Saturday, 30 June 2018

How to Prepare for the UPSC Civil Services Examination - by Satyakam Dutta

How to Prepare for the UPSC Civil Services The Interview (Personality Test) by Satyakam Dutta








After the Mains Examination is over, the results are declared in 2-3 months and out of nearly 15,000 candidates who write the Mains examination, 3000-3500 candidates are shortlisted for the Interview stage from which around 1000-1100 candidates make to the final list. The Interview is a crucial stage in the selection process which can make or break one’s selection. I have seen candidates with average marks in the Mains examination, clearing with high ranks after getting handsome marks in the Interview. Hence, it becomes very important that the Interview stage be taken seriously so that one can pass the examination with a good rank.
The Interview process of just 25 to 35 minutes has a wide range of marks scored: 90 to 230. It is the last chance to maximize the total score. Even if one’s score in the Written Examination is near the cut-off, one can score very high and be in the selection list.

CSE, 2014 Cut-off marks (General Category):

Written Score:                                              678   (for getting interview call)
Final Score (Written + Interview):              889 (for getting selected after interview)

So, the marks in the Interview Stage is a very important component in the selection process.
To give a full and clear insight of the Personality Test (Interview), UPSC explains and clarifies in detail:
“The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of his/her career. He/she will be asked questions on matters of general interest. The object of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers. The test is intended to judge the mental caliber of a candidate. In broad terms this is really an assessment of not only his/her intellectual qualities but also social traits and his/her interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgment, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity”.
“The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination but of a natural, though directed and purposive conversation which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.”
“The interview test is not intended to be a test either of the specialised or general knowledge of the candidates which has been already tested through their written papers. Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their special subjects of academic study but also in the events which are happening around them both within and outside their own state or country as well as in modern currents of thought and in new discoveries which should rouse the curiosity of well-educated youth.”

After having sat in the Interview for 3 times and getting selected twice, these, according to me, are the key points one should remember while preparing for the Interview stage:

  • One should be very thorough on each and every entry made in the DAF (Detailed Application Form) which is submitted after clearing the Preliminary stage.
  • While answering the questions one should be very honest and should not bluff. It is good to say “I don’t know, Sir” to issues which are not known. Remember, this is a test of personality and not knowledge.
  • One should sound confident about what one is saying.
  • One should keep a smiling face during the interview. A smiling face can fetch you good marks for sure!
  • Keep good eye contact and sit in a straight and erect position.
  • Please knock the door and seek permission before entering and do not sit in the chair unless told to.
  • One should be thorough with Current Affairs and should even read the daily newspaper diligently on the day of the Interview.
  • One can ask clarifying questions to questions not understood properly. This shows the seriousness of the candidate to understand the question properly.
  • One should be dressed appropriately. A dark colored tie on a white shirt and similarly dark pants fit the bill perfectly. One may or may not wear a coat, that depends on the heat on the day of interview and one should not sweat wearing a coat.
  • Take deep breathes just before entering the Interview hall. It released the pressure, brings your heartbeats down and relaxes you.


Preparing for the UPSC Civil Services Examination - Mains by Satyakam Dutta - Part 1












In the earlier issues, we have discussed about the UPSC Civil Services Examination and the kind of preparation which is required to crack the same. We have discussed about the pattern of the examination, the various stages of the examination (Prelims, Mains and Interview) and also about the various papers of the Preliminary examination in details. I hope many of the readers have, by now, made up their minds to appear in this examination. As I have said earlier, the entire examination is a long and deep process of learning, and even if one is not selected, he learns a lot during the entire process and comes out as a learned human being. The process of learning that one endures during the preparation of this examination, helps one in getting other related jobs, like State Services, Bank or SSC. Further, it also helps in building one as a better human being, sensible and compassionate.

In this series now, we are going to discuss the various Papers which are part of the Mains Examination. After selection in the Prelims, one has to appear in the subjective examination call the Mains Examination. Out of several lakhs of candidates appearing in the Preliminary examination, around 15,000 candidates qualify to appear in the Mains examination. The Mains examination broadly consists of the following:
Civil Services (Mains) Examination Format
Paper
Subject
Marks
Paper A
(One of the Indian languages mentioned below, to be selected by the candidate (from the languages listed in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India) (Qualifying)
300
Paper B
English (Qualifying)
300
Paper I
Essay
250
Paper II
General Studies I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)
250
Paper III
General Studies II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations)
250
Paper IV
General Studies III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)
250
Paper V
General Studies IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)
250
Papers VI, VII
Two papers on subjects to be selected by the candidate from the list of optional subjects below (250 marks for each paper)
500
Sub Total (Written Test) (Paper I + II + III + IV + V + VI + VII)
1750
Personality Test (Interview)
275
Total Marks
2025

