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UPSC PRELIMS STRATEGY

Polity

Polity is very important part of civil services preparation as on an average 15%-18% of the questions come from Indian Polity. Because of the significance of weightage given in the exam, Polity as a subject becomes even more important in the preparation process.

Polity is an important topic at all the three stages of exam, be it Prelims, Mains or Interview. The significance of the subject is carried forward, even when you get into the service. It forms an important part of administration.

The topics under Polity range from –Everything about Constitution, individual’s rights, duties and responsibilities to structure, power, functions and responsibilities of various institutions of administration. It also discusses about various policies of the Government, rights-based issues of the vulnerable groups.

This is the best way to go about reading Polity. If you can read this way, then many myths about Polity (like mugging-up all the articles, everything and anything about Constitution) can be dealt with easily.

Polity is the easiest of all the subjects to score, because of the following reasons:

  • The syllabus is concise and factual
  • Straight forward questions are asked (not much analytical) and if you have revised Polity thoroughly then, you can get most of the answers right if not for 100% accuracy
  • The questions are generally easy to moderate
  • Not many Books to read apart from the two omnipresent and most referred books of Polity – By DD Basu and Laxmikanth

Note: However, questions at times are tricky, as the options given in the questions are very close to the correct choice. This creates ambiguity in the mind of the aspirant often leaving them confused.

Indian Polity and Governance

Constitution – Historical Background, Making of the Constitution, Philosophy of the Constitution

Focus:

  • Historical background – various Acts passed from Regulation Act, 1773 to Indian Independence Act, 1947’.
  • Give more importance to Acts – post 1857, when British Crown assumed sovereignty over India from the East India Company.
  • Be aware of at least two-three major provisions of an Act, and how did it help in creating a basic framework for the governance or administration during the British rule.

Union and its Territory

Focus:
  • Article 1, Article 2, Article 3 and Article 4 – how article 2 is different from Article 3?
  • Understand the expression ‘Union of India’, how it’s different from the ‘Territory of the India’
  • Parliament’s power to reorganize State.
  • Different Commissions set-up for Reorganization of States – DHAR commission and JVP commission, Fazal Ali commission.

Note: You don’t have to remember formation of each State. Just remember the 1st State which was formed based on the Fazal Ali Commission and the recently formed State- Telangana

Fundamental Rights (FR) [Part III] and Fundamental Duties[ Part IV-A ]

Focus:

Fundamental Rights-

  • Its significance implications and applications are important.
  • Have a broader understanding of classification of Fundamental Rights and to which section of people are they targeted.
  • FR available to citizens of India only and both to citizens and foreigners
  • Difference between Fundamental rights and Rights secured by other provisions of the Constitution like Writs
  • Different types of Writs (Article 32) and its scope
  • Exceptional cases with regard to FR’s – Armed forces and when Martial Law is enforced

Fundamental Duties

  • Committee recommendations like Swaran Singh, Verma Committee
  • General awareness on list of FD’s
  • Enforcement of FD’s – is it justiciable or non-justiciable
  • Significance and Criticism of FD’s

Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) [PartIV]

Focus:

  • Classification of DPSP- Socialistic, Gandhian, Liberal-Intellectual principles
  • Its significance & Principle- like socio-economic aspect
  • Justiciable or not- enforceable in court or not
  • Comparison between DPSP and Fundamental Rights,
  • Conflicts between them – Chronology of cases from Champakaran Dorairajan case (1951) to Minerva Mills case (1980) and the present position of FR’s w.r.t DPSP
  • Significance of 42nd and 44th Amendment Act w.r.t DPSP

Note: Give special importance to Golaknath Case, Keshavananda Bharthi, Minerva Mills, Maneka Gandhi case, Berubari Union, 3 Judges Case.

Union Government

  • A general understanding on the difference between Prime Ministerial and Presidential form of Government, its merits and de-merits.

Union Executive

President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Central Council of Ministers:

Focus:

  • Election procedure/Mode of Appointment
  • Powers and Functions Example: Veto power, Ordinance making power, Pardoning power (article 72) of the president
  • Resignation/Removal/Impeachment
  • Relationship between President and Prime-Minister with regard to their roles and responsibilities

Union Legislature – Parliament

Atleast 25-30% (out of total questions in Polity) of the marks come from this chapter and is the most important topic from the exam’s perspective. The entire chapter is important!

