26 Aug 2014

From an IAS Aspirant's Eye-view : UPSC Civil Services Prelims Exam 2014 !!

UPSC-Union-Public-Services-CommissionAs the date of the calendar been tattered up to 24th August 2014, as the clock struck 9.30 AM, a surmounting population of youth to be specific, the IAS aspirants who want to merge their lives into Indian Civil Services to make the country better in all aspects gone feeding frenzy. The populous venues all over India allocated for the mother of exams were enclosed with first timers and the hungry freshers, experienced veterans who have seen the toughness of mains and the intractable moral fiber of the interview and the unsatisfied mass of the already succeeded who want to boost up their position in the merit list or to alter their destiny of service. As the minutes began to move and the OMR sheets began to be shaded up with Black Pens, the scenario turned into habitat of multifarious feelings.

The paper 1 of the Civil Services Prelims 2014 can’t be described as tough as most of the non-UPSC souls believe, for that matter it can’t be put too small a price on its standard. From ancient India to modern, from Indian polity to international relations, from environment and biodiversity to conceptual Science, from Indian Geography to World, from Micro Economics to Macro had its own stand but in vary of magnitude. ‘Expect the unexpected’ is surely served the best by UPSC not for everyone, however for those who expected the questions of too static.


It would be apt to begin the breakdown of 100 questions with a scrutiny of History. Since 2011 or before few years onwards, UPSC has been showing a decreasing trend to Ancient India. In Medieval India, some areas such as Bhakti Movement and Mughals were showing some signs of survival. Modern India occupied the spotlight till 2013, but the clock has turned topsy-turvy in 2014 as Ancient Indian history had its unexpected place among the hundreds. 1929 Indian National Congress question can only be remembered as a question from Modern India. To put History in a single line, it has lost the interest of UPSC in the year 2014 except some good Ancient Indian History questions.

IAS Officers with Honorable Home Minister of India, Mr. Rajnath Singh

This time, UPSC has focused on climate related questions, questions based on river flow in a particular state for example, “which of the following rivers is/are flowing in Arunachal Pradesh”, question on region and production made geography to move from too static as it used to be in the past to dynamic. Match the following question on countries on one side and the cities on the other can be quoted under world geography. Though crop production related questions, tropical climate related questions occupied the paper, it has been in conflicting state to the meager analyser like me on where to allot the space. To be precise, geography didn’t troubled all but might be to the non-serious players to some extent.


Most of the common feedback after the first paper is, “Environment and biodiversity has been served more than it required to be by the UPSC”. There are innumerous factors serve the above evaluation and not to say the least, the excess number of questions that can easily be aligned under Environment and Biodiversity. Match the following questions based on national parks and the state of India in which it is located added fragrance to the perfume to those who want to boost their moral notions during the exam. After 2 years i.e. 2012 and 2013, this is the first time the species and their IUCN status gone extinct in the paper. Questions on wetlands, concept of water shed, desertification, the bird that you see while you walking where it will hunt for the insects in between the grass granted a unique colour to the paper.


The question on coal bed and shale gas, photovoltaic and Solar Power Production, photosynthesis are some of the questions that can be given a status of questions from the conceptual Science. “Which of the following is/are the example for chemical change” would have surely attracted everyone to shade the right option. Find out the one that doesn’t belong to the other three “Crab, Mite, Scorpion and Spider” is a question has a doubt in its status, whether to be under Environment and Biodiversity or under Biology. Cut to the chase, the conceptual science had its state of absolute standard and interesting general notion that could test the aspirant’s intelligence.


This is the first time after 2011, our beloved polity hasn’t got the prestigious status of being one of the secrets of success. Most of the questions served static to several constitutional authorities who are at the top of the ladder in the order of precedence. Questions on president, governor, Supreme Court are some of the examples. The question doesn’t seemed like testing the aspirant’s awareness about Indian Polity except making him to stop and scratch his head for a while to find “which one among the following parliamentary committees has more number of members”. One question that could have made the aspirants to feel where to launch their pen was the question on selection of Judges as there is about between the judiciary and the parliament followed by the passage of NJAC bill. Over all, Polity questions were good, but didn’t possessed enough in the tank to tire the aspirants.


The general perception that one could draft from the going trend of Economics in UPSC prelims is too easy. UPSC is storing its economic concepts and questions to drag the aspirants beyond the line of control in mains. After 2011 where general and political economic questions occupied 22 out of 100, the trend may seem decreasing, but still we can say economics hasn’t lost its purpose in UPSC rather it is gaining the undue advantage due to the changing pattern of mains. Those who prepared by focusing their mains wouldn’t have felt much to think in Economics in this prelims. The question based on budget asking, “Which among the following is/are under the non-planned expenditure of the government according to the budget” might have made the aspirant to think a bit, however that is nothing but a beautiful trap is what the reality. Question based on interest rate need not be called as a question of higher conceptual values. Economic survey 2014 did not have its prior status as that of the previous Surveys in the previous prelims, but, the concepts raised in the Economic related questions would have been Greek and Latin if we have gone without gazing at the Economic Survey. To envelop, Economic questions in prelims 2014 wouldn’t have become a deficit of performance unless until there is an underestimation.

IPS Officers with Honorable President of India,Dr. Pranab Mukherjee

This year, the questions based on Indian culture occupied some space to hold History from falling. However, it is indispensable to give a separate space to Culture related questions in our evaluation. Questions based on certain tribes, question on tribal communities that celebrate a month long festival in planting saplings and fruit bearing trees, question based on Kalaripayattu, question based on dance of a particular community, Buddha’s monastery and region in a match the following are some of the examples that can be classified under Culture and heritage. One piece of a Cake that can also be put under this category is the question on classical language. “Gujarati, Telugu, Kannada”. Which of the above is/are possess the status of classical language is a question that would have surely earned the coveted status of the question answered by all among hundreds in prelims 2014. To be plain, Culture related areas will not only dance in mains, but will make an unexpected presence in prelims is the vociferous message sent by UPSC.


It is inevitable to say that current affairs hasn’t occupied a separate place except a question based on BRICS, conversely we have been left to say that without current affairs, our prelims would be an absolute power shutdown. Whether it is Economics, Environment and Biodiversity, Geography, Science, or Cultural areas, current affairs happened to be the reason for which the questions have been chosen. To be exact, if we are not strong enough in current affairs, we would become a laughing stock in front of our own paper and pen.


The above mentioned remarks are personal and amount to no provision of any assurance of the paper. Opinion may vary as every person’s thoughts and ideas vary. In my view, there is a reason for which we haven’t calculated and categorized each question under its area of importance as I feel that is the job of the coaching classes and the institutes that are looking forward to lend their hands by proving how calculative they are. If you are an aspirant who appeared in this year’s prelims, now you have nothing to do with how many questions were from this and that. That is the job of those who want to appear in prelims 2015. You have to pick up your boots and must get ready to reach the battle field called Civil Services mains exam. Stop bothering of cutoffs, just cut to the chase from objectives to descriptive till the date on which our dictator UPSC releases the selected candidates list for mains 2014. Nothing is lost until the life is passed. Thus, stop looking at the catchy keys released by the institutes, focus on investing the available time for your mains. After all, this is an investment for your future profit.

IAS aspirants are most welcome to give their personal views.

(Written by Bala Nagendran, an Alumnus of Loyola College, Chennai as an Economics graduate and an IAS aspirant)



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