7 Fundas for IAS Prelims 2016 Preparation


Hope you guys had fun attempting the MCQ Maze series. We have some important observations to make regarding the IAS Prelims trends, which we are bringing forth in this very short piece.

Here are the 7 fundas for IAS Prelims 2016 Preparation:

Funda #1: No one could ever attempt all the 100 questions in GS Pre because they are designed that way. And you shall be no exception.

Funda #2: Prepare the topics where you can be sure first (like Polity) before you venture into things like Environment and Biodiversity for Prelims.

Funda #3: The paper has always been designed in a way that a candidate who studied well could be sure of the correct choice for at least 45-50 percent of the answers. Rest come from the tools we use to break the Pre like elimination and the stuff.

Funda #4: There are things which are asked for which you cannot really prepare like list of wildlife which is endangered or naturally found until and unless it was in news. So prepare them, of course, but don’t go overboard.

Funda #5: Follow the news carefully. A change always attracts an examiner to frame a question. For example, if you can write a 200 words write-up on UIDAI but did not notice that it is under MoIT now instead of NITI then you should be faulted for getting it wrong and not the examiner for framing a difficult question.

Funda #6: When something high-profile comes like SDG, an examiner is always tempted to ask something from it. But the examiner knows that every candidate must have mugged up the goals but examiner shall be interested in knowing which candidate knows who shall monitor its implementation, a fact that might have been ignored by the candidates.

Funda #7: Examiner always tries if he/she can frame questions even from static subjects like History and Culture from current affairs. Be very careful about such news items.


PS: If you are a beginner and wants to get things right, read CD’s Guide to IAS Prep: From Aspirant to IAS Officer.

PPS: We hope you are enjoying every moment of reading with Civilsdaily’s Android App. Please do take a fraction of that moment to rate us at the Playstore. Nothing motivates us more than an aspirant’s heartfelt comment!


Self Study for IAS or Seek Help of Coaching Classes?


We continue our series on guiding the candidates from being “An aspirant to an IAS officer” in the most objective fashion without taking sides and coloring their opinions and judgments.

As a newcomer IAS aspirant, there are several questions that cloud your mind including whether to join a coaching institute or to rely on self studies for IAS? Which institute to join? What books to refer to? Whether to join a test series or not? When to start preparing exclusively for Prelims? et al.

We shall take them up one by one. At this point, with all the objectivity we can bring to the board, let us try to find out whether an IAS aspirant should necessarily seek classroom coaching or rely on self-study?


#1. Self-Study Vs Classroom Coaching – Comparison before Internet became common

If you could afford and move to a Metro and attend a coaching centre, you could interact with like-minded people, understand their perspectives, take tips from their learning styles, improve your knowledge and be abreast with latest updates.

The competitive environment would keep up your motivation levels. Inputs from faculty would help grasp more knowledge within limited period of time. Taking tests that they conduct regularly would help you improve your speed and ability to handle different types of questions.

On the other hand, several aspirants could crack the examination in a single attempt without taking any coaching because of their confidence, determination and persistence.

So, if you had a track record of achieving your goals without much external support, you took the Civil Services Examination without any coaching.

If you were preparing on your own, you would have the privilege to study at a time and place+pace convenient to you. You could schedule your preparation according to your priorities.

You could avoid losing time and energy in travelling from one coaching institute to another and then further to home/college.


#2. Self-Study Vs Traditional Coaching – Contemporary Comparison

The advent and reach of Internet has changed the whole debate about Self-Study and Classroom Coaching. It had the most profound and visible impact on self-study. Some of the benefits that it offered are as under:

  1. Pooling of information from various sources at one place.
  2. Stories/issues explained in the most lucid and palatable fashion.
  3. Opinions of multitude of fellow aspirants/administrators/coaches available to firm up your views and add different dimensions to it.
  4. Facility to read anywhere and anytime. At home or on the move. Day or night.
  5. Obviates any need of spending lakhs of Rupees as fees to the coaching institutes, in relocation and sustenance through a metro.
  6. You can request the administrators to take up particular issues/stories.
  7. Test series are available where you get reviews not from the administrators but from the fellow aspirants from across the country.
  8. Most of the information available is free.
  9. No exhaustion of travelling and no homesickness due to relocation.
  10. No need to subscribe to multiple magazines/newspapers and prepare notes.
  11. Follows wherever you go.

All the benefits that were traditionally associated with classroom coaching have become available at the click of a mouse.

It is a secret of Polichinelle (aka an open secret) that a sort of undeclared war is under-way  between UPSC and the coaching factories with each side trying to outsmart the other. Coaching institutes wait till few days before Prelims/Mains to come out with their ‘digests’ hoping UPSC must have already framed the papers and can do little to change them and the institutes can claim victory by announcing that questions appeared from their ‘digests’.

UPSC on the other hand has adopted, in my opinion a rather pleasant, stance wherein they frame questions which are largely based on the current events and from hitherto neglected topics, obviating any need to attend any coaching if a candidate is regularly following the news stories and the issues facing the nation.


Now some of you might still prefer traditional coaching over self-study then here are few suggestions from our side:

  1. Do not join a coaching because someone advised you to. Join it if you feel the need of it.
  2. Before you join any coaching institute, get in touch with the aspirants who are reliable, been there and seek their feedback.
  3. Do not join it because you would get a chance to spend time ‘friends’.
  4. Do not join an institute based on the claims made by it in the ads. Verify them.
  5. Ring them up and have a talk with the faculty.
  6. Check on their post-batch support they provide to their past students.
  7. Attend a few classes, if allowed, before you decide to join a particular institute.

That is all on coaching vs. self-study from our side. Whatever mode you wish to choose, just ensure you are doing it for all the rights reasons and what you are doing is your own decision. Happy learning!


