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[Approach] UPSC 2013 General Studies: Prelims + Mains for Civil Service IAS IPS Exam Mrunal



MARCH 11TH, 2013


[Approach] UPSC 2013 General Studies: Prelims + Mains for Civil Service IAS IPS Exam
Prologue What is not changed? Prelims approach What about the current affairs? Mains Exam: Change of format GS1: Culture History Geography GS2: Polity, Yearbook, IR GS3: Economy, Environment, S&T, Agro, Disaster and Security GS4: Ethics Personal Opinion?

Ok, so few days back UPSC released the much awaited notification for 2013 So you already know, what is changed. It is a stale news. This article is just an overview article for future approach. Ill upload a full fledged strategy / approach / studyplan for General studies (Mains), combined with all list of topics to be prepared, resources, downloads etc. Yes i know preliminary is over, but it takes time for me to wade through all the books and pdfs myself. You dont want me to misguide you in haste, do you? hahaha. Besides Ive other exams to look into IES, CDS, RAS et al.

What is not changed?

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Age- attempt limit is not changed. Age is still counted on 1st August of the given year. (rumor market said UPSC was planning to count age on 1st Jan.) Vacancies are almost the same (2012: 1037 vacancies, 2013: approx. 1000) Mains to Interview quota is same (twice the number of vacancies. It was same in 2011 and 2012) Prelims syllabus is not changed even one bit. (so the approach / strategy for prelims remains one and same.)

Prelims approach
Approach to general studies for prelims, already given long time ago.Here is just a checklist, ask yourself: 1. Ive finished reading NCERT, NIOS, Yearbook, Laxmikanth etc. (+static topics from GS Manual) multiple times. Ive rock solid command over them (or Ill be revising them often until I get rock solid command). 2. Ive tried/ will try myself with the MCQs given in GS Manual. 3. For aptitude, Im doing maximum practice at night (so I dont fall asleep by simply reading some book). Thats Well and good, youre on right track. Now the question that bothers a lot of candidates:

What about the current affairs?

Current affairs itself is quite big. But for prelims, youve to concentrate only on the current affairs associated with specific sectors: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Environment n biodiversity Science tech Polity Economy. Yearbook stuff (Government schemes/ org. etc)

High priority current affairs

Low priority current affairs

1. International relations. 2. Misc.GK (Sports, awards, persons in news, books, authors etc): Lists already given for 2012 and 13 click me

If youve been maintaining notes out of Hindu/Indianexpress past one year, thats totally awesome. Just keep doing it. But those of you, who joined the game late and or did not diligently read newspapers/maintained notes. What to do now? Here is a firefighting tip. Do any one of the following Option A: 1/9


[Approach] UPSC 2013 General Studies: Prelims + Mains for Civil Service IAS IPS Exam Mrunal

Get a book called Wizards Current Affairs 2013. (they publish it every year. Please note, other publication houses also release similar books. Use whatever is easily available to you.) It doesnt guarantee UPSC is directly going to asks questions from it. But such book gives an overview of what happened past one year (in topicwise fashion: bilateral, sci-tech etc.) The book itself is quite thick but you dont have to prepare everything, just concentrate on the high priority areas. Then you dig internet, standard reference books etc. for topics that are directly indirectly related to it and are basic in nature. For example, there is news about Libya, then you check Libyas location in the map, its capital, its bordering nations and so on. There is some news about Eastern Dedicated freight corridor, then you dig out from which states does this corridor pass through? ..Prelims is not about Ph.D. Prelims is mostly about tricky questions from very basic concepts / facts. Option B: hit the public library. Pick past 1 years current affairs magazines (CST, Chronicle, PD, Wizard..whatever is available). Go through the first 20-25 pages :the important national international affairs are given here. And Remaining pages of magazines is usually filler material (toppers interviews and recycled articles on polity), you can read them if youve time and mood. But from those first 20-25 pages, note down the exam worthy current affairs, come back home dig net +/- standard reference books as and where required. ^Please note, these option A / B are just firefighting tools. Theyd work fine for SSC, SBI type exams. But Current affairs for UPSC is a different game altogether. Thats the reason Ive always advised people to read daily newspapers and maintain notes out of it. As a UPSC aspirant, Current affairs must be part of your daily routine. If you dont do it on dailybasis, thats when youve to turn to such (not so reliable) ^firefighting tools. And dont put too much of your time in current affairs, because lot of questions come from static part (theory) too. Another concern is regarding Cutoffs possibly getting high because IFoS and IAS have common preliminary exam. My point is: Just read revise and practice. Leave rest in the hands of God. Dont enter the exam hall with the cut off mindset or negative marking will dig your grave. Thats for prelims. Now lets move to Mains.

