Comprehensive Self Study Plan for Indian Polity | IAS Prelims & Mains

How to use this study plan?

1. Polity is not about memorisation. Only a few things which have been covered in Dr V’s Tit-bits need to be memorised. For the rest, Read-Revise-Solve!
2. Try to relate the setup at the Centre and the state and especially note their differences
3. Issues/terms frequently in news like Office of Profit, Uniform Civil Code etc should be made note of.
4. The various committees and their recommendations are very important eg the Sarkaria and Punchii Commissions, the 2nd ARC, etc
5. Concentrate on the sections which have been made bold. These are UPSC’s favourite areas. This is simply because these are also important lynchpins of our polity. Know this – what is important for India’s polity is important for UPSC’s question setting



#1. Primary Source: To be revised multiple times

1. Lakshmikanth – Indian Polity – 5th Edition [Click here to download relevant NCERTs and reference books]
2. CD’s Polity – Back to Basics
3. Dr V’s Tidbits

 

Why this one?

These are made keeping the Civil Services Exam in mind and therefore are tailor-made for your needs. Do Supplement with Current Affairs from CD’s news cards and stories.

#2. Basic Books:

To be read once and made notes from

4. NCERT 9th – Democratic Politics,
5. NCERT 9th – Democratic Politics,
6. NCERT 11th – Indian Constitution at Work

Why this one?

This is important to develop a basic understanding of Indian Polity.

#3. Supplementary reading:

To be skimmed through once and made notes from

7. 2nd ARC Report

Why this one?

The govt’s official observations and recommendations can be quoted in your Mains answers to increase their heft


Daywise plan + Feedback questions with Explanations & Tikdams where applicable

Day 1 Rapid Basics buildup – Democracy • NCERT 9th – Democratic Politics – Chapter 1 – 4
Day 2 Rapid Basics buildup – Democracy • NCERT 9th – Democratic Politics – Chapter 5- 7
Day 3 Rapid Basics buildup – Democracy • NCERT 10th – Democratic Politics – Chapter 1 – 4
Day 4 Rapid Basics buildup – Democracy • NCERT 10th – Democratic Politics – Chapter 5 – 8
Day 5 Rapid Basics buildup – Indian Constitution • NCERT 11th – Indian Constitution at Work – Chapter 1 – 4
Day 6 Rapid Basics buildup – Indian Constitution • NCERT 11th – Indian Constitution at Work – Chapter 5 – 8

Focus Area:

• Focus on developing a conceptual understanding of India as a democratic and constitutional polity and a parliamentary form of govt
• What are its characteristics, why were they so chosen, what are their advantages and limitations


Day 7: Revision Time


Day 8 + 9 + 10 + 11 Indian Constitution & its features • Lakshmikanth Chapters 1 – 4, 10, 11, 16
• NCERT 11th – Indian Constitution at Work – Chapter 9, 10

Focus Area:

Give importance to

• Historical background – Give importance to Acts – post-1857, when British Crown assumed sovereignty over India from the East India Company.
• Trace how an act/charter helped create a basic framework for the governance during the British rule. eg Indian-Councils Act, 1909 introduced direct elections for the first time
• Making of the Constitution – Context in which the Constituent Assembly was framed. eg role of Cripps Mission
• Composition and role of the Constituent Assembly and its criticism

• Salient Features of the Constitution
• Schedules and Sources from where it has been borrowed
• Philosophy of the Constitution – The Preamble -its importance and utility; Understand the objective of the Preamble along with the keywords like Sovereignty, Socialist, Secular, Justice etc.

Emergency Provisions
• Different kinds of Emergency – their procedure and time duration for approval and revocation
• Changes brought about by 42nd and 44th Amendment Act w.r.t Emergency
• Impact on the distribution of legislative, Executive and Financial Powers & on Fundamental rights (Article 358 and Article 359) when Emergency is in force
Criticism/misuse of emergency powers by the Central Government

Amendment of the Constitution
• Procedure for amendment & provisions of the Constitution which can be amended based on Simple and Special majority.
• Amenability of Fundamenta Rights
• ‘Basic Structure’ of the constitution
• Important Constitutional Amendments Acts – 42nd, 44th, 61st 72nd, 73rd
• Criticism

Previous year’s MCQs to judge one’s level of understanding + Tikdams:

1. The distribution of powers between the Centre and the States in the Indian Constitution is based on the scheme provided in the
(a) Morley-Minto Reforms, 1909
(b) Montagu-Chelmsford Act, 1919
(c) Government of India Act, 1935
(d) Indian Independence Act, 1947

Answer – C

Tikdam – Straight-forward. you know it or you don’t

2. To uphold and protect the Sovereignty, Unity and Integrity of India is a provision made in the
a) Preamble of the Constitution
b) Directive Principles of State Policy
c) Fundamental Rights
d) Fundamental Duties

Answer – D

The idea behind the incorporation of fundamental duties was to remind the citizens of the country that they have certain obligations towards the country and society. The fundamental duties were added to the constitution on the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee. There were ten fundamental duties at the time of incorporation but the eleventh was inserted by the 86th Amendment in 2002. To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India is one of them.

