With the onset of globalization and the evolving dynamics post-global financial crisis has raised the importance of economics in the policy and academic discourse. In addition to this at the domestic level the changes in the very structure of the Indian economy is leading to a paradigmatic shift in the policy focus. For instance with the enunciation of “inclusive growth” in the Eleventh FYP, the policies have become more focused towards the welfare of the common man and their rights. These changes are having far reaching impact on the society and polity. Moreover the climate change concerns in the policy and academic circles have also given rise to a gamut of issues. These all developments within and outside the country has not gone unnoticed by the UPSC and hence a frequent change in the syllabus, questions nature and the pattern of the IAS exam.

The change at the Preliminary exam has occurred in the form of CSAT and there is near 100 per cent probability that the Mains pattern may also see a change in near future. In which direction the change will be? Keeping our finger cross the answer to this question can gauge from the analysis of past year papers and the changed syllabus of the Preliminary exam.

The analysis of the past years question papers of the preliminary exam shows that the emphasis on the economy section has increased and more so after the onset of the global financial crisis. The number of questions asked from economy section has increased from 5-6 to 30-35. Moreover the nature of the questions has also become more contemporary, analytical and inter-disciplinary. For instance, see the question below:

• Why is the offering of “teaser loans” by commercial banks a cause of economic concern?

1. The teaser loans are considered to be an aspect of sub-prime lending and banks may be exposed to the risk of defaulters in future.
2. In India, the teaser loans are mostly given to inexperienced entrepreneurs to set up manufacturing or export units.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

• In the Union Budget 2011-12, a full exemption from the basic customs duty was extended to the biobased asphalt (bioashphalt). What is the importance of this material?
1. Unlike traditional asphalt, bio-asphalt is not based on fossil fuels.
2. Bioasphalt can be made from non-renewable resources.
3. Bioasphalt can be made from organic waste materials.
4. It is eco-friendly to use biosphalt for surfacing of the roads.

Which of the statements given above are correct?
(a) 1, 2 and 3 only
(b) 1, 3 and 4 only
(c) 2 and 4 only
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

• In terms of economy, the visit by foreign nationals to witness the XIX common Wealth Games in India amounted to
(a) Export
(b) Import
(c) Production
(d) Consumption

In the above given two questions it can be seen that the question asked are contemporary and analytical and inter-disciplinary in nature. But it does not mean that “evergreen” concepts of economics like instruments of inflation like repo rate, CRR, and like be given a pass by. It is because on the one hand it’s the understanding of these concepts which will help one in solving the question which are contemporary and analytical. On the other hand they will remain the favourite area.

The increase in the number of question being asked from economy section and its offshoots is likely to remain in near future. This can be seen from the change of the syllabus both at the preliminary and mains level. At the preliminary level the heading of the Indian economy has been changed to “Economic and Social Development-Sustainable development.” Since the “inclusive growth” and “sustainable development” are the new paradigm in the policy discourse, which are nothing but the application part of the subject Economics, it is expected that it is likely to remain so, therefore the nature and trend of the questions will also remain the same as it was in 2010 and 2011 preliminary exam. Thus it is essential for an IAS aspirant to keep a tab on the various developments in the global and the Indian economy so as to have a basic and deeper understanding of the concepts and policy formulated for the application part of the economics.

The student should go through

• The NCERT books to understand the basic concepts to handle the contemporary and conceptual questions.

• The study of Economic Survey (to understand the policies and functioning of government related to economic activities) and Census 2011 (to understand the demographic profile of the country) is must.

• The special reports released by UNDP, World Bank, WTO.

• Newspapers and monthly Magazine to remain up to date of the happenings in the economic world.

Prepared by - ANUSHA

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