How can I boost my preparation for UPSC Mains by reading The Hindu daily?

The importance of current affairs seems to be increasing every year not just for the Main exam but in order to clear the Prelims stage too as the number of questions asked based on current issues has seen a consistent rise. In addition to The Hindu other prestigious newspapers such as The Indian Express, and business-standard help students understand the issues facing the nation.

It is important to note that newspapers are not printed exclusively for civil service aspirants, rather they are printed for regular readers. So, it becomes your job to first find out what news articles or issues mentioned in newspapers cater to your needs, i.e., clearing the Civil Services examination. So it is not a matter of which or how many newspapers you read but more important is the fact that how you read them. I would say that it would be better to make a judicious mix of the available newspapers that you have as sources and then pick up relevant information that is connected to the syllabus of the UPSC.

Always keep the Mains syllabus handy while reading the newspaper and link the themes mentioned in the syllabus with the current issues mentioned in the newspapers. When reading an article such as "Should the NDPS Act be amended?" which highlighted the issues of drug abuse aspirants must keep in mind the recommendations that the Ministry has proposed such as decriminalizing the possession of narcotic drugs in smaller quantities for personal use and the persons using drugs in low quantities must be treated as the victim. This issue is relevant for Paper-II. You will be able to link current issues with the syllabus and judge their importance from the perspective of the mains only once you know the syllabus thoroughly.

To make your job easier we at KSG have developed a few tools that will help you in preparing for current affairs without wasting much time on collecting news articles and preparing notes from the newspaper. These tools are freely available on our website and you don't need to be a KSG student to take advantage of these resources. The first is Current Crux (https://www.ksgindia.com/study-material/newspapercrux.html), which lists the different headlines which need to be read by students from that day's newspaper. So, the cumbersome job of searching through the newspaper and sifting through articles to find articles relevant to the syllabus is done by us. You can simply read the articles mentioned on the Crux saving you a lot of time.

The other resource is the Daily newspaper headlines posted on the website (https://www.ksgindia.com/study-material/today-s-headlines.html). These articles are compiled from multiple newspapers by a dedicated research team. So, you are basically preparing current affairs from multiple news outlets without spending much time looking for them. 

Similarly, the monthly magazine called Current Connect is another such resource (https://www.ksgindia.com/study-material/current-connect.html). Here, you will find not just the month's current affairs but also an analysis of each news from both PT and Mains perspective. Flowcharts and mind maps are used to help you understand concepts in a precise manner. Read this magazine in a detailed manner and revise it consistently to retain the knowledge you have attained.


A brief list of sections which need to be covered thoroughly from the newspaper are:

 

The politics and governance section 

  • You should be aware of the various policies, reforms, and amendments undertaken by the GOI.
  • Aspirants must go through the important bills in the parliament and analyse them critically. 
  • Major schemes of the government, its features, the reasons for introducing them and the issues surrounding its implementation.
  • Students must focus on verdicts of both the Supreme Court and high court.

 

The National News section 

National news plays an important role from the perspective of managing government affairs, implementing and supervising the establishments of government policies. Always try to pay attention to the implications of the events. For example, if the calamities occurred then there arises a need to know the reason why it happened and in which way the nation lagged behind in disaster management plans. There is no need to memorize the number of deaths, just focus on future policy measures to avert such losses.

 

Developments in Science and Technology

The UPSC aspirants must be abreast with the latest scientific discoveries and research being conducted at the national and international levels.

For example, The article was written on the topic “Why India needs a Ministry of Energy”. This article was published in The Indian Express on Nov. 2021 Nov. So, aspirants must be aware of the cause, issues, and challenges of energy security. 

The Economy Section 

The UPSC aspirants must go through the major press releases by government bodies such as the Securities Exchange Board of India, Reserve Bank of India, Planning Commission, Agriculture, Industry, Banking reforms, and reforms in the economy. 

The candidates willing to appear for the exam must know about the important reasons behind the trends seen in various indicators such as CPI, IIP, and GDP. 

For example, The editorial published in The Indian Express in 2021 on the article The MSP that rural India needs: Maximum support policy. The aspirants must focus on issues associated with the Minimum support price.

 

The International Relations Section

  • International news has its importance; therefore aspirants must focus on treaties and agreements on bilateral visits. 
  • The reports and publications of international organizations such as ASEAN, WHO, IMF, UN, etc. 
  • Apart from the reports, students must focus on political events that comprise international ramifications such as uprisings and military coups. 
  • In addition to the above information, students must keep in mind the visits of the prime minister and president. 
  • For example The editorial on the article “The Push US-India Trade Needs”. This article was published in the Indian Express in 2021. Aspirants must go through the India US Trade policy forum and opportunities associated with the field of bilateral trade. 

 

News related to Environmental issues and climate change

  • Focus on climate change and global warming
  • Reasons for environmental degradation and their solutions.
  • Habitat destruction of wildlife

 

It is important to note that not all articles mentioned in the newspapers are relevant from the UPSC perspective. There is some news that must be avoided while preparing for the UPSC exam. 

  • Aspirants must avoid entertainment news. 
  • The news, related to amendments made in the States unless it has no greater implication on the national level. 
  • Regional news can also be avoided. 
  • Articles overly political in nature can be avoided

 

The above information focuses on the section on which students need to concentrate. However, aspirants can accelerate the pace of preparation in UPSC through engagement in editorials and information provided by KSG on different platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and live sessions delivered by DR. Khan.

While preparing, the target should be to stick to important materials and the main aim of reading must revolve around clearing the exam and not just pleasure. The editorial page is significant. Aspirants should be mindful of the importance of these articles and understand an issue from all perspectives whether it is positive or negative. The in-depth knowledge of a particular event is of no importance unless you actually remember it in the examination hall. So constant and consistent revision of monthly magazines is a prerequisite. Understand the key figures and problems to derive implications for society and the country as a whole. 

These are the parameters based on which you should be picking up information. Instead of getting into the ‘leave this and catch that’ syndrome, focus on picking up useful information. I hope the information and tips shared will help you in reading newspapers more efficiently.