How to Study Economy for IAS Exam

How to Study Economy for IAS Exam
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Here we are discussing strategy for How to Study Economy for IAS Exam? This strategy will help you to prepare prelims and mains exam. 


Economics touches and influences our lives in ways that is hard to comprehend. It is not only our personal decisions but also that of a nation as a whole, which are influenced by economic considerations one way or the other. Given this overarching influence of economics, it is hardly surprising that those aspiring for top administrative positions in the country are expected to be well-versed with certain fundamental concepts and principles of economics. What is of even more important is that they are expected to apply these concepts to analyze certain crucial issues that the country faces. This becomes very important if one is to examine and critically analyze the issues that keep cropping up at the national as well as a global level from time to time. As a starting point, we are providing a few basic readings (only from NCERTs at this stage) that you can complete before going through reference book like Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh. This would not only acquaint you with the discipline of Economics but also make your preparation a lot more enjoyable and fruitful.

How to Study Economy for IAS Exam

To begin with, you can start with the Economics NCERT of Class IX.

  • Read Chapter 1 to understand the Organization of Production, Requirement of Land, Labour and Capital (fixed and working). While going through the chapter, ponder over the in-chapter questions. After a thorough reading, see whether you can answer the questions given as part of Exercises towards the end.
  • Once you complete the above-mentioned tasks, start with Chapter 2 – ‘People as Resource’. This would help you understand the concept of Human Resources. Try to develop an understanding about key terms given in the chapter, like Human Capital Formation (as distinct from Physical Capital), Economic Activities – Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sectors, Quality of Population, basic concepts of Unemployment etc. As with the first chapter, try to answer the questions given within the chapter as well as those given as part of the Exercises.
  • Chapter 3 deals with the issue of Poverty. The term Poverty has been specifically mentioned in the UPSC syllabus. So make an earnest attempt to thoroughly understand this chapter. Try to maintain clarity about key concepts like Social Exclusion and Vulnerability, Issues related to poverty etc. Read the concept of Poverty Line, whether certain groups are more vulnerable to fall below the Poverty Line, Inter-State disparities, global scenario, the Causes of Poverty, Anti-Poverty Measures undertaken and the challenges that lie ahead. Once finished with reading the chapter, you must be able to answer all the nine questions given as part of the Exercise.
  • The final chapter of this textbook is titled ‘Food Security in India’. It explains what Food Security means, why it is needed, who are food insecure, Food Security in India, the concepts of Buffer Stock, Public Distribution System, and Rationing, the current status of PDS, Role of Cooperatives and the like. While reading the chapter, pay special attention to the boxes. They contain some really good pieces of information that a beginner must be thorough with. Answering the twelve questions in the Exercise would ensure that you have thoroughly read the chapter, without missing any key information.
How to Study Economy for IAS Exam

Once you are complete with the Class IX NCERT, move on to the Class X NCERT, which is titled Understanding Economic Development. It has five chapters in all.

  • The first chapter on Development will give you clarity on what development promises and whether different people can have different development goals. Other topics like National Development, Human Development Report, Sustainability of Development, and the like should also be understood well.
  • The second chapter deals with the Sectors of the Indian Economy-Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary in detail. It also talks about the division of these into the Organized and Unorganized Sectors, as well as Private and Private Sectors (in terms of ownership). The Exercises contain a mix of both Objectives as well as Subjective questions. Thus solving them would be pretty fruitful.
  • Chapter 3 titled Money and Credit talks about money as a medium of exchange, its modern forms, loan activities of banks, different credit situations and terms of credit. Since money and banks are something we deal with all the time, this should be fun to read as well as enriching. Moving on, it also talks about the formal sector credit in India as well as the concept of Self-Help Groups for the Poor.
  • Chapter 4 of this textbook relates Globalization to the Indian Economy. Globalization is a recurrent theme as far as UPSC Exam questions are concerned. Lately, questions on Globalization have been focused on its effects on a particular aspect of a nation, say economy or polity or a section of the population, say the elderly or the women. The present chapter would give you a fairly good idea about the basics of globalization and how it has affected the Indian economy. It also briefly deals with the World Trade Organization.
  • The last chapter is on Consumer Rights. Read this to understand the rights of a consumer in a marketplace as well as basics of Consumer Movements. The in-chapter questions, as well as those given towards the end, must be thoroughly studies and an attempt must be made to answer as many as possible. This applies to all the chapters of all the NCERTs!!
How to Study Economy for IAS Exam

Now would be the time to move on to the Class XI NCERT – Indian Economic Development (has been a standard reading for UPSC for eons now!!). The Contents in this book have been written quite clearly, with all the topics that have been covered in each chapter given in detail. It contains four units, which are further divided into ten chapters in all. This textbook has to be read very thoroughly from cover to cover. The expected learning outcomes have been given at the beginning of each chapter. Understanding the expected learning outcomes will help maintain a clear sense of purpose while you are going through each chapter. After having completed reading the chapter, please check whether you fulfill all the learning outcomes mentioned in the beginning. The expectation of what is expected becomes even clearer when you read the Recap and answer the subjective questions given in the Exercise. Once you are complete with the ten chapters of this textbook (having made an attempt to answer all the questions and fulfilled all the learning outcomes), you would have a basic understanding of the discipline of Economics.

How to Study Economy for IAS Exam

Though the Class XII NCERT of Introductory Macroeconomics is also an advisable read along with Chapter 1 of Introductory Macroeconomics, but you can defer it till the time the reading for reference book like Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh begin. This is mainly because students have often found these two to be a bit on the difficult side. This is more so when they have first not been explained the concepts covered in these books. And this is a task best left to our Online Classroom Faculty. Now arises the question of how to complete these readings before the online Classroom Sessions begin. One way to cover these would be to design your personal study program. Try to create a schedule: an orderly, systematic approach is not only beneficial but also critical in an examination like the UPSC CSE. Preferably dedicate a consistent block of time every day of the week. Set a few learning outcomes(as is given in Class XI NCERT, but you can be a bit more elaborate) for a chapter after browsing through it quickly. Then go for a thorough reading. Then see whether the learning outcomes you predicted made sense and helped you answer all the questions of the Exercise. Apart from these, also go through a national daily, preferably The Hindu or The Indian Express. While reading these, pay special attention to news items and editorials that are related to the Indian or Global Economy, in one way or the other. The NCERT readings along with a newspaper (thoroughly studied like a textbook!!) would suffice as Preliminary Readings for the Online Classroom Sessions. Also try not to miss anything interesting that catches your attention – be it while traveling in a train or bus, buying stuff from the market or paying rentals. They could be related to one or the other concept of economics, howsoever remote the connection may be.

So, keep your eyes and ears open and enjoy your readings 🙂

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