Current Affairs Videos, Economic Survey and Press Information Bureau (PIB), ARC reports
Social Justice BYJU’s Tablet + Select articles from ‘The Hindu’
International Relations BYJU’s Tablet + MEA Website, Select articles from ‘The Hindu’

Using the BYJU’s UPSC Tablet course for preparing notes on these topics, helps aspirants to put the subject into perspective really well. The highly immersive content helps students have a great understanding of the topics in-depth, which is vital. It is advisable that aspirants complete a reading of ‘Indian Constitution at Work’ (NCERT) first to appreciate the topics covered. After this, students can refer to ‘Indian Polity’ by Laxmikanth. This book is indispensable for preparing polity. The chapters in this book are explained in a simple style. At the end of completing every 2nd or 3rd chapter from this book, you can refer to the same chapters from the tablet to further deepen your understanding and familiarize yourself with the content better. It is important to make notes from the tablet lectures. You will realize soon, that the conceptual clarity you get from the tablet video lectures when added to factual data you find in ‘Indian Polity’ by Laxmikanth will soon make you comfortable in writing answers on topics included in the syllabus. Topics on ‘Social Justice’ and ‘International Relations’ can be covered well from the Tablet and select articles from ‘The Hindu’. For ‘International Relations’, it is important to keep a track of burning issues which have been in the news over a sustained period of time- some topics to name a few are: BRICS, ASEAN, SAARC, etc. International issues which impact India are important to be covered during preparation.

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