In the essay paper for UPSC, which carries 250 marks there are two sections: Mostly, one section has topics from the current affairs and other has essays from philosophical background. In this article, we’ll discuss how to tackle the first section which has topics from the current events (social, economic, and political sphere) majorly.
First and foremost thing is to select a topic. Choosing the right topic is equal to winning half of the race, others are secondary things. After choosing the topic, another important expectation is structuring an essay, breaking it up into subheadings/ sub parts . So a good essay needs planning.
There are three steps to it – defining or understanding what the essay is going to be about in very clear terms, brainstorming on the topic and thirdly, devising the outline of the essay. In this way, students will be able to cover a maximum number of dimensions and the dimensions vis social, economic, political etc.
The most important part of the essay is perhaps the introduction. First impressions are very important, and a well thought out introduction will definitely make a positive impression on the examiner.
- Introduction should be to arouse the reader’s interest in the topic and to prepare the reader for what is to follow.
- A good introduction to the essay can be a brief explanation of the essay topic itself. It can be made further interesting by adding to it some personal experience, or some relevant anecdotes or quotes.
- The introduction should not be confusing or lacking in clarity, rather it should be able to immediately clear up any doubts regarding the topic if there is any.
Body of Essay: Elements in an essay / PESTLEE Analysis
- The three basic elements — social, political and economic — form the bedrock of a good essay.
- Political – Economic – Sociological – Technological – Legal – Environmental –Ethics Analysis.(PESTLEE)
- Use PESTLEE Analys is to figure out the various aspects, dimensions, factors etc of any given topic.
- To these, one may add other dimensions like Constitutional etc.
- Another important element is the Good personal experiences or anecdotes used to increase the effectiveness of the essay.
Central idea of the thesis statement
- All CSE essays have a thesis statement. For example, in CSE 2016, the following essay was asked— ‘Innovation is the key determinant of economic growth and social welfare’. Here the central idea is ‘innovation’.
- One is supposed to explore those dimensions of innovation that affect ‘economic growth and social welfare’. In doing so, one should not veer from the central topic of innovation but if possible add a few related ideas which may supplement the overall central idea that not only socio-economic but also other areas like technology and culture are affected by forces of innovation.
- In another essay asked in CSE— ‘Water disputes between States in federal India’ – the central idea is how the water disputes between various Indian states have played out and what are its various dimensions. Constitutional, legal, social and political dimensions, for ex, are a must for addressing this topic. In order to find out the various dimensions of any given topic we should perform a brainstorming exercise.
Structuring of Essay
- Your essay must hold the attention of the examiner and that is possible only if there is an easy flow to your work.
- Always remember that a good essay is a sequential presentation of ideas in temporal form. Therefore, while presenting your ideas, start from the past, discuss the present and give suggestions for the future.
- Upon completion of one paragraph, there should be a very organic transition into the next paragraph.
Balanced and Comprehensive View
- It is advisable that you choose a middle path while writing answers, rather than take sides or present an extreme point of view.
- Avoid having a very narrow point of view about the subject, the broader your vision, the better the impact.
- Do not look at the topic only via one perspective only .
- Explore all aspects, which include social, cultural, economic, political, philosophical, religious, scientific, historical, geographical, and environmental.
Present A View That Is respectful / relatable to others
- Try to look at the topic in totality. Refrain from focusing on just one aspect and making your essay one-dimensional
- It is also important that you respect all views and present the essay in such a manner only.
Conclusion of Essay
In conclusion, you must leave the examiner with a balanced and tactful point of view which captures the essence of the article. You can make three parts in conclusion. In first part, we can mention about government schemes and policies regarding topic. For instance, in topics like Agriculture, we can discuss about PM Fasal Bima Yojana, Soil Health Card, etc. Here, we can discuss positives as well as negatives.
Under the second part, works of NGO’s and other voluntary sector can be mentioned. For example, in Education related essay, work of ASER and Akshaypatra can be discussed.
Third part must show our independent thinking. Here, you can suggest innovative solutions to existing problems. Never end essay on negative note.
In a nutshell, essays on current issues should be balanced with static and current information. One not only analyses the current situation but also gives future vision for the issue in a balanced way. This shows the broad perspective of future civil servants.