It is to be noted here that Paper A and B are just qualifying papers, which means one just need to pass in those papers and the marks obtained in those papers shall be included in the total for preparation of the merit list. List of languages that one can take up for the Paper A are Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi (Devanagari/Arabic Script), Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.  Though the UPSC has never disclosed the passing marks of the qualifying papers, a score of 50% is considered to be safe. It is pertinent here to mention here that rest of the papers are checked only when one passes in the qualifying papers.
For the Optional paper (Papers VI and VII) one can take any of the following subjects: Agriculture, Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science, Anthropology, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Commerce & Accountancy, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, History, Law, Management,  Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Medical Science, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science & International Relations, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics, Zoology and Literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi , Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, English.
Hence, the plethora of choices is huge. One can choose among various subjects according to one’s own liking. It is not mandatory that one has to choose an optional in which one has graduated in. He can take any subject to be his optional from the subjects mentioned above. I graduated in Computer Engineering and did a Masters in Management. But I had chosen Assamese Literature and Public Administration as my two optionals. Back then, one had to choose two optional subjects. Now, one has to choose a single optional subject.
Now, coming to one very crucial question which I am being asked on a regular basis – can I crack the UPSC examination without coaching? The answer is an emphatic YES; but with conditions attached. If one is self-motivated and is confident that he can maintain his motivation throughout, I think such an aspirant does not need any coaching. He can coach himself. He has to maintain a regular routine, read toppers blogs to find a strategy which is best-suited for him and then apply the same in his day-to-day affairs. There has to be a lifestyle change of a person preparing for this examination. He has to keep himself aloof from most distractions nearby, I mean, to the extent possible. I used to do a 9-5 job. Beyond those hours, I tried to keep myself glued to my strategy.  And finally it worked, not once, but twice!

I will keep the topic “Selection of an optional” for a later time, as it will consume one full article. From the next articles in this series, I shall try to take up one paper at a time and discuss. You may send me your queries at satyakam.dutta@gov.in and I shall try to address them. A few relevant queries can be answered here for common good of all.
A few good websites/blogs to follow:
1.       www.mrunal.org
2.       www.insightsonindia.com
3.       http://thesupermanreturns.wordpress.com
4.       https://unacademy.in
5.       http://www.civilsdaily.com/

Other Articles in the series:

Preparing for the UPSC Civil Services Examination - Mains - G.S. Paper 1 by Satyakam Dutta - Part 2


General Studies papers (I to IV) constitute 1000 Marks in the UPSC Civil Service Mains Examination, each paper carrying 250 marks. In today’s issue, we are going to discuss the Paper 1 of the examination. To understand what is required to be studies, we shall have to analyse the Syllabus first.

The Syllabus of the General Studies I Paper of the Civil Services Mains Examination is being given below as it is from the Exam Notification for reference.

Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society:

·         Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
·         Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present significant events, personalities, issues.
·         The Freedom Struggle - its various stages and important contributors or contributions from different parts of the country.
·         Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.
·         History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc. - their forms and effect on the society.
·         Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
·         Role of women and women's organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
·         Effects of globalization on Indian society.
·         Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
·         Salient features of world's physical geography.
·         Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).
·         Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location - changes in critical geographical features (including waterbodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

Though the Syllabus looks immensely vast, if we take a look at the syllabus above closely, we can see that the Paper 1 primarily consists of Art and Culture, History of India’s Independence Struggle, Post-Independence Indian History, World History, Sociology and Geography. After dividing the Syllabus into the topics mentioned above, we can now limit our study of the said topics to a few study materials and reference and textbooks.

Art and Culture – If one has followed his old high school books on Social Studies well enough, this topic would be an easy walk. For a text, Spectrum’s Art and Culture is a nice book to follow. I had studied this book intensively. Like any other topic in General Studies, one also has to follow contemporary issues in Art and Culture. UPSC asks things which are relevant and have some contemporary weightage. While reading a newspaper, one has to keep an eye on.

History of India’s Independence StruggleNCERT books are good for the pre-1857 part and Spectrum’s A Brief History of Modern India is a good book for 1857 and beyond. Most of the questions do not ask one to go into the very depth of history but require to be analytical keeping in mind the various issues relevant to that period. Many successful aspirant recommend Shekhar Bandopadhyay’s From Plassey to Partition. In addition to the above, I had read Bipan Chandra’s India’s Struggle for Independence, which also is a very good book.

