#27 Indian Polity : Subject Importance & Previous Year Paper Analysis:

What is polity? What are its attributes? Which paper of UPSC Mains is concerned with polity?

Why should we study polity?

General Studies paper 2 of the Mains deals with questions related to  polity, governance, social justice, and international relations. Studying polity and governance answers most of our questions related to the functioning of our quasi federal System of government in a better way its Constitutional provisions our fundamental rights and duties, functions of the various bodies of the government, along with this it also aids us in getting a crisp knowledge on election process in the country and various other roles and responsibilities of our government. This makes it even more important to study and analyse the subject to understand your role as a civil servant in our democracy.

What kind of questions are asked from polity ? Which topics are more important? How should we formulate our answers for polity?

In the mains paper 2 questions are asked directly. UPSC does not give importance to any one topic in the polity section . It is important not only in mains but in prelims as well. To understand the questions asked we have to keep following points in mind :

  1. The Constitution is the most important topic.
  2. Don’t memorize  the Articles, get a complete understanding of the Articles.
  3. Highlight the important areas
  4. Make detailed notes with maps and references 
  5. Make notes with newspaper articles too which may include new changes in the Bill’s, amendments etc.

To formulate our answers in polity we have to prioritize reading the newspaper . Newspapers contain a lot of information on governance ,policy and various Bill’s passed . A major portion of polity is covered by reading the newspaper daily.

Here we will analyse the number of questions covered in prelims in the previous years:


Number of questions











Here we will analyse the number of questions asked from polity in the Mains paper in the recent year:


Number of questions











Polity questions (2016)

Q1. “The Indian party system is passing through a phase of transition which looks to be full of contradictions and paradoxes.” Discuss.


Q2. Exercise of CAG’s powers in relation to the accounts of the Union and the States is derived from Article 149 of the Indian Constitution. Discuss whether an audit of the Government’s policy implementation could amount to overstepping its own (CAG) jurisdiction.


Q3. Did the Government of India Act, 1935 lay down a federal constitution? Discuss.


Q4. What is a quasi-judicial body? Explain with the help of concrete examples.


Polity questions in 2017 

Q1. “The local self-government system in India has not proved to be an effective instrument of governance”. Critically examine the statement and give your views to improve the situation. (150 words)


Q2. Critically examine the Supreme Court’s judgement on ‘National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014’ with reference to the appointment of judges of higher judiciary in India. (150 words)


Q3. Discuss the role of the Public Accounts Committee in establishing accountability of the government to the people. (150 words)


Q4. Examine the scope of Fundamental Rights in the light of the latest judgement of the Supreme Court on Right to Privacy. (250 words)


Q5. To enhance the quality of democracy in India the Election Commission of India has proposed electoral reforms in 2016. What are the suggested reforms and how far are they significant to make democracy successful? (250 words)


Polity  questions asked in 2018

Q1. In the light of recent controversy regarding the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), what are the challenges before the Election Commission of India to ensure the trustworthiness of elections in India?


Q2. Whether the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) can enforce the implementation of constitutional reservation for the Scheduled Castes in the religious minority institutions? Examine.


Q3. Under what circumstances can the Financial Emergency be proclaimed by the President of India? What consequences follow when such a declaration remains in force? (10)


Q4. Why do you think the committees are considered to be useful for parliamentary work? Discuss, in this context, the role of the Estimates Committee. (10)


Q5. “The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has a very vital role to play.” Explain how this is reflected in the method and terms of his appointment as well as the range of powers he can exercise. (10)


Q6. Individual parliamentarian’s role as the national lawmaker is on a decline, which in turn, has adversely impacted the quality of debates and their outcome. Discuss.


Q7. Whether the Supreme Court Judgement (July 2018) can settle the political tussle between the Lt. Governor and elected government of Delhi? Examine.


Q8. How far do you agree with the view that tribunals curtail the jurisdiction of ordinary courts? In view of the above, discuss the constitutional validity and competency of the tribunals in India.


Q9. How is the Finance Commission of India constituted? What do you know about the terms of reference of the recently constituted Finance Commission? Discuss.


Q10. Assess the importance of the Panchayat system in India as a part of local government. Apart from government grants, what sources the Panchayats can look out for financing developmental projects?


Polity questions in 2019:

Q1. “The Central Administrative Tribunal which was established for redressal of grievances and complaints by or against central government employees nowadays is exercising its powers as an independent judicial authority.” Explain.


Q2. From the resolution of contentious issues regarding distribution of legislative powers by the courts, ‘Principle of Federal Supremacy’ and ‘Harmonious Construction’ have emerged. Explain.


Q3. “Parliament’s power to amend the constitution is limited power and it cannot be enlarged into absolute power”. In light of this statement, explain whether parliament under article 368 of the constitution can destroy the basic structure of the constitution by expanding its amending power? (15 marks)


Q4. “The reservation of seats for women in the institution of local self-government has had a limited impact on the patriarchal character of the Indian political process”. Comment.


Q5. “The Attorney-General is the chief legal adviser and lawyer of the Government of India.” Discuss


Q6. Individual parliamentarian’s role as the national lawmaker is on a decline, which in turn, has adversely impacted the quality of debates and their outcome. Discuss.



Q1.There is a need for simplification of procedure for disqualification of persons found guilty of corrupt practices under the Representation of peoples Act” Comment


Q2.“Recent amendments to the Right to information Act will have profound impact on the autonomy and independence of the Information Commission”. Discuss


Q3.How far do you think cooperation, competition and confrontation have shaped the nature of federation in India? Cite some recent examples to validate your answer


Q4.“Once a speaker, Always a speaker’! Do you think the practice should be adopted to impart objectivity to the office of the Speaker of Lok Sabha? What could be its implications for the robust functioning of parliamentary business in India.


Q5.Rajya Sabha has been transformed from a ‘useless stepney tyre’ to the most useful supporting organ in the past few decades. Highlight the factors as well as the areas in which this transformation could be visible. 


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