September 17th, 2019       Civil Services Preparation

Knowledge of Polity is VERY ESSENTIAL as it leads to holistic development of an individual which is beneficial both as a citizen as well as in service. Knowledge of polity makes an individual aware of his rights, his duties, his responsibility and also helps him in extracting accountability from the Government.

The exam scenario

For a UPSC aspirant Polity is crucial in all the three stages of exam.  In the last 6 years on an average around 12-13% questions have been asked from polity. Questions cover both basics as well as the dynamics part. For example, Lokpal is in news recently. So, one must know the basics of Lokpal – its mode of appointment, powers and its autonomy, linkage if any with the Constitution etc.

Polity doesn’t require any background knowledge. Questions are very doable. All an aspirant needs is a coherent strategy. This article aims to chart a roadmap for the aspirants so that they can follow a constructive roadmap without diverging from the focus….

Trend Analysis

Polity (Number of questions asked and difficulty level)

UPSC Prelims Polity Trend Analysis

Decoding The SourcesUPSC Prelims Polity Sources





  1. First and the most important aspect- to be thorough with the basics. The best strategy is to build a solid foundation by doing the NCERT books (start with class 9th, then 10th, then class 11th) and then enhance the preparation with M. Laxmikanth which is the most comprehensive book for the subject.
  2. Once the foundation has been laid, try to correlate the concepts learned with your newspaper readings of The Hindu or The Indian Express and while reading these one should focus on items and editorials (related to Constitution, national as well as international political systems, new bills, schemes, judgments etc). Make notes of the same.
  3. Now that you have developed confidence, again revise the concepts and articles particularly those related with happenings in the last 18 months.
  4. Sometimes questions are tricky. And thus, regular revisions and practicing MCQ’s can help in this regard and also boost one’s confidence in the subject. Solving previous year prelims question papers is imperative.
  5. Points to keep in mind:
  • No need to mug up articles. Remember only the important ones. But one should have an idea under which part an article comes.
  • Make comparison tables wherever required. Eg: comparing different types of emergencies, election process or removal process of the various constitutional authorities.
  • Make list of important judgments.
  • Try to summarize all the important schemes, acts, policies in bullet points and note them down.

Focus Areas

A. Constitution-concepts related to

  • Historical Background like regulating act of 1773 to Indian Independence Act etc.
  • Making of the constitution
  • Philosophy of the constitution
  • Schedules, parts of the constitution

PYQ-2012:  The distribution of powers between the Centre and the States in the Indian Constitution is based on the scheme provided in the?

B. Union and its Territory

  • Articles 1 to 4
  • Role of parliament
  • State reorganization-various commissions

C. Citizenship

  • Rights and privileges
  • Acquisition and termination
  • Difference between Citizen and PIO, NRI, OCI
  • Current happenings like NRC, changes made in citizenship amendment, voting rights etc.

D. Fundamental rights and duties

  • Types, significance, implications
  • Availability of FRs to citizens and non-citizens
  • Committees like Swaran Singh
  • Wits, Armed forces rights
  • Enforceability and limitations

PYQ-2012:  Which of the following is/are among the Fundamental Duties of citizens laid down in the Indian Constitution?


  • Classification, Significance, enforceability
  • Comparison with FRs
  • Cases like Golaknath, Minerva Mills
  • 42nd and 44th constitutional amendments

PYQ-2014: In the Constitution of India, promotion of international peace and security is included in the?

F. Union Government

  • Union executive- election/appointment, powers and functions, resignation/impeachment etc.
  • Council of Ministers- powers, types, functions, roles, concepts like collective responsibility

PYQ-2013: Statement question on responsibility of council of ministers and union ministers

G. Union legislature- Parliament

  • Role and functions of the Parliament
  • Sessions, Motions, Parliamentary procedures
  • Devices of Parliamentary proceedings
  • Similarities and Differences between Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, composition, election ,powers and functions; Special powers of Rajya Sabha
  • Qualifications and Disqualification’s of members; Anti defection law
  • Parliamentary Privileges
  • Procedure to make Law
  • Different types of bills
  • Budget
  • Consolidated Fund, Contingency Fund, Public Accounts Fund
  • Speaker and Chairman of Rajya Sabha – their election, removal/resignation, functions
  • Parliamentary Committees– their composition, functions

PYQ-2014: Which one of the following is the largest Committee of the Parliament?

