Why should you glance through numerous GOVT SCHEMES?
Most questions asked by RBI from ‘Social Issues’ portion of the syllabus in 2018 were based on govt schemes
These questions formed a sizable chunk of the 2-markers asked in ESI
Why should you glance through NUMEROUS govt schemes?
The schemes asked in 2018 were mostly quite old or minor ones, with very few questions from major schemes. Most of us had never come across these schemes during preparation and had to resort to guesswork to achieve a decent score. This introduced the element of ‘luck’ in the 2018 exam
This ensured that the ‘smart’ way of studying only major/ flagship/ recently-in-news schemes did not work for this exam
How to prepare for this section
One way to negate the role of luck is to go through as many schemes during preparation as possible
A systematic way of doing this would be visiting the websites of all Union Ministries and making notes from all the schemes listed there
Personally, I did not follow this ‘brute-force approach’ in 2018, but if I were to write this exam again, this is the approach I would follow
Why should you GLANCE THROUGH numerous govt schemes?
It is next to impossible to memorize (as against glancing through) the salient features of all of the Center’s schemes
Thankfully, the manner in which these questions are asked makes things easier. Generally, there’s a paragraph containing salient features of a scheme and then we are asked to answer questions like the scheme’s name, website, Ministry, other features etc
Glancing through numerous schemes and then REVISING (very important) these a number of times would ensure that given certain features of a scheme, it would be easy to at least guess the correct scheme from the given options. This in turn would make it easier to answer a few other questions as explained in the example from 2018 ESI paper below
Some tips to guess answers in this section (jugaad explained with example)
Scheme asked in 2018 : ‘Scheme Programme for Diaspora Children‘
Details of scheme were given in paragraph with first question asking the scheme’s name. Second question asked the scheme’s website
Tip 1 : Studying the paragraph carefully to eliminate 1-2 options for scheme name. Although I don’t remember all the options, there were only 2 similar sounding scheme names in this case which seemed relevant – ‘Scheme Programme for Diaspora Children’ and say ‘NRI Children Scholarship Scheme’. Difficult to choose the correct answer for now, so move on to the next question based on this paragraph
Note 1 : Note that the abbreviated forms of above 2 scheme names would be SPDC and NCSS; relevance of this explained later
Note 2 : Also note that the answer would be quite obvious to someone who has come across this scheme during preparation. Even if one doesn’t know the details of a scheme, one can tell whether a scheme name indeed exists or is fictional!! Hence the need to visit Ministry websites to get acquainted with various schemes
Tip 2 : Viewing all questions from a particular paragraph together and continuously shuffling between them, rather than treating each question as a standalone entity, further helps eliminate options. For example, roughly the options for scheme website question were – ‘www.njcdindia.nic.in’, ‘www.spdcindia.gov.in, ‘www.spdcindia.nic.in’ and ‘www.desisgpg.gov.in’
Looking at the options in the 2nd question, it becomes clear that the answer to the 1st question is the full form of SPDC because there is no option with NCSS in it!
This has also resulted in successful elimination of 2 options for the 2nd question => double bonaza
Tip 3 : Note that govt websites are gradually moving from ‘nic.in’ to ‘gov.in’ domain these days, especially so since the launch of mygov.in forum. There are exceptions of course, but since I was guessing answers anyway, I placed my bet on ‘spdcindia.gov.in’ and it paid off
Sources and material for govt schemes
For very old schemes such as those from the 1990s like Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana, I recommend the document by Vajiram attached below
For the latest schemes, I recommend Vision IAS schemes compilation which covers schemes up to May 2019 + Vision IAS monthly magazines for schemes after May 2019
For minor schemes, I recommend going through individual Ministry websites if time permits
My notes containing a summary of latest govt schemes up to May 2019 attached below. Vajiram doc on schemes for very old schemes also attached below