We will try to address it from Prelims, Mains and Interview point of view so that it becomes easy for your future preparation.
In a day you have 24 hours and loads of stuffs to prepare. Newspapers are very important part of your preparation and a significant one considering the amount of time one consumes while studying from it. Those who have understood the syllabus and pattern of the examination well, have less worries but a beginner (having less understanding of syllabus and pattern) takes substantial time to read and prepare from it.
A person just started with UPSC preparation always finds it difficult and complains about spending too much time reading the newspapers. And it is a genuine concern because if one spends 4-5 hours for newspapers, then his/her concern is justified.
Honestly, one has to be very well versed with the syllabus and pattern of UPSC before jumping to prepare from newspapers. We suggest you to read the syllabus thoroughly, because –
- It will help you in picking-up the right articles/issues from the Newspaper, while leaving out irrelevant ones from the exam perspective.
- It will also reduce your time spent on the Newspapers, as you will know which articles to read and which articles to skip.
If one has poor understanding of basic economics, Polity etc, then how can you expect him/her to understand any ongoing issue?
For example, if the article is about ‘crude oil price cut and its impact on India and the world’, then basic economy is required to understand it in a better way. Also, with clarity of concepts it will be very easy for you to go through newspapers in less time. It is not advised neither encouraged to read from newspapers to learn basic concepts. It will kill you preparation and confidence.
Anyways, we have tried to consider all the aspects from beginner’s as well as from the veteran’s point of view. Let us start.
Some tips to follow
- Never focus on political news as- Janta Parties are finally a Parivar
- Never read political remarks
- Always focus on socio-economic issues like Women issues, Education or Health related issues, Issues or policies affecting vulnerable sections etc.
- Always focus on issues of national and international importance.
- Focus should be on political issues related to Indian Constitution, Legislative and Administrative processes
- Focus on Supreme Court or High Court verdicts
- Do not pay attention to deaths, awards or sports section unless significant- Just a formal read
- Always read the syllabus of Prelims and Mains-Time and Again until you memorize it. Take a glance at Mind Maps of the Mains Syllabus at IASbaba.com. This is done for your convenience 🙂
- This will make sure that you are not missing topics related to your syllabus.
As a sample, we have taken The Hindu dated 16th April. Here is the link for the front page
If you click on the link, it leads to front page of The Hindu- 16th April. Now go through the titles and analyze them. What topics are worth studying? Or Reading? There is a difference in studying and reading!!
Now let us check the news on front page…
After split verdict, larger SC Bench to take a call on Bhavani Singh
Is it important? It is a political news– Jaylalitha case? We should neglect it!!!
Yes it is but if you are following her case, it is about judiciary and Indian Justice System. It is regarding appointment of Special Public Prosecutors.
Now this is important for you. How?
- Prepare about SPP
- His appointment, role and responsibilities
- What Indian Constitution says about SPP?
- Whether it is mentioned in the Constitution?
- This can be asked in Prelims.
- Do not write a story of the case in point. Focus on the required stuff that is important for you and move on.
Fact-finding team visits Sitheri hills
Nothing to prepare from this article, is it?
- Sitheri Hills- Tamil Nadu- Eastern Ghats- Location based question for Prelims
- People’s Watch- What is it?
- Human Right Monitoring Body
- From Mains perspective, a case can be prepared on Working of NGO’s for Human Rights in India. You can use People’s Watch work as it is a National Level body now. How they monitor human rights violation and the ways to tackle it?
- Do not go deep into it but yes, a brief knowledge of its working and achievements forms part of Paper 2- NGO and it’s working.
Flow into Periyar dam doubles in 24 hours
A simple article explaining the flow of water level in the dam and a beginner can easily neglect it. But there is a serious issue of “Mullaperiyar Dam” between Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
- Points to ponder- Dam is in Kerala but operated by TN. Why?
- Read about Periyar river in Kerala- Flowing to east or west?
- Inter-State Water Dispute- Mains related stuff
- Try to study the issue and then simplify arguments of both sides, Kerala and Tamil Nadu- its impact on people, environment and economy.
Cocaine worth 6.5 crore seized at IGI airport
How is this important?
- Cocaine- Health and legal issues related to it.
- From Prelims point of view- You should know its advantages and disadvantages.
- UPSC always leave innocent aspirants go blind- Like How many of you know that it can be used in the form of an eye-drop for Parkinson’s disease. It can also be used as Anesthetic?
- Geography- Location of Cocaine plantation
- Issues- Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking
Panel on Official Secrets Act to meet today
Very important. How?
- Indian Official Secret Act 1923- A colonial Law
- Conflict with Right to Information and person having or seeking information.
- In the OSA clause 6, information from any governmental office is considered official information; hence it can be used to overrideRight to Information Act 2005 This has drawn harsh criticism.
- OSA has been a matter of debate since long time. Read about the issues of Indian Navy, Air-force and Army with Official Secret Act.