Post- Independence HistoryNCERT‘s Politics in India Since Independence is a brilliant book which gives everything one needs to know clearly and concisely. Also again, the personalities are given in boxes in the book which helps a lot in revising and also memorizing. In addition to the NECRT book, if one needs some additional material, one can refer Bipan Chandra’s India since Independence, which is a good book nevertheless, but it is more of a research book than a reference. Hence, one can have a casual read only if one is interested.

World History – Old NCERT books of Standard 9-12 on history are the best books for World History. These are the books which were there before 2000. They are more than enough for World Histroy. However, they are difficult to find now in physical form but can be downloaded from this link: http://iasexamportal.com/civilservices/ncert-books-old

Sociology – A general understanding of Indian Society is required to answer questions relating to sociology. I believe for this part, a continuous read of the newspapers would benefit a lot. Though there no specific textbooks, magazines like Yojana and Frontline delve a lot on the current problems facing the society and how the Government is talking them. The aspirant should not always be critical of what Government is doing. The intention of the Government is always correct and hence, the policy decisions are required to be evaluated on merit and not histrionics. India generally succeeds less on the execution part.

Geography – The basic and the most important books for Geography are the NCERT books for the Standard 11 and 12. One has to compulsorily study these textbooks. Mrunal.org has got a very nice collection of articles and materials for the Geography part of the GS Paper 1 and YouTube has some brilliant videos on the basic topics.

As we all know, these days UPSC has made the GS paper very challenging. It has become dynamic and more opinion based. Students need to do an extensive coverage of current affairs and also, they can’t neglect the conventional aspect. Therefore, newspaper reading is crucial given the current trend.

One must always try and make one’s own hand-written notes. While reading newspapers one should observe the following- abbreviations, new terms, organisations, quotes and examples, which can be used elsewhere, etc. Reading newspapers carefully and corresponding note writing is very effective for retention and one is also able to revise very quickly.

One should read the editorials carefully and try and understand the main points. After reading, one should write a summary of the editorial in a designated notebook. This would help one build one’s own opinion and also quick revision later. I used to have a separate notebook for all Papers and used to have separate pages for separate topics. For example, in my notebook for GS Paper 1, I used to have a few pages for let’s say “Poverty and Developmental Issues” from the syllabus and there I used to note down important points from Editorials from newspapers one by one. I used to keep empty space below for more points to be added later from future editorials. In a year’s time I had 3-4 pages of good points on “Poverty and Developmental Issues” which were helpful for me for the GS Paper 1 as well as for the Essay paper.

Concluding today’s article, I would like to inform that NECRT books which are relevant to GS Paper 1 are available for download in this link: http://www.civilsdaily.com/ncert-books-free-download/ Aspirants can download them and read intensively.

(With help from various topper’s blogs)



Preparing for the UPSC Civil Services Examination - Mains -  G.S. Paper 3 by Satyakam Dutta - Part 4

Preparing for the UPSC Civil Services Examination - Mains -  G.S. Paper 4 by Satyakam Dutta - Part 5


Preparing for the UPSC Civil Services Examination - Mains - G.S. Paper 2 by Satyakam Dutta - Part 3


