Welcome to Lotus Arise! Here, you will find the complete UPSC IAS syllabus with PDF for the Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The Civil Services Examination is widely considered one of the toughest and the most prestigious examinations conducted in India.

To understand the UPSC exam, one needs to understand the UPSC syllabus. This helps to eliminate wasteful efforts like reading unnecessary topics leading to a loss of time and keeps one strictly aligned to the expectations of the UPSC from day one.

The civil service exam is conducted by UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) every year to recruit officers for various government posts.

UPSC is one of the most challenging examinations in our country because of its unpredictable nature.

There are three stages of this examination:

  • Prelims
  • Mains
  • Interview

UPSC Prelims Syllabus

As we have discussed above that Prelims is the first stage of the UPSC Exam. UPSC Prelims comprises of two objective type papers (General Studies I and CSAT) for a total of 400 marks. Both papers are usually held on the same day in two sessions. CSAT or Civil Services Aptitude Test is actually the second paper of preliminary General Studies of the IAS syllabus introduced in 2011. The CSAT was introduced to end the use of a scaling system for varying subjects in the General Studies paper of the IAS mains examination or whole as the IAS syllabus.

The benefit of introducing aptitude tests in the UPSC syllabus is that it assesses your logical reasoning and thinking performance. It is based on multiple-choice questions answered in exam conditions.

In 2013, some changes are made in the format of the IAS Syllabus. It’s for the first time the Indian Forest Service (IFS) aspirants were combined with the Civil Services aspirants and are made to take the preliminary examination. Those Indian Forest Service aspirants who may eventually clear the first stage of the exam, they have to write the separate exam in place of the IAS Mains examination for their Mains Indian Forest Service examination.

There are several other changes in the pattern of the IAS Mains examination from 2013. Now there are four compulsory papers of General Studies of the IAS mains examination and only one optional subject instead of two, one compulsory essay paper is also there. Besides, English and one language paper are of only qualifying nature.

Giving an all-around approach to the IAS syllabus is the key to success for both the preliminary and the IAS mains examination.

PaperSubjectsTotal MarksDuration
IGeneral Studies (GS)2002 hours
IICSAT2002 hours
UPSC Prelims Exam PatternGeneral Studies IGeneral Studies II or CSAT
Number of questions10080
Negative MarkingYes (1/3rd of the maximum marks for the question)
-0.66 marks for every incorrect answer
Yes (1/3rd of the maximum marks for the question)
-0.83 marks for every incorrect answer
Language of examEnglish/HindiEnglish/Hindi
Cut Off marksCounted for Merit. Cutoff varies every year.33% qualifying criteria (66 marks)

Syllabus for GS Paper (Prelims Paper I)

  • Current events of national and international importance.
  • History of India and Indian National Movement.
  • Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
  • Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  • Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.
  • General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization
  • General Science

Syllabus for CSAT Paper (Prelims Paper-II)

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision-making and problem solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc. – Class X level)

UPSC Mains Syllabus

  • The Mains examination constitutes the 2nd phase of the Civil Services Examination. Only after successfully qualifying in the prelims exam would the candidates be allowed to write the IAS Mains.
  • The Mains exam tests the candidate’s academic talent in depth and his/her ability to present his/her understanding according to the requirements of the question in a time-bound manner.
  • The UPSC Mains exam consists of 9 papers, out of which two are qualifying papers of 300 marks each.
  • The two qualifying papers are:
    • Any Indian Language
    • English Language Paper

The papers on Essay, General Studies, and Optional Subject of only such candidates who attain 25% marks in both the language papers as a minimum qualifying standard in these qualifying papers, will be taken cognizance of, for evaluation.

In case a candidate does not qualify in these language papers, then the marks obtained by such candidates will not be considered or counted.

PaperSubjectMarks
Paper-IEssay (can be written in the medium of the candidate’s choice)250
Paper-IIGeneral Studies – I (Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society)250
Paper-IIIGeneral Studies – II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations)250
Paper–IVGeneral Studies – III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management)250
Paper–VGeneral Studies – IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)250
Paper–VIOptional Subject – Paper I250
Paper–VIIOptional Subject – Paper II250

UPSC Mains General Studies Paper-1 Syllabus

Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society:

  • Indian culture covers the salient features of Literature, Art Forms, and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
  • Modern Indian history includes significant events, personalities, issues during the middle of the eighteenth century until the present
  • Various stages and important contributors and contributions from different parts of the country in ‘The Freedom Struggle’
  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country
  • History of the world includes events, forms and effect on the society from 18th century like world wars, the industrial revolution, colonization, redrawal of national boundaries, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism, etc
  • Salient aspects of Diversity of India and Indian Society
  • Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty, and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and remedies
  • Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism
  • Distribution of key natural resources across the world including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent; factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world including India
  • Effects of globalization on Indian society
  • Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone, etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes
  • Salient features of the world’s physical geography

UPSC Mains General Studies Paper-2 Syllabus

Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations:

  • Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions, and basic structure
  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues, and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein
  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions
  • Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, the conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these
  • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions, and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies
  • Structure, organization, and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity
  • Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions, and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
  • Health, Education, Human Resources
  • Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
  • Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency, and accountability, e-governance– applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures
  • Issues relating to poverty and hunger
  • Role of civil services in a democracy
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  • India and its neighborhood- relations
  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

UPSC Mains General Studies Paper-3 Syllabus

Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management:

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development, and employment.
  • Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management.
  • Government Budgeting.
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
  • Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers
  • Economics of animal-rearing.
  • Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
  • Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions
  • Land reforms in India.
  • Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
  • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.
  • Investment models.
  • Science and technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology;
  • Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
  • Conservation, environmental pollution, and degradation, environmental impact assessment
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
  • Disaster and disaster management.
  • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
  • Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
  • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, the role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cybersecurity; money-laundering and its prevention
  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate
  • Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism

UPSC Mains General Studies Paper-4 Syllabus

Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude: This paper includes questions to check the candidate’s attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life, and his/her problem-solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him/her while dealing with society. Questions may utilize the case study approach to determine these aspects and covers area:

  • Ethics and Human Interface- Essence, determinants, and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships
  • Human Values- lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers, and administrators; the role of family, society, and educational institutions in inculcating values
  • Attitude- content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion
  • Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance, and compassion towards the weaker-sections
  • Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance
  • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world
  • Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration- Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations, and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance
  • Probity in Governance- Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information; sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption
  • Case Studies on the above issues

IAS Interview/UPSC Personality Test (275 Marks)

  • Candidates who qualify the UPSC Mains Exam will be called for the ‘Personality Test/Interview’. These candidates will be interviewed by a Board appointed by the UPSC.
  • The objective of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in the civil services by a board of competent and unbiased observers.
  • The interview is more of a purposive conversation intended to explore the mental qualities and analytical ability of the candidate.
  • The Interview test will be of 275 marks and the total marks for written examination is 1750. This sums up to a Grand Total of 2025 Marks based on which the final merit list will be prepared.
Download UPSC Full Syllabus with Notification 2020 (English)Download UPSC Full Syllabus with Notification 2020 (Hindi)
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