RBI Gr. B: Economic & Social Issues [ESI] Preparation

Economic & Social Issues (ESI) is an important section of the RBI Grade B Phase II Examination. It tests a candidate’s knowledge of the Economic & Social concepts (static knowledge) and the various issues related to national economic & social issues (current affairs). As per the changed pattern of Phase 2, ESI will have two separate subsections: Objective (30 minutes) and Descriptive (90 Minutes) with a total of 100 marks. In the following article, we have provided the syllabus, resources, and some tips on how to approach the Economic & Social issues section for your preparation.

Economic & Social Issues Preparation [ESI]

Going through the sample paper released by RBI will give you a fairly good idea of the kind of questions asked in the examination. This will also help you understand how deep you need to go into the topics while preparing. The type of questions asked in the ESI section can be broadly classified as:

i. Static: Conceptual questions that test basic knowledge of different concepts of macroeconomics like national income, the repo rate, bank rate, fiscal deficit, revenue deficit, budget, inflation, banking sector in India, etc.

ii. Dynamic: Questions based on current affairs related to Economic & Social issues.

Most Important Chapters for ESI

  • Introduction to Economics
  • Measurement of Growth
  • Poverty Alleviation and Employment Generation
  • Sustainable Development & Environmental Issues
  • Money & Inflation
  • Role of Economic Planning
  • Economic Reforms
  • Industrial Policy & Labour Policy
  • Monetary Policy & Fiscal Policy
  • Introduction to Financial Market
  • Balance of Payments
  • Foreign Trade Policy
  • International Economic Institutions
  • Regional Economic Cooperation
  • Demographic Trends
  • Urbanization & Migration
  • Social Justice
  • Social Movements
  • Indian Political System
  • Human Development
  • Health & Education

Have a look at the ESI notes & video here


I. Resources for ESI Preparation

After a thorough analysis of last year’s RBI Grade B question paper, we found that most of the questions asked in the Economic & Social Issues section were from the following sources:

Most of the questions were based on facts, figures, numbers, and percentages, that are required to be remembered. Therefore, based on last year’s question paper we concluded that the following are the three most important sources:

However, since the RBI Grade B Exam is unpredictable, you need to go beyond these above-mentioned sources. The above-mentioned sources contain the topics and a brief description of those topics.


II. ESI Preparation Tips

» General Tips

1. Brush up on your basic concepts.

2. Current affairs would dominate here.

3. Know the latest development related to the topics given in the syllabus.

4. Descriptive Questions can be of three types: Completely static, Static + Current Affairs + Completely Current Affairs Based, or Opinion Based.

» Important Chapters for the Objective Paper?

You might expect objective questions from the following topics: 

Get thorough with the basic concepts (fundamentals).

  • Cover these basic chapters of ESI & FM like
  • Measurement of Growth – Various Indicators like GDP, GNP, NNP, National Income, etc.
  • What is Monetary and Fiscal Policy?
  • Various tools are used by RBI (as part of Monetary policy) and the Government as part of Fiscal Policy.
  • Balance of Payments
  • Industrial & Labour Policy 
  • Sustainable Development
  • Indian Political System (important articles)

Take ESI Topic Tests Here

>> Previous Years Questions asked in Phase 2 (ESI)

  1. According to the CS Gender 3000 in 2019: the changing face of companies report, what is the percentage increase in India’s female representation on boards over the past 5 years in the year 2019? – Reports/Policies/Indices.
  2. Which of the following organization has submitted a master plan of $300 m for logistics infrastructure development in Kolkata? – Allocations – Industrial Policy
  3. What is India’s Life Expectancy according to the National Health Profile 2019? – Reports/Policies/Indices – Health.
  4. Which of the following organization releases the World Economic Outlook report? – Reports/Policies/Indices.
  5. As per the UN’s Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index report, India has lifted how many people out of poverty between 2005/6 and 2015/16? – Reports/Policies/Indices.
  6. SEQI was developed by which of the following organization? Reports/Policies/Indices – Education.
  7. Share of exports of products related to India’s MSME during the year 2018-19 stood at? – Allocations – Industrial Policy.
  8. According to SECC, how much percentage of rural households are landless and derive a major part of their income from manual casual labour? – SECC.
  9. The Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum marking its 50th anniversary will be held in which of the following places? – Summits/Conferences – Regional Economic Co-operation/International Financial Institutions.
Key Takeaways from Previous Years’ Questions
  • Current Affairs linked to the chapters given in the syllabus is asked.
  • Few questions are very simple (like Phase 1 level) and some questions go one step deeper.

» Important Chapters for the Descriptive Paper

You might expect some descriptive questions from the following topics:

  • Poverty Alleviation
  • Employment Generation
  • Changes in Industrial Policy & Labour Policy
  • Monetary & Fiscal Policy 
  • Priorities & recommendations of Economic Survey& Union Budget.
  • Indian Agriculture
  • Export & Import Policy
  • Human Development 
  • Social Sectors in India 
  • Health & Education

Have a look at the sample descriptive Q&A here


III. Approach for Economic & Social Issues (ESI) Descriptive Paper

Step 01: Get a grip on all imp. concepts. List them down and make sure to understand each one.

Step 02: Expect questions related to Current Affairs, so track all the important events, reports, schemes, and policies and have key points ready for these. Coverage: Last 6-8 months.

Step 03: Make a list of imp. points mentioned in the Union Budget and Economic Survey. Note the points such that you can use them for any type of questions asked from these two sources.

Step 04: For opinion-based questions which would mostly be asked from the Social Issues section, you need to justify the stand you take. Do not spend time preparing points for these. You can use a few data points noted down while studying current affairs for these answers.

Step 05: Practice at least 12-15 answers before you go for the examination.

Start out by Practising Free Descriptive Tests for ESI


Do not let the length of the above-mentioned list of preparation resources intimidate you. You do not have to read them cover to cover, as that is going to take plenty of time. You need to be smart and selective in your preparation and be selective about reading.

The best way to find out what you need to prepare from these resources is by referring to the RBI Grade B preparation material prepared by experts in the industry after thorough research. This is where RBI Grade B Mock Tests come in handy.

The Mock Tests are created by exam toppers and experts who have extensive knowledge about the exam, its pattern, and syllabus. Taking RBI Grade B Mock Tests will:

  • Familiarize yourself with the pattern, nature, and difficulty level of the exam
  • Help you figure out exactly what you need to focus on for the exam from your study material so you can be smart & selective and save time
  • Determine your speed & accuracy
  • Identify your strengths & weaknesses

Try it yourself! Take Free RBI Grade B Phase 2 Mock Tests.


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