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How to Read Polity for UPSC?

Hello and welcome to Booklary. In this lecture, we shall be addressing an important question: how to approach Indian polity for the Civil Services Examination or How to Read Polity for UPSC?

At the end of this lecture, you will have clarity about what is Indian polity, what is the significance of this subject, and what are sources that you will have to refer to for this subject.

We will also be looking at some of the myths surrounding Indian polity but first up what to study in Indian polity 

you will have to focus on three broad areas: 

  1. the Constitution of India 
  2. the laws passed by the Parliament or the bills pending in the Parliament and
  3. important judicial words 

Constitution of India 

You will have to study fundamental rights, directive principles of state policy, president prime minister, judiciary elections, Panchayati institutions so the Constitution is one area that you will have to focus on.

Laws passed by the Parliament 

The laws passed by the parliament for example aadhar card is a law passed by the Parliament you will have to study that.  

Also, there can be bills important for your examination pending in the Parliament you will have to focus on them as well, for example, the triple talaq bill currently pending in Rajya Sabha is one area which you will have to focus on for example in 2015 mains examination there was a question on whistleblowers bill. 

The question is if, whistleblowers bill is passed by the Parliament there would be no one left to protect that means even if there are bills but of far-reaching consequences that are pending in the Parliament you will have to discuss them as well you will have to focus on them as well.

when we talk about Indian polity what all is included in Indian polity for civil services as per India: number one you will have to focus on the Constitution of India, number two you will have to focus on the laws passed by the Parliament or the bills of far-reaching consequences pending in the parliament and number three important judicial verdicts. 

Judicial Verdicts

Does that mean each and every judicial order or each and every case decided upon by the Supreme Court you will have to study?

Knowing all those important judicial pronouncements, all those important judicial verdicts which are related to the Constitution which are related to the laws passed by the Parliament becomes this subject matter of your examination.

A few years ago the Supreme Court said the National Judicial Appointments Commission is unconstitutional. There was a question asked by the UPSC on the same.

Two more examples of important traditional verdicts: 

  • The verdict of the Supreme Court in the Sabri malai case 
  • Verdict of the Supreme Court in a right to privacy case 

Verdict of the Supreme Court when Supreme Court said section 377 which criminalized homosexuality is unconstitutional. 

All these important judicial verdicts plus laws or bills plus the Constitution that is what you will have to study in Indian polity. 

The second important area that I want to focus on in this lecture is: what is the significance of Indian polity 

What is the significance of Indian polity?

George Orwell in his book Animal Farm Road all animals are equal later on he says all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.

Similarly, for this examination all subjects are equal but there are some subjects that are more equal than others and one such subject is Indian polity.

Because we judge the significance of a subject based on the shared number of marks that are allocated to this subject.

For prelims, over the past many many years we have seen on an average 14 to 16 questions have been asked from Indian polity in prelims examination. This number has gone up to 22 as well which makes Indian polity a very important subject for your prelims examination.

If you look at means there is a relevance for Indian polity in your GS paper 2. GS paper 2 talks about Constitution governance, social justice, international relations. 250 marks have been allocated to GS paper 2 on an average 150 to 180 marks are allocated to Indian polity itself that makes Indian polity one of the most important subjects in your mains examination.

The knowledge that you acquire by following Indian polity by booklary this knowledge is going to help you immensely when you will write essays. 

50 marks are allocated to the essay. While writing these essays in your mains examination your knowledge your understanding of Indian polity is shortly going to be a lot of help for you so Indian polity significance can be judged from the fact that it is relevant not only for prelims but also for main and in mains also for your essay and also in your personality test.

when you will appear before the interview panel you might be asked about the recent verdict given by the Supreme Court, you might be asked about freedom of speech and expression you might be asked about whether the office of governor should continue in India or not, you might be asked that despite the fact that we have so many laws why is it that violence against women is not ending, why is it that we are not in a position to eradicate corruption from the society.

That means your knowledge of the polity is going to help you in your interview in your personality test as well. That is why we say Indian polity is one of the most important subjects in your Civil Services Examination syllabus. 

But now the third theme that I want to touch upon is:  What is the right approach to follow for Indian polity 

How to Prepare Polity for UPSC?

What is the right approach to follow for Indian polity or How to read Polity for UPSC? For that, we need to understand the difference between prelims and mains. 

  • If you look at prelims it is about two things number one concept number two facts. That means you UPSC will judge your factual knowledge, your conceptual understanding that’s the subject matter of prelims examination 
  • What about mains? Mains is also about two things but number one analysis and number two elaboration 
  • Analysis of what? Analysis of the same facts and concepts that you have studied for prelims, elaboration of the same facts and concepts that you have studied for your prelims examination.
  • How? Let me give you a few examples. Let’s say for example this is Indian polity and in Indian polity, you have to study Constitution and under the Constitution of India, we have one of the very important constitutional positions called the governor of a state.
  • In preliminary your conceptual understanding your factual knowledge will be tested by the UPSC so UPSC will ask you in your problems consider the following statements regarding the office of governor 

Which of the following statements are correct?

  1. Number one the governor is appointed by the president for five years 
  2. The governor is appointed by the president but this tenure is not defined by the Constitution.
  3. To be appointed as the governor of a state in India an individual should be more than 25 years of age

 The Constitution only talks about two qualifications for an individual to be appointed as the governor of a state number one this individual should be this citizen of India but – he must have completed 35 years of age not 25 so basically in prelims your conceptual understanding of your factual information will be tested by the UPSC.

