Newspapers are a bundle of knowledge and are efficient in yielding high results. Many people rely only on various web portals or monthly magazines for current affairs. But newspapers like ‘The Hindu’ should be the main source of information.
It helps in reading fresh news articles rather than cramming all the truck load of current affairs. So choose one or two newspapers and ensure that you are diligent in reading it throughout your preparation time.
Importance of reading ‘THE HINDU’
Out of many newspapers available in the market, ‘The Hindu’ newspaper is quite popular amongst UPSC aspirants. The Hindu, started in 1878 as a weekly, is known for its independent editorial stand and its reliable and balanced presentation of the news over the years.
It provides detailed coverage of important national and international issues. The news is unbiased. Many well known best columnists in the country write for The Hindu newspaper.
Many questions from the UPSC Prelims have been asked straight away from The Hindu articles and editorials.
Prerequisites before starting reading the newspaper
- Aligning with the UPSC syllabus: Always keep a copy of the UPSC Mains Syllabus with you. Try to memorise the keywords of UPSC syllabus. Now read the news which contains those keywords. It will help you in filtering out irrelevant news.
- Previous year papers: Study and analyse the question papers. Try to find the trigger points of the questions. For example see the following question asked in UPSC Prelims 2019.
Ques. With reference to communication technologies, what is/are the difference/differences between LTE (Long Term Evolution) and VoLTE (Voice over Long-Term Evolution)?
- LTE is commonly marketed as 3G and VoLTE is commonly marketed as advanced 3G
- LTE is data-only technology and VoLTE is voice- only technology.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(c)Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Trigger Point - Both technologies have frequently been in news due to various reasons. For example -https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/bharti-airtel-partners-with-nokia-to-automate-data-centre-network/article26385113.ece
How to read
- Filter out gossip/political statements/sports news: There are three segments in a newspaper from an exam point of view - Events (that gives facts and figures), Issues (provides views and reviews that helps in developing an individual's understanding and opinion on contemporary subjects.) and Gossips.
- 'What and how to read' should be clear in the mind of the aspirant in the context of a newspaper. For example you can ignore news like this.
- Give attention to socio-economic issues like Education, Health matters, issues related to vulnerable sections like women, SC/STs.
- Focus on international events, conferences, India’s relations.
- Read the news articles related to Indian Polity, parliament, Vidhan Sabha etc.
- Special focus is to be given to the Supreme Court/ High Court judgements/guidelines
- 90 minutes rule: Aspirants should keep in mind that they should devote a maximum 90 minutes for reading newspapers. Spending more time will eat your time and effort required for GS and optional preparation.
- Editorial page or Op-Ed page.
- Government policies and orders.
- If you find it difficult, it is better to follow my daily news analysis which handpicks relevant current events for your preparation.
Let's take an example of DNA analysis of ‘The Hindu’ published on 1st August, 2020.
Now let us check the news page by page.
Page 1: Front page
Usually you need to just skim through the front page as the news is majorly political in nature. But you can read some news articles like the following:
- News: KVs unlikely to change medium of instruction
- Currently NEP 2020 is in the news. The news is relevant from G. S. Mains Paper - 2 perspective.
- Focus on
- NEP 2020
- Debates around the clause calling for the mother tongue or local language and state government’s powers
- News: Core sector output shrinks 15% in June, fertilizers buck trend
- Context: The output of eight core sector industries shrank for the fourth straight month in June 2020, although the contraction eased to 15%, showing some recovery from the 22?ll in May.
- Focus on
- Eight core sector industries
- Index of Industrial Production (IIP)
Page 2-5: Regional news
Generally these pages contain regional news which are not much relevant for UPSC CSE. But you can focus on a few state governments’ socio economic initiatives. For example see the following news:
- News: No vending machines for sanitary napkins set up under ASMITA scheme: State to HC
- Context: The PIL has sought implementation of “the Menstrual Hygiene Management National Guidelines, 2015”, to recognise sanitary napkins as an essential commodity, and to add it to the schedule of the Essential Commodity Act.
