Civils Marathon-22: How to prepare well for general studies
Civil services mains examination contains 4 general studies papers. Out of the 1750 marks in mains written examination
General studies- 4 Papers
Civil services mains examination contains 4 general studies papers. Out of the 1750 marks in mains written examination, the major part of 1000 marks are prescribed for the four general studies papers. That means the candidates have to lay stress on GS papers.
General studies paper one contains Indian heritage and culture, history and geography of the world and society. Modern Indian history from about the middle of the 18th century until the present significant events, personalities, issues are to be studied. In this paper the role of women and women's organisations, population and associated issues, poverty and development issues, urbanisation, their problems and their remedies are important issues.
Effects of globalisation on Indian society, social empowerment, communalism, regionalism and secularism are the highlights. Salient features of Indian society, diversity of India are to be discussed.
Each paper is of 250 marks. Total four papers is 1000 marks. These papers can be answered in the regional languages also. The candidate has to indicate at the time of filling the application form regarding the selection of language. The question paper will be both in English and Hindi.
GS Paper II
This paper deals with governance, constitution, polity, social justice and international relations. While studying Indian constitution the historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure are to be kept in mind. 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 are the points for study. Representation of people's Act, statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies along with the constitutional bodies are to be studied in depth.
The role of civil services in a democracy is one of the subjects for study in this paper. The main thrust is on how a civil servant should mould himself. India and its neighbourhood relations, effective policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora are the major issues to be studied. Lot of reference books are available on the subjects and the candidate has to choose the best out of them based on the recommendations of the seniors. It is better to go through the earlier question papers also so that an idea can be formed regarding the questioning pattern.
In the 2021, general studies paper I carried 20 questions
The following few questions show the mind of the examiner.
♦ Discuss the desirability of greater representation to women in the higher judiciary to ensure diversity, equity and inclusiveness.(150 words - 10 marks)
♦ To what extent in your view, Parliament is able to ensure accountability of the executive in India. 150 words, 10 marks.
♦ Earn while you learn scheme". needs to be strengthened to make vocational education and skill training meaningful. 150 words, 10 marks
♦ Analyse the distinguishing features of the notion of equality in the Constitution of the USA and India. 250 words 15 marks
♦ Critically examine the aims and objectives of SCO. What importance does it hold for India? 250 words 15 marks.
♦ Explain the constitutional provisions under which legislative councils are established. Review the working and current status of the legislative councils with suitable illustrations. 250 words 15 marks
When we look at the questioning pattern, it is evident that the questions are not direct and the explanation and viewpoint of the candidate is more important. In the case of legislative councils several states have passed resolutions in their assemblies to abolish the legislative councils.
The matter is pending with the Parliament. There is a controversy over the abolition of the upper houses. Unless the candidate is aware of the developments during the last 10 years he may not be able to establish the current status of the legislative councils.
GS Paper II 2021
The following few questions appeared during 2021 in the General studies paper II.
♦ Explain the difference between computing methodology of India's gross domestic product GDP before the year 2015 and after the year 2015. 150 words, 10 marks
♦ Keeping in view India's internal security, analyse the impact of cross-border cyber attacks. Also discuss defensive measures against these sophisticated attacks. 150 words, 10 marks.
♦ Investment in infrastructure is essential for more rapid and inclusive economic growth. Discuss in the light of India's experience. 250 words 15 marks..
♦ What are the present challenges before crop diversification? How do emerging technologies provide an opportunity for crop diversification? 250 words 15 marks
♦ Describe the various causes and the effects of landslides. Mention the important components of the national landslide risk management strategy. 250 words 15 marks
♦ Analyse the complexity and intensity of terrorism, its causes, linkages and obnoxious nexus. Also suggest the measures required to be taken to eradicate the menace of terrorism. 250 words 15 marks.
The above questions of both the papers are at the level of postgraduate studies. Unless the candidate is thorough with the latest developments and the complications and implications of the issues, he/ she may not be able to do justice. If the candidate can fare well in the general studies papers and get a good number of marks out of thousand he is sure to get a good rank and the service he wants to get. With the limited time available between the prelims and mains examinations the candidate has to gear up his study level.
He should take the advice of seniors and make sure that the study material available with him is enough to get the rank. All the best.
( The author is retired Additional Director General Doordarshan, Delhi)