Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How to use India year book-2013 for Civil Service exam

India 2013 Yearbook: Introduction and approach to Environment and Biodiversity (EnB) (part 1 of 6)

  1. Utility in Prelims (CSAT)
  2. Utility in Mains
  3. Utility in Interview
  4. Limitations of yearbook
  5. General guidelines while using India Yearbook
    1. #1: Skipping sentences
    2. #2: Organizations
    3. #3: Schemes
  6. Yearbook Chapter Classification
  7. Environment and Biodiversity (EnB)
    1. EnB: organizations
    2. EnB: Important facts for MCQ/2m
    3. Laws/conventions/IR
    4. Environment : Policies
    5. EnB: Schemes
    6. EnB: Overview Topics

The India 2013 (also known as India yearbook) is made up of

  1. Overview of topics (like cement industry, Animal husbandry etc.)
  2. Organizations: structure function (like Competition Commission of India, NABARD etc.)
  3. Policies, laws Schemes, projects, missions. (like MNREGA, PMGSY, NRLM etc.)
  4. Some facts, GK (mostly chapter 1, 2, 3, 30, 32).
  5. Truckload of dates, numbers and tables (most of them useless from exam point of view).

Anyways, India Yearbook has specific utility in each stage of UPSC civil service exam.

Utility in Prelims (CSAT)

UPSC often asks MCQs based on

  1. Functions/ Jurisdiction of organizations: "which of the following ministry / organization looks after xyz matter?" and options given.
  2. Salient features of schemes: "which of the following are correct statements regarding XYZ schemes". Then you're given 2,3 or 4 statements and you've to identify the correct or incorrect statements.
  3. MCQ based on some absolute fact/GK given in yearbook.

Utility in Mains

In last two years, we can see the trend developing

Type Question Yearbook provides
Long questions (20, 25 markers)Often asking you to "analyse" or "evaluate" some topic.Fodder material.
Medium question (10, 12, 15 marks)Salient features of a scheme/policy/organization etc. Or "discuss" xyz thing. Direct answers (with followup point from net/newspapers).
(2, 5 marks)
You're given some name/term, and you've to write a few lines on it.Direct answers. (if the term is asked from yearbook).
  1. The schemes/terms with catchy names/short-forms = important for MCQ (prelims)/2markers (in mains). (e.g.SABLA, UJJWALA etc.) so better just maintain a note/MS excel file of it for quick revisions for prelims.

Utility in Interview

  1. Chapter 30 of yearbook provides you information about your home state and neighboring states = important for profile based questions.
  2. The "organization –functions- jurisdiction" angle very important. Because if Board-member asks you "what should be done to improve electricity output for Industries?" and you say "Power ministry should do xyz thing." But actually that xyz matter falls under jurisdiction of coal ministry / environment ministry = you're ruining your impression.
  3. The "Schemes" angle. If Board-member asks you "what should be done for Development of North Eastern states?" and you say "xyz thing should be done". But that xyz thing is already being done under some scheme for last 10 years. Now Board-member thinks that You're not aware of the realities. Your knowledge/understanding/reading is shallow.

So overall, yearbook helps you in above areas. But at the same time

Limitations of yearbook

  1. For private companies, success = how much money made. Similarly for Government, success = how much money spent. So whenever yearbook talks about a particular scheme, they give you a paragraph/table full of "xyz crores rupees were allotted during 2012-13" and so on….
  2. Such data Is hardly useful for exam (brain's memory storage capacity). And because of such useless data, book is very bulky.
  3. Yearbook is written by Government. They want to paint a rosy picture. So, Yearbook won't generally tell you problems / limitations / shortcomings associated with any scheme/organization.
  4. That's why you've to follow newspaper columns on regular basis and maintain a dairy collecting the fodder points. (which you can cite during mains/essay/interview, when questions about "analyse, evaluate, suggest reforms" etc are asked.)
  5. Coverage is not "exhaustive" for every topic. You'll still need to dig internet/ old newspaper articles to gather more points. (e.g. SEZ, or petro pricing etc.)

General guidelines while using India Yearbook

#1: Skipping sentences

Any statement or table given in yearbook, is important only IF it gives you one or more of the following information:

  1. Some fact/ feature/reason that can be asked in MCQ, 2m or descriptive.
  2. Some fancy name that can be asked in MCQ, 2m (e.g. Annapurna, Swadhar, Ujjwala etc.)
  3. Some Fodder point that can be cited in descriptive answer, essay, interview

^if the statement doesn't contain any of these, then it's a useless statement.

Don't bother finishing the sentence, move to next sentence. Otherwise you cannot finish this 1200+ pages book in time, If you're going to read it line by line, word by word.

some risk taking is also necessary.

#2: Organizations

In the introductory part of every chapter, the yearbook will tell you about the "evolution" that xyz ministry was earlier known as abc ministry and then it was renamed in 1989 and it was merged with def department and so on….skip "evolution", just find what functions are performed by the ministry right now?

The organization that affects more lives, is more important.

