UPSC Question Paper Analysis – Mains 2018 General Studies Paper II

 

The UPSC Notification for Civil Services Examination 2019 is almost out. It is a good time to start revising on the preparation now as this year, the time available between the Prelims Examination and Mains Examination is less as compared to last year. A key part of preparation and revision is the analysis of past years papers. This helps candidates understand the pattern of questions, as well as the IAS Syllabus in depth. Of all the subjects, General Studies occupies the lion’s share of marks in both Prelims and Mains. We at BYJU’S bring you a detailed analysis of the Mains 2018 General Studies Papers in this series of articles. This article deals with a detailed analysis of the topics and concepts covered in the Civil Services Mains 2018 General Studies Paper II.

The General Studies Paper II was as expected, heavy on current affairs and questions related to governance. You can check out the Mains 2018 Question Papers here.

The five principal subjects covered by the Mains 2018 exam were as follows:

Governance

Constitution of India

Polity (With a significant overlap with Governance)

Social Justice (With a significant overlap with both polity as well as Governance)

International Relations

These subjects should be covered in depth to ensure success in the examination.

Subject Wise Analysis of UPSC Mains 2018 General Studies Paper II

The following table gives an overview of the topic wise number of questions and the percentage of marks in General Studies Paper II for Mains 2018:

Topic Number of Questions Percentage of Marks Recommended Reading
Governance 7 36% India Yearbook by The DOPT, Yojana Magazine, Governance in India by M.Laxmikanth
Constitution of India 3 16% Introduction to the Constitution of India by Durga Das Basu
Governance & Polity 2 10% NCERT Textbooks, Indian Polity by M.Laxmikanth
Social Justice 4 18% Governance in India by M.Laxmikanth
International Relations 4 20% Pax Indica by Shashi Tharoor, Does The Elephant Dance by David.M Malone

* This is not an exhaustive reading list and candidates should follow current affairs as the primary source of information

Unlike the 2017 Mains General Studies Paper I, the 2018 mains contained fewer questions from polity and more questions from Governance. Even the Polity questions had a large overlap with concepts of governance. The next biggest contributor of marks was International relations, which had questions related to international trade and international bodies. Social Justice Questions contributed the next highest percentage of marks with Constitution of India and Governance & Polity making up the rest of the paper. We have also included a list of books for UPSC which contain the concepts covered in the paper and should be read during preparation for 2019 UPSC CSE Mains.

