2023 PSIR Optional Question Paper
Paper 1 Section A
Paper 1 Section B
Paper 2 Section A
Paper 2 Section B
Analysis in Numbers
|Total no. of questions||56|
|Current Affairs based questions||5|
|Exact PYQ-based questions||29 (52%)|
|Similar to PYQs||13 (23%)|
|Questions on new topics||14 (25%)|
|Exact PYQ-based questions||9||7||8||5||29|
|Similar to PYQs||3||3||2||5||13|
|Questions on new topics||2||4||4||4||14|
The 2023 Mains is just over. And now is the time to prepare for the next one. Ideally, this should be the phase where you should be preparing for next year’s Mains exam, (at least till 15 Jan next year). And then, pivot your preparation toward the Preliminary exam.
It is tempting to remain always engaged in studies since the time is always short. However, it would be unwise not to take a moment to pause and reflect on this year’s PSIR optional paper. So here we are, with the 2023 PSIR Optional paper’s analysis. Please read carefully since it will make a lot of difference in your preparation.
Current Affairs in PSIR Optional Paper
First of all, the current affairs (CA) questions were very few in the paper. There was no CA-based question in 1B. In 2A there was one question about the crisis in Myanmar, which was slightly CA-based. And in section 2B, there were 4 CA-based questions. Except for the Myanmar crisis question, other topics were highly prominent, and nobody would have missed them in current affairs. We had also published articles on all these topics and were also part of our PSIR Current Affairs for Mains 2023 book. The references to these articles are given below.
Out of Syllabus Questions
Except for the following question on the Myanmar crisis, no questions were out of syllabus.
Paper 2-Q2c) How does the regime change and political crisis in Myanmar threaten regional security and peace?
Based on Previous Year Questions
Based on the following analysis of the PSIR 2023 Question Paper and its comparison with PYQs we have made the following observations.
1. Out of a total of 56 questions, 29 have been asked before, directly or indirectly.
2. 13 questions were similar to the questions asked before.
3. 14 questions were from some new topic, which also included 5 questions from current affairs.
The same is story every year. Around 75% of the questions are based on PYQs only. Giving a very high leverage to students who have done PYQs during their preparation.
What should you do?
We will recommend the following course of action for the students preparing for next year.
First of all, complete the static syllabus thoroughly. You should keep in touch with current affairs, but no need to give it a special time unless your static syllabus is thoroughly done. Only 5 CA-based questions were asked this year. One can score very good marks even when he’s not able to do CA. Of course, awareness of recent happenings is needed for value addition, but static content is a prerequisite.
Second thing, pay excellent attention to PYQs. Study them along with your regular reading of the topic at hand. Around 75% of questions repeat. Given the optional nature of questions, PYQs can cover almost 90% of your answered questions. Our PYQ books i.e. PSIR PYQs 1995 onwards (unsolved) and PSIR PYQs Model Answers (2013 onwards) will be your great assets in the process. Please consider them seriously.
For current affairs, we recommend the regular reading of the newspaper. For any big development in IR add important points in your notes and move on. This should be done once the issue has been totally settled (like the ongoing India-Canada issue not settled yet). Keep a tab on CA articles from our site as well. We publish few, but important articles from the PSIR perspective. (Join us on Telegram).
Apart from this, there is nothing else you need to do. Have confidence in your own strategy and execute it well. Best wishes!
Current Affairs Based Questions
NO CA question in 1B 🙂
2A – Myanmar Crisis question.
