1. Utility in Prelims (CSAT)
  2. Utility in Mains
  3. Utility in Interview
  4. Limitations of yearbook
  5. General guidelines while using India Yearbook
    1. #1: Skipping sentences
    2. #2: Organizations
    3. #3: Schemes
  6. Yearbook Chapter Classification
  7. Environment and Biodiversity (EnB)
    1. EnB: organizations
    2. EnB: Important facts for MCQ/2m
    3. Laws/conventions/IR
    4. Environment : Policies
    5. EnB: Schemes
    6. EnB: Overview Topics

The India 2013 (also known as India yearbook) is made up of

  1. Overview of topics (like cement industry, Animal husbandry etc.)
  2. Organizations: structure function (like Competition Commission of India, NABARD etc.)
  3. Policies, laws Schemes, projects, missions. (like MNREGA, PMGSY, NRLM etc.)
  4. Some facts, GK (mostly chapter 1, 2, 3, 30, 32).
  5. Truckload of dates, numbers and tables (most of them useless from exam point of view).

Anyways, India Yearbook has specific utility in each stage of UPSC civil service exam.

Utility in Prelims (CSAT)

UPSC often asks MCQs based on

  1. Functions/ Jurisdiction of organizations: “which of the following ministry / organization looks after xyz matter?” and options given.
  2. Salient features of schemes: “which of the following are correct statements regarding XYZ schemes”. Then you’re given 2,3 or 4 statements and you’ve to identify the correct or incorrect statements.
  3. MCQ based on some absolute fact/GK given in yearbook.

Utility in Mains

In last two years, we can see the trend developing

Type Question Yearbook provides
Long questions (20, 25 markers) Often asking you to “analyse” or “evaluate” some topic. Fodder material.
Medium question (10, 12, 15 marks) Salient features of a scheme/policy/organization etc. Or “discuss” xyz thing. Direct answers (with followup point from net/newspapers).
(2, 5 marks)
You’re given some name/term, and you’ve to write a few lines on it. Direct answers. (if the term is asked from yearbook).
  1. The schemes/terms with catchy names/short-forms = important for MCQ (prelims)/2markers (in mains). (e.g.SABLA, UJJWALA etc.) so better just maintain a note/MS excel file of it for quick revisions for prelims.

Utility in Interview

  1. Chapter 30 of yearbook provides you information about your home state and neighboring states = important for profile based questions.
  2. The “organization –functions- jurisdiction” angle very important. Because if Board-member asks you “what should be done to improve electricity output for Industries?” and you say “Power ministry should do xyz thing.” But actually that xyz matter falls under jurisdiction of coal ministry / environment ministry = you’re ruining your impression.
  3. The “Schemes” angle. If Board-member asks you “what should be done for Development of North Eastern states?” and you say “xyz thing should be done”. But that xyz thing is already being done under some scheme for last 10 years. Now Board-member thinks that You’re not aware of the realities. Your knowledge/understanding/reading is shallow.

So overall, yearbook helps you in above areas. But at the same time

Limitations of yearbook

  1. For private companies, success = how much money made. Similarly for Government, success = how much money spent. So whenever yearbook talks about a particular scheme, they give you a paragraph/table full of “xyz crores rupees were allotted during 2012-13” and so on….
  2. Such data Is hardly useful for exam (brain’s memory storage capacity). And because of such useless data, book is very bulky.
  3. Yearbook is written by Government. They want to paint a rosy picture. So, Yearbook won’t generally tell you problems / limitations / shortcomings associated with any scheme/organization.
  4. That’s why you’ve to follow newspaper columns on regular basis and maintain a dairy collecting the fodder points. (which you can cite during mains/essay/interview, when questions about “analyse, evaluate, suggest reforms” etc are asked.)
  5. Coverage is not “exhaustive” for every topic. You’ll still need to dig internet/ old newspaper articles to gather more points. (e.g. SEZ, or petro pricing etc.)

General guidelines while using India Yearbook

#1: Skipping sentences

Any statement or table given in yearbook, is important only IF it gives you one or more of the following information:

  1. Some fact/ feature/reason that can be asked in MCQ, 2m or descriptive.
  2. Some fancy name that can be asked in MCQ, 2m (e.g. Annapurna, Swadhar, Ujjwala etc.)
  3. Some Fodder point that can be cited in descriptive answer, essay, interview

^if the statement doesn’t contain any of these, then it’s a useless statement.

Don’t bother finishing the sentence, move to next sentence. Otherwise you cannot finish this 1200+ pages book in time, If you’re going to read it line by line, word by word.

some risk taking is also necessary.

#2: Organizations

In the introductory part of every chapter, the yearbook will tell you about the “evolution” that xyz ministry was earlier known as abc ministry and then it was renamed in 1989 and it was merged with def department and so on….skip “evolution”, just find what functions are performed by the ministry right now?

The organization that affects more lives, is more important.

Small time organizations are not really important. E.g. Rajiv Gandhi flight training academy etc. (cost benefit is not good + gives diminishing rate of returns + you’ve to take some risk, else you can’t finish syllabus.)