Tikdam: it’s clearly not a right or directive. it’s duty so fundamental duty

3. The idea of ‘Welfare State’ in the Indian Constitution is enshrined in its
a) Preamble
b) Directive Principles of State Policy
c) Fundamental Rights
d) Seventh Schedule

Answer – B

In a welfare State, the functions of the State are not only the defence of the country or administration of justice or maintaining law and order but it extends to regulating and controlling the activities of the people in almost every sphere—educational, commercial, social, economic, political and even marital.
DPSP thus promotes the idea of a welfare state as it guides the state in making policies for the socio-economic well being of the people of India. Preamble, option A, will NOT be the answer because it simply lists the socio-economic objectives of Indian society. It does not tell us who will design or execute policies based on the objectives.

Tikdam: DPSP – the welfare state, social and economic democracy.


Day 11 + 12: Cumulative Revision


Day 13 Union and its territory & Citizenship • Lakshmikanth – Chapter 5 & 6

Focus Area: 

Union and its Territory 
• Article 1, Article 2, Article 3 and Article 4 – Difference between them
• Understand the difference between ‘Union of India’ & ‘Territory of India’
• Parliament’s power to reorganize State.
• Different Commissions set-up for Reorganization of States – DHAR commission and JVP commission, Fazal Ali commission

Citizenship
• Constitutional Rights and Privileges of Citizens of India
• Acquisition and termination of citizenship
• Difference between a PIO, NRI, OCI
• Recent policies and schemes related to voting rights, refugee status and for PIOs, NRIs or OCI eg Visa on Arrival


Day 14 Fundamental Rights • Lakshmikanth – Chapter 7

Focus Area:

Pay Attention to
• Need for FRs
• Their significance, implications and applications than just remembering all the articles. Understand the reason and target groups for the different FRs
• FRs available to only Indian citizens and those also to foreigners
• Difference between Fundamental rights and Rights secured by other provisions of the Constitution
• Different types of Writs (Article 32) and its scope
• The present position of Right to Property
Exceptional cases with regard to FR’s – Armed forces and when Martial Law is enforced

Previous year’s MCQs to judge one’s level of understanding + Tikdams:

In India, if a religious sect/community is given “the status of a national minority, what special advantages it is entitled to?
1. It can establish and administer exclusive educational institutions.
2. The President of India automatically nominates a representative of the community to LokSabha.
3. It can derive benefits from the Prime Minister’s 15-Point Programme.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only’
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer – C

President only nominates Anglo Indians and people of excellence in various fields. Eliminate 2 and get the answer.


Day 15 Directive Principles and Fundamental Duties • Lakshmikanth – Chapter 8, 9

Focus Area:

DP’s
• Why have DPSPs
• Classification of DPSP- Socialistic, Gandhian, Liberal-Intellectual principles
• Justiciability & enforceability in court
• Comparison with Fundamental Rights,
• Conflicts between them – history of cases from Dorairajan case to Minerva Mills case (1980) and the present situation
• Significance of 42nd and 44th Amendment Act w.r.t DPSP

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

Previous year’s MCQs to judge one’s level of understanding + Tikdams:

Consider the following statements regarding the Directive Principles of State Policy:

(1) The Principles spell out the socio-economic democracy in the country
(2) The provisions contained in these Principles are not enforceable by any court.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer – C

Socio-economic democracy is spelt out because it provides for the idea of a welfare state. For e.g. consider Article 39 (b) and (c) which provide for minimizing inequalities in income and wealth, and ensuring that the wealth is not concentrated in the hands of few. While another article provides for the health of children, rights of working women etc.
DPSP is not enforceable by courts. Only Fundamental rights can be enforced by the courts.

Tikdam: Statement 2 any court is red flag but think of course they can’t be enforced in the court of law meaning in any court

So don’t mark a statement wrong just by seeing any.