Question Wise Analysis of UPSC Mains 2018 General Studies Paper II

  • Q.1. In the light of recent controversy regarding the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), what are the challenges before the Election Commission of India to ensure the trustworthiness of elections in India?
  • Concepts: Governance: Important Aspects of Governance – Transparency and Accountability
  • Q.2. Whether National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) can enforce the implementation of constitutional reservation for the Scheduled Castes in the religious minority institutions? Examine.
  • Concepts: Social Justice: Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions and Bodies Constituted for the Protection and Betterment of Vulnerable Sections of the Population
  • Q.3. Under what circumstances can the Financial Emergency be proclaimed by the President of India? What consequences follow when such a declaration remains in force?
  • Concepts: Constitution of India-Significant Provisions
  • Q.4. Why do you think the committees are considered useful for parliamentary work? Discuss, in this context, the role of the Estimates Committee.
  • Concepts: Governance & Polity – Parliament – Structure, Functioning and Conduct of Business
  • Q.5. “The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has a very vital role to play.” Explain how this is reflected in the method and terms of his appointment as well as the range of powers he can exercise.
  • Concepts: Governance – Appointment to Various Constitutional Posts
  • Q.6. “Policy contradictions among various competing sectors and stakeholders have resulted in inadequate ‘protection and prevention of degradation’ to environment.” Discuss.
  • Concepts: Social Justice – Issues related to the development and management of the social sector/services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
  • Q.7. Appropriate local community-level healthcare intervention is a prerequisite to achieve ‘Health for All’ in India. Explain.
  • Concepts: Social Justice – Issues related to the development and management of the social sector/services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
  • Q.8. E-governance is not only about utilization of the power of new technology, but also much about critical importance of the ‘use value’ of information. Explain.
  • Concepts: Governance – e-governance Applications and Limitations and Potential
  • Q.9. “India’s relations with Israel have, of late, acquired a depth and diversity, which cannot be rolled back.” Discuss.
  • Concepts: International Relations – Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
  • Q.10. A number of outside powers have entrenched themselves in Central Asia, which is a zone of interest to India. Discuss the implications, in this context, of India’s joining the Ashgabat Agreement, 2018.
  • Concepts: International Relations – Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
  • Q.11. Whether the Supreme Court Judgement (July 2018) can settle the political tussle between the Lt. Governor and elected government of Delhi.
  • Concepts: Governance & Polity – Parliament and State Legislatures, Issues arising out of Powers &Privileges of legislative bodies along with concepts from Executive and Judiciary and Indian Constitution – Challenges in the devolution of power
  • Q.12. How far do you agree with the view that tribunals curtail the jurisdiction of ordinary courts? In view of the above, discuss the constitutional validity and competency of tribunals in India.
  • Concepts: Governance – Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
  • Q.13. Indian and USA are two large democracies. Examine the basic tenets on which the two political systems are based.
  • Concepts: Indian Constitution – Comparison of India’s constitutional scheme with other countries
  • Q.14. How is the Finance Commission of India constituted? What do you know about the terms of reference of the recently constituted Finance Commission? Discuss.
  • Concepts: Governance – Powers, functions and responsibilities of various constitutional bodies along with some concepts from Appointment to various constitutional posts
  • Q.15. Assess the importance of the Panchayat system in India as a part of local government. Apart from government grants, what sources the Panchayats can look out for financing developmental projects?
  • Concepts: Indian Constitution – Devolution of powers and finances up to local government level along with concepts from Challenges in the devolution of power and Issues related to the development and management of the social sector/services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
  • Q.16. Multiplicity of various commissions for the vulnerable sections of the society leads to problems of overlapping jurisdiction and duplication of functions. Is it better to merge all commissions into an umbrella Human Rights Commission? Argue your case.
  • Concepts: Governance – Issues arising out of design and implementation of government intervention along with concepts from Social Justice – Mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections of the population, Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by centre and states, The performance of welfare schemes
  • Q17. How far do you agree with the view that the focus on lack of availability of food as the main cause of hunger takes the attention away from ineffective human development policies in India?
  • Concepts: Social Justice – Issues related to poverty and hunger along with concepts from Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by centre and states and the performance of welfare schemes
  • Q.18. The Citizen’s Charter is an ideal instrument of organizational transparency and accountability, but it has its own limitations. Identify the limitations and suggest measures for greater effectiveness of the Citizen’s Charter.
  • Concepts: Governance – e-governance, citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures
  • Q.19. What are the key areas of reform if the WTO has to survive in the present context of ‘Trade War’, especially keeping in mind the interests of India?
  • Concepts: International Relations – Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interest along with a few concepts from Important international institutions, agencies and for a, their structure and mandate and Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s Interests
  • Q.20. In what ways would the ongoing US-Iran Nuclear Pact Controversy affect the national interest of India? How should India respond to this situation?
  • Concepts: International Relations – Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s Interests, Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests along with concepts from Relations between India and neighbouring countries

As we can see from the above analysis, most of the paper involves current affairs in some form or the other. It is also important to read editorials and opinion pieces for this paper. The Hindu is a good source for these. Also, a close watch on International Affairs and a basic understanding of WTO and WCO functions would be required for some questions and candidates should go through their official websites at least once. BYJU’S CNA and The Hindu Video Analysis are good sources for analysis of ongoing hot topics and the Monthly Current Affairs Magazine is very useful for revision of current affairs. Reading the Yojana and Kurukshetra Magazines as well as following Press Information Bureau updates is an important part of preparation for this paper.

The analysis of the paper clearly shows us the importance of having the basics right in our General Studies preparation, as well as developing an analytical approach to social, political and financial issues. UPSC 2019 is expected to be current affairs heavy as was the case in 2017 and 2018.

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