UPSC Prelims Polity Trend Analysis: Part 1

In an earlier blog post (How to approach prelims 2016) I discussed the importance of solving test papers, making educated guesses, analysis of mistakes etc. I also emphasized on solving past year question papers and analyzing the trend.

In this series, I shall discuss questions and explanations of last 7 years (2015 to 2009) prelims polity section. Attempt has been made to solve the questions as one would do in exam hall i.e using elimination method, pausing and thinking at red flags (all, none, only, weird statements), applying some tikdams where necessary.

After every question, I have mentioned some learning objectives – things which are the most important  from exam point of view, things which have been asked again and again. You have to learn them all without any exception.

Key insights from the analysis 

  1. Average number of questions asked in last 5 years is 15 and almost every question is solvable with decent knowledge and logic.
  2. Lots of questions and statements are repeated year after year <solve past 15 year papers without fail>
  3. More than questions, topics are repeated year after year
  4. Even when you don’t know all the options, often answer wallh option is clearly visible <importance of reading all the options>
  5. UPSC don’t ask article numbers. Not a single question with article number was asked in past 7 years <don’t worry about remembering all the articles or don’t get depressed if you can’t solve such questions of various test series>
  6. UPSC doesn’t ask questions which need remembering very intricate yet very useless details. For instance – reservation in local bodies is at least 1/3 or as near as 1/3 or something else or which laws are not applicable to J & K <You are getting my point right>
  7. Almost all polity questions are doable i.e if you have read polity and constitution decently enough i.e understood essence of important articles, you would able to solve with >90% accuracy.

If you have been consistent with prelims tit-bits, you would realize that apart from discussing confusing things, primary objective was to discuss topics which are most imp. from exam perspective. Initially response was great but as with most endeavors, your response fizzled out and I also lost the motivation to read, analyse and push the tit-bits.

Must Read Topics

  • Learn FRs, DPSPs, FDs and Preamble by heart, FR v/s DPSP
  • Three committees of parliament – PAC, estimates committee and Committee on public undertakings
  • Three motions – No Confidence motion, adjournment motion, calling attention motion
  • Passage of bills including money bill and constitution amendment bill in Parliament and states, budgetary process
  • Relative powers of LS and RS
  • Discretionary power of president v/s governor
  • Appointment, removal and independence of judiciary,
  • Evolution of local bodies from the time of independence, 73rd, 74th amendment, mandatory and optional provisions

Let’s look at the question papers now –

Prelims 2015

£1. Consider the following Statements regarding the DPSP/ 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 below are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 & 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Such questions have been asked n number of times.

FRs – political democracy v/s DPSP – socio economic democracy, FRs enforceable v/s DPSP not enforceable

Learning -Difference b/w F.R. and DPSP, Conflict b/w FR and DPSP, Learn all FRs, DPSPs and FDs and preamble by heart

£2. Consider the following statements :

    1. The Rajya Sabha has no power either to reject or to amend a Money Bill
    2. The Rajya Sabha cannot vote on the Demands for Grants.
    3. The Rajya Sabha cannot discuss the Annual Financial Statement.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Again asked n number of times.

RS limited financial power, can discuss but not amend the money bill. Annual financial statement is a money bill, can’t amend hence can’t vote

Learning – Relative powers of LS and RS i,e instances where LS enjoys primacy, instances where RS enjoys primacy

£3. When a bill is referred to a joint sitting both the Houses of the Parliament, has to be passed by

(a) a simple majority of member present and voting

(b) three-fourths majority of member present and voting

(c) two-thirds majority of the House

(d) absolute majority of the House

again asked n number of times

Joint sitting requires simple majority

Learning – Different types of majorities, passage of ordinary bill, money bill, constitution amendment bill in parliament as well as states with bicameral legislatures

£4. 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

statement 1 is asked n number of times, power vests in president not PM, even if you don’t know about the statement 2, you should attempt this question

Cabinet secretary is ex officio chairman <Scroll down you would know that questions related to cabinet secretariat have been asked many times in the past>

£5.The provisions in the 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, authorities, and responsibilities

of Panchayats

(d) protect the interests of all the border States

asked n number of times

Learning – All 12 schedules esp. 9th and 10th, amendment of schedules, difference b/w 5th and 6th schedule

£7. With reference to the Union Government consider the following statements.

    1. The Department of Revenue is responsible for the preparation of Union Budget that is presented to the parliament
    2. No amount can be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund of India without the authorization of Parliament of India.
    3. All the disbursements made from Public Account also need the Authorization from the Parliament of India

Which of the following statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 2 only

(d) 1, 2, and 3

Consolidated fund, Public account and Contingency fund have been asked n number of times

Deptt of economic affairs prepare the budget <scroll down and you would know this question has been asked in the past>. Public accounts not under parliamentary control

Learning – Consolidated fund, Public account and Contingency fund, Parliamentary oversight over govt finances, passage of budget

£8. Who/Which of the following is the Custodian of the Constitution of India?

(a) The President of India

(b) The Prime Minister of India

(c) The Lok Sabha Secretariat

(d) The Supreme Court of India

controversial, president takes oath to protect, preserve and defend the constitution

Whatever UPSC says and UPSC said Supreme Court

  1. Consider the following statements:
    1. The Legislative Council of a state in India can be larger in size than half of the Legislative Assembly of that particular state.
    2. The Governor of a state nominates the Chairman of Legislative Council of that particular state.

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

logical fallacy, purpose of acts is to limit the size of councils or to tell min. and max number

Chairman is elected from amongst the members

Learning – 91st amendment, election and nomination to upper house of states and parliament

  1. To uphold and protect the Sovereignty Unity and Integrity of India” is a provision made in the

(a) Preamble of the Constitute

(b) Directive Principles of State Policy

(c) Fundamental Rights

(d) Fundamental Duties

N number of times. Even if don’t remember, it can not be a right <state is meant to protect sovereignty> , it can not be a directive to the state, it has to be the duty of citizens

Learning – Learn by heart FDs, FRs, DPSPs and preamble

  1. The fundamental object of Panchayati Raj system is to ensure which among the following?
    1. People’s participation in development
    2. Political accountability
    3. Democratic decentralization
    4. Financial mobilization

Select the correct answer using the code given below

(a) 1, 2 and 3 only

(b) 2 and 4 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

common sense , financial mobilization can not be fundamental objective  <better ways to mobilize finance>, political accountability is again not directly achieved through this  

Learning – evolution of Local self govt from the time of British <Rippon, Mayo>, Committee on local self govt, 73rd and 74th amendment, 11th and 12th schedule

  1. The ideal 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

Sort of internal repeat, Socio-economic democracy and welfare state one and the same thing.

Learning – FRv/s DPSP

  1. There is a Parliamentary System of Government in India because 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

Asked many times , Common sense, in parliamentary system, executive responsible to legislature while in presidential executive not responsible

Learning – Merits and demerits of 2 system, separation of power in 2 systems  

  • Bottom line – 9/12 absolute joke
  • 1, president v/s supreme court controversial
  • 2, Deptt of economic affairs related to budget and Cabinet secretary ex officio chairperson needed some factual knowledge <but if you had solved past year papers, you would easily have marked DEA and you would have known about the role of cabinet secretary>

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By Dr V

Doctor by Training | AIIMSONIAN | Factually correct, Politically not so much | Opinionated? Yes!

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