Officers IAS Academy | Prelims Test Series | IAS 2016

Officier’s IAS Academy under the aegis of R.A.Israel Jebasingh, IAS has launched a Prelims Test Series targeted at IAS 2016.

To know more about the test series, check the link – Prelims 2016 Online Test Batch Schedule. Use Promo Code CD500 to get 500 off on the test package.

Wonder what the questions are going to be like? Here are 6 under Indian Polity

#1. Assertion (A) : The Rajya Sabha does not have Committee on Private Members Bills and Resolutions.
Reason (R) : The business advisory committee of the house recommends allocation of time for discussion on stage of private members bills and resolutions.
a) both A and R are true and R is the correct explanation of A
b)both A and R are true but R is not the correct explanation of A
c)A is true and R is false
d)A is false and R is true

Reason: Transgender bill was passed through private member , this bill was passed in rajya sabha . Such a bill was passed only once in 35 years.


#2. Essence of federalism, (Select the most appropriate)
a. A state cannot be divided or merged with another state without its prior consent.
b. Assigning the residuary power of legislation exclusively to the state.
c. No importance to any regional language at the centre.
d. having flexibility in the amenability of the constitution unilaterally by the centre.

Reason : Separation of Andhra without the consent of the state Government and this is against the concept of cooperative federalism proposed by the present government .

#3. Which of the following statements regarding nature of Indian polity is/are NOT correct?
i. Coalition government first came at centre and then at state level.
ii. India follows first-past-the post system in election of the President.
iii. President cannot revoke emergency without permission of Parliament.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
a. i only

b. ii,iii

c. i,iii


Explanation: First past the post- election is one that is won by the candidate receiving more votes than any others. First formal coalition in centre is interim government of India formed in 1946. In state the coalition was present since Provincial elections 1937.Revocation of emergency does not require parliament’s approval.


#4. While appointing members to which of the following bodies the President of India need not consult any Panel?
(i) National Human Rights Commission
(ii) Election Commission of India
(iii) Finance Commission
(iv) Central Information Commission

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
(a) i and iii only (b) ii and iii only
(c) ii and iv only (d) i and ii only

Reason: CIC post was not appointed for a long time and this came under huge scrutiny.


#5. Which among the following is / are correct statements with respect to the Fourteenth Finance Commission recommendations:
(i) It recommended to enhanced the share of the states in the central divisible pool of taxes from 32 percent to 42 per cent
(ii) It has used forest cover and fiscal discipline in the formula for distribution of funds among states

Select the correct option from the codes given below:
(a) i only (b) ii only
(c) Both i and ii (d) Neither i nor ii

Reason: In this in regards to the Finance Commission report and their recommendation.


#6. (i). Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) was launched in 2015 to improve the quality of life of rural people in India .
(ii). Rural sanitation is a subject in the concurrent list of Seventh schedule in the constitution of India.

Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?
(a) I is true
(b) II is true
(c)Both I & II is true
(d) Both are false

Reason: Government launched Swachh Bharat Mission in order to increase awareness among the citizens for a clean environment , Moreover Sanitation is under State Subject , so when central government comes up with a scheme on state list then it comes under Centrally Sponsored Schemes.

Apply promo code = CD500 to get a rebate of 500 INR on the course fee. Application form, here.

India-Russia relations : Momentum in transforming Strategic Partnership

In late December, Indian Prime Minister made his first state visit to Russia to take part in the 16th annual bilateral summit. PM Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin used the summit to review bilateral ties across a number of areas. Let’s glance over revamped relations of India-Russia!


Can we have some background of bonding legacy?

  • Relations with Russia are a key pillar of India’s foreign policy, and Russia has been a longstanding time-tested partner of India.
  • India & Russia signed “Declaration on the India-Russia Strategic Partnership” in October 2000.
  • Under the Strategic Partnership, several institutionalized dialogue mechanisms operate at both political and official levels to ensure regular interaction and follow up on cooperation activities.
  • During the visit of the Russian President to India in December 2010, the Strategic Partnership was elevated to the level of a “Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership.

