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Current Portions Will Remain Important In Revised UPSC Pattern Topics of current relevance have a special significance for

many examinations across the world and exams that deal with the recruitment for administrative posts give highest priority to this area. One needs to understand the placental links between administration and current perspective to internalize the importance of ecology for success of any administrative structure. Administration is a vaguely defined term that (in layman terms) includes govt. action in totality. Govt. itself is undergoing so many changes off late that the versatility in arenas in which govt. operates through direct and indirect means require the most versatile talent to effectively and decisively operate the administrative machinery. Aim of this article will be to analyze the significance of current portions and concurrent aspects. In this aspect answers will be searched for questions likeAre the traditional areas of GS that include polity, history, economy losing ground to more dynamic areas like science and technology, current happenings around us? Questions asked in both preliminary and mains have changed beyond recognition and questions are asked very rarely from the areas that can be considered Static as far as content updation is required. In such a scenario can it be said that magazines/newspapers and other sources like Net, TV or radio alone can sail one through the GS paper and one need not to sit for hours to command mastery over the traditional areas. Such fallacious interpretations miss a vital fact that there is always an element of continuity between the past, present and future in every domain and a holistic treatment of any issue will require the same. The fine point that syllabus by itself raises (and which is also one of aim of this article also) is that both traditional areas and emerging areas are equally important. For example in paper 2 GS topic 1 mentions that Indian constitution will cover the following sections historical underpinnings TA evolution CR features TA amendments CR significant provisions TA basic structure CR

*TA Traditional Areas *CR- Current Relevance Syllabus itself answers the question raised above that both TA and CR will remain entangled for a successful preparation. Limiting Breadth and Depth of Your Efforts Another important dimension to issues of current relevance isUnderstanding the importance of current relevance will also help in prioritizing the syllabic content and directing your energy towards most rewarding topics. (Remember the universal advice by almost all successful candidates that It is not important how much you are studying rather what you are studying is more important. ) For example the topics mentioned like Salient features of worlds Physical Geography, Contribution of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world are limitless topics as far as breadth of topics is concerned. Similarly, many topics like Philosophical basis of governance and probity, role of civil services in democracy, human values lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators, concept of ethics, attitude and aptitude etc. are limitless as far as the depth of topics is concerned. In such a scenario, one who is aware of happenings in surroundings can smartly chose the areas that need to be focused. For example because there was a recent issue in South China Sea over the sovereignty, one should not forget to see the important geographic features of area concerned. But overstretching the above criterion will again lead to problem of plenty, because invariably every region of world must be witnessing some important event at one time or another. In such a scenario, issues that have direct repercussions on interest of India must be focused, rather than important issues of general nature. For example in row over South China sea, vital interest of India were at stake because it is a major trade route and OVL had interest in oil exploration in same area. Change Is Not The LAST WORD One important caution point we would like to raise at this juncture is Has the syllabus delineated the boundaries of syllabus and students can have some relief from the uncertainty of range of questions? Well, one might be tempted to answer in affirmative but, this is half truth. Uncertainty of questions in last couple of years has resulted mainly because of shift in focus to questions of current relevance rather than questions from

traditional areas. This focus will be further accentuated in coming years because uncertainty in administration itself has increased and today only dynamic, enthusiastic and positive minded administrator can meet the challenges successfully. If one understand and appreciate the uncertainty of job then he/she will find the range of questions very much justified and logical. Syllabus has delineated the boundaries in certain areas and mentioned areas should act only as light house to guide your preparation. Mentioned syllabus is not the last word because in many areas very wide ranging terminology has been utilized and deadly word etc. has been used quite frequently. Change Will Work As A Guidance Another major change in new prescribed syllabus is delineation of areas that have relevance for guiding the preparation. For example, earlier syllabus of mains mentioned under heading Constitution of India and Indian Polity: "This part will include questions on the Constitution of India as well as all constitutional, legal, administrative and other issues emerging from the politicoadministrative system prevalent in the country." Whereas, the new syllabus will help the students in understanding demands of examination. For example in case of GS paper 2 it is mentioned that syllabus will include issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein. Such clarity is also present in other portions of polity syllabus. Issues of federalism and devolution of powers to lowest level of governance is a continuing theme and its importance has been shown by mentioning this part of syllabus under a separate heading. Salient features of RPA Act have been included in syllabus in light of recent outbursts of demands for corruption free environment and elections malpractices are considered the mother of corruption. Separation of power has been put under severe stress in recent years where instances of Judicial Activism and overreaching judiciary has forced even the CJI to advise against the same. How Jat and Gujjar agitation held the state govts ransom and splurge of violent protest across length and breadth of country demands that the study of dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions must be an integral part of an administrative exam. Emergence of Governance paradigm to replace the Government model in Public Administration makes it mandatory to study the role and importance of NGOs, SHGs and other stakeholders in development processes and development industry for any aspiring administrator.