Focus:

  • Working of the Parliament-
  • Role and functions of the Parliament
  • Sessions, Motions, Parliamentary procedure – Summoning, Prorogation, Joint sitting
  • Devices of Parliamentary proceedings like Question Hour, Zero Hour, and Adjournment Motion etc.
  • Similarities and Differences between Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, their composition, election, powers and functions; Special powers of Rajya Sabha.
  • Qualifications and Disqualification’s of members; Anti defection law
  • Parliamentary Privileges
  • Enactment/Procedure to make Law
  • Different types of bills – Ordinary Bill, Money Bill, Finance Bill –its importance, Different stages in passing of a Bill
  • Budget-Enactment of Budget, What does the budget contain? Its significance, What do you understand by Charged Expenditure?, Funds available like Consolidated Fund, Contingency Fund, Public Accounts Fund- who authorizes it, what does it contain?
  • Role of important institutions in the Parliament like Speaker and Chairman of Rajya Sabha – their election, removal/resignation, functions
  • Role of Leader of opposition (LoP)
  • Importance of Parliamentary Committees –Estimates Committee, Business Advisory Committee, Committee on Government Assurance – their composition, functions, and a general idea about the less significant committees like Rules Committee etc.

Note: The Union and the State Government is a dynamic topic, which needs to be inter-linked with the current happenings/events. Hence, Newspaper reading is a must!

Administration of Special Areas

Focus:

  • Significance and differences between 5th Schedule(Scheduled Areas) and 6th Schedule (Tribal Areas)
  • Powers of President and Governor w.r.t administration of Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas

Inter-State Relations

For coordination between States, the Constitution has provided for Inter-State Comity which consists of Full Faith and Credit clause, Inter-state River water dispute (A-262), Inter-state council (A-263)- composition, functions, Zonal council- composition, functions, Freedom of Inter-State trade and Commerce, Freedom of Movement and residence throughout the country (Article 19(1)(d) and (e)).

Emergency Provisions

Focus:

  • Different kinds of Emergency- National (A-352), President’s rule (A-356) and Financial emergency (A- 360)
  • Changes brought about by 42nd and 44th Amendment Act w.r.t Emergency
  • Procedure and Time duration for approval, renewal and revocation of emergency and who is authorized to declare and revoke emergency
  • Impact on distribution of legislative, Executive and Financial Powers when Emergency is in force
  • Effect on Fundamental Rights during emergency (Article 358 and Article 359)
  • Criticism/misuse of emergency powers by the Central Government

Judiciary

Focus:

  • Supreme Court– Appointment of judges, Procedure for removal of judges
  • Constitutional provisions to safeguard the Independence of Supreme Court
  • Jurisdictions and Powers of Supreme Court – Writ jurisdiction, Appellate jurisdiction, Original jurisdiction, Special leave petition, Advising jurisdiction
  • Power of judicial review
  • High Court– Differences between High Court and Supreme Court with regard to their powers, jurisdiction; Removal of a HC judge

Constitution Bodies

Focus:

  • Election Commission, UPSC, SPSC, Finance Commission, National Commission for SCs and ST’s, Special officer for Linguistic Minorities, Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), Attorney General and Solicitor General, Advocate General of the State
  • Focus on Composition, Powers and functions, Removal of the Constitutional bodies

Non-Constitutional Bodies

Focus:

  • Planning Commission, National Development Council, National Human Rights Commission, State Human Rights Commission, Central Information Commission, State Information Commission, Central Vigilance Commission ,Central Bureau of Investigation, Lokpal and Lokayuktas
  • Focus on Composition, Functions, Working of the Non-Constitutional bodies

Tribunals

Focus:

  • Establishment of the Tribunal, appointment of the Chairman
  • Tribunals under Article 323A and Tribunals under Article 323B
  • Functions and Powers of Administrative Tribunals – Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) and State Administrative Tribunal (SAT)

Special Provisions for SC’s, ST’s, Backward Classes, Minorities and Anglo-Indians

  • A basic idea – on the Constitutional provisions for SC’s, ST’s, Backward Classes, Minorities and Anglo-Indians

Panchayati Raj and Urban Local Bodies

Focus:

Decentralisation- steps taken by the government in this regard, people participation,

  • Important Acts related to Panchayat Raj system like 73rd Amendment Act, 74th Amendment Act, Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 or PESA , Forest Rights Act etc.
  • Evolution & recommendations of committees
  • Provisions of 73rd amendment- Compulsory and Voluntary
  • Provisions of 74th amendment – structure, powers, functions
  • Types of urban government
  • Metropolitan planning committee (MPC)
  • Problems faced by Panchayat Raj institutions and Urban Local Governments

GOVERNANCE AND PUBLIC POLICY

Focus:

  • This section includes important schemes, programmes, missions, laws and policies launched by the government.
  • It also includes ‘recent’ Government Bills. One must be aware of all the major schemes launched by the government, especially the recently launched schemes/policies etc.
  • Governance- actions, measures, or steps taken by the Government (Ex: Inclusive governance) for growth & development
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