Let’s dive into the PM’s visit for bilateral summit in Russia?

  • With the signing of sixteen agreements, this is being seen as very significant in sustaining and expanding India-Russia ties.
  • One major step taken is a deepening of India’s defense partnership with Russia for Make in India.
  • On the eve of Modi’s visit to Russia, the Indian government announced the purchase of five S-400 supersonic air defense systems from Russia, costing around $6 billion.
  • For instance, the two sides agreed that the Kamov 226 helicopter would be manufactured in India.

How will bilateral partnership boost Make in India programme?

  • India and Russia agreed to strengthen the defense partnership in line with the “Make in India” program. So while only the public sector has been involved in defense cooperation between the two countries to date.
  • The new initiatives will encourage joint manufacturing of defense products in India and motivate the private sector to play a role in developing a strong defense manufacturing base in India.
  • It should be emphasized that “Make in India” also aims at having India emerge as an essential player in the global defense market.
  • India is forecast to spend $250 billion over the next decade upgrading its military and Russia wants to seize the opportunity to become a major part of this mission, expressing its readiness to work jointly with India on defense manufacturing.

So, How does economic and trade cooperation matters in economic growth?

  • Enhancing trade and economic cooperation between India and Russia is a key priority for the two governments.
  • On the economic front, India and Russia decided to institutionalize the CEO’s Forum, which will meet twice a year – once in India and the other in Russia.
  • During 15th Annual Summit, the two leaders set a target of US$30 billion bilateral trade by 2025.
  • Hydrocarbons is an active area for exploring cooperation between the two countries.
  • In May 2014, ONGC and Rosneft signed an MoU for bilateral cooperation in subsurface surveys, exploration, appraisal and hydrocarbons production in the offshore Arctic region of Russia.
  • In September 2015, OVL signed an agreement with Rosneft to acquire 15% stakes in Vankorneft project.


Did you know about India-Eurasian Economic Union FTA?

  • Moscow is a gateway for India to Central Asia.
  • In this regard a significant move by PM Modi was the effort to move forward on the India-Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
  • The EEU FTA will introduce the free movement of goods, capital, services and people-people contacts and provides for common transport, agriculture and energy policies, with provisions for a single currency and greater integration in the future.
  • The FTA between India and the EEU comprises of Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.
  • It offers India access to a huge market with a population of over 180 million, with a joint GDP of an estimated $2.7 trillion.
  • As Russia tries to re-calibrate its economic orientation towards the Asian region, India, as one of the fastest growing G20 economies can be a significant partner for Russia.

Shall we move into Political Relations?

  • Annual Summit meeting is the highest institutionalized dialogue mechanism under the Strategic Partnership between India and the Russian Federation.
  • So far, 15 Annual Summit meetings have taken place alternatively in India and Russia with the 15th Annual Summit held in New Delhi during the visit of President Putin to India on 11 December 2014.
  • During the Summit, 20 documents were signed covering cooperation in nuclear energy, defence, hydrocarbons, science & technology, trade and investment etc.
  • Prime Minister Modi and President Putin also adopted a Joint Statement “Druzhba-Dosti: A Vision for strengthening the Indian-Russian Partnership over the next decade.”

Let’s see our Defence Cooperation with Mighty Russia?

  • India-Russia military technical cooperation has evolved from a simple buyer – seller framework to one involving joint research, development and production of advanced defence technologies and systems.
  • BrahMos Missile System, Joint design and development of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft, as well as the licensed production in India of SU-30 aircraft and T-90 tanks, are examples of such flagship cooperation.
  • An Indian contingent participated in the military parade in Moscow on 9 May 2015, during the 70th anniversary of the victory in the World War II.
  • The Inter Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) is in place to review defence cooperation between the two countries.

Let’s know about importance of International North-South Trade Corridor (INSTC) ?

