IAS (UPSC CSE) Prelims 2021 Preparation Strategy for Indian Polity and Governance

Updated On -

Mar 22, 2021

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Exams Prepmaster

Polity is the study of the constitution and governance and is an important topic in IAS (UPSC CSE) Prelims as well as Mains exam. The section has significant marks weightage in the exam. Polity continues to be the center of the IAS (UPSC CSE) exam pattern over the years, despite any changes made in this exam. As per the new syllabus, questions from this section are now more analytical and concept-based rather than direct facts.

IAS Highlights

IAS (UPSC CSE) Prelims- Polity Highlights

  • Polity on average occupies 15% to 18% of UPSC Prelims Paper - I.
  • The Prelims Polity syllabus is crisp and factual.
  • The questions are quite straight in comparison with other sections of this paper.
  • The number of questions varies every year.

Check IAS 2021 Preparation Tips, Important Books and Exam Pattern

IAS Prelims Syllabus

IAS (UPSC CSE) Prelims Syllabus for Polity

The topics in Polity are all related to the Preamble, constitution- the schedules, parts and articles included in it. Topics like fundamental rights, the wording of preamble, the name of the 12 schedules, the changes made to the number of parts and schedules over the years, the structure of parliament, directive principles of state policies, administration of Union Territories, are some of the major topics that are frequented in the Prelims exam. The following are few ideas about questions you get from this section:

  • The topic is mentioned in the question, and the article or schedule under which it comes is asked.
  • A specific article number is mentioned in the question and its purpose is provided as an option for the answer.
  • The purpose of a specific schedule/part/article is asked.
  • Rarely questions are asked where you have to match the article or schedule with the respective issue which it represents.

Must Read: Best Books For UPSC CSE Prelims Exam 2021

IAS Weightage Marks

IAS(UPSC CSE) Polity- Marks Weightage in Prelims

Though this section is important and occupies 15-18 % of the questions of UPSC Prelims, the number of questions varies every year. The following table will give you an idea about it:

Name of Year Number of Questions
2020 13
2019 15
2018 13
2017 22
2016 7
2015 13
2014 11
2013 13
Prep Tips

IAS(UPSC CSE) Prelims- Polity Preparation Tips

  • If you are a beginner, start your basic preparation from the NCERT Books. The language is simpler and a majority of the topics are covered in a concise manner making it easier to understand even for candidates who are completely new to the topic.
  • For in-depth understanding of each schedule, part and article read through the entire India Polity by M. Laxmikanth. It covers all the topics in a gist.
  • For the Indian Constitution part, start your preparation with Introduction to the Constitution of India by D.D. Basu. Beginners will find the language of this book quite complex but this book is very helpful for an in-depth analysis of the subject.
  • For any UPSC aspirant, it is a must to follow current political affairs in the country as well as on an international level. A few important lists that you must remember:
    • The name of the states and their chief ministers are important
    • Name of important ministers, the office they hold, and which state they hail from as well as their constituency.
    • Name of predecessors of present finance, defence, home minister.
  • For Current affairs on politics, the best source of information is Newspapers like The Hindu or The Indian Express. Specifically go through the editorial pages and the articles there which explore the political scenario with factual details in these papers.
  • All the news related to new bills, acts, policies, Constitution or the national, as well as international political systems, is available.
  • Lok Sabha TV is the best digital resource you can follow daily for better understanding of governance, know more about the current issues related to polity. You can even find the clips from the sessions on Youtube.
  • Practice MCQs at home from the Sample question papers and previous year’s question papers.

Check IAS Prelims 2021 Strategy for GS Economics

IAS Books

IAS (UPSC CSE)- Reference Books for Polity

Recommendations of Books to prepare Polity of UPSC Prelims 2021 depends on the depth of knowledge on Polity.

Book for Essential Concepts:

Name of Books Author / Publisher
Democratic Politics – II NCERT Standard X
Political Theory NCERT Standard XI
Indian Constitution at Work NCERT Standard XI
Contemporary World Politics NCERT Standard XII
Politics in India Since Independence NCERT Standard XII
Democratic Politics-I NCERT Standard IX

Primary Recommended Books:

Name of Books Author/Publisher
Indian Polity Laxmikanth
Our Parliament Subhash Kashyap
The Constitution of India P. M. Bakshi

Reference Books:

Name of Books Author/Publisher
Our Judiciary Subhash Kashyap
Introduction to the Constitution D. D. Basu
Governance in India M. Laxmikanth

Best Newspapers for UPSC Current Affairs:

  • The Indian Express
  • The Hindu
  • Business Standard

Best Magazines for UPSC Prelims:

  • Economic And Political Weekly
  • Down To Earth
  • Yojana
  • Kurukshetra

FAQs UPSC Prelims

Ques. Are polity and politics the Same?

Ans. Polity is used in the sense of “community.” The term comes from the Greek word “polis” and includes not only the city-state but also schemes and the systems of government including constitutions and judicial systems whereas Politics describes the theory and practice of the power struggle between the players inside the polity. It constitutes the core of the political system.

Ques. What is Polity and the Constitution of India?

Ans. The word polity denotes the “form of government” in India including its powers, functions and limitations. Indian Democratic Government is of two types: centralized (a unitary form of government) or decentralized (a federal form of government).

The constitution can be defined as “ body of fundamental principles according to which a State is constituted or governed”.

Ques. What is the difference between polity and political science?

Ans. The difference between Polity and Political science is very minute like the difference between Science and Technology. Political Science represents various theories about the evolution of the state, about the system of governance and how it works, etc. On the contrary, Polity is the model of government representing the whole system in practice including the constitution and Federal departments.

Ques. Is Polity compulsory for UPSC Prelims?

Ans. In the case of UPSC Prelims, this section can be skipped if you feel uncomfortable to answer. But this section is compulsory for UPSC Main. For that reason, start your preparation in depths from the beginning and the questions from this section are also not very tricky which makes them easier to attempt.

Ques. Can I skip newspapers for UPSC?

Ans. No, Newspapers are not a replaceable source of knowledge. You may do that but you should not. Since 2013, UPSC sets 60–70% of the question paper from newspapers.

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.