- How is this news important?
- Implementation of “the Menstrual Hygiene Management National Guidelines, 2015”
- ASMITA Yojana in Maharashtra
- Impact of Neglect of Menstrual Hygiene
Pages 6 & 7: Important Editorials
- This is the most important page from the UPSC examination perspective. Study the editorials in the left hand margin as well as the Lead article which give a good analysis of a current issue.
- You can devote 30 minutes to this page alone.
- Many aspirants find it difficult to understand the editorials and devote too much time. Here I am sharing some tips to solve this problem. For example let's take the Lead article.
News: Diluting the EIA process spells a path of no return
- Context: There is an ongoing protest against a proposed new Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification.
- Read the article from Prelims and Mains point of view.
- If you are a beginner, then read the article slowly to understand. Experienced aspirants may skim through the article with Prelims and Mains aspects in mind.
- Prelims related focus:
- What is Environmental impact assessment?
- What are the various processes in EIA?
- What are the various exemptions?
- What are the powers of Gram sabha?
- What are the guidelines in draft EIA notification, 2020?
- Mains related focus:
- Issues related to new EIA policy
- Shortcomings of EIA notification, 2006
- post-facto clearances
- sustainable development
- development vs environmental conservation
Other important editorials of 1st August is- The COVID-19 crisis as a metropolitan battle
News: India’s top metropolitan cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad - now account for nearly half of the country’s cases of COVID-19.
- Focus on
- It is important from GS 2 Mains Governance syllabus
- Local government in India
- Issues with local governance, Metropolitan Planning Committees (MPCs)
- Lack of robust integrated spatial planning
- Janaagraha Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS) 2017 report
- Transparency, accountability and citizen participation
Pages 8-12: These pages contain news in general so you should just skim through the articles. Few articles can be read extensively. For example:
News: ‘Rigorous consultations done before framing new National Education Policy’
- Focus on
- New Education Policy
- Original NEP draft from Dr. K. Kasturirangan’s panel
- Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE)
- The Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) Bill
- Related Constitutional Articles- Article 350 and Article 350 B
News: 1947 pact on Gurkha soldiers redundant: Nepal Minister
- Focus on:
- The 1947 agreement among India, Nepal and the United Kingdom that deals with the military service of Gurkha soldiers.
- India-Nepal relations
- Gurkha regiment
- About the Gurkha tribe of Nepal
Page 14: World news
This page is useful for the International Relations topic of GS2 Mains syllabus.
- Focus on
- United Nations and related news
- International Groupings and conferences like G20, FATF ban on Pakistan, SAARC etc
- India’s bilateral treaties and meetings. E.g. India- China tensions, Chabahar port project
- Role of India in global governance
- Geopolitics of world: How an international event affects India’s National Security, and interests
Page 15: Economics and Business news
This is a very important page for preparation for Indian Economy topic of GS 3 Mains syllabus. Since economy is a concept based topic, you should be well versed with few basic concepts like GDP, Fiscal & Monetary policy before reading this page. Let us take a few examples from 1st August ‘The hindu’.
News: Centre working with RBI on need for loan restructuring: FM
- Context: The government is working with the RBI on the need for restructuring loans to help industry tide over the impact of COVID-19.
- Focus on:
- Emergency Credit Guarantee Scheme
- Three-month loan moratorium by the RBI
News: Puri bats for 100?I in affordable rental housing
- Context: Housing and Urban Affairs Minister came out in support of allowing 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in affordable rental housing.
- Focus on:
- Awaas App
- FDI in real estate: At present, FDI in real estate is allowed via automatic route in under construction residential projects
- Consolidated Real estate FDI policy
Page 16: Sports and Life page
You may avoid reading this section as UPSC hardly asks any Sports news.
Well, that is all about how to read the newspaper for your UPSC preparation. Remember that you need to generate an interest while reading ‘The Hindu’ otherwise it may become boring for you. Be consistent as most of the aspirants miss out on some days of newspaper and repent later.