But in mains same Indian polity same Constitution same office of the governor but the approach is different.

“The question of whether the governor’s office is a relic of the colonial era and therefore should be abolished in the interest of cooperative federalism in India.” 

That means we have the same topic governor a relevant for both prelims as well as mains but your approach has to be different for prelims your conceptual understanding of your federal information will be tested by the UPSC but in mains examination, you will have to elaborate the same facts and concepts that you studied for prelims analyze the same facts and concepts that you studied for prelims examination.

  • Similarly let me take a current affairs topic for example Adhaar a law passed by the Parliament Aadhaar is a unique 16 digit identification number you tell me: that this statement is correct or not?
  • Second It is proof of identity and is also proof of citizenship. You tell me whether both these statements are correct or not.
  • This is a unique 12 digit identification number and is proof of your identity but aadhar is not proof of your citizenship because even foreigners are eligible to acquire aadhar even foreigners are eligible to enroll for aadhar so your conceptual understanding and your factual knowledge will be tested by the UPSC. 
  • Now for the mains examination: there are many people who argue that aadhar has a huge potential for surveillance because other Indian states can turn into police states. 
  • Because of aadhar lives will be as transparent to the government as contact-lens and that is why there are people who oppose aadhar so what are the advantages of aadhar, what are the disadvantages of the aadhar, what is the argument of the critics who opposed the introduction of aadhar in this country, 
  • That is something which is relevant for your mains examination so your approach has to be different for prelims your approach has to be different for the mains examination 

As well what are we talking about we’re talking about how to approach Indian polity for the Civil Services Examination

  • First, we touched upon one aspect of Indian polity after all, and then we realized that for Indian polity we have to focus on three things: the Constitution of India, laws passed by the Parliament, or bills pending in the Parliament and then important, Supreme Court verdicts.
  • Second, what is the significance of Indian polity? Why do people say Indian polity is one of the most important subjects in your Civil Services Examination?
  • Process relevance for prelims, mains, essay, as well as the personality test is why it is significant for your success in the examination.
  • Then what is the approach to follow for Indian polity? You have two separate problems from prelims. Your approach for problems is completely different from that of mains examination.
  • Once you understand the difference between prelims and means clearing this examination, cracking this examination is going to be a cakewalk for you then let’s look at what are the sources that you need to refer to as far as Indian polity is concerned.
  • Look at the market and you will find many books on Indian polity, Laxmikant, DD Basu, Subash kasha, for example, so many different sources available in the market.
  • But if you look at the trend of the type of questions that have been asked in the examination over the past many years we have to restrict the number of sources for Indian polity because Indian polity is not the only subject that you will have to study for this examination there is history there is the economy there is geography there is ethics internal security disaster management International Relations your optional subject 
  • You have to focus on your essay as well so can we keep the minimum of the source for Indian polity yes what is required for that follow M Laxmikant 
  • It is not a great book for this examination but M LakshmiKant gives you factual information about various constitutional provisions about various bodies that are present in the constitution various bodies that are created by laws of the parliament so for that factual information which is very important for your prelims you will have to focus on M Laxmikant.
  • But you need to understand M Laxmikant is not going to be of any help for your mains examination so if for prelims you have to focus on M Laxmikant, for your mains examination Laxmikant plus newspapers 
  • Because if you look at paper – it’s all about current affairs so if you are reading newspapers regularly, if you’re making notes out of these newspaper articles there is no reason why you can’t write a good cogent answer in your mains examination.
  • So for the mains examination, you will have to focus on M Laxmikant because it will provide you facts, factual information and then newspaper,r newspaper plus Lakshmi come together should be your source for Indian polity for Civil Services Examination.
  • But then there are two important books that I personally feel are a must-read for Civil Services Examination and I provided the pictures of these books as well NCERT of class eleventh one political theory second Indian constitution at work. 
  • Why because if you analyze the question papers over the past two years at least there have been many questions asked in the prelims examination related to Indian polity which cannot be answered merely by looking at Lakshmi Kant or merely by looking at the newspapers 
  • You should have a deep clarity about various political thoughts you should have a deep clarity about various concepts that are mentioned in the Constitution and for that NCERT’s are a must so these two NCERT books plus M Laxmikant plus newspapers that should be enough for your success in this exam and which newspapers are we talking about the Hindu as well as the Indian Express.
  • This is something that I always focus on for this examination you can’t be simply relying on one newspaper you’ll have to focus on two newspapers the Hindu as well as the Indian Express.

That is the myth I was talking about at the start of this lecture 

  1. M Laxmikant is not the only source that you have to follow for Civil Services Examination
  2. NCR T’s are a must 
  3. Two newspapers are indispensable for your success in Civil Services Examination

One last point before we end this discussion revision is the key to success. 

If you read Lakshmi Kant once you’re not going to remember anything you read it twice you’re going to remember quite a few but you have to revise.

Make your notes which should make out of the newspaper articles at least five to seven times before you write your answers before you write the examination so revision is key to success second important thing that I would like to address and I think this is a question on everybody’s mind do we need to make notes of M Laxmikant if you start making notes of M Laxmikant you’re writing another Laxmikant because every line of this book becomes important.

Instead, you can use multiple highlighters of different colors and underline the important points that are mentioned in the book so that tomorrow when you have to revise you don’t have to read the book from end to end you can only focus on the highlighted portions and then your revision is done that is something that I wanted to communicate through this video lecture thank you for being with us have a great day 

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