As we have discussed earlier, General Studies (GS) papers (I to IV) constitute 1000 Marks in the UPSC Civil Service Mains Examination, each paper carrying 250 marks. The GS Paper 2 also carries 250 marks. The Syllabus of the General Studies II Paper of the Civil Services Mains Examination is given below for reference.
Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations:
·         Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
·         Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
·         Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.
·         Parliament and State Legislatures - structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
·         Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
·         Salient features of the Representation of People's Act.
·         Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
·         Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
·         Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
·         Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
·         Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
·         Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
·         Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
·         Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
·         Role of civil services in a democracy.
·         India and its neighborhood- 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, Indian diaspora.
·         Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
Similarly like the Paper I, if we take a look at the syllabus above closely, we can see that the Paper II primarily consists of Polity, Representation of People's Act & Elections, Government Policies and Schemes, Current Affairs, Indian and the World and International Affairs. There are some other topics also above, which also needs to be studied. Let us now try to analyse each section and suggest specific reading material for each sub-section.
Polity:  For Polity there are two text books which aspirants generally follow – One by Laxmikanth and the other by D. D. Basu. Almost all aspirants refer to these two books only. However, they study only one among them as a text book. I used to read the book by Laxmikanth as my text book. Many of my colleagues studied the book by D. D. Basu. I also purchased both the books, read a few chapters and found that the one by Laxmikanth suited by level of understanding. I would also suggest the aspirants that they also should go through both the books and decide which one best suits him or her. One should not try too hard to read a book which others are reading. One should read a book which one can understand and comprehend better. Apart from one among these two books, aspirant should also read various articles and reference material from the www.prsindia.org website.
Representation of People's Act & Elections: There is no specific reading material for this topic. One can however download the Representation of People’s Act and take a print out and study the same. The election process in India is also important from the exam point of view. One can study about election reforms too from here: http://byjus.com/free-ias-prep/electoral-reforms-in-india
Government Policies and Schemes: This is a very important topic for the examination, not only from the Mains Exam point of view, but also is important for the Prelims. The best way to study this portion is directly from the Ministry websites. Various ministries have information and statistics about various schemes under them in their websites, which are generally kept up to date. So studying them from the Ministry websites is the best way to go ahead. Another important source is the All India Radio, with its news and News Analysis program. One can download them from the AIR website and put them in an mp3 player and listen during free time. I used to do the same. I had bought an mp3 player and used it for listening news and other programs from AIR. Also searching Google for schemes of government of India is a good strategy to know about the schemes of the Government.
Current Affairs – This is THE MOST important section for the entire Civil Services Mains Examination. For this, a coordinated and well strategized study of the newspapers and magazines is a must. The Hindu serves are the main newspaper one can rely on, complemented by The Assam Tribune, and one can choose between many magazines available for the UPSC examination like the Competition Wizard, Civil Services Chronicle etc. By coordinated and well strategized study I meant that one should know what to study in a newspaper and what not to. As I have said earlier, only after internalizing the syllabus and analyzing old question papers, one will know what to study and what to leave out while reading a newspaper. The basics are that the Editorial, Economy, International and Opinion pages are a must and for the Current Affairs portion in Paper 2 like the Issues relating to poverty and hunger, Important aspects of governance etc, the Opinion and Editorial pages are the best study material available, because they carry views and opinions about the current problems and issues in the country and abroad.
India and the World: The concept of India and the World can be divided into the five issues:
·         India and her neighbours (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Sri-Lanka, Nepal and China)
·         India and the regions (South America, Africa, Middle East, Central Asia, Europe and so on.)
·         India and the big 5 UNSC members (USA, China, France, Russia and UK )
·         India and Economically powerful nations (Australia, Japan, S.Africa, Brazil, UAE etc)
·         India and Organizations (UN, ASEAN, G20, GCC, EU, IMF, World Bank etc.)
Based on these divisions, aspirants have to read the study materials available. Surendra Kumar’s India and the World: Through the Eyes of Indian Diplomats, is a good book in this regard. Shashi Tharoor’s Pax Indica: India and the World of the 21st Century, is also used as a reference book by many aspirants.
International Affairs: If one reads the International page in The Hindu or The Assam Tribune regularly and has formed an idea about the world affairs at large, this section would be a cake walk. Reading newspapers is the only way to handle this section.
For Other topics – I used to read a lot of government documents like reports on the said topics and also googled all the topics mentioned and read some of the articles that came up. I would suggest that the current aspirants also should do the same. Google opens up to us a wide array of knowledge on various topics and we should selectively study them.

