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GS 2: Strategy for UPSC CSE Mains

IAS mains examination is the second stage of the UPSC selection process. UPSC Mains comprises of 9 examination in total to which GS-2 is the third paper after Essay and GS-1. UPSC Mains examination is conducted over a stretch of 5 days in which the first two papers are English and compulsory Indian language. Both English and Compulsory Indian Language is of a qualifying nature, and marks are not considered for the merit ranking.

The main components of UPSC Mains GS-2 paper are Indian Constitution, Governance issuesand International Relations

You can get the syllabus of GS-2 here.

IAS General Studies Paper 2: Subjects

  • Governance
  • Constitution
  • Polity
  • Social Justice
  • International relations

IAS General Studies Paper 2: Few things Before the Strategy

Before we start with the strategy for Mains GS-2 Paper, you need to remember a few things:

  • Strongly etch your memory with the entire syllabus of UPSC. If possible, memorize the syllabus by reading it many times.
  • Start your day by reading out the UPSC syllabus.
  • Do not indulge in mastering all the topics, you just need the basic understanding of the topics along with the ability to analyze.
  • A basic understanding will develop after multiple readings, and the ability to analyze will come from answer writing practice.

IAS General Studies Paper 2: Strategy to Follow

Strategy to follow while preparing for UPSC Mains GS-2. Strategic preparation will sail your UPSC Boat smoothly.

  • Develop Critical Thinking Steps: GS-2 has very few numbers of direct questions from the syllabus topics. You need to develop the skills of critical thinking for answering questions correctly. Many times, interrelated topics will appear, then you cannot simply answer writing directly about the topic.
  • Do not Misinterpret the Syllabus: It has been seen that many aspirants misinterpret the syllabus of GS-2, and spend too much time in the static part. Indeed, it is important to understand the fundamentals first, but after completing the first read, you need to understand the art of leveraging the static portion with the current affairs. UPSC rarely ask direct static questions from the topic. They want to know about your critical and logical ability to analyze any situation.
  • Practice Answer Writing: Critical and logical ability cannot be developed in a few weeks or a month. A continuous effort is needed to develop such a skill. Even if you are aware of the static part and you can connect it with the dynamic issue, then also a good framed answer is needed to impress the examiner. Your practice with the previous year question paper and other answer writing practice will make you comfortable with the format and this will help you to frame the best answer in the UPSC Mains.
  • Develop an understanding of the Syllabus: Divide the syllabus of General Studies Paper-II in 3 sections, Indian Polity and Constitution, Governance, andInternational Relations Section. When you will analyze the previous year question paper or any sample question paper of GS-2, you will get an idea of the expected number of questions from each section.

IAS General Studies Paper 2: Important Topics, Preferable Books and Materials

   Topic              Details

 

 Useful For     Books/Material
Topic-1 Indian Constitution– historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions, and basic structure. Prelims + Mains NCERT Class XI – India Constitution At Work

NCERT Class XII – Political Science II

NCERT Class X – Democratic Politics

Introduction To The Constitution Of India- D.D. Basu (First 5 chapters)

 

Topics-2 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. Prelims + Mains ARC reports- 13th Report of 2nd ARC

Indian Polity- Lakshmikant

Topics-3 Separation of powers between various organs, dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions. Mains ARC reports- 7th Report of 2nd ARC

Indian Polity- Lakshmikant

Or

Introduction To The Constitution Of India- D.D. Basu

Topics-4 Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries Prelims + Mains Indian Polity- Lakshmikant

Or

Introduction To The Constitution Of India- D.D. Basu

Topic-5 Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these. Prelims + Mains Indian Polity- Lakshmikant

Or

Introduction To The Constitution Of India- D.D. Basu

Topic-6 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. Prelims + Mains Indian Polity- Lakshmikant

Or

Introduction To The Constitution Of India- D.D. Basu

Topic-7 Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act. Mains Indian Polity- Lakshmikant

Or

Introduction To The Constitution Of India- D.D. Basu

Topic-8 & 9 Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions, and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

Statutory, regulatory, and various quasi-judicial bodies

Prelims + Mains Indian Polity- Lakshmikant

Or

Introduction To The Constitution Of India- D.D. Basu

Topic- 10 Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. Prelims + Mains Economic Survey

PIB Site

Indian Polity- Lakshmikant

Or

Introduction To The Constitution Of India- D.D. Basu

Topic-11 Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders Prelims + Mains Articles of Planning commission

Indian Polity- Lakshmikant

Or

Introduction To The Constitution Of India- D.D. Basu

Topic-12 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. Prelims + Mains All Govt. Schemes

Indian Polity- Lakshmikant

Or

Introduction To The Constitution Of India- D.D. Basu

Topics-12 and 13 Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

Prelims + Mains Poverty reduction schemes

Report on Malnutrition

Indian Polity- Lakshmikant

Or

Introduction To The Constitution Of India- D.D. Basu

Topic-13 Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures Prelims + Mains 2nd ARC report

Indian Polity- Lakshmikant

Or

Introduction To The Constitution Of India- D.D. Basu

Topic-14 Role of civil services in a democracy Prelims + Mains ARC reports- 10th Report of 2nd ARC

Indian Polity- Lakshmikant

Or

Introduction To The Constitution Of India- D.D. Basu

Topic-15 India and its neighborhood- relations Mains Challenge and Strategy – Rethinking India’s Foreign Policy- Rajiv Sikri
Topic-16 Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests Mains Read about India’s Relation with other countries like the USA, UK, EU, SA, Brazil, Japan, Russia, Australia

Read articles on the Ministry of External Affairs. It has facts and information on all bilateral relations of India with regional and global groups.

Topic-17 Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora Mains Newspaper- To cover the dynamic parts.
Topic-18 Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate. Mains Read about UN reforms

To sum up the strategy, focus on covering all the basic parts first, and then connect it with the dynamic portion on a daily basis as you read current affairs. Practice your answer writing daily and read, re-read everything to retain for longer.

Improve your answer writing skills with Answer Enrichment Sources.

Get all the guidance for GS-2 from here.

 

 

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