Art & Culture
- Judicial Appointments in India, Executive vs Collegium
- What is Vacation Bench of Indian Supreme Court?
- State Funding of Elections
- International Religious Freedom 2019 Report
- Election Commission invokes Article 324 in West Bengal
- Difference between exit poll and opinion poll
- Madras High Court verdict on Puducherry LG Kiran Bedi
- Zero Pendency Courts Project
- ECI & Dissenting opinion controversy
Governance & Social Justice
- Supreme Court upholds Karnataka law for SC ST reservation in promotions
- Under 5 mortality & low birth weight, Analysis of Lancet Global Health journal
- US public healthcare system
- Women Workforce Participation, Issues faced by Working Women in India
- What are Small Water Enterprises?
- Cancer-causing substance found in Johnson & Johnson’s
- Age of consent & age gap under POCSO Act
- Sub-categorisation within OBCs
- Booming Population of Africa, Can Africa reap benefits of Demographic Dividend?
- Developments in Indo Pacific Region
- Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action 2015 explained
- Pakistan to Accept $6 Billion Bailout From IMF
- USA ends waiver for India on Iran Oil
- What is US Executive Privilege?
- Presidential Impeachment in the USA
- Belt and Road forum,2019
- India re-elected as observer at Arctic Council
- US Iran Tension
- India Cuts Communication with UN Human Rights
- Russia’s Sovereign Internet law
- Narendra Modi Swearing in Ceremony
- Sri Lanka signs Port Deal with India and Japan
- China’s Rare Earth Minerals
- US removes India from Currency Monitoring List
- Banking crisis in India, How bad is Non Performing Asset issue?
- Boosting Private Investment in Economy
- Economic Slowdown in various sectors
- India US Trade Dispute, Is India a Tariff King?
- India USA pact to check tax evasion by MNCs
- PepsiCo vs Potato farmers controversy
- Record GST Collections, Rs. 1.13 trillion collected in April
- Rise in Foreign Exchange Reserve of India
- SBI links interest rate of large Savings Accounts to Repo Rate
- SEBI fines NSE over unfair broker access
- Trade Policy of India, How India can mitigate Global uncertainty?
- What are PSU Telecos & their issues? Should government shutdown BSNL & MTNL?
- What is Phased Manufacturing Programme?
- What is Seed Sovereignty? PepsiCo Vs Gujarat Potato Farmers Controversy
- Why India needs a dedicated Industrial Policy?
- Why India needs a new Poultry Policy?
- WTO Appellate Body Dispute Controversy
- Dollar Rupee Swap tool of RBI
- National Anti Profiteering Authority how it works?
- Tourism boost in India, Impact of Tourism on GDP
- Urban Development Schemes in India
- US trade order bending Global trading system
- What are Social Impact Bonds?
- Is India’s GDP data accurate?
- Middle income trap
- Ban on Chinese milk products in India
- Analysis of Draft Rules for Poultry Farming
- Economic Priorities for Modi 2.0 Government
- RBI draft Liquidity Risk Management Framework for NBFCs
- SEBI panel bats to ease FPI regulations
- USA bans Huawei
- What is Regulatory Sandbox?
Defence & Security
- Gadchiroli Naxal Attack, Is India fully prepared to eliminate Naxalism?
- Government extends ban on LTTE for another 5 years
- India Signs ‘Christchurch Call to Action’ Initiative
- White House bats for declaring Muslim Brotherhood as a Terrorist Organisation
- 2019 Sri Lanka Easter bombings
- ISIS influence in India
- Designation of Masood Azhar as global terrorist
- ISIS in Jammu & Kasmir
- Influence of Islamic State in India
- Human Rights Violations in J&K
- What is Skimming? Can ATM steal users personal data?
- Kashmir’s Most Wanted Militant Zakir Musa Killed
Science & Technology
- India gets its First Apache Guardian Attack Helicopter
- Asteroid Apophis will flyby Earth
- Blockchains for Internet of Things
- ISRO’s 5 satellites saved many lives from Cyclone Fani
- Made In India Aerial Target Drone ABHYAS DRDO
- NASA Dart Mission क्या है ? Asteroid Impact Mission of NASA
- Project Blue Moon क्या है? Know all about Jeff Bezos’ mission
- Project MANAV: Human Atlas Initiative क्या है?
- Radar Controversy Explained
- Scorpene Class Submarine INS Vela Launched
- World’s first Malaria Vaccine
- Economic Impacts of Antimicrobial Resistance report by IACG
- Monkey pox infection
- India to buy kamov 31 helicopter from Russia
- Indian scientists discover how serotonin helps brain cells cope with stress
- Genetic study on people of Lakshadweep Islands
- DRDO successfully test fires AKASH MK-1S missile
- Facial Recognition Technology how it works, What are its Pros & Cons?
- Indian Airforce to Use Biofuels
- Kilogram’s New Definition
- RISAT 2B Earth Observation Satellite launched by ISRO
- UN report- One million species at risk of extinction
- Indonesia will move its capital
- Antarctica’s Emperor Penguin population declines
- Ross Ice Shelf
- Chinese ban causes re-routing of plastic waste
- Hangul or Kashmir Stag’s rapid population decline
- Indian bullfrogs take to invasive behavior early in Andaman
- Ishad Mango Facing a Threat In Its Homeland
- Lakshadweep recruits Barn Owls to fight rodent menace
- Sunscreen Killing Coral Reefs?
- Yeti footprints spotted on Himalaya claims Army
- India, China lead global greening effort
- Herbivore census in Gujarat’s Gir forest
- Karnataka declares Bukkapatna as 2nd Chinkara Wildlife Sanctuary
- Do ‘Russian poplar’ seeds cause May illness in Kashmir?
Spice of the Month
Toppers Talk – Gunjan Dwivedi | AIR-9 , CSE 2018
SA: We have with us one of the winners of UPSC, pride of Lucknow, Ms. Gunjan Dwivedi, who has secured 9th rank in UPSC 2018. Today, we’ll understand her journey through UPSC preparation.
First question is how you felt when you learnt that you have secured 9th rank?
GD: I couldn’t believe at first that I had secured a single digit rank. It took around 20-30 minutes for the fact to sink in.
SA: Tell us about yourself, your educational background, your career. At what point did you decide that you’ll set for UPSC preparation?
GD: My father being an IPS Officer and seeing the scale and massive impact of the services on lives of the people, I was naturally predisposed to the Civil Services as a prospective career.
- My subjects in 11-12th were Commerce & Maths, but decided to choose graduation subjects aligned with my future career. At this point, I firmly decided that I’ll pursue Civil Services preparation.
- I graduated with Political Science Honours from Delhi University’s Daulat Ram College, and started sort of mini-preparation right from college level, like reading newspapers.
- I graduated in 2014 and right away started preparing for UPSC rather than going for post graduation, for I could give my first attempt only in 2016.
- I took General Studies coaching from Vajiram in 2015, and stayed for 7-8 months in Delhi. But upon realizing that I wasn’t able to study effectively in Delhi, I returned to Lucknow.
- I couldn’t clear even Prelims in the first two attempts, so in my third attempt, my primary focus of preparation was Preliminary stage itself.
SA: What were your strategies for various stages of the examination? And what was your strategy for optional papers?
GD: My mentor had suggested that I should align my Preliminary preparation with my preparation for Mains. I’ll share my resources/booklist to give an idea how I prepared for different stages.
- My approach has been to start with basics. First reading from cover to cover. And every subject around 4-5 times. First reading takes around 20-25 days for the entire book. Next rounds take lesser and lesser time.
- History: 6-12th NCERTs and Tamil Nadu 11th standard text book
- Geography: 6-12th NCERTs + Periyar publications
- Polity: M Laxmikant + Vajiram Class Notes
- Environment: Shankar IAS
- Culture: 11th NCERT Fine Arts + Nitin Singhania + Vajiram Class Notes
- Economy: Basics of Indian Economy (Vajiram) + Economic Survey
- Current Affairs: Annual Compilations of Coaching Institutes
Test Series play a significant role in particular for Prelims. It helps you in developing the tactics for eliminating wrong options to arrive at the correct answer. Moreover, it also helps you with time management.
- I couldn’t find the time to practice even a single essay.
- Culture: 11th NCERT Fine Arts + Nitin Singhania + Vajiram Class Notes
- Modern History: Spectrum + NCERTs
- World History: NCERTs
- Post-Independence: NCERT
- Social Issues: 11-12th NCERTs + Mains Coaching Compilations
- Geography: 11-12th NCERTs
- Polity & Governance: M Laxmikant + 2nd ARC Report + Current Affairs
- International Relations: Current Affairs
- Economy: Economic Survey + NITI Aayog 3 Year Agenda
- Security: Vajiram Yellow Book
- Environment: Shankar IAS + Current Affairs
- Disaster Management: Vision IAS pdf
- Ethics: Class Notes + Quotes (Anudeep Durishetty notes)
Apart from this, I had joined Vision IAS Mains Test Series.
- For the interview, I read newspapers – The Hindu, Indian Express and Times of India.
- Further, I referred Rajya Sabha TV and StudyIQ for brushing up the current issues.
- In fact, StudyIQ played a tremendous role in for my interview preparation.
SA: What was your father’s role in your UPSC journey?
GD: He has constantly guided me and kept me motivated throughout this journey.
SA: How did you balance yourself during your low points in this journey?
GD: My mentor here played a great role, and told me not to allow negativity to creep in.
SA: How can aspirants, who lack the resources to afford expensive coaching in Delhi, crack UPSC?
GD: One does not need to come to Delhi for coaching. Nowadays, most of the resources needed for UPSC preparation are available online and that too for free. So once one has collected the resources, it is immaterial where one is preparing from.
- I had watched StudyIQ videos for my interview preparation on my phone. Thus it is 100% possible to crack UPSC without coaching.
SA: Your last words of wisdom for UPSC aspirants.
GD: Never give up hope. Believe in yourself. Be honest to yourself. Go through previous year papers and get an idea what the exam expects from you. Once you’ve understood the demand of this exam, then definitely you’ll succeed.