Day 16 + 17: Revision Time


Day 18 Parliamentary and Federal system • Lakshmikanth – Chapter 12, 13
Day 19 Centre-state and Inter-state relations • Lakshmikanth – Chapter 14, 15

Focus Area: 

Federal System
• Comparison between Unitary and Federal features; advantages and disadvantages
• Distribution of legislative, Executive and Financial Powers between the Union and the States – the 3 lists and residuary powers
• Principles behind distribution of Tax revenues
• Circumstances when Parliament can legislate on the State list subjects
• Finance – Role of Finance Commission (Statutory grants) and Planning Commission (Discretionary grants)
• Issues with the above two institutions – FC and PC
• Borrowing powers of the Union and the States from Market and Abroad
• Powers of Executive – giving directions to States
• All-India Services, UPSC
• Extra-Constitutional devices like Planning Commission/NITI, National Development Council, National integration Council etc.

Inter-State Relations
Measures to ensure coordination between States
• 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))

Previous year’s MCQs to judge one’s level of understanding + Tikdams:

There is a Parliamentary System of Government in India because of the
a) Lok Sabha is elected directly by the people
b) Parliament can amend the Constitution
c) Rajya Sabha cannot be dissolved
d) Council of Ministers is responsible to the Lok Sabha

Answer – D

Option A points to a democratic system. It does not necessarily mean a Parliamentary Democratic system. For e.g. in USA the Congress is also elected, but it is a Presidential Democracy.
Option D is correct because “Collective responsibility” of the council of ministers to the Lok Sabha (Article 75) lies at the heart of a Parliamentary democracy.
Tikdam: Parliamentary stystem meaning executive part of legislature and accountable to it as opposed to presidential where Executive is not part of legislature

The Parliament of India acquires the power to legislate on any item in the State List in the national interest if a resolution to that effect is passed by the

a) Lok Sabha by a simple majority of its total membership
b) Lok Sabha by a majority of not less than two-thirds of its total membership
c) Rajya Sabha by a simple majority of its total membership
d) Rajya Sabha by a majority of not less than two-thirds of its members present and voting

Answer – D

If Rajya Sabha passes a resolution by a majority of not less than two-thirds of members present and voting saying that it is necessary or expedient in the national interest that Parliament should make a law on a matter enumerated in the State List, Parliament becomes empowered to make a law on the subject specified in the resolution, for the whole or any part of the territory of India. Such a resolution remains in force for a maximum period of one year but this period can be extended by one year at a time by passing a similar resolution further.
Tikdam: 1 of the 2 special powers of RS. Artice 249, other is art 312


Day 20 + 21 + 22: Revision Time


Day 23 + 24 President, VP and Governor • Lakshmikanth – Chapter 17, 18, 30
Day 25 + 26 PM/CM, Council of Ministers and cabinet • Lakshmikanth – Chapter 19, 20, 21, 31, 32

Focus Area:

Develop an understanding of
The differences between Prime Ministerial and Presidential form of Govt, their merits and de-merits.

President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Central Council of Ministers
• Election procedure/Mode of Appointment
• Powers and Functions eg Veto power, Ordinance making power, etc
• Resignation/Removal/Impeachment
• Relationship between President and Prime-Minister w.r.t. their roles and responsibilities

Central Council of Ministers (COM)
• Understand the concept of collective responsibility, kitchen cabinet, etc
• Difference between COM’s and Cabinet Ministers
• Importance of 91st Amendment Act with regard to composition of COM
• Cabinet ministers, Cabinet Committees – their role and responsibilities

State Executive
• The ‘differences’ between institutions like Governor, CM & CoM w.r.t the Centre Govt
• The controversial nature in the ‘Appointment of Governor’
• Constitutional position of Governor
• The Governor’s powers, Executive, Judicial & Discretionary (Note the differences with the President’s functions)

Previous year’s MCQs to judge one’s level of understanding + Tikdams:

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. Governer on the basis of majority support

Answer – D

Statement 1 – Same person can be appointed as Governor of two or more states at the same time.Statement 2 – Judges of HC are also appointed by President. Statement 4 – In case of UTs, CM is appointed by President.

Tikdam: judges are appointed and removed by president. CM of UT is appointed by president

Consider the following statements :
(1) The Executive Power of the Union of India is vested in the Prime Minister.
(2) The Prime Minister is the ex officio Chairman of the Civil Services Board.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer – D

Executive power of the Union of India is vested in the President of India.
Cabinet Secretary is the ex-officio head of the Civil Services Board, the Cabinet Secretariat, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and head of all civil services under the rules of business of the Government of India.