UPSC Pre 2015 Results Are Declared. Download the PDF NOW

The UPSC Pre 2015 Results are OUT!

Download the PDF from this linkCLICK HERE.

Did you make it through? A lot of you guys are mailing us with queries on the cutoffs! It seems a bit odd that even people speculating it the range of 105+ could not make it in the final list.

What to do next after Prelims Results? Read this post on your next steps

Wish to start afresh? Read the ultimate guide from Aspirant to IAS Officer

CD’s Guide to IAS Prep: From Aspirant to IAS Officer

Yoda’s most memorable quote, bar none, and one of the greatest in all of Star Wars holds quite true for all civil service aspirants (irrespective of their stage of preparation). And it goes something like this –

LUKE SKYWALKER: Master, moving stones around is one thing. This is totally different!
YODA (irritated): No! No different! Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned.
LUKE (focusing, quietly): All right, I’ll give it a try.


If you are doing it, DO IT. Don’t pretend doing it.

Civil Services Preparation (IAS/ UPSC Prep) has been veritably described as a ‘life changing process’, ‘a journey of transformation’, ‘a quest of excellence’ and what not!

But truth be told, preparing for Civil Services can only mean 2 things:

  1. A wholehearted effort to become a Civil Servant or
  2. An equally wholehearted effort to waste best years of one’s life.

So, If you are doing it, DO IT, don’t pretend doing it. Fair Enough? Let’s jump onto the roadmap then!

The 3 Kinds of IAS Aspirants

It is important to understand your stage in the Life Cycle of an IAS Aspirant so that you plan your onward strategy accordingly. Let’s take a closer look:


#1. The Idealists/ College goers


There is something about these idealists that is very disconcerting for the aam aadmi students. They are the benchmarks of the societies – the sharmaji ke bachche who constitute the bedrock of the society (in your parents’ eyes). They grew up reading Dominique Lapierre’s Freedom At Midnight and devoured Hindu for breakfast!

If you identify yourself with this category, you have got a few of things correct. You need to meticulously build your base and play on your strong points.

If you are in college, do not sweat it out in vain. No point joining any regular classes or diving into the subject books as of now. Just be more aware. Read these few articles to get a flavor of what lies ahead –



  1. Be a regular at the Civilsdaily’s Android App: It’s FREE, FOREVER and we take due care with summarising UPSC relevant news articles for you. Everyday.
  2. A Beginner’s Guide on How to Clear IAS: These 5 commandments will do well to get you started with the IAS Prep
  3. 3 Key Points on How to Read Newspapers for IAS Prep: Newspapers hold an important significance – more so in the changing times
  4. Understanding the IAS Prelims Syllabus: Start reading with what UPSC expects of you in the Prelims Exams
  5. Need Motivation? Read these posts on some Amazingly Badass Civil Servants:
  6. Recommended Memoirs of Famous Bureaucrats: To keep your spirits high among other things!


#2. The Wildcard Entrants

Remember TVF’s Pitchers?

“Is desh ke graduates apni 9-5 jobs se bore hone lagte hain toh bahar nikalne ke liye keval 3 raste dikhte hain: MBA, IAS & Start-up.”
(“When graduates of this country get bored of their 9-5 jobs, they look up to only 3 options : MBA, IAS & Start-up.”)

Since you are joining the party late, you have a lot of lost opportunities (and syllabus) to cover! If you are juggling IAS preparation along with job, you might be biting a lot more than you can chew! In that case, these few articles can come in handy before you make up your mind and scale up your efforts to take an extended sabbatical from your corporate life –

  1. Along with CD’s Android App updates, be a regular at one national daily – Hindu or Indian Express. Live Mint is very good for its article on Economics and Business Standard may be referred for some heavy gyan (but it is avoidable).
  2. Know Thy Syllabus:
  3. Choose your Optional Wisely: We do not have authoritative articles on how to go about that but we will be inviting UPSC Rankers to share their strategies.
  4. Coaching: To do or not to do? – Read the pros and cons of self study/ coaching
  5. Importance of Writing Practice? Everything you need to know about answer writing for IAS Mains
  6. Test Series for Pre & Mains? [to be published]
  7. Analyse the Previous Year UPSC Prelims:
  8. Analyse Previous Year UPSC Mains Examination [to be published]


#3. The Nirvana Seekers


They have weathered all storms, seen one too many pattern changes, possibly even attended a few LIVE interview and are still sticking it out for that magical double digit rank. For them,

Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.

What do we have for you? 

  1. Go through our neatly curated News Stories in full: Since you already have a good understanding of current affairs in general – you will be able to appreciate and gain from our connected news stories.
  2. Run through our CD Explains at the CD Hub: Revise and build upon your basics as we try our best to break down complex news for you.
  3. Importance of Writing Practice? [to be published]
  4. Test Series for Pre & Mains? [to be published]
  5. What beyond UPSC? In a rare case that you run out of time or attempts – what should you do to prepare yourself for the bumps ahead? [to be published]

This page will be frequently updated. Share this among your friends and relatives who might benefit from this.

[Registration Starts] Campus Ambassadors for Civilsdaily

We are following up on our week old post on *How to Help Civilsdaily Grow*

  1. This initiative is strictly for college going students who have completed the first year.
  2. We do not require you to send in your CVs/ Resume. We have built a very short, cool application form and we would like you to fill just that for us! Fill it up for us, please!

UPSC Syllabus | GS Paper 3 | IAS Prep

UPSC Syllabus for GS Paper 3 with Infographics [250 marks]


Read the IAS Mains - GS Paper 1 Syllabus already? Click Here.
Read the IAS Mains - GS Paper 2 Syllabus already? Click Here.

The Civil Services Main examination is designed to test the academic talent of the aspirant, also his/her ability to present his/ her knowledge in a clear and coherent manner.