Note: Avoid rest of the articles as they are not important for your preparation. Move on to next section, say National
Petrol, diesel prices cut
A thing of past for regular followers of the news but for a beginner it is important to understand the global oil price mechanism.
- How oil price is revised globally?
- How it affects a country not producing it? Example India
- Energy diplomacy and Energy security
- Why, if globally the price of crude oil has gone down drastically even then Indian consumers are paying heftily for Petrol and Diesel?
- Issues in Indian Refinery Sectors?
- Understand the basic concept behind Demand –Supply mechanism
- Any reports or committee on gas pricing? Yes Rangarajan Committee- Recommendations
- Reasons for present decline in crude oil prices? Can be asked in Prelims
Modi signs deal to buy Canadian uranium and Pact on uranium
International relations: Energy Diplomacy- Paper 2
- How this deal will benefit India?
- Is Canada the only country to supply Uranium to India? No..check for others
- Importance of Uranium in Nuclear Reactors
- What is the difference between bilateral relations and strategic partnership?
Note: The length and breadth of queries and thought process is governed by your understanding of the syllabus. Emphasize on knowing the tits and bits of syllabus so that you relate it with the newspaper easily.
Sugar import duty may be raised
- Issues of sugar industries in India
- Paper 1 mentions about location of industries
- For Prelims- Focus on agriculture of sugarcane- area where it is sown, it is a tropical and subtropical crop etc.
- Science behind raw materials and end products of sugarcane production- Sucrose, Ethanol, Molasses and Bagasse etc
Jadavpur varsity admission form now includes third gender
- Status of Transgender in Indian Constitution
- Various judgments regarding transgender
- Prelims- Right issues
A vote for Net neutrality in The Hindu debate
- What is Net Neutrality?
- How will it impact Netizens?
- Global debate on net neutrality?
Kerry ‘confident’ of n-deal after Senate compromise
- Iran Nuclear Deal: A brief account
- How it affects the geopolitics of Middle East?
- Impact on India
- Role of USA
- Why Iran is being taken so harshly for its nuclear programme?
White paper on Tibet denounces ‘middle way’
- China-Tibet Issue?
- Why Tibet is heading for independence and China is not willing?
- Role of India
- How India can balance its relation with China on Tibet issue?
An end to the idea of ‘rogue states’
- What is Rogue State?
- Trace the changes in US policy from pre cold war and post cold war era?
- Role of US in changing geopolitical world
- Is US becoming a soft nation?
China thinks big ahead of Modi’s visit
- Benefits for India if Indo-China cooperation on nuclear deal, aviation industries and High Speed Rails become reality?
- What is ‘Belt and Road’ policy of China?
- Being a close neighbor and an emerging power, do you think it is imperative for India to have a healthy economic relation with China?
- What are the irritants in Indo-China relations?
India among AIIB’s founder-members
- What is AIIB?
- Role of AIIB
- Importance of AIIB for India
- How AIIB can challenge the existing global financial firms?
- Need for AIIB
Pak. test fires ballistic missile
- How will it affect India’s National Security?
- What is the preparation of India to avert such threats?
- India’s Ballistic Missile Program
- Comparison of Indian Missiles to Pakistan’s Missile
Opinion and Editorials
Note: It is seen that many aspirants find it difficult to comprehend the editorials and opinion and spend too much time. Here, we have tried to address this issue with a unique way. It will be helpful for a beginner who has no idea of the ongoing topic and he/she is reading it for the very first time as well as for an aspirant who understands the basics of topic given.
Blood in the woods
Topic: Article is about the killing of Tribal people by Task force
For a beginner: Read the article slowly and try to understand it in the following manner
- Always focus on two aspects to be covered, Prelims and Mains
- A beginner may take time to understand and strategize accordingly but for a veteran, he/she has to develop skills to skim through the articles with prelims and mains aspect in mind.
From the following article, Prelims related stuffs will be following
- Forest Conservation Act, 1980-
- Forest Rights Act, 2006- Important provisions
- Gram Sabha determine tribal rights and protects, conserve and manage the forests- Asked in Prelims
- What are the rights given to tribal people and forest dwellers according to FRA, 2006?
- Tribes and dwellers come under vulnerable section of the society- their rights according to constitution?
Mains related information should be based on various dimensions such as
- Why Forest Rights Act, 2006 was enacted?
- Why government has failed to address the right issues of dwellers and how forest officials are misusing it?
- What are the constraints for government to implement Forest Rights Act, 2006 in letter and spirit?
- How forest Mafia’s are misusing the forest dwellers and tribal people and lending their life in danger?
- Forest dwellers/ tribal are stuck between government’s and mafia’s wrath due to abject poverty and falling prey to power game?
- The article exposes the government inefficiency and negligence? Suggest measures to it
- One should frame related questions while going through the articles and on completion, should try to divide them like
- What is the issue?