Current Affairs – This is THE MOST important section for the entire Civil Services Mains Examination. For this, a coordinated and well strategized study of the newspapers and magazines is a must. The Hindu serves are the main newspaper one can rely on, complemented by The Assam Tribune, and one can choose between many magazines available for the UPSC examination like the Competition Wizard, Civil Services Chronicle etc. By coordinated and well strategized study I meant that one should know what to study in a newspaper and what not to. As I have said earlier, only after internalizing the syllabus and analyzing old question papers, one will know what to study and what to leave out while reading a newspaper. The basics are that the Editorial, Economy, International and Opinion pages are a must and for the Current Affairs portion in Paper 2 like the Issues relating to poverty and hunger, Important aspects of governance etc, the Opinion and Editorial pages are the best study material available, because they carry views and opinions about the current problems and issues in the country and abroad.
India and the World: The concept of India and the World can be divided into the five issues:
·         India and her neighbours (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Sri-Lanka, Nepal and China)
·         India and the regions (South America, Africa, Middle East, Central Asia, Europe and so on.)
·         India and the big 5 UNSC members (USA, China, France, Russia and UK )
·         India and Economically powerful nations (Australia, Japan, S.Africa, Brazil, UAE etc)
·         India and Organizations (UN, ASEAN, G20, GCC, EU, IMF, World Bank etc.)
Based on these divisions, aspirants have to read the study materials available. Surendra Kumar’s India and the World: Through the Eyes of Indian Diplomats, is a good book in this regard. Shashi Tharoor’s Pax Indica: India and the World of the 21st Century, is also used as a reference book by many aspirants.
International Affairs: If one reads the International page in The Hindu or The Assam Tribune regularly and has formed an idea about the world affairs at large, this section would be a cake walk. Reading newspapers is the only way to handle this section. International relations is a very fluid and dynamic topic. Therefore if you are preparing it from GS perspective then you need not refer too many books as questions asked are always from events from last 1-2 years only. Hence newspaper reading is a BIG must. Writers like C. Rajamohan and Suhasini Haider write excellent articles. The official Ministry of External Affairs website also has a lot to offer. And then there is this great website which can be a one-stop solution for all your International Affairs needs: www.idsa.in. These days questions are also asked on economic and trade issues such as foreign trade, foreign investment; economic and diplomacy issues relating to oil, gas and energy flows; the role and functions of I.M.F., World Bank, W.T.O., WIPO etc. which influence India’s economic interaction with other countries and international institutions. These can be studied from regular readings of the newspapers and magazines. Frontline also lists many important articles on international affairs every week.
For Other topics – As a lot of information required to clear UPSC exams comes from reports and data from various government ministries, all candidates are strongly advised to be active users of the internet. Books might not be updated as often as websites, and hence they may not be a reliable source always. Also, books may not contain authentic information as in government websites about economic data, government schemes, international relations etc. I used to read a lot of government documents like reports on the said topics and also googled all the topics mentioned and read some of the articles that came up. I would suggest that the current aspirants also should do the same. Google opens up to us a wide array of knowledge on various topics and we should selectively study them.

Other articles in the series :

Preparing for the UPSC Civil Services Examination - Mains by Satyakam Dutta - Part 1



Preparing for the UPSC Civil Services Examination - Mains -  G.S. Paper 4 by Satyakam Dutta - Part 5


Preparing for the UPSC Civil Services Examination - Mains - G.S. Paper 3 by Satyakam Dutta - Part 4





As we have discussed earlier, General Studies (GS) papers (I to IV) constitute 1000 Marks in the UPSC Civil Service Mains Examination, each paper carrying 250 marks. The General Studies III Paper also carries 250 marks. The Syllabus of the General Studies III Paper of the Civil Services Mains Examination is given below for reference.
Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management:
·         Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
·         Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
·         Government Budgeting.
·         Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.
·         Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.
·         Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
·         Land reforms in India.
·         Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
·         Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.
·         Investment models.
·         Science and Technology - developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
·         Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
·         Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
·         Disaster and disaster management.
·         Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
·         Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
·         Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
·         Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
·         Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.
Similarly like the Papers I & II, if we take a look at the syllabus above closely, we can see that the Paper III primarily consists of Indian Economy & Industry, Agriculture, Science and Technology, Environment and Ecology, Disaster Management and Internal & External Security. There are some other topics also above, which also needs to be studied. Let us now try to analyse each section and suggest specific reading material for each sub-section.
Indian Economy & Industry: One has to understand the basic concepts of economics initially and has to tackle difficult issues later. Therefore, it is necessary for one to devout considerable time in understanding the basics. NCERT Books and Indian Economy by Uma Kapila are must reads while the Annual Economic Survey published before budget is a nice report to follow. The Economy page in The Hindu/Assam Tribune is a must for aspirants.
Agriculture: For this part, the “Agriculture” page in The Hindu is a good read. The weblink is http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/agriculture/. One can also read the monthly magazine “Down To Earth”, which regularly publishes a lot of important articles on various issues related to Agriculture.
Science and Technology: Questions related to Science and Technology are generally framed on the latest developments on the front of Science and Technology such as nano-technology, robotics, IT, space etc. Emphasis would be on India’s advances and future programmes on Science and Technology. Therefore reading the news about Science and Technology in newspapers is a must. The Hindu has a weekly page on “Science and Technology” and reading this page is a must for every serious aspirant.
Environment and Ecology: The “Environment” page of The Hindu every week gives weekly updates about Environment and Ecology. The weblink is http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/. However, I used to read the monthly magazine “Down To Earth” and can say that for this topic, this magazine is the best resource.
Disaster Management: For this topic, the NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority) website, www.ndma.gov.in, provides a lot of information and updates.
Internal and External Security: The Home Ministry is responsible for internal security. Its website contains vital information on the internal security architecture including agencies, plans, mechanisms. Therefore, one must visit this site and extract highly useful material relating to internal security. About external security, www.idsa.in is a good read.

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