The Main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory.

Economics & Enviro are the mainstay of this GS Paper 3. While we can say that Economics will be an interesting read, not much can be said about Environment & Biodiversity. The other 3 topics form a relatively small segment of this paper and are mostly covered at the end of time (which is a euphemism for last month of IAS Mains).

#1. Indian Economy


  1. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
  2. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.  
  3. Government Budgeting.
  4. Major cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems  storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.
  5. Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System– objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping;  issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions;  economics of animal-rearing.
  6. Food processing and related industries in India– scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
  7. Land reforms in India.
  8. Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
  9. Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads,  Airports, Railways  etc.
  10. Investment models

Civilsdaily.com focuses on Current Economics News here – Stories @Economics

#2. Environment & Biodiversity


#3. Science & Tech

  1. Science and  Technology – developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
  2. Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
  3. Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

    #4. Disaster Management

It forms an integral part of Environment & BioD. So, beyond policy and institutional maneuvers (by Center and State), you won’t have to focus on anything separately.

#5. Internal Security 

  1. Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
  2. Role of external state and nonstate actors in creating challenges to internal security.
  3. Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
  4. Security challenges and their management in border areas;linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
  5. Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.


What’s with all the hashtags?

  1. We are thinking of adding sub categories to news and explainers which we put forth.
  2. What that will do is bring more focus to your preparation and give you more context on current affairs.
  3. While we do make efforts to make current affairs easy and approachable – that still leaves a LOT and LOT of current affairs to be covered! Hence, in our continued efforts on making “complex news, easy” – we will try out this experiment.
  4. The Civilsdaily’s Android App however will still carry the same old broad categories. Don’t want to create a clutter of categories everywhere!

Anything that you would love to share? or Propose?

PS: We will be sharing the pdfs of these infographics in a short while.


5 Amazingly Badass Bureaucrats You Would Be Proud To Know: Part #2

Read the Part 1, here.

Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear; the brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all.

#1. Vinod Rai

A 1972 batch Kerala cadre IAS officer, started his career as a sub-collector of Thrissur district and became a Comptroller & Auditor General of India. Rai who pursued Masters in Economics from University of Delhi and Master of Public Administration from Harvard University, is known for his uncanny ability to cut through bureaucracy.

Rai came into lime light for his compilation of audit reports of irregularities in Delhi Common Wealth Games 2010, CoalGate allocation & allocation of 2G spectrum licenses. Forbes quoted Rai as one of the bad-ass IAS officer of rarest breed of civil servants who knows how to get work done in the bureaucracy.  Throughout his service as an IAS officer, he made sure that everything that came under his ambit was dealt with honesty and perfection.


#2. Ashok Khemka

He is an IAS officer who got transferred highest number of times i.e. 45 times in 23 years. This speaks volumes about him. Khemka, who pursued Masters in Economics and is also an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, grabbed attention of the entire nation when he cancelled Robert Vadra’s illegal mutation deal with DLF in a Congress ruled state while the Congress party was in power at centre as well.

Haryana State Government has intentionally kept him away from important government roles. Being honest to his role, he has kept a check on all the wrong doings and scams in each department that he was posted to and brought it to public notice. Many false chargesheets & departmental inquires have been initiated against Khemka to discourage him . He was conferred ‘The Manjunath Shanmugam Trust Commendation on Public Works’ in 2009 & The S R Jindal Prize for ‘Crusader against Corruption’ in 2011.

#3. Durga Shakti Nagpal

This 31 year old IAS officer truly stood to her name & unearthed the nexus of ‘Sand Mafias’ in Greater Noida, UP. A Punjab cadre IAS officer, who married Abhishek Singh, also an IAS officer of UP cadre & later on moved to Gautam Budh Nagar district of UP, where she was posted as ‘Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM)’.

Nagpal demolished an illegal mosque that was under construction in Kadalpur village, for which the UP government arm-twisted & suspended her on false charges. However she was reinstated later by CM Akhilesh Yadav after facing ire from national media & bureaucrat circles.

#4. Uma Shankar

This Tamil Nadu cadre IAS officer became the reason for defeat of CM J. Jayalalithaa in polls of 1996. He unearthed the Cremation Shed scam as additional collector of Madurai. He didn’t stop there. Further, during the regime of new government, he continued his stir to catch hold of corruption. During his stint as Joint Vigilance Commissioner, he probed Marans and the DMK patriarch’s kin for which he faced suspension too.

During his tenure as District Collector, he made Tiruvarur the first e-district in India, introducing transparent and technology enabled administration for the public. This project got an international attention. Uma Shankar is among the few pioneers in India who initiated the e-governance project which later got implemented across India.

#5. Rajni Sekhri Sibal

Rajni, a Haryana cadre IAS officer who bluntly says NO when it comes to corruption & this very habit of her led to her frequent transfers. But what she did next will make every one of you spellbound. Her act of a ‘4 mtr cloth’ led to imprisonment of former CM Om Prakash Chautala, his son Ajay Chautala and 51 others. Chautala & other were involved in a scam in which interview scores of 3,200 Junior Basic Training (JBT) teachers in 1999-2000 were manipulated to give jobs to those who had paid for it.

When Rajni was asked to take 5% of bribe money & change the result list by CM’s associates & his son, Rajni denied to do so, as a result of which she was transferred. After receiving her transfer orders, the first thing she did was, she wrapped the steel almirah with the actual list of results lying inside, with four-metre-long cloth and bandages, making it impossible for anyone to open the almirah and temper with the list. Even her successor wasn’t able to do much with tampering of files, as he knew that this would lead him into troubled waters.

That’s all for this time. We will keep expanding our *Badass Bureaucrats* list and present it before you. But feel free to help us out. There are a lot of unsung heroes and we need to know them all!