Whenever you read about an “organization” ask yourself

  1. Where does it fall in the hierarchy?
  2. What are the functions of this organizations?
  3. What type of organization is it?= executive, statutory, constitutional, society etc.?
  4. Who is the boss, how is he selected? (although not always relevant).

#3: Schemes

Whenever you read about a scheme/mission/project. Ask yourself following

  1. Who’s the boss? (implementing ministry)
  2. Who’s the beneficiary?(target group)
  3. What benefits are given?
  4. Is it cash (e.g. scholarship, pension, insurance) or is it kind (e.g. subsidized fertilizer, wheat, rice, kerosene, tools, training) or both?
  5. Is It 100% centrally sponsored scheme?

Don’t bother with “year” unless some really big n important scheme. Otherwise just have the timeframe in mind (started in 80s, 90s, 2000s.)

Yearbook Chapter Classification

I’ve reclassified the Yearbook chapters into following sections (and then given ch.no and page number from where each topic has to be prepared)

  1. Environment and Biodiversity (EnB)
  2. Economy
  3. International relations, Diplomacy, Diaspora
  4. Rights issues (education, welfare, basic polity)
  5. Science Tech, Public Health and Agro
  6. Communication, IT, Mass comm
  7. Culture, Tourism, Youth, Sports and Misc GK.

In this article, I’m providing the reading list for “Environment and Biodiversity”. Remaining topics given in other five articles separately.

Environment and Biodiversity (EnB)


  1. How to approach Environment and Biodiversity for General Studies (prelims and mains) explained in separate article already (Click me)
  2. NIOS Study material: (click me for download)
  3. IGNOU Study material: (click me for download)
  4. Articles on various topics of [EnB] can be found at https://mrunal.org/enb
  5. Following list contains the essential ENB topics to be studied from India 2013 (aka India yearbook).

EnB: organizations

Ch Pg no Topic
12 291 ministry of environment forest
12 291 Botanical survey of India
12 292 Zoological Survey of India
12 292 Forest Survey of India
12 296 Genetic approval Committee: functions
12 300 national board of wildlife (dig net)
12 305 Pollution control board (CPCB)
12 310 national river conservation directorate
12 311 Ganga Basin authority (+ pg 740 planning)
12 323 NEAMA authority
27 958 functions of Ministry of water resources
27 966 water resource council, water board
27 970-71 Centrak water Commission functions
27 973 Central  ground water board + RGI scheme
27 975-76 WAPCOS functions
27 976 narmada control authority
27 978 National Perspective plan + Water Development agency

EnB: Important facts for MCQ/2m

12 300 WCCB functions
12 301 central zoo authority : functions
12 303 name of statutory bodies for animal welfare (2nd para)
12 319 IGNFA, Dehradun trains IFS officers.
12 323 ECOMARK dig net
27 961 hydro project II (fact that world bank gives assistance)
27 980 river links
27 974 Farakka, Bansagar, Ganga Flood, Upper Yamuna (mostly MCQs)


12 294 biosphere reserve
12 295 Biodiversity Act + overview on pg 743 planning
12 323 Green tribunal (NGT) + pg 741 planning + dig net

Environment : Policies

12 299 forest policy (dig net)
12 304 environment impact assement (dig net)
12 304 policy for abetment of pollution (+ more on page 306) + pg 742 planning
27 958 water policy (2nd para) dig net for more

EnB: Schemes

12 298 IFMS (Forest  Management)
12 301 project tiger (dig net) + tables given on pg 301, 302 =important for MCQs)
12 302 project elephant (dig net)
12 306 clean technology and hazard/waste  Management (upto pg 310)
12 312 Wetland conservation + Ramsar
12 313-14 Afforestation + eco Development
12 316 Gadgil panel (already discussed click me)
12 321 ENVIS
23 744 National Action plan for climate change (dig net for more)
23 745 Green India mission +low carbon economy

EnB: Overview Topics

These are the topics that don’t fall under conventional classification of “organization / scheme“, but nonetheless, they provide good facts and fodder points.

1 5 flora overview
1 6 fauna overview
4 73 climate change and agriculture
12 293 Mangrove protection + coral reefs + third para on page 317
12 323 climate change overview
25 888-892 Ocean science and tech
25 892-896 coastal and marine ecology+ coast  Management program from pg 741 planning
25 896 climate change research, cloud physics, disaster support
26 941 Sethusamudram project (dig more on net regarding SC orders)
23 740 12th FYP and environment + issues require attention @pg 742
27 962 flood  Management
27 963 ground water Development  upto pg 965: mostly fodder

Remaining Five parts

  1. Approach to Economy, Finance, Industry, Commerce, Corporate Affairs (Part 2 of 6)
  2. Approach to IR, Diplomacy, Diaspora, Communication, IT and Mass Comm (part 3 of 6)
  3. Approach to Rights issue, education, welfare, poverty removal schemes (part 4 of 6)
  4. Approach to Science-Tech, Public Health, Agro (Part 5 of 6)
  5. Approach to Culture, Tourism, Youth, Sports, Misc.GK (Part 6 of 6)