Mains Exam: Change of format

Before (upto 2012) Paper Compulsory language papers Essay General Studies First optional Interview total Marks Regional language paper. 300 Marks not counted in merit. English Paper. But marks not counted in final merit list. Yes 2 papers 2 papers Yes 300 200 600 600 600 300 2900 Merit from 2300. What is removed from general studies? 1. Statistics and data interpretation topic removed from General Studies (Mains). 2. Public Health, Health education and ethical concerns regarding health-care, medical research and pharmaceuticals topic removed. (It is no longer Explicitly mentioned under syllabus, although doesnt prevent UPSC from asking this under GS3!) After (2013) Paper Same as Earlier same as earlier Yes 2 papers Removed Yes but marks reduced Marks 300 300 250 500 0 275 2900 Merit from 2025

4 papers (new topics included) 1000

Second optional 2 papers

GS1: Culture History Geography

#1: History and Culture 1. Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times. 2. Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues

Same as usual. NIOS, IGNOU tourism studies, Spectrum book on Culture.

Same as usual. Bipin Chandra +/- Spectrum



[Approach] UPSC 2013 General Studies: Prelims + Mains for Civil Service IAS IPS Exam Mrunal

3. The Freedom Struggle its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country. #2: History of World

+/- GS Manual.

1. events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawing of national boundaries, 2. colonization, decolonization, 3. political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society. #3: Socio stuff 1. Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country. 2. Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India. 3. Role of women and womens organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies. 4. Effects of globalization on Indian society 5. Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism. #4: Geography General Studies Mains Before change Geography = only Indian Geography. 2013 Preliminary exam Geography = Physical + World + India Same

1. NCERT. 2. 3. Selective reading of IGNOU BA History. 4. IGNOU MA history

1. Starting point is IGNOU MPS 003 India democracy and Development. 2. Then there is Decent material scattered in IGNOU Sociology, political science and Public Administration (BA, MA).

Now Geography = Physical + World + India.

Now, Lets check the syllabus of geography (general studies)

Physical Geography

Topics 1. Salient features of worlds physical geography. 2. Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., 3. geographical features and their location. 4. changes in critical geographical features (including waterbodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
India and World Geography

Comment Starting point is NCERTS / GS Manual.

Starting point is NCERTS + GS Manual + NIOS biodiversity + selective reading of IGNOU Disaster Management.+Majid/Spectrum

Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)

1. Starting point NCERTs 2. click me for more

GS2: Polity, Yearbook, IR

#1: Polity + rights issue Basic Constitution 1. Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, 3/9


[Approach] UPSC 2013 General Studies: Prelims + Mains for Civil Service IAS IPS Exam Mrunal

2. 3. 4.

5. 6.


amendments, significant provisions basic structure. Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries Parliament and State Legislatures structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these. Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies. Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

Starting point is: yes you guessed it right, the great M.Laxmikanth. Then DD Basu if youve time and mood. +net digging and newspapers for new stuff e.g. right to education. Also

Advanced topics 1. issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, 2. Devolution of powers + finances up to local levels and challenges therein. 3. Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions. 4. Pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity. 5. Representation of Peoples Act: Salient features Rights issue 1. Vulnerable sections: protections, Betterment: mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies. 2. Vulnerable Sections: Welfare schemes. Starting point again our good old Laxmikanth. For welfare schemes, INDIA Yearbook, list of topics given here click me + newspaper + official websites of respective ministries.

Starting point is (again) IGNOU MPS 003. Then again lot of good stuff scattered around in IGNOU Public Administration, Political science and sociology.Also newspapers, columns, net digging from current affairs point of view (e.g. Pressure groups > Lokpal)

Yearbook, Welfare schemes 1. Ministries and Departments of the Government; 2. Government policies for development in various sections. 3. Social Sector development: Health, Education, Human Resources. 4. Poverty and hunger: Issues relating to

Basic functions and overview of policies given in India yearbook. After that, Newpapers, Yojana Kurukshetra, official sites of respective ministries.12th Five Yearplan PDFs click me. (they contain truckload of fodder points).

Public Administration related 1. Governance: Important aspects of 2. Development processes and the development industry 3. the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors,

Respective chapters from IGNOU BA, MA



[Approach] UPSC 2013 General Studies: Prelims + Mains for Civil Service IAS IPS Exam Mrunal

4. 5. 6. 7.

charities, institutional and other stakeholders transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures. e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; Citizens charters Role of civil services in a democracy. IR / Diplomacy

Public Administration. 2nd ARC reports click me (selective reading).