1. Covid-19 WTO negotiations (Que. 5c)
Reference article from our website
3. India Afghanistan (Que. 7b)
4. West Asian QUAD (Que. 8b)
Topic-wise Classification of Questions and PYQ Reference
PSIR Paper I – Section A
Topic 1: Introduction to Political Theory
- 1a) Normative approach in political science (10) [asked in 2020]
- 1e) Decline of political theory (10) [asked in 2018]
- 2c) ‘Credo of Relevance’ in post behavioralism advocates the importance of action science. Analyze. (15) [2016, que. on post behaviouralism]
Topic 2: Theories of State
- 3c) Eurocentrism is both the target and the motive force of the post-colonial political theory. Discuss. (15) [partly there has been questions on post-colonialism in 2020 & 2011, but its connection with Eurocentrism has been asked the first time]
Topic 3: Justice
- 2b) Rawls’ idea of ‘liberal self’ is too individualistic. Explain, in this context, the communitarian critique of Rawls’ theory of justice. (15) [similar question on communitarian justice in 2019 & 2014]
Topic 4: Equality
- 3b) Affirmative action policies draws as much strong criticism as strong support. Analyze this statement in the context of equality. (15) [2012, 2016, 2021 questions on affirmative action]
Topic 5: Rights
- 1b) Multicultural perspective on rights (10) [2012, 2017 direct questions on multiculturalism]
Topic 6: Democracy
- 2a) Success of contemporary democracies lies in State limiting its own power. Comment. (20) [A genuinely new question. but the connection of democracy with FRs is not new 2021, 2018]
Topic 7: Power
- 1d) Foucault’s concept of power (10) [asked in 2010]
Topic 8: Ideologies
- 3a) Fascism displays an ambivalent stance towards parliamentary democracy. Explain. (20) [the relation between Fascism and parliamentary democracy has been asked first time. But there have been questions on fascism and democracy 2014, 2008]
Topic 9: Indian Political Thought
- 4a) Buddhist thought on Dhamma facilitates the emancipation of political action. Explain. (20) [2022, almost similar question]
- 4c) Sri Aurobindo’s idea of Swaraj has deep significance in the Indian social, cultural and political history. Analyze. (15) [strait forward question, related to 2022 question ]
Topic 10: Western Political Thought
- 1c) State of Nature as State of War (Hobbes) (10) [2016, similar question on Hobbes & State of Nature]
- 4b) “The legal subordination of one sex to another is wrong in itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human development.” (J. S. Mill). Comment. (15) [Last year, 2022, there was a question on Mill and women suffrage, otherwise Mill and women rights have not been asked before]
PSIR Paper I – Section B
Topic 1: Indian Nationalism
- 5d) Satyagraha and Indian Nationalism [2015, 2012 similar questions]
Topic 2: Making of the Indian Constitution
- 5a) Imprint of the British Constitution on the Indian Constitution [first time they’ve asked a question on the direct relation between two constitutions]
Topic 3: Salient Features of the Indian Constitution
- 6c) The Constitution of India is the ‘cornerstone of a nation’ (Granville Austin). Analyze. [very general question]
- 7b) The main goal of the fundamental duties in the Indian Constitution is to generate civic responsibility among the citizen. Explain. [connection between FRs and DPSPs. Have been asked in 2021 & 2005]
Topic 4: Principal Organs of Government
- 8c) Do you agree that over the years the Supreme Court has become a forum for policy evolution? Justify your answer. [almost the same questions, albeit in different words were asked in 2018 & 2017]
Topic 5: Grassroot Democracy
- 5c) Functions of District Planning Committee [first time a direct question on District Planning Commitee]
- 6a) Discuss the major provisions of the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act. Do you think that the Act remains an ‘unfulfilled dream’? Argue your case. [There have been repeated questions on 73rd AA, but a direct question on the 74th AA is first, (the 2020 question on the 73rd and 74th AA only discussed the women empowerment aspect)]
Topic 6: Statutory Institutions/Commissions
- 5e) National Commission for Minorities [2017 same question]
Topic 7: Federalism
- 7a) Does the actual working of Indian federalism conform to the centralizing tendencies in Indian polity? Give reasons for your answer. [similar questions in 2020, 2016]
Topic 8: Planning and Economic Development
- 6b) How does NITI Aayog as a ‘policy think tank with a shared vision’ visualize the reorganization of planning in India? Justify your answer. [not asked before]
Topic 9: Caste, Religion and Ethnicity in Indian Politics
- 8a) The rise of caste politics is to be attributed to both regional aspirations and electoral manifestations. Comment. [similar questions in 2021 & 2011]
Topic 10: Party System
- 8b) The decade 1989-1999 has created an epochal shift in the Indian party system at the national level. Identify the major national trends in the party system during this era. [not asked before, but the topic is not new]
Topic 11: Social Movement
- 5b) Environmentalism of the poor [There have been questions on the environment before. This connection they’ve asked first time]
- 7c) Dr. Ambedkar’s clarion call, “Educate, Agitate and Organize”, strategizes the Dalit movement towards achieving civil liberty. Discuss. [not asked before, also a part of 1A syllabus]
PSIR Paper II – Section A
Topic 1: Comparative Politics
- 1a) What are the crucial functions of empirical political theory in Comparative Politics? [Not asked before]
Topic 2: State in Comparative Perspective
- 1b) What are the difficulties faced by a political theorist in comparing the States? [Not asked before, but a general question on the topic]
