Here are some pointers:
- It should ideally take 5-6 days to go through an issue of CSC if you have recently started to prepare for the exam (apart from newspaper reading on a particular day).
- If you have gone through 7-8 issues of CSC, it should take around 2-3 days to go through an issue (apart from newspaper reading on a particular day).
- Reason: As you read more and more (CSC, books, newspapers), the level of knowledge and understanding increases and therefore, what you need to read and mark naturally reduces.
- I am reading the magazine from Mains point of view. But I will let you know now and then what might be important for the prelims but not so much for the mains.
- What I am trying to convey through this post is not the quality of articles or CSC july issue in particular, but about the orientation required for the exam, i.e. what is relevant when you read newspapers, magazines or books. But again, this is what I did during my prep and needn’t be followed if you disagree.
I am covering the magazine page-wise.
Page 8: This is an excellent article. It is loaded with facts and covers the topic comprehensively. Right from Indus water treaty to all the current disputes have been listed. Any particular project can be asked as a 2 marker: Baglihar dam, Kishenganga project, Tulbul, Nimoo Bazgo, Uri, Chutak, etc. Even this whole water issue may be asked as a 10 or 15 marker. You need not mug up the exact figures of reservoir capacity, etc but need to know what river the project is on and what is the dispute about. So an important article from both mains and prelims point of view.
Page 14: The article is OK. You need to know what the oil spill problem was briefly and that it is termed the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Again, no need to remember exact figures. Emphasise on the ecological effects of oil spills and its impact on fisheries and marine ecosystem.
Page 18: May come as a 2/3 marker. Need to know what G15 is and when it was formed and where the current meeting was held. No need to remember exactly which 15 nations constitute it. Just remember few of the countries and that India is a part of it which is why it is important for us. Just mark the important issues discussed and even if you don’t remember them in the exam, use common sense. There are certain issues which are discussed in every meeting/summit: economic crisis, international trade, developing- developed divide, etc. Also, note some other important forums like IBSA fund, Chiang Mai initiative and PetroCaribe initiative. Look up on the net if you don’t know about them.
Page 22: Not that important article. Just mark what ESCAP is and from the graph that Asia-Pacific is growing at a much faster rate than other regions. But at the same time, from the graph on page 26, note the fact that the social expenditure as percentage of GDP is much lower in this region. This can be used in essay, GS or even pub ad. Do read the India specific paragraph.
Page 28: Another not so important article. Just note what Amnesty International is. It is not a government body and so it is highly unlikely that its report will be asked in the exam.
Page 32: A good article. Know terms like international currency, internationalisation of Rupee, currency convertibility (current account and capital account), Tarapore committee, etc. It is all the more important this year as the news symbol of Rupee has been adopted. (I came across D Udaya Kumar on wikipedia just now. Just remember that he is the designer of the symbol if you didn’t know as well.) Also, no need to remember the exact figures in the pre-conditions laid down by Tarapore committee.
Page 36: A good article. Caste based census is important from mains point of view as well as interview. The article contains good number of facts. When was 1st caste census held, when was last held, the two Backward Classes commission, etc need to be remembered.
Page 40: A good article on capital punishment. This is also an important issue. Facts stated should be remembered. What is the Supreme Court’s stand, how many executions have taken place in India, present situation in India and other countries. Also, note that you should not write in the exam that Amnesty International says so and so. Just write down that 58 countries have abolished or not carried out capital punishment in the last 10 years. So present it as if you know it as a fact. Pros and cons stated are good as it is primarily an opinion based issue. Also, 55 executions have been carried in India since 1947, the lowest among countries that retain it, is a very important thing to remember.
Page 44: Not important. Just remember what PIIGS is.
Page 60: India watch: relevant ones: slum-dwellers, defence tech commission, linking rivers projects, Dholavira (just remember what it is; the article is not relevant) and UID.
Page 64: India & World: the articles in itself are not relevant, just few things here and there: know what TAPI is, what is a sovereign wealth fund (look up wikipedia for better understanding), what is gross national happiness and India- China trade value.
Page 68: World watch: Nile basin pact important for prelims point of view as well. This is another point which you can write in a question on water issues in the mains. SCO important. SOFA important. Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline important (look up wikipedia for a better article on it). IONS important.
Page 72: Constitution watch: Governor article good, especially for pub ad. Latest development. Just go through the constitutional terms. MPLANDS important. Green tribunal bill important.
Page 76: remember terms like LIBOR, ECB, etc. PTA is important. Economic terms on page 78 important. Should know briefly about BASEL norms.
Page 79: National mission on clean power and Banking services to all important.
Page 80: S&T: Should know STS and Atlantis. Akatsuki and Cassini for prelims, not so much for mains. Internet protocol important; IPv4 and IPv6. Look up on the net for more on it.
Page 84: Health and nutrition: none of the articles in relevant for either prelims or mains. But iPS is important. Rest assured there will be better articles in Chronicle where iPS would be covered.
Page 88: Kaziranga national park important. Also, should know what is the difference between national park, wildlife sanctuary and biosphere reserve. Look up on the net to find out. IUCN is important. Look up wikipedia for the IUCN red list classification. INCCA and article on GHGs important. Green India mission and NAPCC very important.
Page 92: States watch: Should know briefly about Laila and Hogenakkal controversy. Other articles not important from UPSC CSE point of view.
Page 96: FDI in India: excellent article. Covers the whole topic in a nice manner. Terms and bodies like automatic route, FIPB, ADR/GDR/IDR, FEMA, FCCB, ECB, Repatriation and remittances, SEZs, EOUs, STPs, etc can be asked for 2/3 marks. India- ASEAN and SAARC + SAFTA has been covered well. Terms like MFN are important. IBSA, BRIC, DDA, DTAA and anti-dumping are of course very important. Pros and cons of FDI are important. The only thing irrelevant in this article was the box on page 104. There is no need to know sectoral caps. Such in-depth knowledge is not required.
Page 106: The article isn’t that good. But the issue of synthetic cell (Cynthia) is important. Newspapers covered the event very well. Look up on the net for a better article if you don’t have one. Genomes, chromosomes, DNA, DNA sequencing, etc are always important.
Page 136: The Qs which are relevant from CSE point of view: Q 3, 6, 7, 10, 16 and 19.
Page 141: People important: Ratan Kumar Sinha, Salil Shetty, Kamla Persad Bissessar, David Cameron & Nick Clegg.
Page 143: None of the awards are important from CSE point of view. But Antrix Corp is important. Look up on wikipedia. That much is enough.
Page 144: ICGS Vishwast important. National Defence University is also important. Kasturirangan Committee is not that important, but just get an idea.
Page 146: National Advisory Council is very important. Biodiversity article is worth a read.
Page 148: Should know about REDD. Look up wikipedia for it.
Page 150: Should know Pele is FIFA’s player of the century.