Nov 25, 2021
General Studies Paper-II is one of the nine subjective papers of UPSC Mains that comprises “Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.” in its syllabus.
Considered for merit and determining the final rank of the candidate, this 250 marks paper should be prepared well during UPSC exam preparation and attempted with no scope of error.
Read this article till the end to find out the preparation strategy to crack the UPSC Mains General Studies Paper II, reference books for its preparation, and past year questions asked in the GS Paper-II.
First things first, you can seamlessly prepare and crack the paper only if you are well-aware of its syllabus. To remind you what needs to be studied for the GS Paper II, refer to the syllabus below.
General Studies‐ II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.
Before we proceed further discussing the preparation strategy for GS Paper II, let’s have a look and always remember the ‘Mantra’ given by the UPSC while writing answers for UPSC Mains:
The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues, and ability to analyze, and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives and demands. The candidates must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.
Now when we know what UPSC expects from us, let’s share the preparation plan!
Divide the syllabus into four sections; Polity & Constitution, Governance, Social Justice and International Relations and start with the preparation for each section. This way, you will be able to prepare better and focus on the important topics of each section.
Every year, a significant amount of questions are asked from the Polity & Constitution section. For its preparation, build a strong foundation with the NCERTs. They will help you with the fundamentals of the section in simple and easy-to-understand language.
After understanding the basics, proceed further in your preparation with advanced books such as M. Laxmikanth. The Constitution of India should be studied on priority. Also, try to feature all the relevant articles of the constitution, the supreme court judgements, recommendations of various committees, law commission reports, etc in your answers to make them more effective. There are some must-know articles of the Indian Constitution that must be focused on during the preparation.
For the Governance part, be thorough with various government policies & interventions for development, important aspects of governance, transparency & accountability, development processes & the development industry, and most importantly, the Role of Civil Services in Democracy.
Make your own comprehensive notes on crucial topics such as Social audit, SHGs, e-governance, etc. Also, consider analyzing government schemes and referring to ARC recommendations while preparing for the Governance part.
International Relations (IR) is another crucial section of General Studies Paper-II that commands attention during preparation. It comprises various topics such as the foreign policy of India, Regional cooperation, Bilateral relations, Important International institutions, etc.
IR is dynamic; hence aspirants should read newspapers (The Hindu/The Indian Express) daily. While reading, focus on columns related to International Relations. Visit the official website of the Ministry of External Affairs to stay updated with the latest developments.
To know more about IR preparation, read How to Prepare International Relations for UPSC Mains.
Aspirants should read newspapers and accordingly make notes related to the syllabus of Social Justice; 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, Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources. Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
Below mentioned are a few previous year’s questions of the GS Paper II of UPSC Mains. Have a glimpse and understand the level of questions. It will help you to prepare holistically.
Question: Indian constitution exhibits centralising tendencies to maintain unity and integrity of the nation. Elucidate in the perspective of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897; The Disaster Management Act, 2005 and recently passed Farm Acts.
Question: Which steps are required for constitutionalization of a commission? Do you think imparting constitutionality to the National Commission for Women would ensure greater gender justice and empowerment in India? Give reasons.
Question: “There is a need for simplification of procedure for disqualification of persons found guilty of corrupt practices under the Representation of peoples Act” Comment.
Question: “The Central Administrative Tribunal which was established for redressal of grievances and complaints by or against central government employees nowadays is exercising its powers as an independent judicial authority.” Explain.
Question: What is the significance of Indo-US defence deals over Indo-Russian defence deals? Discuss with reference to stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
Question: ‘The time has come for India and Japan to build a strong contemporary relationship, one involving global and strategic partnerships that will have a great significance for Asia and the world as a whole.’ Comment.
Question: In order to enhance the prospects of social development, sound and adequate health care policies are needed particularly in the fields of geriatric and maternal health care. Discuss.
Question: Despite Consistent experience of high growth, India still goes with the lowest indicators of human development. Examine the issues that make balanced and inclusive development elusive.
So, this is how you can prepare for GS Paper II of UPSC Mains and pave your way to the Final personality round. We hope this article will help you put your best foot forward and simplify your GS Paper II preparation.
Make your GS Paper II preparation more effective and productive with PrepLadder. It is an excellent source of quality and reliable material for UPSC Civil Services aspirants. It has everything you need to ace the Civil Services exam on one single platform.
This includes concise, effective, and well-planned video lectures by our Dream Team for UPSC, a well-structured and high yield QBank, highly competitive PrepTests based on real exam patterns, and Previous Year Papers in the form of tests.
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All the best for your exam.
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Raminder is a Content Manager at PrepLadder. He has worked in several aspects of the education industry throughout his career and has assisted numerous candidates in cracking major competitive exams.
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