Topic 3: Politics of Representation and Participation
- 1c) How does democratic politics construct citizenship? [A question about the relationship between democracy and citizenship. Not asked before, but the topic is not new]
Topic 4: Globalization
- 4a) Critically examine the impact of globalization on the developing countries of the world. [Similar questions were asked in 2022,2020 and 2010]
Topic 5: Approaches in IR
- 2b) In what ways the functionalist approach in International relations help in maintaining peace and order in global politics? [General question on the topic. Similar to questions asked in 2018 and 2016]
- 4b) What do you mean by offensive and defensive realism? [Both types are covered repeatedly in 2021, 2018, 2015, and 2008 questions]
Topic 6: Key Concepts in IR
Topic 7: Changing International Political Order
- 2a) Discuss the relevance of the normative ethos of the Non-Aligned Movement in magnifying India’s soft power in pursuit of her national interest. [There is a limited scope of NAM questions, This question should have been in section B. Nonetheless, similar questions have been asked before]
- 3a) “During the Cold War, the Non-Aligned Movement tried to become a ‘Third Force’ in world politics, but failed because it was too large and unwieldy.” Discuss. [Question on the failure of NAM, emphasising one particular aspect. Have not been asked before specifically, but doing PYQs will cover this topic as well]
- 4c) Discuss the various constraints on American hegemony today. Which of these are likely to become more prominent in the future? [Asked in 2021 and 2013]
Topic 8: Evolution of International Economic System
Topic 9: United Nations
- 1d) What is the structure and functions of International Court of Justice? [Was asked last year, 2022 only. Also in 2019]
- 1e) Discuss the structure and functions of UN Security Council? [There have been multiple questions on UNSC in Section A&B. This is pretty much covered in PYQs]
Topic 10: Regionalization
- 2c) How does the regime change and political crisis in Myanmar threaten regional security and peace? [A surprise question. Most of the students would not have done the topic in detail. The question probably has ASEAN origin.]
- 3b) Account for the rise of European Union as a highly influential regional organisation. [Exact questions were asked in 2015 and 2004]
Topic 11: Contemporary Global Concerns
- 3c) Narrate the various ways in which rapid environmental degradation is posing a serious threat to human security. Illustrate your answer with suitable examples. [A general question. Any reading of the environment starts with this. Can be answered on the basis of GS knowledge]
PSIR Paper II – Section B
Topic 1: Indian Foreign Policy
- 5a) Explain major features of India’s foreign policy in the 21st century. [Similar questions in 2022, 2021, 2018, 2013, 2012, 2011]
- 8a) What are the external determinants of the Foreign Policy of a State? [Not asked specifically, but the topic gets covered in PYQs]
Topic 2: India and NAM
Topic 3: India and South Asia
- 5b) What are the reasons for lack of ‘regionness’ in South-Asia? [Asked in 2021, 2017, 2016, 2015]
- 5d) Why do ethnic conflicts and insurgencies continue to remain a major impediment to regional cooperation in South-Asia? [Covers one aspect of the above question. Asked in 2011 and 2009]
Topic 4: India and Global South
- 5c) Why is the compromise reached at WTO regarding the Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing not a Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver? [CA based question. But the topic was covered in the 2021 question as well]
- 5e) What diplomatic steps has India taken to articulate the interests of the Global South in International Politics? [Not asked before, but the theme of the question is not at all new]
- 8c) Discuss the major drivers of India’s interests in Africa. [Exact question was asked in 2021. Similar questions in 2020, 2017]
Topic 5: India and Global Centre of Power
- 6a) Arms trade, economic ties and congruent geo-political interests are no longer the three pillars of India – Russia relationship in the emerging strategic context. Comment. [Multipolar world order, India-Russia relations in the context of US and China was to be discussed in this question. Not asked before. Our two articles on India Russia and China covered the issue very well. (links given above)]
- 6c) Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) performs an important role in India’s strategic balancing act to withstand the dominance of China in Asia. Discuss. [Asked in 2021]
Topic 6: India and UN
- 6b) Discuss the importance of India’s role in UN peacekeeping operations as a ground for its claim to a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. [Have been asked umpteenth times, no need to mention years also]
Topic 7: India’s Nuclear Doctrine
- 7a) “India’s Nuclear policy is deeply influenced by its cultural beliefs and the pragmatic approach of its foreign policy.” Discuss. [A general question on India’s Nuclear Policy. ]
Topic 8: Recent Developments in IFP
- 7b) What steps has India taken to regain its foothold in Afghanistan since the Taliban has taken over the country since August 2021. [There have been questions on Afghanistan in 2021, 2020, 2014]
- 7c) What are the challenges and limitations in India-Iran relations? [First time a direct question on Iran, there have been questions on West Asia in general]
- 8b) Discuss the significance of “West Asia Quad” in the light of India’s “Look West” policy? [CA based question, in light of Abraham Accords. Was covered nicely in our article on the topic (link given above)]