UPSC Syllabus | GS Paper 2 | IAS Prep


UPSC Syllabus for GS Paper 2 with Infographics [250 marks]


Read the IAS Mains - GS Paper 1 Syllabus already? Click Here.

The Civil Services Main examination is designed to test the academic talent of the aspirant, also his/her ability to present his/ her knowledge in a clear and coherent manner.

The Main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory.

Polity and IR has a healthy mix of static + dynamic portions which makes it an interesting topic to prepare! Be wary of one thing – Do not get into Politics. Polity has nothing to do with the masala around Politics 🙂


#1. Indian Polity and Its Constituents

  1. Indian Constitution – Historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
  2. Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
  3. Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.
  4. Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
  5. Structure, organisation and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
  6. Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
  7. Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
  8. Development processes and the development industry – the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
  9. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States.
  10. Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability.
  11. Role of civil services in a democracy.

As you can see, this part of the UPSC Syllabus is very detailed one. It is so well described that beyond a point it’s exhaustive to even list it up in full!

We would suggest that you take up Indian Polity by Lakshmikanth and read it full. Then read it again. Keep up with News at Civilsdaily’s App and read our explainers when we try to break down issues for you.

For advanced readers, you would have developed an eye for the trending issues. No need to slug it out on daily newspapers – just maintain key points of the major themes on news.

Civilsdaily.com focuses on Current Polity News here - Stories @Polity

#2. International Relations & World Institutions

Truth be told, most of the aspirants neglect this part of the syllabus even though it forms a small part of the Prelims Exam. The reason is that foreign treaties are so dynamic – diplomatic relations so complex that we have no clue what UPSC can ask about it!

Moreover, one would have little idea where to start from – how to connect the web – and with Modi Sahab doing the *Around The World In 80 Days* feat, you have more to fear <kidding>!

At Civilsdaily, you can get help with our aggregation and curation of news items in one single place.

Bookmark this page on WORLD NEWS  STORIES. Start with the stories that we have curated over here and then build up on your understanding.

We are thinking of releasing full infographs of all the UPSC Syllabus in a pdf so that you may store offline and refer when you wish. Would that be cool?


5 Simple Tips Which Can Turbocharge Your Reading Speed

Just look at this picture, and tell me one thing. What if you need to revise the entire pile of books in just 5 days, because the 6th day is your doom’s day? You need to finish so you crack your IAS, okay?



Yes! Of course I know, you people aren’t much bothered to read or memorise stuff. Even if it is the IAS exam, you hallucinate and hope some magic to happen that you remember all the stuff in the examination hall. But here’s an option! How about being able to remember everything on your own and let your confidence be the real magic that can hit the ‘bingo’ point?

The IAS exam comes with a lot to memorise and nobody can escape that.

You know what – There are a hell lot of ways in which you could memorise faster, without making you sit bored for hours long. The most important thing being, pacing up your reading speed. If your reading speed is pathetic, you’ll 100% get bored of finishing that entire syllabus or even revising it on the eve of your exam. On the contrary, what if you develop a great speed for reading? That’ll definitely help you retain those facts faster. Not only faster, but you could even revise the portion if you cut out that time of reading.

Say – reading a page as this one takes you 4 minutes, what if it could get done in around 2.5 minutes? You could read more, even retain more in your brain which you think is just too small.

So, there you go with some great ways to help you improve upon your reading speed.




  • While you read mutely, you tend to speak those words internally and that makes your jaws move. This puts a control on the speed of reading. The speed decreases as you clearly try to utter each word in your mind.
  • Rather, while reading in mind, stop your mind from pronouncing those words clearly internally. Skipping these clear utterances will make you run through the words faster, ending your reading session waay faster by 2/3 times.




  • Covering the words you’ve already read with your palm or a ruler helps, as your eyes don’t keep moving around those extra words that are unnecessary. Covering them will help you to focus on what you’re actually supposed to read.


  • If the next words are familiar, the brain decides to move your eyes in a way that you can read faster. Training your eyes to move directly to the familiar words helps you read the entire page quickly, as you jump through and understand quickly.


  • Don’t give jerks to your eyes while reading. Let your eyes read the words naturally and smoothly all throughout the line. Make fewer movements of your eyes while reading all the words in a line.


  • To improve reading speed, you have to start trusting your brain. If you can start trusting your brain more, you will definitely have an easier time breaking your old reading habits and learning new ones. This is because without your brain you could not have come as far as you’ve come already.
  • Every step of the way, your brain has been right alongside you. And whether you believe it right now or not, your brain is fully capable of understanding all the information you read. Don’t just panic because it is the nervousness that tends to make you forget things you have read. Be calm and trust your memory power for a very effective quick learning.

So, that’s it.

I gave you enough tips to work upon your reading speed. All you need to crack an IAS exam is, a good memory, which would come with a great reading speed. Of course, common sense and intelligence stand two of the main concerns.
Good luck! Hope you’ll have a happy speed – read.


P.S. – Reading faster is not everything. Read fast, and UNDERSTAND your facts. Because, only if both are added, you get enough to clear an exam such as IAS. Not only could you get passing marks, but also finish any Harry Potter in 2 days! But I really hope you get extra time, from your IAS related readings!


Want to get the best out of Civilsdaily?

UPSC IAS pre 2015 results expected on 13th October

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) IAS Preliminary Examination 2015 Results are expected to be out soon.


Candidates who have applied for the UPSC IAS Preliminary Examination, can check their exam Results on 13th October 2015 on the official website www.upsc.org.

The Commission conducted IAS Prelims Exam 2015 on August 23, 2015. Once the preliminary results of IAS are declared, aspirants will be required to appear for Mains Exam and Interview.


