How to Prepare from Newspaper Editorials for IAS

How to Prepare from Newspaper Editorials for IAS

Editorials/Op-Eds in newspapers are useful sources for adding analytical points to the facts on any issue. For example, while discussing any new law, you can read about the various provisions of the law from the summary of law itself but to analyze it further, you will need to understand the pros/cons. merits/demerits, or advantages/limitations, shortcomings etc. of the law. It is here Editorials/Op-Eds and other Columns are useful (as some knowledgeable people write such columns).

We will explain with examples, how to make notes from recent columns in The Hindu:

  1. Consider the "Without land or recourse" column in The Hindu from 23rd February. It is in relation to the SC direction to the states to evict those in forests whose claims were rejected under the Forest Rights Act. The column makes a few critical points about the order as well as the process of claims assessment. So it is very useful in any question in relation to analysis on the Act as well as its execution and implications. Points you could note include:
    • Implications - eviction without recourse for a large number of people
    • Procedural lapses in assessins claims - even quote Xaxa report
    • Criticism of the order - violates fundamental rights, against constitutional provisions for tribals, against earlier SC judgement (samata case), judicial overreach, finality of the order ending any recourse etc.
    • Other points - How SC is upholder of Constitution and also must protect the vulnerable people etc. (not to remember but useful practice in writing conclusions)
  2. Consider the "De-odourising sewage" column in The Hindu from 25th February. While the main issue it talks about, that is Nitrogen Pollution, may itself not be important enough yet for this exam, there are points you could take down from there, including:
    • Facts on Water-borne disease risk in India (by World Bank) and Water issues (from Niti Aayog Index)
    • Sources of nitrogen pollution (urea usage and untreated sewage)
    • Issues with sewage treatment in India
    • How not enough attention is being paid to sewage treatment even under AMRUT and Smart Cities schemes

Note: It is important to understand that not all Eds/Op-Eds are useful. With experience, you will learn to avoid the political columns, propaganda as well as those unrelated to the exam. A lot of opinion columns across newspapers are written by people with similar thought process. So you will have to learn to quickly glance over the columns to see if they have any new useful points.

Practice the above explained process and after every week, go through your notes and assess them. Gradually, you will become very good at it and you will also save a lot of time/effort compared to when you were reading all or none of them.

Good Luck!