There were 20 Compulsory Questions for a total of 250 marks. The first 10 questions were to be answered in 150 words and each were of 10 marks. Questions 11-20 were each of 15 marks to be answered in 250 words each.
The syllabus for GS Paper II can be broadly divided into the following groups:
4. Social Justice
5. International Relations
In the 2018 paper the number of questions asked under each of the above groups is as follows:
1. Governance: FOUR QUESTIONS. The question on EVMs has been continuously in the news after every election. Aspirants who have closely followed the topic and read the editorials and articles in newspapers would be able to write a balanced answer to this question.
Q.6 is a classic example of the dilemma faced by governments between development and environmental protection. The answer has to carefully written by giving supporting examples for both development and environment.
Q.8 on e-governance can be written by aspirants who have a strong theoretical understanding of using the power of this technology. It is more or less a straightforward question.
Q. 18 is also another straightforward question related to Citizens Charter.
2. Constitution: FIVE QUESTIONS. These five questions are related to constitutional topics.
They are based on facts related to the constitution of India and also current developments. Aspirants must be able to link the core theoretical concepts with the latest developments for well written answers.
3. Polity: Four QUESTIONS.
These four questions are related to current political issues. Some like Qs 11 are related to ongoing tussles between various arms of the executive and some are traditional questions based on static knowledge. Qs 3, 4 & 13 are static, fact based questions. For example, Q 13 is related to the political systems of India and USA.
Qs 3 & 4 are related to finance commission and committees in the Indian parliament with special focus on Public Account Committee. To attempt these questions, aspirants have a thorough factual knowledge of the topics.
4. Social Justice: Three QUESTIONS:
Questions related to social justice are always related to current developments in the area. For example, Q.7 related to healthcare demands that the aspirant is familiar with the latest initiatives taken by the government especially focusing on schemes like Ayushman Bharat.
For Q.16, the aspirant must be familiar with the various commissions related to the vulnerable sections of society. The question needs to be answered by providing advantages of merging the various commissions under a common umbrella organization.
In Q 17, the point to be argued is that distribution (and not availability per se) of food is the main cause of hunger. Hence the focus should be on the distribution issues related to food in the country.
5. International Relations: Four QUESTIONS:
Questions related to international relations are generally based on current developments which have an Indian interest/angle to it. Therefore, candidates must regularly update themselves on those international issues in which India has a role/interest.
To sum up this paper analysis, candidates who are conceptually strong in Indian Polity and Constitution, including governance would be at an advantage. Regarding international relations, candidates must always be mindful of the Indian role/interest in current international developments. On social justice, the topics have always to be linked to current initiatives/schemes of the government.