Topic 'e-governance models, successes' has a large overlap with current affairs. At same time, link of this change/advancement with aspects of governance, transparency and accountability can be studied within the mould of traditional models. Topics under foreign relations which cover issues like status of present relations, effect of different groupings, agreements, policies, politics and mandate & structure of important international institutions are almost synonymous with areas of current affairs. Inclusive growth has been the explicit theme of both 11th and 12th five-year plans and is projected as one of the cross cutting agenda in all govt. interventions. If one notices carefully than it can be found that other topics included in the GS paper 3 have a strong link with the agenda of inclusivity. For example interventions in agriculture transport and marketing, e- technology for farmers, animal rearing, food processing, land reforms etc. are aimed at correcting the imbalance in Indian growth story, which has bypassed the majority of Indians more so in aftermath of NEP of early 1990's. S & T developments, achievements of Indians in the field, indigenization and developing of technology, awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights are areas from where questions will be asked about recent developments. Syllabic content related to Internal security includes the latest developments in the field like role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges (example of misuse of these sites for spreading rumors and posing new challenges in instance of panic outmigration of people of North East from Banglore and other South Indian Cities and how law enforcement agencies found it difficult to deal with such a fluid problem) and basics of cyber security (e.g. spate of cyber attacks and increased vulnerability in present context, where digitization has become a norm in many strategically important areas). At the same time Topic Internal security also includes traditional areas like role of external state and non-state actors Linkages between development and spread of extremism. Security challenges and their management in border areas linkages of organized crime with terrorism Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

GS paper 4 Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude is more of a new addition to the GS syllabus. Compared to other 3 papers, portion of current relevance are least visible to an untrained eye in this paper. But after a careful analysis, one can find a strong undercurrent of current relevance. For example syllabus mentions that 'This paper will include questions to test the candidates' attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilise the case study approach to determine these aspects." Case study approaches in such questions will be having a strong link with the recent developments. For example in light of recent outbursts of public functionaries in front of media, a case study might be given where your probable response can be asked as a senior, colleague or junior to deal with such cases. Topics like empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections will determine the role of civil service in ensuring inclusive growth, which is the current keyword of govt. policies. Govt's efforts towards strengthening the information sharing and transparency enhancement by passing revolutionary legislations like RTI are more or less topics of current relevance. Besides, subjective ideas like ethics, morality, human values are not static concepts. These are very dynamic concepts because these concerns are part of human society and human society is a living organism, not a dead wood. A student will have to not only study the basics of the topics mentioned in paper 4 but he will have to keep himself aware of happenings around him to be in sync with the ethos of current time. Such synchronization cannot be possible without study of current events. With this we would end the article by summarizing the broad areas covered. In totality, we can draw following conclusions from the above discussion: 1. Understanding the importance of current events will help in prioritizing the efforts by cutting unnecessary flab and focusing on important areas. 2. In absence of concentrated efforts a candidate will end up penalizing himself/herself. 3. One will need to restrict both horizontal and vertical spread of syllabus and by internalizing the relevance of concurrent themes for administration one can smartly do the same. 4. Relevance of current events has increased but without commanding the traditional areas discussion of any issue will remain shallow.

Hence there is no point in endlessly discussing the relative importance of current vs traditional area, rather one has to strike a fine balance between the two areas. Traditional areas will give you a sound foundation but outer structure of your successful journey will be made of current material. So we would suggest students not to swim against the current, rather with the current to enhance their success rates. And the end is not this. In all these concepts you must have a critical and analytical bent of mind so that you are well equipped to answer questions of "higher" level. As Philosopher Karl Popper in his "critical rationalism" has said that "Test for truthfulness about any theory rests on its chances of being proved false"; so based on this the examiner expects that a to-be-bureaucrat must have that critical elements within his intelligence so that She/He can come up with better ways of policy interventions and thus establish the fundamentals of Governance (read Good Governance). Questioning the status-quo and attitude of inertia within the wider domain of the concept of State and Governance must be inculcated within each aspirant. After, we have analyzed the symptomatic problems, it becomes your writers moral obligation to come up with solutions or say ways and means to come up with as-expected answer for questions of GS Paper. Emphasizing the aforesaid, the writer would again encore that development of a critical attitude that is fearless of asking questions that question the resistivity of inertia within any and every aspects of society and wider system of Governance is a-must. For this, reading newspaper (a standard and "real" newspaper (not the tabloid types)) is a must. Apart from this spending "constructive" time with net also comes in handy. Going beyond the newspaper and reading the actual source of how the news reports are made also proves useful. So sometimes you can also read the actual monetary and fiscal policy as released by the RBI and Finance Minister respectively so that you can construe your own original views. Remember, reading first-hand information from the original source can only make you develop original views regarding things. And, where there is originality in thought there is no limitation. With freedom, you tend to question things.

Finally with questioning you develop that "critical" aspects and attitude so much required for this examination particularly for the present trend of GS Paper and more so after the change when GS has 50% weightage on the entire score. In a nutshell, your writer would only like to say that bringing general score (read below 45% as has been the current established pattern) in GS really put a question mark on the whole preparation. Apart from severely proving to be the deciding factorial even when the single optional paper will have a certain similarity of marks for all sincere students; it also somewhere resides in your system as a lingering pain that I got less marks in General Studies Paper in an exam which is all about developing a Generalist approach!