  • The INSTC was initiated by Russia, India and Iran in September 2000.
  • To establish transportation networks among the member states and to enhance connectivity with the land locked region of Central Asia.
  • The North-South Transport Corridor is an ancient route that connected South Asia with North Europe for centuries.
  • This route was used by the European, Indian, Russian and many other foreign traders.
  • During the late 17th and early 19th centuries, Indian traders used this route to reach out to the Central Asian markets.
  • The modern day INSTC is a multi-modal transportation route linking Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea via Iran, and onward to northern Europe via St. Petersburg in Russia.

How is it important to India to protect its strategic and economic interest?

  • The INSTC envisages movement of goods from Mumbai (India) to Bandar Abbas (Iran) by sea, from Bandar Abbas to Bandar-e-Anzali (an Iranian port on the Caspian Sea) by road.
  • Then from Bandar-e-Anzali to Astrakhan (a Caspian port in the Russian Federation) by ship across the Caspian Sea, and thereafter from Astrakhan to other regions of the Russian Federation and further into Europe by Russian railways.
  • Given India’s strategic interests in the West and the Central Asian region, and need for greater economic and energy cooperation between South, Central and the West Asian region.
  • New Delhi has stepped up its engagement to reconnect with its extended neighbourhood.

Was there any momentum on Nuclear power deal?

  • Russia is an important partner in peaceful uses of nuclear energy and it recognizes India as a country with advanced nuclear technology with an impeccable nonproliferation record.
  • In December 2014, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Russia’s Rosatom signed the Strategic Vision for strengthening cooperation in peaceful uses of atomic energy between India and Russia.
  • Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) is being built in India with Russian cooperation.
  • KKNPP Unit 1 became operational in July 2013, and attained full generation capacity on 7 June 2014.
  • While its Unit 2 is in the process of commissioning in the later part of 2015.
  • India and Russia have signed a General Framework Agreement on KKNPP Units 3 & 4 and subsequent contracts are under preparation.

What’s Next to the geopolitical space?

  • Needless to say, defence remains at the centre-stage of the bilateral relationship, although with a diversified supplier base India is at a better position today to negotiate deals with Russia especially concerning technology transfer and co-production.
  • A sharp rise in Russia-China defense ties, the assertive foreign policy of a rising China in the Indo-Pacific, the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, and the China-Pakistan nexus will all encourage India to continue to strengthen ties with Russia.
  • It is clear that India-Russia relations remain vital for both countries amid a changing regional and global security environment.

Published with inputs from Arun

All that you need to know about Civilsdaily’s Monthly Newsletter

Hello readers,

First of all wishing you a very happy new year. The Edition #0 of the CivilsDigest is out and we chose to put the .pdf file up for a complimentary download for the benefit of all the aspirant community.

This was made possible because a lot of our readers (old & new) came forward to support us with voluntary contributions. We are honored by the generosity shown by our student community. Would request you all to take a second and help us do more!

 Click this to Support Civilsdaily + Get your Edition #0

Pledging any amount to support us puts you in hero territory. We seriously appreciate you trusting us to build more high quality content & we will come out to surprise you with exclusive compilations & freebies as we grow!

Done? Great! Back to the magazine now

  1. The magazine is an exquisitely designed and neatly laid out compilation of most of what we put on the website + android app.
  2. We believe that while there is no dearth of content (or magazines for that matter), content approachability leaves a lot to be desired. CD’s focus is on making the content approachable so that it sticks with the student for long, really long!

But, I want the magazine offline! How can I get one?

  1. Edition #0 was an ONLINE only release. Hope you all have clicked the link in red (on top) to get your copy.
  2. We have tied up with a well known publisher to make the magazine available in hard copy and the Edition #1 will be available by the end of this week.

The details on pricing, distribution channels & availability are with them. We will keep you posted as soon as we have the information on all of these 3 heads. Understandably, we had to part with the name but it is designed and curated by our awesome writers and trust us, the color print looks heavenly to hold & read from.