- How it is related to our syllabus?
- Which topic or topics- one article may have more than one aspect of syllabus-
- Solution for the issue?
- Develop opinion by writing your version of the issue (50-100 words)- the present article has exposed the inefficiency of the government but there are other constraints that government is not able to provide justice to forest dweller, what are they?
- Always condense the article or issue such that you remember the crux and the best way is through questioning yourself after reading it.
There can be other dimensions that many will miss, like-
- The article exemplify the issue of sustainable development or the issue of development vs conservation
- The article also point out a very important issue- development and rise of extremism- as tribal people fall easy prey to Maoists operating in forests
Note: This is how one should prepare any editorial or opinion. We have given one as example. You can prepare other editorials on the same line.
Other important editorials of 16th April
Return to a lost paradise?
- Resettlement issue for Kashmiri Pundits
- This issue is not so important for UPSC Mains but for interview, one has to prepare this as a matter of administration. You should generate opinion, solution and management for such issues.
- One may be asked about the situation, problems, remedy and actions to be taken – Only for interview
A tale of two countries
- It is comparison of India and China growth story as IMF has suggested India will overtake china very soon
- Points to take-
- Lessons for India to take from China’s growth model
- Can India sustain its growth model? Look for India’s strengths and weaknesses
- How China managed to create high growth rate and at the same level India could not? What are the constraints for India in doing so?
- Very important for Paper 3- Growth and Development
Economics and Business news
Note: ‘Economy is as static as dynamic’. In simple terms, to base your preparation on sound level, one has to be well versed with basic economic concepts and terms that form part of economic and business article. Without basic understanding, it would be very troublesome and futile exercise to read economic articles. We highly recommend building your basic concepts and then start deciphering this section.
INDIA INC BRACES FOR A DISAPPOINTING Q4
- The article explains about the slow growth of India in fourth quarter
- Focus on the factors that is responsible for slow growth rate?- In Prelims a situation can be given about slow growth rate and options may have factors responsible for it. Then you need to choose the correct options.
- If you don’t know, if demand of global commodity level is low then it will impact India’s growth also, then you can be caught!!!
- Look for investment linked sectors in India?
Last minute selling drags Sensex below 29000-level
- Sometimes the article will be of least importance but do not ignore if you are a beginner
- WPI based Inflation? What is it
- How is inflation accounted in India?
- What is CPI?
- How El-Nino is related to inflation?
Stock pile-up puts sugar industry in a fix
- Why excess of sugar is a problem?
- Problems of sugar industries in India?
Cleartrip pulls out of Internet.org
- What is internet.org initiative?
- What is your opinion on internet.org regarding net neutrality violation? How can it resonate with this principle?
- Does India need initiatives like internet.org?
Jayant Sinha bats for full convertibility
- What is Full Capital Account Convertibility?
- Which model India is having? Current Account Convertibility
- Why India is not having full Capital Account Convertibility? What are the pros and cons of this?
Solar power picks up steam in more States
- Status of Solar Power generation in India
- Prelims Fact- Total installed capacity of solar power, presently is 10 per cent of total installed renewable power capacity in the country.
- Gujarat and Rajasthan is the major contributor with 949 MW and 902 MW respectively.
- National Solar Mission?
Note: Do not waste your time in reading sports articles unless some issue or controversy is involved.
- Status of sports in India?
- Why India is poor performer at international level baring few sports like Cricket or Badminton?
- Controversies- e.g. Banning of Indian Sports Authorities by International Authorities due to violation of international norms
- Doping in Sports
- Government schemes and policies to encourage youth for sports?
- Prepare on similar lines
- Do not indulge into commentaries or beautiful pictures 😀
Science and Technology and Agriculture
Emissions from biomass burning cross the Himalayas
- Effect of biomass burning on Himalayan ecosystem
- Constituent of Biomass Burning?
- What is Aerosol?
- Factors responsible for accumulation of aerosol on the surface of the glacier?
Genetic profiling of Indian Mackerel
- What is Genetic Profiling?
- DNA Barcoding?
- What is Genetic diversity? What constitute GD?
Rosetta mission: comet 67P may not be magnetised
- What is Rosetta Mission? Its significance
- Focus that it is a Comet Mission- UPSC asks questions as in match the following, asked about missions in 2014
This is all about How to prepare exam related stuffs from newspapers. For a beginner, it will take sometime to extract relevant information from newspapers and you may find it difficult and annoying sometimes. Trust us, you will learn gradually and once you have mastered the basic concepts, your outlook towards this exam and preparation will change upside down. That will be the time when you will start loving your preparation process.
Try to indulge into it as soon as possible because if you do it just for the sake of preparation it will become a burden and you will always find yourself sick of not following endless timetables you have created and roam around the clock satiating yourself around number of hours you have put. 🙂 This is a stark reality and happens to almost every single aspirant at some point of time.