Small time organizations are not really important. E.g. Rajiv Gandhi flight training academy etc. (cost benefit is not good + gives diminishing rate of returns + you've to take some risk, else you can't finish syllabus.)

Whenever you read about an "organization" ask yourself

  1. Where does it fall in the hierarchy?
  2. What are the functions of this organizations?
  3. What type of organization is it?= executive, statutory, constitutional, society etc.?
  4. Who is the boss, how is he selected? (although not always relevant).

#3: Schemes

Whenever you read about a scheme/mission/project. Ask yourself following

  1. Who's the boss? (implementing ministry)
  2. Who's the beneficiary?(target group)
  3. What benefits are given?
  4. Is it cash (e.g. scholarship, pension, insurance) or is it kind (e.g. subsidized fertilizer, wheat, rice, kerosene, tools, training) or both?
  5. Is It 100% centrally sponsored scheme?

Don't bother with "year" unless some really big n important scheme. Otherwise just have the timeframe in mind (started in 80s, 90s, 2000s.)

Yearbook Chapter Classification

I've reclassified the Yearbook chapters into following sections (and then given and page number from where each topic has to be prepared)

  1. Environment and Biodiversity (EnB)
  2. Economy
  3. International relations, Diplomacy, Diaspora
  4. Rights issues (education, welfare, basic polity)
  5. Science Tech, Public Health and Agro
  6. Communication, IT, Mass comm
  7. Culture, Tourism, Youth, Sports and Misc GK.

In this article, I'm providing the reading list for "Environment and Biodiversity". Remaining topics given in other five articles separately.

Environment and Biodiversity (EnB)


  1. How to approach Environment and Biodiversity for General Studies (prelims and mains) explained in separate article already (Click me)
  2. NIOS Study material: (click me for download)
  3. IGNOU Study material: (click me for download)
  4. Articles on various topics of [EnB] can be found at
  5. Following list contains the essential ENB topics to be studied from India 2013 (aka India yearbook).

EnB: organizations

ChPg noTopic
12 291 ministry of environment forest
12291Botanical survey of India
12292Zoological Survey of India
12292Forest Survey of India
12296Genetic approval Committee: functions
12300national board of wildlife (dig net)
12305Pollution control board (CPCB)
12310national river conservation directorate
12311Ganga Basin authority (+ pg 740 planning)
12323 NEAMA authority
27958functions of Ministry of water resources
27966water resource council, water board
27970-71 Centrak water Commission functions
27973Central ground water board + RGI scheme
27975-76WAPCOS functions
27976narmada control authority
27978National Perspective plan + Water Development agency

EnB: Important facts for MCQ/2m

12300WCCB functions
12301central zoo authority : functions
12303name of statutory bodies for animal welfare (2nd para)
12319IGNFA, Dehradun trains IFS officers.
12323ECOMARK dig net
27961hydro project II (fact that world bank gives assistance)
27980river links
27974Farakka, Bansagar, Ganga Flood, Upper Yamuna (mostly MCQs)


12294biosphere reserve
12 295 Biodiversity Act + overview on pg 743 planning
12323Green tribunal (NGT) + pg 741 planning + dig net

Environment : Policies

12299forest policy (dig net)
12304environment impact assement (dig net)
12304policy for abetment of pollution (+ more on page 306) + pg 742 planning
27958water policy (2nd para) dig net for more

EnB: Schemes

12 298IFMS (Forest Management)
12301project tiger (dig net) + tables given on pg 301, 302 =important for MCQs)
12302project elephant (dig net)
12306clean technology and hazard/waste Management (upto pg 310)
12312Wetland conservation + Ramsar
12313-14 Afforestation + eco Development
12316Gadgil panel (already discussed click me)
23744National Action plan for climate change (dig net for more)
23745Green India mission +low carbon economy

EnB: Overview Topics

These are the topics that don't fall under conventional classification of "organization / scheme", but nonetheless, they provide good facts and fodder points.

15flora overview
16fauna overview
473climate change and agriculture
12293Mangrove protection + coral reefs + third para on page 317
12323climate change overview
25888-892Ocean science and tech
25892-896coastal and marine ecology+ coast Management program from pg 741 planning
25896climate change research, cloud physics, disaster support
26941Sethusamudram project (dig more on net regarding SC orders)
2374012th FYP and environment + issues require attention @pg 742
27962flood Management
27963ground water Development upto pg 965: mostly fodder

Remaining Five parts

  1. Approach to Economy, Finance, Industry, Commerce, Corporate Affairs (Part 2 of 6)
  2. Approach to IR, Diplomacy, Diaspora, Communication, IT and Mass Comm (part 3 of 6)
  3. Approach to Rights issue, education, welfare, poverty removal schemes (part 4 of 6)
  4. Approach to Science-Tech, Public Health, Agro (Part 5 of 6)
  5. Approach to Culture, Tourism, Youth, Sports, Misc.GK (Part 6 of 6)

For Gist of planning/transport/finance/polity/basic economic data etc. fro India year book-2013, pls visit 

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