I am cool with the online edition. Will the Edition #1 be available soon?

  1. The Edition #1 will be released by the second week of every month.
  2. Pricing details would be revealed shortly & be assured you won’t have to part with your ancestral wealth to be a monthly subscriber!
  3. What’s more? To make sure that it doesn’t becomes a yet another .pdf file in your hard disk, we have added 2 cool utility features –


Try out all this stuff in your copy of the CivilsDigest Edition #0!

What’s more, this facility works across your digital devices – mobile, desktop & tablets! We sincerely hope to be on your side as you prepare to ace UPSC this year.

Do great stuff!

PS: Help us reach out the next aspirant. Share this link to all the social communities & discussion forums that you are a part of.

IAS Mains Writing Essentials – Reading and answering a question | Part 2

Read the first part, here.

After ‘Critical Evaluation’, let us look at some of the other directives that are used by the UPSC examiners with their most commonly accepted definitions.

#1. Analyse

Break an issue into its constituent parts. Look in depth at each part using supporting arguments and evidence for and against as well as how these interrelate to one another.

“Instances of President’s delay in commuting death sentences has come under public debate as denial of justice. Should there be a time limit specified for the President to accept/reject such petitions. Analyse.” (2014)

#2. Comment

Pick out the main points on a subject and give your opinion, reinforcing your point of view using logic and reference to relevant evidence, including any wider reading you have done.

“Sufis and Medieval mystic saints failed to modify either the religious ideas and practices or the outward structure of Hindu/Muslim societies to any appreciable extent. Comment.” (2014)

#3. Critically Comment

Pick out main points in the statement, present your views on it which rests on sound logic, reasoning and evidence. Do not forget to arrive at your conclusion.

“Scientific research in India universities is declining, because a career in science is not as attractive as are business professions, engineering or administration and the universities are becoming consumer-oriented. Critically comment.” (2014)

#4. Discuss

Seemingly innocuous, frequently used and probably the most tricky/sticky term whose meaning depends upon the question in which it has been used and how it has been used.

“Discuss” basically entails a debate where we use our reasoning backed up with evidence to make a case for and against an argument arriving at a conclusion.

“How difficult would have been the achievement of Indian independence without Mahatma Gandhi? Discuss.”(2015)

When the examiner has chosen the words “How difficult?”, then you are the one who have to arrive at a conclusion of “Very difficult”,

“A little difficult” or “Not at all difficult”, or any other shade you believe in, depending upon the reasoning and evidence you chose.

“The quality of higher education in India requires major improvement to make it internationally competitive. Do you think that the entry of foreign educational institutions would help improve the quality of technical and higher education in the country? Discuss.”(2015)

In the above question again, you have to arrive at a conclusion.

In the question that follows, they did not just put a full stop after “Discuss” but went on to add what it means i.e. give logical arguments.
“Success of make in India program depends on the success of Skill India programme and radical labour reforms. Discuss with logical arguments.”

However, many a items, examiners ask you to discuss one particular facet of an issue and in such cases they specifically mention what they want you to discuss.

#5. Elucidate

Elucidate means “to make clear”. In several of the questions, where the examiners use this directive, they present us with a cause-effect linkage asking us to “elucidate”. In such cases, we have to basically bring out the linkage more clearly citing evidence and examples.

“The Self Help Group (SHG) Bank Linkage Program (SBLP), which is India’s own innovation, has proved to be one of the most effective poverty alleviation and women empowerment programme. Elucidate.”

#6. Evaluate

Similar to critical evaluation. Even otherwise when we are asked to evaluate something, we arrive at a decision on how good or bad it is depending upon evidence and logic. That is exactly what you do in the questions where we are directed to evaluate a statement. We give our verdict as to what extent a statement or finding is true, or to what extent we agree with them. We give evidence which both agrees with and contradict it and then we arrive at a final conclusion, basing our decision on what we judge to be the most important factors.

