How to Study Polity and Governance for Civil Services Prelims


The candidate after clearing the Civil Services exam becomes a part and parcel of the administration. Thus, it is necessary that one should know how the system works and functions of its various institutions and their contribution to the society. Hence it is imperative that one should have a clear and deeper understanding of the subject as a whole.

Indian Polity is one of the important topics of the General Studies for Civil Services exam. In the new syllabus since 2011 it is mentioned as polity and governance. So candidates have to follow proper strategy to prepare Indian Polity.

Earlier preparation for the Preliminary and Main Examinations were totally different, the former tested the factual premises and the later checked the analytical premises. But, the new syllabus demands an integrated approach for both Prelims and Mains. According to the new trends of UPSC there is a necessity to study Indian Polity along with overall governance of the country.

Of course Indian Constitutional topics like Preamble, Nature of Constitution, Fundamental Rights and DPSPs, Union Executive, Union Parliament, State Executive and Legislature, Judiciary, Centre-State Relations etc form the core of Indian Polity. Apart from this several challenges to Indian democracy are also becoming one of the preferred areas of UPSC, for example Communalism, Regionalism, Caste Politics, Internal Security, Criminalization of politics, Corruption, Population, Poverty, Unemployment, etc. In addition to this, contemporary issues like Good Governance, Role of IT in administration, Civil Society, Right to Information, Electoral Reforms, Role of Pressure Groups, Energy and Food Security, Environment and Sustainable development, etc. are also important.

Prelims examination not only requires conceptual clarity but also the applied part of it. Some of the preparation tips for the Prelims exam are:

  • One should be thorough in facts and also the conceptual part of it.
  • The conceptual clarity helps to solve the analytical question asked from this section.
  • According to the earlier trends, it was easy to attempt maximum number of questions from this section because generally questions from this section were direct and based on factual information. Almost 90% of the questions are asked from the constitutional provisions and the remaining part usually covers the current affairs. But, now the nature of questions has changed. Along with factual information one should cover the current political developments. Therefore, one should be thorough with the current political developments in the country.
  • Practicing previous year questions will help you to find out the areas where you commit mistakes.
  • Atleast once read the bare act thoroughly to understand the small facts & concepts related to topic.

Below are some question pertaining to polity and governance asked in UPSC exam in recent years:

  1. ‘Economic Justice’ as one of the objectives of the Indian Constitution has been provided in

(a) the Preamble and the fundamental Rights

(b) the Preamble and the Directive Principles of State Policy

(c) the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy

(d) None of the above

  1. According to the Constitution of India, which of the following are fundamental for the governance of the country?

(a) Fundamental Rights

(b) Fundamental Duties

(c) Directive Principles of State Policy

(d) Fundamental Rights and Fundamental duties

  1. What will follow if a Money Bill is substantially amended by the Rajya Sabha?

(a) The Lok Sabha may still proceed with the Bill, accepting or not accepting the recommendation of the Rajya Sabha

(b) The Lok Sabha cannot consider the Bill further

(c) The Lok Sabha may send the Bill to the Rajya Sabha for reconsideration

(d) The President may call a joint sitting for passing the Bill

  1. Which one of the following statements is correct?

(a) In India, the same person cannot be appointed as Governor for two or more States at the same time.

(b) The Judges of the High Court of the States in India are appointed by the Governor of the State just as the Judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President

(c) No procedure has been laid down in the Constitution of India for the removal of a Governor from his/her post

(d) In the case of a Union Territory having a legislative setup, the Chief Minister is appointed by the Lt. Governor on the basis of majority support

  1. Under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, who shall be the authority to initiate the process for determining the nature and extent of individual or community forest rights or both?

(a) State Forest Department

(b) District Collector/Deputy Commissioner

(c) Tahsildar/Block Development Officer/ Mandal Revenue Officer

(d) Gram Sabha

  1. The Government enacted the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act in 1996. Which one of the following is not identified as its objective?

(a) To provide self-governance

(b) To recognize traditional rights

(c) To create autonomous regions in tribal areas

(d) To free tribal people from exploitation

Some Important areas are:

  1. Fundamental Rights
  2. Directive Principles of State Policy
  3. President, Governor, Speaker
  4. Judiciary – Supreme Court, High Court and Judicial Activism
  5. Constitutional Bodies – Election Commission, Comptroller and Auditor General, UPSC
  6. Centre-State Relations, President’s Rule
  7. Political developments in the Union and State
  8. Local Self-Government
  9. All Non- Constitutional bodies – National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Minorities, National Commission for Women, National Commission for SCs, National Commission for STs, etc.
  10. Recent Constitutional Amendments
  11. Recent Bills passed in the Parliament


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