1. India and its neighborhood- relations. 2. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting Indias interests 3. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on Indias interests, 4. Indian diaspora. 5. Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

Approach remains same as earlier. Starting point is selected topics on international relations from IGNOU BA (Political Science) click me Dispora strategy given separately click me Then IGNOU MA (Political Science) MPS 002 click me + newspapers, magz, net digging And

GS3: Economy, Environment, S&T, Agro, Disaster and Security

For a paper worth 250 marks, UPSC has packed way too many topics here! #1: Economy 1. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment. 2. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it. 3. Government Budgeting. 4. Effects of liberalization on the economy.

12th FYP plan PDF files.Basic of budgeting is explained in Laxmikanth, Ramesh Singh etc. But hardly any direct-static questions come in mains. So this is mostly yearbook, IGNOU (Economics) newspaper and current affairs.+

Basic given in NCERT Class 11 economics. More can be found in 1. IGNOU BA Economics. 2. IGNOU MA Economics

5. changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth. Basic given in India Yearbook.Then IGNOU (Economics BA, MA) selective reading, 6. Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Newspaper columns, 12th FYP pdfs for more fodder points. Roads, Airports, Railways etc. 7. Investment models #2: SnT + Environment 1. Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life 2. Achievements of Indians in science & technology; 3. Indigenization of technology and developing new technology. 4. Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, biotechnology and issues relating to intellectual property rights. 1. Starting point is India Yearbook. 2. Then The Hindus Sci-tech portion, net digging and 3. 4. +/- Spectrums book on Science Tech. 1. NIOS, IGNOU material on Environment-Biodiversity. 2. India Yearbook 3. Official site of MoEF 4. Newspaper columns, Yojana, Kurukshetra.

5. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

#2: Agro Now this is a new topic introduced in 2013. 5/9


[Approach] UPSC 2013 General Studies: Prelims + Mains for Civil Service IAS IPS Exam Mrunal

1. Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, 2. Irrigation: different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, 3. 4. 5. 6. e-technology in the aid of farmers Farm subsidies: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; 7. Technology missions; 8. Land reforms in India. 9. transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; 10. Animal rearing: economics of 11. Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain managemen Disaster 1. Disaster and disaster management. Selective reading IGNOU MPA 018 Security 1. Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate 2. basics of cyber security For the remaining topics: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

NCERT geography, GS Manual+ Majid Hussain/Spectrum etc.

Starting point is INDIA Yearbook, List of topics given here: click me Official website of Agriculture ministry.

Yojana-Kurukshetra old archives + new me food processing already covered in my article series. visit

This is given in India Yearbook. Click me for the topicwise list Also given in India yearbook. More stuff can be found in IGNOUs PG Law program me

Linkages between development and spread of extremism. Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security. Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, money-laundering and its prevention border areas: Security challenges and their management linkages of organized crime with terrorism

^mostly newspaper and net digging.

GS4: Ethics
Lot of vague topics added. Anyways, first lets check the topics for which exact material is available Probity in Governance: 1. Concept of public service; 2. Philosophical basis of governance and probity; 3. Information sharing and transparency in government, 4. Right to Information, 5. Codes of Ethics, 6. Codes of Conduct, 7. Citizens Charters, 8. Work culture, 9. Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, 10. Challenges of corruption.

Ethics in Public Administration 1. 2. 3. 4. Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance;

For ^above topics, youll find content scattered in around in



[Approach] UPSC 2013 General Studies: Prelims + Mains for Civil Service IAS IPS Exam Mrunal

1. IGNOU MPA 011 2. IGNOU MPA 013 3. 2nd ARC reports. Remaining topics 1. Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships. Human Values lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values 2. Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion. 3. Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service , integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections. 4. Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance. 5. Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world. 6. corporate governance. 7. ethical issues in international relations and funding. 8. +Case studies

