Monday, 25 June 2018

Preparing for the UPSC Civil Services Examination - Prelims by Satyakam Dutta - Part 3

In the last issue we had discussed about the Preliminary Stage of the Examination and the first two topics as per the syllabus. Today we shall discuss the next three topics for the Preliminary Examination – 1) Indian and World Geography - Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World; 2) Indian Polity and Governance - Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc and 3) Economic and Social Development - Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.

For the Indian Geograhy part generally the aspirants buy a lot of books but get disillusioned after starting to read because of the enormity of the contents of the books. There is a difference between studying Geography for the Prelims and Geography as an optional. Most books are for Geography as an optional and hence for the Prelims one need to study only some specific text books extensively. For the Prelims part only the NCERT books for 9th 10th 11th and 12th Standards would suffice. If someone does not have a good background of Geography he can start the NCERT textbooks from the 6th standard as well. The most important among these is the book for the 11th Standard. This book is not a very bulky book at all and but each and every line of the book is important. For the Prelims each and every line of the book may constitute a question.

Hence one is recommended to study the 11th Standard book religiously for the Preliminary Examination. The other NCERT books may be read extensively and they are also not very huge in volume. But the 11th Standard book is the most important one. Among other books for the Indian Geography part books by  R C Tiwari; D R Khullar; Majid Hussain; Spectrum; Periyar etc are also followed by the toppers. However NCERT books should be followed religiously.

Among the books for World Geography NCERT books from 6th standard are imporant along with a book called “Certificate Physical and Human Geography” by Goh Cheng Leong. Leong’s book is considered as the best book for World Geography by the toppers. A book by Savindra Singh is also followed. One important thing for the World Geography part is the Atlas. One should have a good Atlas (Oxford Atlas is the best) and read it extensively. For the entire Geography part for the Preliminary Examination; one can also follow the books by Majid Hussain.

For the Indian Polity and Governance part there are two books which shall suffice – Indian Polity by Laxmikanth and Introduction to the Constitution of india by D D Basu. I followed the former and for it was a comprehensive and interesting book. I did not study the book by D D Basu primarily because i found the language a bit tough for me. But there are people who likes to read the book by D D Basu and do not like the book by Laxmikanth. This might be because level of understanding varies form person to person. Understanding depends on one’s comfortablity with the language and percieved clarity of the writings. As a whole both the books are good and one should carefully choose one by reading a few chapters from them and make only one of them as one’s textbook for the part – Indian Polity. 

In addition to the above two books one must follow the amendments done to the Constitution in recent times and also the new bills which are introduced in the parliament and have not yet been passed. One such good source is the website – They keep all the new legislations along with their reviews; commenteries and analysis. So one can browse them and read the insights into the new legislations. This is undoubtably one of the most important sites for the preparation for this examination. Also one must keep an eye on any contemporaty articles in The Hindu or The Indian Express on any polity and constitution related issue.

For the Economic and Social Development part; the newspapers are the best sources of information. One can easily Google the terms “Sustainable Development”, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, “Social Sector initiatives” etc and find out many sources from where extensive studies can be done. However a good source would be the Economc Survey of india published just before the budget every year. One can read it to have a good grasp of the schemes which the Government has launched and how they have been performing. I also read from the same and it proved to be a good source of information for the Economic and Social Development part. If one wants to read a textbook i would recommended the one written by Uma Kapila. The name of the book is Indian Economy: Performance and Polices.

In addition to the above one should refer to the websites and for good study materials. One should learn to extensively use the internet for UPSC preparation.

Other articles in the series on Prelims:


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