Tikdam: Vested in presdident,PM has real power. Civil services board – cabinet secretary


Day 27 + 28 Legislatures and Legislation • Lakshmikanth – Chapter 22 – 25, 33

Focus Area:

This is the most important part in Polity from the exam’s perspective. The entire chapters are important!

Focus:
• Working of the legislatures
• Role and functions
• Sessions, Motions, Parliamentary procedure – Summoning, Prorogation, Joint sitting
• Devices of Parliamentary proceedings like Question Hour, Zero Hour, 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
• Legislative enactment – Different stages in passing of a Bill. Conditions that cause the bill to lapse
• Different types of bills – Ordinary Bill, Money Bill, Finance Bill –its importance

Budget-
• Enactment of Budget, its significance
• Charged Expenditure
• Funds like Consolidated Fund, Contingency Fund, Public Accounts Fund – who authorizes them, what they 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.

Do a comparative study with state legislatures. Identify the similarities and differences at the central and state level. Eg 2nd house at state level is powerless
• States which have Bi-cameral legislatures (Example: BIMAKUJ only these six states have Bi-cameral legislatures)
• Creation and abolition of the Upper House- Article 169

Previous year’s MCQs to judge one’s level of understanding + Tikdams:

Which of the following statements is/are correct?
1. A Bill pending in the Lok Sabha lapses on its prorogation.
2. A Bill pending in the Rajya Sabha, which was not been passed by the Lok Sabha, shall not
lapse on dIssolution of the Lok Sabha.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer – B

The position with respect to lapsing of bills is as follows:
A bill pending in the Lok Sabha lapses (whether originating in the Lok Sabha or transmitted to it by the Rajya Sabha).
A bill passed by the Lok Sabha but pending in the Rajya Sabha lapses.
A bill not passed by the two Houses due to disagreement and if the president has notified the holding of a joint sitting before the dissolution of Lok Sabha, does not lapse.
A bill pending in the Rajya Sabha but not passed by the Lok Sabha does not lapse.
A bill passed by both Houses but pending assent of the president does not lapse.
A bill passed by both Houses but returned by the president for reconsideration of Houses does not lapse.

Tikdam: Bills lapse only on dissolution so 1st is wrong
2nd is correct as new LS can discuss the bill after it has been passed by RS.
Only a bill which is introduced and pending in RS does not lapse or joint sitting or reconsideration bill


Judicial setup•

Day 29 + 30 Lakshmikasetupshapter 25, 30, 31
• Lakshmikanth 5th edition – chapters on Judicial review, activism & PIL

Focus Area:

• 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
• Subordinate Courts – Understand the Organization of the Subordinate Courts

Previous year’s MCQs to judge one’s level of understanding + Tikdams:

The power to increase the number of judges in the Supreme Court of India is vested in

a) The President of India
b) The Parliament
c) The Chief Justice of India
d) The Law Commission

Answer – b

A memory based question. Even if you can’t remember distinctly you can use the following reasoning.
The Law commission’s recommendations in any case are never binding – hence can have no role to change no. of judges. Similarly the CJI has been asking for expeditious appointments. Therefore he can’t increase posts either. That leaves us with A or B. But atleast you increased your chances to 50-50


Day 31 Special provisions for some states • Lakshmikanth – Chapter 36, 37
Day 32 Union Territories and Special Areas • Lakshmikanth – Chapter 40, 41

Focus Area:

• What are the provisions especially for J&K
• Need for special provisions
• Problems caused due to such provisions

• Focus on the need for their existence.
• The differences between states (in case of UTs) and areas (in case of Scheduled Areas)

Previous year’s MCQs to judge one’s level of understanding + Tikdams:

The provisions in Fifth Schedule and Sixth Schedule in the Constitution of India are made in order to

a) protect the interests of Scheduled Tribes
b) determine the boundaries between States
c) determine the powers, authority and responsibilities of Panchayats
d) protect the interests of all border States

Answer – A

“Option C is incorrect because it excludes the fifth and sixth schedule areas from the application of the Panchayati Raj system. This is to ensure that the local tribal practices, customs, religious laws, social and political institutions are not tampered with.
Instead, the act known as PESA, 1996 extends the panchayati raj system to the tribal areas.

