In the 2018 UPSC Prelims, polity was one of the most important topics with 13 questions asked from it. It is also a big part of the UPSC Mains exam syllabus. Polity is an essential segment of the UPSC syllabus. When it comes to polity, the most recommended book is M Laxmikant’s ‘Indian Polity’. This article gives you tips on how to study polity from the book for the Civil Services Exam including the important topics to be covered.
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Indian Polity By Laxmikant: Important Topics
Indian Polity by Laxmikant is divided into several parts and Part 1 is the most important. Almost 30% of the polity questions come from these topics. The topics here are as follows:
- Salient features of the Constitution
- Fundamental rights
- Fundamental duties
- Directive principles of state policy
- The Preamble
You must study these topics compulsorily as questions will definitely be asked from them. The topic ‘Salient features of the Constitution’ is very significant. Also important and not to be missed is the Preamble. This is crucial for both Mains and Prelims exam. The topics Union and Its Territories and Citizenship should be studied.
Part 2 of Indian Polity by Laxmikant includes the following topics:
- The parliamentary and presidential forms of government. : You have to study the differences between them and also the reason why India has a parliamentary form of government.
- The federal and unitary features of the Indian Constitution.
- Centre-state legislations
- Interstate relations.
- Special Provisions for Some States
- Special status of Jammu & Kashmir
- Emergency provisions
- Types of emergencies
- National emergency
- President’s Rule
- Types of emergencies
Topics like centre-state relations and interstate relations are frequently in the news and questions are asked on them.
You have to study about the emergency provisions. Read about the types of emergencies but the most important ones are national emergency and President’s rule. Financial emergency is not that significant. Chapter 16 ( Chapter 36 of the fifth edition of the book) is extremely essential and you should study it. It deals with Article 370 which talks about the special status of Jammu & Kashmir. Similarly, chapter 17 is crucial as it talks about the special provisions of some states like Nagaland, Maharashtra, etc.
The critical topics in Part 3 are:
- Parliament: In parliament, you must read about its composition, working, parliamentary privileges, the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
- Parliamentary committees:
- The President and the Central Council of Ministers
- President’s powers, election and impeachment
- Ordinance making power of President
- Pardoning power of President
- The Prime Minister
- Supreme Court
- Public Interest Litigation
The President and the central Council of Ministers are topics you must read. President’s powers, election and impeachment are all important. The ordinance making power and the pardoning power of the President are in the news every year and hence crucial for the UPSC exam. Vice-President is not so important and so is cabinet committee.
The Prime Minister is a very vital topic. For the civil services exam, the position and associated powers are more significant than the person. Supreme Court is another vital topic for the IAS exam. You must also read about judicial activism. Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is a topic you must study.
Part 4 of Indian Polity by Laxmikant focuses on states. Topics in this part are not that vital because most of the things are repeated from the Union. What you must focus on are:
- The differences between the powers of the President and the Governors
- The differences between the powers of the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers, etc.
Coming to the next important topic, i.e., constitutional bodies. This constitutes Part IV of the book. You must know the following topics:
- Constitutional bodies
- Non-constitutional bodies
- Non-statutory bodies.
- NITI Ayog
- Election Commission
This portion can be covered if you regularly read the newspaper also in detail. The most important constitutional body is the Election Commission. So, read about the EC. Also, read in less detail about the UPSC and the finance commission. Read about the powers of the CAG and AG.
The next crucial topics in the book come in part 5 which are
- Panchayati Raj. Here you must know what comes under the jurisdiction of the Panchayats as opposed to the municipalities, etc. You must also read about the PESA Act.
The rest of the book is mainly IAS mains exam-oriented. The fundamental topics in this section are political parties, political dynamics, election laws and electoral reforms. Anti-defection laws are vital for the exam.
The last chapter, i.e., ‘National commission to review the working of the constitution’ is not vital.
Next comes the Appendix of the book:
Here you should read:
- Articles of the constitution.
- Union, state and concurrent lists
- Constitutional amendments
- Amendment process of the constitution
These concepts have been asked in the UPSC Prelims multiple times.
Also study the major constitutional amendments. Studying the amendment process is necessary.
There are a few tables in the book. One such table gives a list of the Presidents and the Prime Minister. This is essential for prelims and the essay paper.
Another crucial table is the first cabinet of independent India.
In the making of the Constitution, you only have to remember the drafting committee. Otherwise, just an overall understanding of the making is required.
IAS aspirants should read Indian Polity by Laxmikant from cover to cover at least once before they start in depth preparation. It is a good idea to make Indian Polity notes from the book for the UPSC exam and keep them handy for revision. Hindi medium aspirants can read from ‘Bharat Ki Rajvyavastha’, the hindi edition of this book for success. Candidates should also solve previous years’ UPSC question papers to get an idea of the pattern of questions for all topics in the IAS syllabus.
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