Ref: DNA Article

5 Amazingly Badass Bureaucrats You Would Be Proud To Know

If it’s not money and perks then what attracts an aspirant to spend hours and days and weeks and months preparing for arguably the most demanding competition exam of India? Power, Prestige and the Possibility of serving the country.

Let’s meet few of these gents and ladies whose footsteps you seek to follow. We are releasing the first list of what we would call – Badass Bureaucrats!


#1. U. Sagayam (IAS/Tamil Nadu/2001)

On a hot summer afternoon, on Madurai’s busy main road, the district collector saw a young man talking on a cellphone while riding a motorbike. Wonder what he did next? He handed the reckless youth a swift punishment: Plant 10 saplings within 24 hours.

Weird right? But that’s how Sagayam works.

‘Lanjam thavirthu nenjam nimirthu’ (Reject bribes, hold your head high), says a board hanging above Sagayam’s chair in his modest office.

U. Sagayam went to Madurai to probe in a multi-crore granite scam. The evidence lied in the graveyard and required exhumation. District Police expressed its inability to carry on the work in the night. What did Sagayam do? Spent the night chatting with localities and journalists at the very same graveyard! Now, that’s badass!

Allegedly, the reason Sagayam chose to stay a full night in burial ground was for the suspicion of the local police supporting the accused as they took the rules to benefit him instead. According to the law, the police cannot perform the post-mortem after sunset.

#2. Armstrong Pame (IAS/Manipur/2009)

The first from the Zeme tribe of Nagaland to become an IAS officer, Armstrong Pame earned the sobriquet ‘Miracle Man’ for building a 100 km long road in a remote part of the hilly state of Manipur without government’s help.

How did he fund the road? Here’s where the badassery comes to fore

“My wife and I donated our one month’s salary, Armstrong paid five months’ of his, and our mother paid our dad’s one month’s pension of Rs 5,000. Our youngest brother, Lungtuabui, recently started working. He donated his entire first month’s pay for the project,” his elder brother mentioned.


#3. Dr. Nazrul Islam (IPS/West Bengal/1981)

Nazrul Islam retired from service on February 28, 2014, after a running battle with Mamata Banerjee for what he claimed was a deprivation of legitimate dues in terms of respect and dignity in service.

He took up on Didi and that by no means is a small feat. He is also claimed to have dragged an MLA to the court of law in one case.


#4. Ajit Doval (IPS/Kerala/1968)

Anything we state here will fall short of his achievements, so let’s direct you to his wiki page for all the glory that he deserves.

But one major achievement, which we have got to share is this:

In 1988, Doval was awarded one of the highest gallantry awards, the Kirti Chakra, becoming the first police officer to receive a medal previously given only as a military honour.


#5. Syed Akbaruddin (IFS/1985)

It must go to the credit of the visionary and workaholic Akbaruddin that he made the job of MEA spokesperson the most important public job in the Government of India. In fact, Modi wanted him to become the PMO’s spokesperson as he does not have a media advisor, but he respectfully declined.

Feeling pumped up already?

Start on with your preparation if you haven’t already. The best way to start is by reading this post first – A Beginner’s Guide on How to Clear IAS.

3 Ways to Help Civilsdaily Grow!

Hey there,

We know that you are quite a busy lot and you have so much to read already, so we will make it quick!


Looks good? Just to recap in quick bullet point then:

  1. Your 5 stars mean a lot to us! Civilsdaily.com being a free initiative, our writers literally eke out a living by selling xerox notes in the black markets of Karol Bagh and Mukherjee Nagar and a “5 star + kind words” combo at the Playstore goe s along way in making them happy
  2. We want to grow at a lightning speed. We want to explain more and more news and we want to make them as approachable as a scoopwhoop listicle! If you are a college student and are interested in interning with us – do drop a line at civilsdaily[at]gmail.com
  3. For the current day aspirants – both old and new! – We will be rolling out discussion topics in bits and pieces. These topics will be first discussed and later compiled into explainers. More on this is explained on this post – Write with Civilsdaily. Here’s how. 

Cool then? Any issues, concerns or suggestions – please list down here and we will personally comment back on most of them.



UPSC Syllabus | GS Paper 1 | IAS Prep

UPSC Syllabus for GS Paper 1 with Infographics [250 marks]


The Civil Services Main examination is designed to test the academic talent of the aspirant, also his/her ability to present his/ her knowledge in a clear and coherent manner.

The Main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory.

It is recommended that the aspirant is aware of the broad topics of the syllabus for easy recall while reading up a book or a newspaper.


#1. Indian & World History

  1. Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
  2. Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
  3. The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors and contributions from different parts of the country.
  4. Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.
  5. History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.
Civilsdaily.com focuses on Heritage and Culture - Stories @History


#2. Topics related to Indian Society, Issues and Resolutions

  1. Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
  2. Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
  3. Effects of globalization on Indian society.
  4. Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

#3. Indian & World Geography

  1. Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc.
  2. Geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
  3. Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent)
  4. Factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)
Civilsdaily.com focuses on Current Geography News - Stories @Geography


NOTE: The part of Paper 1 which deals with Indian Society, Issues etc. is the most neglected one. By and large, this part is dynamic in nature and can be easily dealt with if you are a regular at News Reading.

We would recommend 2 things: 

  1. Try to be regular with The Hindu or Indian Express. Choose any and develop your own understanding of events and their inter-connections. If you are just starting out, you should read this post first.
  2. The Civilsdaily’s Android App is designed in a way that you get the most relevant Newsbytes in ~5 minutes in key point summaries. Use it judiciously along with your daily study schedule.

Anything else that we can help with? Let us know!