Personal Opinion?
Father Wallace, a renowned Gujarati author and Maths Professor in St.Xaviers College, Ahmedabad. Once a TV reporter asked him, Lot of students in class 10 hate mathematics. So, What is your advice to them? I was watching TV and hoped that hed give some awesome set of formulas that will completely demystify mathematics even for the weakest student. But all he said was: Mitro maare Etlu j kehvaa nu ke tamne gume ke naa gume, bhanvu toh padshe j! (Friends all Ive to say is, whether you like it or not, youll have to study.) Same applies to the pattern change, you can welcome it, you can condemn it, but as long youre in this competition business, youve to play by UPSCs rules. Anyways for the sake of timepass reading, here are my opinions. Positive Most of the General studies syllabus (mains) can be covered using IGNOU, Yearbook, Yojana Kurukshetra, newspapers etc. So atleast the reform is not heavy on your pocket (in terms of having to buy lot of new books / material). Thanks to IGNOUs material, self-study is easily possible. (available on Negative Reading so many PDFs on computer screen =painful on eyes. Overlapping topics Each mains paper has 3 hours duration so UPSC can take maximum two papers per day. Now, suppose today is GS1+2, then tomorrow will be GS3+4. Here comes to issue: youve to prepare similar topics again and again for two days because of their overlapping nature. for example: 1. Social empowerment in GS1, and next day Inclusive growth for GS3. 2. R.T.I, citizen-charter etc. as [Polity] topics for GS2 and next day for Ethics under GS4. 3. Role of civil services in a democracy (under GS2) and next day almost similar thing for Ethics under GS4. So it feels as if the topic-list is compiled in haste, and that Agro topic in GS3 (+including supply chain Management!) sticks out like a sore thumb. One Optional still kept Instead of two, now youve to pick only one optional. Makes it difficult for senior player to decide: which subject to keep and which one to drop. (especially when UPSC is yet to deliver marksheets for Mains 2012). UPSC should have removed both optionals. That way, people have to spend less money on books / coaching + more time sparred to pursue any career backplan/ other exams. Faster results It still takes 1 year to finish the exam. Very painful especially for those who fail in mains and have to reappear in next prelims within 2-3 months. UPSC Should have converted prelims into a computer based MCQ test like IBPS/LIC to hasten the result delivery. On an unrelated note: If we look at the larger picture, everyone has to give so many exams simultaneously (UPSC, State PSC, IBPS, SSC, LIC, CDS, 7/9


[Approach] UPSC 2013 General Studies: Prelims + Mains for Civil Service IAS IPS Exam Mrunal

CAPF.) These should be combined into only 2-3 exams for combined recruitment into all these jobs.

Attend IAS Classes @ home

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720 comments to [Approach] UPSC 2013 General Studies: Prelims + Mains for Civil Service IAS IPS Exam

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Reply to this comment bro,initiate discussions on ethics,aptitude..overall marks is wht tat countsif u begin now,the discussions would take some time to mature and become a meaningful assetso..

Reply to this comment hey,ask ur community to come up with some innovative ,probable ,thinking-kind of will be relly helpful

Harvindra kaur
Reply to this comment Tumne pass kar liya kya ? Jo yaha par likhne chali ayi , agar kisi ki ijjat nahi karna jaanti ho toh tumhe koi right nahi hai kisi k baare me koi opinion dene ka ,ok . agar dum hai toh Mrunal Sir ki tarah tum bhi koi Blog bnao aur competition me aao fir baat karna.

Reply to this comment @sruthi>Jab log kisi se jalne lagte hain na,tab smjho vo tarakkeee kar rha hai,u r jealous of someone just coz u think he is a galli ka advisor,sorry to say but,what matters is ur way of grasping and holding onto things in a different way,and thats where MRUNAL bro excels,thats it,dsnt matter if he has cleared or not,but i know one thing,only coz of his blog i have developed a good command over ECON and i owe him one.@sruthi,better pack ur bags and move outta her,theres only misery for u here,nthng else,bbye.and all the best.

Reply to this comment Who the hell are you idiot?????@!!!!!

Reply to this comment 8/9


[Approach] UPSC 2013 General Studies: Prelims + Mains for Civil Service IAS IPS Exam Mrunal

@Sruthi He did clear prelims and just because of misinterpretation of essay topic he could not clear mains. That was just a matter of luck. And moreover I guess he is still not 30, but dont understand why is he not giving exam again. With such limitless knowledge and understanding of UPSC exam he can outshine anyone the day he sets his foot into the battle ground.

Provoked Disciple
Reply to this comment Two quick Possibilities: 1. You are one pissed off coaching institute GUY (intentionally kept such name to gain some sympathy, But in vain!) who has been rendered jobless in this BackBreaking Era TM , expressing his frustration in front of master. 2. You just consumed sustainably made Desi liquor and showing off your creativity on the blog. in any case somehow you have been able to piss off all (29356 -1) readers by your insane act. PS: This is my first comment (though i have been following the GURU for 7 months!)and YOU instigated it.

Reply to this comment How is misunderstanding the Topic a matter of luck? Isnt that a technical blunder! Its like Raja can come and plead that 2G was just a matter of luck for I picked one out of 5 options using coin toss. You just dont say that!

Reply to this comment no he is quite young. see his trigonometry videos in youtube. just search his name in youtube

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