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UPSC – GAUGING GENERAL STUDIES 2

Arindum Soni

The second paper in the second half of the exam day in the mains examination is your General studies paper 2 –Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations. This paper consists of 250 marks in mains examination.

Indian Constitution—Historical Underpinnings, Appointment to various Constitutional Posts, Powers, Functions and Responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies, Federal structure, Statutory, Regulatory and various Quasi-judicial Bodies forms the major component of the ‘Constitution’ portion. To built the foundation for Basics, one must thoroughly read Standard books and reference materials. This section has significant weightage in Prelims as well as Mains, hence, during the preparation aspirants must bear in mind their mains syllabus. Pre cum mains approach is the key.

The second portion i.e. ‘Governance’ entails Important Aspects of Governance, E-governance; Citizens Charters, Transparency & Accountability, Institutional and other measures, Role of Civil Services in a Democracy, The Role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders. UPSC focuses on Macro headers for this part. In-depth study is required for each topic ranging from provisions, applications, models to successes, limitations, and potential. One should know how to contextualise recent examples and quote them in answers.

Social Justice forms an extremely essential component of the paper, which is generally avoided by the aspirants. It consists of Issues Relating to Poverty, Hunger,

Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education and Human Resources. Performance, Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions and Bodies constituted for the Protection and Better working of these social sectors should be covered in detailed and wide-ranging manner as they hugely impact our economy and society. Education and Health should be the focus area for every aspirant.

In a similar manner, Vulnerable Sections of the society is to be covered.

The last section of our General Studies Paper 2 is ‘International Relations’. Candidateshould focus and do impact evaluation of neighbouring countries ( eg : Afghanistan, China, Sri Lanka, Pakistan) and countries which are regularly in news whose politics and policies are affecting India, it’s interests and Indian Diapora. For example : What is the impact of Russian – Ukraine war on India. It is expected by UPSC that candidates should be well aware about India’s Stand on major International events.

India and its Role in major international institutions (World Bank, UN etc.) set up another important arm of this section. Regular eye on the newspaper and coverage of events of past one year will suffice your preparation.

Sources and references:

One of the best studies ever produced for the government was ARC 2. Even though the studies have been out for more than ten years, their information is still invaluable. Read thorough reports, but just retain recommendations.

Covering current affairs:

A daily reading of English newspaper should be a daily ritual.The Big Picture debate on RSTV and All India Radio news broadcast is worth your attention from examination perspective.

But you need to have greater objectivity while you are reading the articles in the newspaper, which sometimes are leftist in nature.That is why you need to look for articles with opposing viewpoints and fair arguments.

Answer writing in General studies paper-2

The questions are more factual in their orientation, so should be your answers in the UPSC examination hall. Hence, responses should begin with a Constitutional article in case the question is about the governor, your response must have a reference to Article 153 in your primary introduction. 

For example; a question regarding the Civil Services, You must start your answer with the reference to Article 312.

If there are any technical phrases, such as “Social Audit,” “Political Democracy,” or “Parliamentary Sovereignty,” define them in your introduction by explaining to the examiner what you mean by each.

Decisions made by the Supreme Court are crucial. To support your claim, compile a list of significant rulings, both recent and historical, and use quotes for them. For instance, citing the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Shreya Singhal vs Union of India case will greatly enhance your responses to a question on free expression.

Even if it isn’t stated in the question, it is usually a good idea to present both sides of a contentious topic. Example: Do you believe that the Civil Services require substantial changes? For this, mention the need for fundamental reforms in a subheading. Explain in the paragraph that follows why drastic reforms are detrimental as a reaction. You can add the views of the ARC 2/Hota/Surendranath committee at the end to represent your point of view and end on a balanced note.

For content worth 200 words on topics like the RPA Act, SHG, and e-Government, among others, consult any reputable coaching resource. To support your arguments, cite recent newspaper articles and issues.

Emphasize upon the laws and regulations in great detail. Aspirant should memorize the most recent statistics on poverty, women’s employment, poverty, health and other marco topics of the syllabus, around which the questions are majorly surrounded. These crucial statistics can also be used in essays and other GS papers. In addition to committees, you can support your argument with verifiable reports from reputable organizations like Lancet, Transparency International, UNICEF, FAO, etc.

In your conclusion, use attractive keywords with an optimistic personality in your answers. Your examiner shall see you as a hopeful, insightful and positive candidate who will serve the society with such an outlook. For this, you need to prepare yourself in long term, while reading your current affairs and static parts.

Try and conclude your answer with a recommendation or observation from the committee or commission. For example, a question on Center-State relations must conclude with the Punchhi Commission, a question on the death penalty must end with NCRWC and the Law Commission. Another effective way to wrap up your responses is to include the Sustainable Development Goals, Preamble, Fundamental Rights or DPSP.

Finally, I’d like to offer a teaching from Buddha – ” Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” As we all believe, life begins anew every day. Employ your today to make your tomorrow better and work hard with unique courage everyday to achieve your goals.

All the best!

Writter is Faculty for UPSC IAS exams in Jaipur

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