An Infograph on the Daily Life of an IAS Aspirant

These 5 pics best depict the “IAS ki Padai ke side effects”


#1. From being a teetotaler at News to becoming a connoisseur of Opinions and Editorials


#2. From watching HBO blockbusters in a 52″ LED TV to downloading RSTV debates from Youtube


#3. Replacing the Dan Browns and JK Rowlings of the world with Sir Bipan Chandra and Sir Laxmikanth


#4. Chilling at your home to moving on with friends and 10 other aspirants in a PG @Karol Bagh


#5. 200 Rupey ki CCD wali Coffee to 10 Rupey ki Cutting Chai

Had your share of laugh? Good. Now get down to some real work and read the essential strategies for clearing IAS Pre and Mains, here:


3 Key Points on How to Read Newspapers for IAS Prep

This article has been written with an assumption that the reader is aware of the basics of the IAS Preparation.


This post is dedicated to those IAS Aspirants, who in their early stages of euphoria (much like Faizal Khan) set out to conquer all the National Dailies (Hindu, Indian Express, Business Standard, Mint etal.) only to realise that the 3-5 hours spent on Newspapers daily might not be the optimum strategy to cover the IAS syllabus!

Here are our top 3 recommendations to help you realign your strategy on “How to read newspapers for UPSC”.

#1. Focus on Issues, not News


  • You do not have to read newspapers for UPSC Prep for the sake of it. You have to read it in a mission mode!
  • Avoid anything on Politics, Sports, Entertainment.
  • Avoid making notes in the first reading – you are likely to find everything important and create a parallel newspress of your own!
  • Remember that newspapers are written with a very specific formula: the who, what, when, where, why, and how always come first.
  • As an IAS Aspirant, you are required to focus on the underlying theme or issue rather than specific newsbytes.
  • But what about Prelims? UPSC tends to ask a few seemingly fact based question, right? Fair Point.

Along with your Daily Newspaper, Spend 5 minutes on the Civilsdaily’s Android App. We take good care to publish key point summaries of daily news articles which you can bookmark and take offline for revising again and again.

#2. Make notes of the What, Why and How

The What: Specifics of the event/news at hand but from a bird’s eye view. A good newspaper makes sure that the headline informs you of the key takeaway.

For eg: IAEA chief heads to Tehran for nuclear talks: IAEA says the visit will focus on clarification of past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear programme

The Why: Why is this news important? Why did this make into today’s newspaper? What were the events leading upto it?

The phrase “Past and present outstanding issues” should give you some idea of a possible historical trail of these nuclear talks. This should excite your curiosity and this is where you get the understanding of the issue at hand.

For your ease of understanding, at Civilsdaily.com, we collate the milestone events and connect them in a single story, such as this: Iran’s Nuclear Program & Western Sanctions.

The How: This line of reasoning gets you into the technicalities of the news at hand. This is where you get to know about the organisations and the nature of sanctions which are in place.

Try to know all about IAEA, Uranium enrichment facilities, Nuclear Reactors, the safeguards in place etc. Make some key point notes on them because you are going to encounter them again and again in your IAS Prep.

#3. Don’t read 5 newspapers! Keep it Simple

  • Sooner or later, every newspaper catches up with the current affairs.
  • The reason why you are recommended to read Hindu or Express is that they focus less on the click-bait and scoppwhoop-ish articles than the other well known brands do.
  • So, do not over sweat on covering a lot of ground – that’s one thing where you can definitely bank on Civilsdaily’s News Story Collections.


#4. Bonus Point: The Increasing Importance of Current Affairs

In 2013, the then UPSC chairman D.P. Agrawal was addressing the Kerala State Civil Service Academy and he extolled the importance of Current Affairs.

He said it was impressive how well students scored in their optional papers — where they put in more effort to raise the overall score at the expense of neglecting their reading of general issues in the country and the world over. The candidates should to be well-read, he said adding that learning by rote had entered the interview process as well.

This should act as a clarion call for all the aspirants of IAS 2015, 2016 to buckle up and start preparing the current affairs like a PRO.

Like all good things, newspaper reading takes time and patience but once you bear through the initial few weeks, it will be a very rewarding activity. You will be able to relate static with dynamic, expect developments in a story and develop a sense of relative importance of a news event.

Want to read more?

Understanding the IAS Prelims Syllabus for Paper 1


Know Thy Syllabus

The Preliminary Examination of Union Public Service Commission for Civil Services Examination is also popularly called CSAT or Civil Services Aptitude Test. In loose colloquial terms, you would usually search it on as IAS Prelims Syllabus! Technically speaking, CSAT is actually the second paper of General Studies that was introduced in 2011.

It was introduced to end the use of scaling system for varying subjects in the General Studies paper and was a matter of concern for many Civil Services Aspirants.

But this year in 2015, the UPSC has made the CSAT of only qualifying nature and one needs to only get 33% to get through. Which gets us back to the question of Paper 1 which now assumes a paramount importance in the life and times of a civil service aspirant.

Few Points before we start on:

  1. Paper 1 comprises 100 questions | 200 marks | 2 hours
  2. There is negative marking  (1/3rd) for each wrongly attempted question
  3. 2013 onwards, IFoS (Forest Services) Pre was combined with CSE Pre. What did this merger do? Excellent question!
    • Saved time for people appearing for both the examination
    • Increased the portion of Enviro & Biodiversity!



#1. Current Affairs

Daily news analysis is an integral part of an aspirant’s IAS preparation. A sincere student ends up devoting more than 2 hours everyday to newspapers and still looks out for more help!

We would suggest that you start with Hindu or Indian Express and keep up with the civilsdaily’s android app for key point summaries. That’s one of the most convenient ways of reinforcing newsbytes. We hand pick news from the most relevant sources and even though this may sound like self promotion, we did perform fairly well in this year’s prelims. Go ahead, read this short analysis.