Tikdam: easy – for schedule areas and schedule tribes”


Day 33 + 34 + 35 + 36: Revision Time


Day 37 Local Govt • Lakshmikanth – Chapter 38 & 39 Pay attention to
• Steps taken by the govt for decentralisation & people participation,
• Evolution & recommendations of committees
• Important Acts related to Panchayat Raj system like 73rd & 74th Amendment Acts, PESA, Forest Rights Act etc.
• their provisions – compulsory and voluntary and need
• Types of urban government
• Metropolitan planning committee (MPC) and District Planning Committees
• Problems faced by Panchayat Raj institutions and Urban Local Govts
Day 38 + 39 Constitutional bodies • Lakshmikanth – Chapter 42 – 51 • Focus on Composition, Powers and functions, Removal of the Constitutional bodies
Day 40 Non-constitutional bodies • Lakshmikanth – Chapters 52 – 59 • Focus on Composition, Functions, Working of the Non-Constitutional bodies
Day 41 Other Constitutional Dimensions • Lakshmikanth – Chapter 60 – 66 Focus on Official Language and Tribunals
• Establishment of the Tribunal, appointment of the Chairman
• Tribunals under Article 323A and Tribunals under Article 323B
• Functions and Powers of Administrative Tribunals – CAT and SAT
Day 42 Political Dynamics • Lakshmikanth – Chapter 67 – 75 • Focus on elections, its machinery
Anti-defection law – need, merits and demerits
• Pressure groups
• Foreign Policy – broad contours and imperatives

 

Focus Area:

Pay attention to
• Steps taken by the govt for decentralisation & people participation,
• Evolution & recommendations of committees
• Important Acts related to Panchayat Raj system like 73rd & 74th Amendment Acts, PESA, Forest Rights Act etc.
• their provisions – compulsory and voluntary and need
• Types of urban government
• Metropolitan planning committee (MPC) and District Planning Committees
• Problems faced by Panchayat Raj institutions and Urban Local Govts

• Focus on Composition, Powers and functions, Removal of the Constitutional bodies

• Focus on Composition, Functions, Working of the Non-Constitutional bodies

Focus on Official Language and Tribunals
• Establishment of the Tribunal, appointment of the Chairman
• Tribunals under Article 323A and Tribunals under Article 323B
• Functions and Powers of Administrative Tribunals – CAT and SAT

• Focus on elections, its machinery
• Anti defection law – need, merits and demerits
• Pressure groups
• Foreign Policy – broad contours and imperatives

Previous year’s MCQs to judge one’s level of understanding + Tikdams:

Consider the following statements:

1. The minimum age prescribed for any person to be a member of Panchayat is 25 years.
2. A Panchayat reconstituted after premature dessolution continues only for the remainder period.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer – B

The minimum age for contesting elections to panchayats is 21 years.
In case of dissolution of Panchayats before expiry of its term, it is mandatory to hold elections
within 6 months of its dissolution.
Every Panchayat shall continue for full term of 5 years. However, a Panchayat reconstituted after premature dissolution shall continue for only the reminder of the period. If the period is less than 6 months then it is not mandatory to held the elections.

Tikdam: Easy. 21 years for local bodies, 25 for LS, 30 for RS

With reference to the Delimitation Commission, consider the following statements :

1. The orders of the Delimitation Commission cannot be challenged in a Court of Law.
2. When the orders of the Delimitation Commission are laid before the LokSabha or State Legislative Assembly, they cannot effect any modifications in the orders.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer – C

Which of the following bodies does not/do not find mention in the Constitution?
1. National Development Council
2. Planning Commission
3. Zonal Councils
Select the correct answer using the codes given below.
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer – D


Day 43 + 44 + 45: Revision Time


Day 46 NCRWC & ARC • Lakshmikanth – Chapter 76 – NCRCW
Day 47 • 2nd ARC Reports – 4th
Day 48 • 2nd ARC Reports – 5th
Day 49 • 2nd ARC Reports – 7th
Day 50 • 2nd ARC Reports – 9th
Day 51 • 2nd ARC Reports – 12th

Day 52 + 53 + 54 Revision of Reports – NCRCW + 2nd ARC
Day 55 – 60 Cumulative Revision
Day 61 Test

Note4students:

This time table is an indicative roadmap for sincere students and students of our Prime TS for IAS 2019 (erstwhile CD’s Flagship TS) follows this timetable + timely testing very closely – Click here to join

Read all Titbits here

  1. Polity Titbits: Fundamentals of Polity and Constitution Click2read
  2. Polity Titbits: Important articles/schedules of Constitution Click2read
  3. Polity Titbits: Functions/powers of legislature Click2read
  4. Polity Titbits: Functions/powers of executive Click2read
  5. Polity Titbits: Functions/powers of Judiciary Click2read
  6. Polity Titbits: Constitution- Special provisions Click2read
  7. Polity Titbits: Constitutional, Statutory and quasi judicial bodies Click2read
  8. Polity Titbits: Panchayati Raj- Local governance Click2read