“The New Economic Policy – 1921 of Lenin had influenced the policies adopted by India soon after independence. Evaluate.” (2014)

#7. Examine

Look in close detail and establish the key facts and important issues surrounding a topic. This should be a critical examination and you should try and offer reasons as to why the facts and issues you have identified are the most important, as well as explain the different ways they could be construed.

“The penetration of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in rural areas in promoting participation in development programmes is facing socio-cultural hurdles. Examine.” (2014)

#8. Explain

Quite an easy directive per se.

It is basically a clarification. We have to clarify why and how something happens or why is something the way it is.

“Explain the factors responsible for the origin of ocean currents. How do they influence regional climates, fishing and navigation?” (2015)

“Explain the formation of thousands of islands in Indonesian and Philippines archipelagos.” (2014)

Here we not only have to give the factors that cause ocean currents but also clarify how they cause ocean currents.

7 Memoirs Every Serious IAS Aspirant Must Read

Every once in awhile, it might serve you good to set the customary Lakshmikanths and the BipinChandras aside and slip into reading something less overwhelming (and more encouraging).

Catch up on these memoirs (of sorts) written by civil servants (IAS/IFS/IPS), both old and new and get a sneak peak on “life on the other side of the fence”. Click on the titles to buy them from Amazon.

#1. And What Remains in the End


In an interview to The Hindu, Robin Gupta reminisces

“Bhaskar Ghosh once divided the civil servants into 3 types: nuns, loyal wives and prostitutes, and I agree with him. Nuns are those who keep on doing what is right irrespective of who is in power; loyal wives are ones who pick one party and keep serving it and are ready to suffer for it as well. The prostitutes have no qualms about changing sides.”


#2. The Insider’s View: Memoirs of a Public Servant


Javid Chowdhury tries to give an earnest and evolved picture of his 40 years as a public servant and though he has a neat turn of phrase and some juicy stories, specially the one on three Parsi police officers controlling a riot, it is his integrity and values that come across strongly. Boy! If this was what civil servants were like once, the country was in good hands.

Ref: The Hindu


#3. An Outsider Everywhere: Revelations by An Insider


The book is a compilation of a bureaucrat’s candid revelations about his various tasks, his close brush with politicians, thereby revealing their insecurities and egos and his zest for not toeing the line blindly despite all odds.

Kaw is a 1964-batch Himachal cadre IAS officer, who acquired a wide array of experience in several prestigious departments and retired in November 2001 after putting in 42 years of service.


#4. Walking with Lions

K. Natwar Singh is a well-known author, diplomat and politician. He has been ambassador to Pakistan. He was attached to the office of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi from 1966 to 1971.

Shashi Tharoor reviews this book here,

Walking with Lions is his account of his encounters with those remarkable men and women. It is not a conventional memoir but rather a series of vignettes, each of which has previously appeared as a newspaper column. This makes for easily digestible reading.

#5. Not Just an Accountant

Not just an accountant is an incisive, no-holds-barred account of India’s eleventh comptroller and auditor general and a symbol of the anti-corruption movement, Vinod Rai.

#6. Driven: Memoirs of a Civil Servant Turned Entrepreneur

Jagdish Khattar has had an astonishingly diverse career, a trained lawyer who became an IAS officer. He was an agent of change in Uttar Pradesh through his roles as district magistrate, and head of the cement and transport corporations. He also helmed India’s Tea Board in London and played a key role in the steel ministry. Finally, at the age of sixty-five, Khattar turned entrepreneur with Carnation, India’s first multi-brand car sales and servicing network.

#7. Poor But Spirited in Karimnagar

This is an unusual entry to our list but it’s worth a good read because of the theme it explores. In this book, Sumita Dawra recounts her experiences as collector in the district of Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh.

The field notes recount a period between 2001 and 2004 when the author, a 1991-batch IAS officer, was collector in Andhra Pradesh’s Karimnagar district. But analytically, in terms of statistics and argument, the book is up to date.

Ref: India Today