#2. History of India

Start with the Indian National Struggle (everything that led up to our Independence) – This should be the easiest part of the history syllabus. Covering Ancient and Medieval India can be trickier and may make you wonder ki kaash Bangladesh ki Civil Services ke liye likh rahe hote. Wouldn’t have this much of a history to mug up on. 1971 mein to start hi hua tha!

We would suggest that you focus mainly on the Indian Art & Culture – and for this, the mother of all resources is the ccrt website. Alternatively, do look at the history section @civilsdaily.com – you would benefit with the infographs and pop quizzes that we curate.

#3. Polity and Governance

You are broadly supposed to know about the following topics – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.

By and large, most of the syllabus is covered by Laxmikanth’s Indian Polity. You are required to read this book cover to cover and many do this for ~10 times. The reason is that you tend to skip/ ignore some parts of the text in the first few readings which might actually be important for the exam and multiple readings make sure that you get a complete dope of the book.

No need to go for anything beyond this book unless of course you are bored and want a different storyline to the same articles and rights! We have been keeping up with the dynamic news on this topic at our Stories @Polity.

#4. India and World Geography

Stick to the NCERTs of 11th and 12th. If you still feel overwhelmed, go for the 9th and 10th books as well. But keep a tab on current affairs along with these static books and you should be good. We have been keeping up with the dynamic news on this topic at our Stories @Geography.

#5. Environment and Biodiversity

Enviro & Biodiversity became important with the merger of IFoS Prelims with CSE Prelims. Since then, aspirants across the country have been looking at the good god above for a one book that can help them sail through.

The closest bets have been – Shankar IAS’ Enviro Book, Current Affairs from Hindu, Express and this UGC course book by Erach Bharucha. You should also read this blog by Satish Reddy (AIR 97) on how to tackle EnB.

#6. Indian Economy and Social Development

You do not really have to go and read the evolution of Planning Commission and other organisations in general to get a hang of what’s buzzing in Indian Economy these days. UPSC wants you to keep a tab on Macroeconomics and many a toppers have suggested that NCERTs of 11th and 12th would do just well. Also, keep up with our stories where we cover the latest news in great depths at Stories @Economics section.

If you do these few things well, you will be in good stead for your IAS Mains preparation as well. 



Civilsdaily.com featured on Killerstartups.com

Read the complete article here: http://killerstartups.com/startup-reviews/civilsdaily-current-affairs

News Flash: Civilsdaily Gives Current Affairs A Much Needed Overhaul

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan, but there’s a whole lot more going on in the world than Stephen Colbert beginning his tenure at The Late Show.

Good grief, it’s become difficult to get to real news these days.

There’s so much content available online that it’s tough to cut through the noise and get to the goods. Even if you do reach “news” sites, the offerings are pretty scant. Soundbites. Breezy writing, more about entertainment than delivering news. And lots and lots of vapid clickbait.

Civilsdaily looks to put the news back into news. At the moment, this news source can be found on either desktop or for download on Android devices at Google Play.

Civilsdaily delivers breaking news and daily events in the form of flashcards. Before your mind runs to Flipboard (because the app does bear a useful similarity) Civilsdaily does more than toss out headlines. It provides news cards with a curated list of key point summaries. It shares, you know, details, information – the news instead of the preprogrammed response of so many media outlets.

 To be fair, the Internet has diversified the voices covering the news. Reading or listening options outside the mainstream abound. However, crisp and smart coverage is still lacking. Huge props to Civilsdaily if they can turn a penetrating spotlight back onto current affairs that truly matter.

The chronology of flashcards makes it much easier to follow stories (just getting started, the focus at the moment is almost entirely on India). No, gleaning stories from all over the web that are related to a topic isn’t the same as keeping a clear view of a developing story. Civilsdaily collects stories on the website for connecting the dots and gaining a better understanding of milestone events in a news cycle.

Like other news apps, there’s room for discussion, the ability to search news by category, and to receive the latest from your favorite news sources. You’ll get to decide for yourself, of course, but a quick survey shows that, in addition to these common news  elements, the top stories and most discussed stories on Civilsdaily have a gravitas that is both refreshing and hard to come by online.

 So, if you’ve had your fill of mindless lists and excess silly videos, if you’d prefer more news and less attitude in your news – basically, if you’re hungry for a better, on point news source, you’ll want to have a closer look at civilsdaily.com without delay.

How to Study Effectively for Civil Services

Over the years, across the generations a lot of gyan has flown through on how to crack this or that exam.

While we do believe that every IAS aspirant needs to develop his/her own strategy keeping his/her strengths and weaknesses in perspective, there are some basic things which you can keep in check right from the start!


… and crack the civil services with elan!


Space out your study sessions – Don’t let your enthusiasm get the better of you!


Cracking Civil Services is no mean task. Make sure you do not constrain yourself in a 4*4 room.



 There’s a lot to study and a lot to memorize!

Mornings: Your mind has not yet been burdened with all the information and stress you accumulate throughout the day.

Evenings: Information obtained right before sleep is much more likely to be transferred into your long-term memory.

Right after Class: It’s the best time to review since you don’t have to deal with re-learning things you might have forgotten if you delay it until later.


Most of these points have been distilled from studies across the internet and they hold true across most of the exams. We are sure that most of you will vouch for them as well!

We would love to know what works best for you! Share your peak performance strategies with us and we would feature them in our blog posts!


A Beginner’s Guide on How to Clear IAS

IMP: Civilsdaily IAS Prelims 2018 Test Series Module Launched – Click here

If you have come across this page via a simple google search on “How to Clear IAS” or “How to Prepare for Civil Services” or any related SOS call on this mother of all examination, then we can safely deduce 2 things –

1. We are sort of getting famous (or at least we would like to think so!)

2. You have already made up your mind and probably want some really basic – quick tips to start with – just to see that you get the initial things correct OR you are the done with the 9to5 job – start up idea nahi hai – life mein kya karein junta and you are thinking of giving Civil Services a shot!