H. Judiciary

  • Supreme Court– Appointment of judges, Procedure for removal of judges, Independence of Supreme Court, Jurisdictions and Powers
  • Judicial review
  • High Courts- same as supreme court
  • Subordinate Courts

PYQ-2012: Which of the following are included in the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?

I. State Executive and State Legislature

  • Different institutions like Governor, Chief Minister, State Legislature
  • Bicameral legislatures

J. Administration of UTs and special areas

  • Reasons behind the creation
  • Powers of President and Governor
  • Administrative System of Union Territories , jurisdiction of High Courts
  • Special provisions for Delhi
  • Special provisions w.r.t Jammu and Kashmir (Article 370)
  • 5th Schedule(Scheduled Areas) and 6th Schedule (Tribal Areas),Powers of President and Governor w.r.t administration of Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas

PYQ-2014: Which of the following are the discretionary powers given to the Governor of a State?

K. Centre state relations

  • Comparison between Unitary and Federal features
  • Distribution of legislative, Executive and Financial Powers between the Union and the State
  • Inter State Relations- Concepts like Faith and Credit clause, Inter-state River water disputes, Inter-state council, Zonal council, Freedom of Inter-State trade and Commerce
  • All-India Services, other services. UPSC, state commissions and joint commissions

PYQ-2013: The Parliament can make any law for whole or any part of India for implementing international Treaties

L. Panchayati Raj and ULBs

  • Important Acts related to Panchayat Raj system like PESA, Forest Rights Act etc.
  • Various committees
  • Provisions of 73 amendment- Compulsory and Voluntary
  • Provisions of 74 amendment – structure, powers, functions
  • Problems faced by Panchayat Raj institutions and Urban Local Governments

PYQ-2012: How do District Rural Development Agencies (DRDAs) help in the reduction of rural poverty in India?

M. Tribunals

  • Article 323A and Article 323B
  • Functions and Powers of Administrative Tribunals –CAT and SAT

N. Elections

  • Election Commission
  • RPA Act, 1950 and 1951

O. Special Provisions for SC’s, ST’s, Backward Classes, Minorities and Anglo-Indians

P. Emergency provisions

  • Different kinds of Emergency
  • Changes brought about by 42nd and 44th Amendments
  • Procedure and time duration for approval, renewal and revocation of emergency
  • Impact on distribution of legislative, Executive and Financial Powers when Emergency is in force
  • Effect on Fundamental Rights during emergency

Q. Amendments

  • Procedures, types
  • Amendability of FRs, Basic Structure
  • Important amendments like 42,44,61,72,73 and 91 onwards till date
  • Criticisms

PYQ-2014: Statement question on introduction and ratification of constitutional amendment bill

R. Constitutional and Non-Constitutional bodies eg: NITI Aayog, NHRC etc

  • Focus on Composition, Powers and functions, Removal

PYQ-2013: Who among the following constitute the National Development Council?

S. Governance, Public Policy and Rights Issue

  • Good Governance
  • Important schemes, programmes, missions, laws and policies

PYQ-2012: With reference to consumers’ rights/ privileges under the provisions of law in India, which of the statements is/are correct?

T. Miscellaneous

  • Current affairs
  • Survey, budget of the year
  • Reports
  • Rankings, indices
  • Economic data

Polity is the easiest of all the subjects to score owing to the concise and factual nature of the syllabus. Most of the times questions are straightforward and if revised thoroughly one can get most of the answers right. Polity should be read in a holistic manner by linking concepts. By reading this way, mugging-up can be dealt with easily and learning also becomes much more enjoyable.


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