(Article) JKPSC : The Most Indispensable Book For JKPSC - IAS Preparation

Union Public Services Commission

Article : The Most Indispensable Book for JKPSC - IAS Preparation

Off all the books that you have to read for you Civil services preparation, the most important and most indispensable is ………… ‘The Newspaper’. Nearly 50 % of your General studies paper along Essay can be
covered by taking a regular diet of Newspaper every day. However the most important question related to civil services preparation also comes here; what not to read? Since you can easily read a newspaper from 30 minutes to 3 hours, the question of How to read a newspaper acquires importance.

First of all, which newspaper should one read for civil services preparation? The answer is not too difficult to answer. ‘The Hindu’ newspaper should be your first choice followed by ‘Indian express’. ‘The Hindu’ should be read religiously for your KAS-IAS preparation. Local dailies do have not too much to offer in terms of relevant information for civil services preparation, same is the case with national dailies like Times of India or The Pioneer who either are full of ’Masala news’ or ‘Biased News’.

What are the important sections that need to be stressed upon in a newspaper?

  1. National News: National news on both the front page and the National Pages are a must read. However due care should be taken to scrutinize the news. Pure political news, political bickering, violence and Kolaveri di news should be ignored. Political news related to elections in various states, Maoist violence should be skipped. “Kitne Mar gaye” is not what you need to be stressed upon. However certain news items that may seem less important hold behind them questions of larger social and political importance. For example, The news item related to “Question mark over Rushdie’s Participation in Jaipur festival” can be used more to ‘construct’ your views on “ Is Right to freedom of expression absolute” than the info that can be got from this news item. On News of Deemed University, the larger question is how can we regulate and restructure the Higher education
    in India. As a future Administrator, you need to have clear views on how problems need to be solved.

  2. EDITORIALS: Editorial is the most essential part of a newspaper; but there is a word of caution in what to read and how to read. Heavily Politicized editorials should be avoided. They do you no good. Don’t waste your precious time reading them. Editorials usually contain A-z of a particular problem that the editorial is stressing upon.eg. Palestinian issue, Af-Pak Problem, India Bangladesh Relations. However there are certain very good editorial editorials wich are too dark and negative and hence should be skipped. With due respect , Mr. P. Sainath the rural editor of Hindu newspaper usually writes brilliant stuff but most of the times it is too anti- government or presents a gory, dismal , negative picture which is usually true but ought not to be written in the exam ! Since UPSC wants a administrator who thinks positively about a particular topic, who can show the way forward. So the mantra here is to be Positive even if your Blood group is not one.

  3. INTERNATIONAL EVENTS: Some of the world’s most politically important issues usually surface in news time and again. E.g., the Palestinian issue, North Korea, Trade negotiations in WTO, Climate changes conferences etc. Take out time to understand the background of some of the world’s most important issues in Toto so that anything you read in future can be added to that foundation. Information regarding summits of various organizations should be noted and if you lack info about that particular organization or block, Try to seek info about that thing from Manorama year Book or Sheikh Google. But here also care should be taken  regarding g the source of the info.Official sites or Wikipedia can be relied upon. This process may seem cumbersome initially but later when you have got the basic info about many things, u will not have to search back for this info. Always try to jot down this info on A4 paper pounced into a file. This will allow you easily to incorporate any future important news about that topic and will also help you to acclatimise to UPSC’s answer sheets. But your Note book should never in any way resemble a scrap book. One of my dear friend had kept such a scrap book of daily news items that was filled with so much of frivolous information that the real information was masked and hence the copy became another “encyclopedia of unnecessary information”. Your Notebook should resemble your brain. Whatever you put in it should be note worthy and relevant and it should be placed in a
    chronological order so that at the time of exam you can take anything out properly.

  4. Government Ads: Government Ads are also a good source of information. For example, on Jan. 24th, The Hindu had two Ads; one was from Election Commission of India celebrating National Voters day on Jan. 25th. So you can jot down in your important days section about January 25th being as a National Voters Day. Secondly for Mains point of view, you can later prepare answers on Election commission of India and its role in building of a successful, vibrant democracy. Another ad on the last page of the same day was the celebrating of National girl child on jan 24 th. So you can remember this info and also then try to write on the need of reasons for skewed sex ratio and the steps that need to be taken. The Birth Anniversary of Netaji Subash Chandra bose was celebrated on January 23. Make it a point to study the life and achievement of Netaji since He  is an important member of india’s National Movement. Swarajist party, Political guru in CR das, Poorna swaraj resolution, Tripuri crisis, Forward block, Indian Independence league, Azad hind fauj, INA trials,  Mukherjee commission etc. Due care should be taken that you do not adopt a perfectionist attitude.

  5. Sci-Tech: Sci-tech section is published in Hindu on Thursdays. Important info regarding Climate change conferences, Space Missions, New inventions in Agriculture and Medicine, Green Technology should be noted.

  6. Geography: Important places that are in news should be traced in Atlas (Oxford School Atlas is preferred). This will help you in trying to get a mental picture of the various palces in news. Eg.In news items related to nuclear plant in Jaitapur and Koondakulam, Posco plant in Jagatsinghpur, Piracy Acts in Gulf of Aden, Try to map out the location of Koondakulam, Jagatsinghpur, Gulf of Aden or Jaitapur.


  • News Channels: News channels are also an important source of info but here due care  should be taken to see that you are only watching unbiased and relevant news on TV. For this you should rely on 8 pm news on doordarshan or 8.45 pm news on Vividbharati. News channels which showcase sensational news programmes should be avoided at all costs. Even unnecessary TV debates anchored by jingoists and participated by ‘who they are’ should be avoided.

  • News Magazines: One may be tempted to ask the question that why not to read news magazines at the end of month than to follow this routine every day. What will happen if we take Vitamin Tablets at the end of the month for the whole of the month? What is the need of taking one tablet per day! I hope you have got the answer. Taking small doses of Information every day will be completely absorbed by your brain and they will prove
    beneficial to us rather than reading an entire book at the end of the month. 

What should not be Read:

Sports page: Sports page should be skipped. There is no need to read news item related to this news. You can only scan over the pictures and try to remember the important cups like Thomas cup, Ryders cup or Players associated with various non cricket sports and nationality of famous sportsmen.

News from the states: The pages that relate to the news from various states should be avoided.

Business Page: If you are new to the whole process of civil services preparation, Skip the page related to economy initially because of its complex nature. Its only after you have a basic knowledge of Money matters, banking, Planning, you should read this page. However if anyone of you has a background in economics, you can consult this page.

Entertainment Page: News items related to entertainment or Film reviews should be skipped. They are of nil importance to your preparation. However information related to several Non Film Art, Theatre or Music Personalities like pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Bhupen hazarika, Habib Tanvir, Birju Maharaj etc. should be noted down since this info is asked in your Indian culture and Personality section in Mains and Current affairs section in Prelims.

How to take out Real information from the Myriad of information: Let us practice this on a real news item that was published in the Hindu on January 18 th: Navy to get overhauled Gorkshov by Year end: Russia will hand over the refurbished aircraft carrier, Admiral Gorshkov, to India before the end of 2012, a senior shipyard official said on Tuesday.“The delivery will take place on December 4, the Indian Navy Day,” Sevmash  Shipyard Deputy CEO Sergei Novosyolov told the RIA Novosti news agency. The 45,000-tonne Gorshkov was now undergoing mooring trials and would begin sea runs at May-end, RIA Novosti said. It entered service in 1987, but was inactivated in 1996 for lack of funds in post-Soviet Russia.

Under a 2004 contract, the overhauled aircraft carrier was to be delivered to India in 2008 but its refit was delayed as Russia demanded tripling of the original price of $974 million, complaining that the cost of renovation had been badly underestimated.The two sides eventually agreed on the new price of $2.33 billion as the Indian Navy admitted that the original deal had been signed merely on a “visual examination in as-is condition” of the ship and a detailed survey later showed that many systems thought to be repair-worthy had to be replaced.The price includes $85 million for a complete set of blueprints that will allow the Navy to carry out repairs at Indian shipyards. Indian officials said Admiral Gorshkov, rechristened INS Vikramaditya, would be a 90-per cent new ship and remain in service for 30 years. Designed to operate only vertical takeoff aircraft, the ship has been extensively remodelled. It has been fitted with a full runway and a ski jump, new engines, new diesel boilers, new generators, electrical machinery, communication systems and distillation plants. The aircraft carrier will be equipped with versatile MiG-29K Fulcrum fighters and Kamov anti-submarine helicopters.With the induction of INS Vikramaditya, India will become the fourth naval power after the U.S., Russia and Britain to operate an aircraft carrier with a displacement of more than 40,000 tons. In another good news, the first of three Talwar-class stealth frigates Russia is building for the Indian Navy is set to complete sea trials this week. INS Teg(Sabre) left the Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad on Tuesday for the final leg of state acceptance trials in the Baltic Sea, said a spokesman for the shipyard. The Indian Navy is to take delivery of the Teg in April, after a delay of two years.

What is the information that you can get from this News items?

“Admiral Gorshkov is a Russian aircraft carrier, now brought by india for 2.33 billion dollars; rechristened as INS Vikramaditya; Indian navy Day is on Dec. 4; Russia is Building three Talwar class Stealth Frigates for India namely INS teg, INS Tarkash and INS Trikand. This is the relevant info that can be copied from this news item. The rest can be discarded. Embedded information that you can study about the same topic later is india Russian defence ties, and what are stealth frigates.”The rest info should be discarded.

Dear Aspirants, I hope this information will prove beneficial to you. Before I end, I am leaving you with this story. Once a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not. He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made o attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.” The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free  from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were. Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before? Failure is part of learning; we should never give up the struggle in l no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.” The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were. Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot
do something, simply because we failed at it once before? Failure is part of learning; we should never give up the struggle in life.

(The Writer is a Researcher, Administrator and Teacher)

Courtesy:  by Mr. Shoaib Noor