If on the other hand, you are a regular reader at this website, you would agree that it’s a customary job of every self respecting IAS Prep site to give out occasional gyan on how to clear IAS!

Update #1: Prelims Paper 1 Syllabus for UPSC

Fair enough? In quick points then, here are the 5 commandments that will do well to get started with the IAS Prep. Advanced gyan later!

#1. Start slow, Build on your strengths & Focus on Environment & Biodiversity

Preparing from civil services is like taking an extended sabbatical from regular life and getting on a train to Hogwarts  Wasseypur to take on an unprecedented enemy. One day you are casually browsing through articles such as this and the other day you have 10kg worth of material piled up on your study desk!

You might have cleared the gruelling JEE or that unnerving CAT, got a stellar rating in those demanding corporate jobs or a magna-cum-laude certificate from a US university BUT nothing, virtually nothing overwhelms you like UPSC does!

So, take things slow. It’s a long race and you need to develop an appreciation for the syllabus. This could be a start of something good – you will get to know policy matters, economic realities and the sad social reality of the country you live in and you might just be able to connect with your surroundings and grow a new found love for India in general!

Except maybe for environment & biodiversity – We are yet to find a person who loved mugging up all the national parks and endangered species for the love of god! So, please have a headstart on E&B – Keep a tab on all small, big enviro related things in the current affairs and make a note in a copy – most of the questions are asked from the current affairs.

A more comprehensive post on how to tackle E&B has been written by Satish (CSE 2014: AIR 97) – How to Approach Enviro & Biodiversity?

#2. The Old and New NCERTs and then a few more Books!

Remember the time when you used to scoff at civics – that thin, small, parchment sized book which used to form a meagerly 20% part of your SST syllabus in class 9th and 10th? Of course you do!

That non-existent subject now forms a big part of the UPSC Syllabus in a new avatar – The Indian Polity.

Remember those moral science classes you used to have where the teachers tried hard to make an adarsh balak out of you? Yes, no? Well, UPSC has made a full fledged GS Paper out of it – Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude.

So, what’s the point? 

The point is that this is the time to pay homage to the old gods and new those NCERTs and quickly brush up on the concepts. Do not waste time hankering between old or new books. Get hold of the new NCERTs – go through them briskly – they are easy to read, are less boring and may delude you into believing that clearing IAS is a cake walk!


That’s where you need to graduate you to a bit heavier books – Laxmikanth for Indian Polity, Bipan Chandra for Pre and Post Independence and so on. We will furnish the reference books in a separate post and link that here soon.

#3. Don’t over indulge on daily news. Not just yet. Build your basics first

We made the Civilsdaily Android App for one reason and one reason alone – To make Current Affairs more approachable. So, keep up with the daily Newscards on the app – you will slowly get a hang on the events of national and international importance.

Once you cover the NCERTs and build some command over the static part of the syllabus, you will be able to understand news better. You would understand what Raghuram Rajan mean by rate cuts, what’s going on with India and the world or why is there so much clamour about the Judicial Appointments System.

That’s when the real magic starts! That’s when you will be able to attempt questions better and bring out better analysis points!

Update #2: Read our 3 point strategy post on Newspapers for IAS Prep

 #4. Discuss, debate and regroup!

The golden rule is this – You will learn more from your peers than from your teachers. This held true in college and this holds true even now. But why’s that?

We tend to have our biases and blind spots in life. We give more importance to some subjects, some themes (even at the expense of leaving out on other exam related important stuff) because that’s just how we are. And here is where your peers come to save you – their take on some issue could complement your learning and vice versa.

You are more likely to remember those passionately argued points on labour laws or women issues than the ones mentioned in the XEROX booklets at Karol Bagh.

The whole idea of this expansive UPSC syllabus is to make the future bureaucrats more sensitive about the various issues plaguing our country and having passionate aspirants in your study groups help!

#5. Choose your Optional wisely

All men are equal but some are more equal than others… And the 2 papers worth 500 marks @ IAS Mains are dedicated to the optional which will make or mar your chances. For some it’s a continuation of their graduation subject and for some it’s a whole new science (or arts if we should be precise).

A good optional also serves as a good breather for the time when you feel overwhelmed and over-annoyed with all the GS around! So, take your time and test the waters before zeroing on one. We will come to your rescue with posts from some of the IAS Rankers on how and why they chose their optionals. Some of them are –

For the benefit of our readers, we have compiled some 30+ posts written on the theme of “How to clear IAS”. Please click through this collection to read more –


5 UPSC Memes for Every IAS Aspirant

A few banners to light you up while you prepare for the CSE Mains ahead! In no particular order then, here are the top 5 UPSC memes:

Everytime I attempt the CSE Prelims Paper 1 and feel like taking a guess, the options throw me off!


And just after the Prelims gets over and you get the answer keys, here’s where SHOLAY waley Chachaji comes in the frame…


And if that wasn’t enough, you have a new found army of relatives to take care of when they ask:


In those moments of solitude and self reflection, you think…


And then the eternal reality unfolds – First attempt ho yaa last attempt, UPSC shall prevail!

Hope this puts up a cheerful smile! We thought it’s about time that we show the lighter side of Civilsdaily. A lot of you guys have been reading daily news with us and we hope that current affairs are a bit easier to follow ever since!

Feel like adding more to this list of meme? We would love to hear from you guys. Share it among your friends or study groups to lighten things up!

Download the Civilsdaily Android App - Click here.

Had your share of laugh? Good. Now get down to some real work and read the essential strategies for clearing IAS Pre and Mains, here: