UPSC Prelims and Mains Syllabus 2020 in PDF Format

Before you start the preparation or select the books, it is important to understand the subject and syllabus, so you can make the right decision.

UPSC Civil services examination is conducted in two stages, the first one is prelims and the second one is mains. It is extremely important to go through the syllabus before you start the preparation.

Also, checkShort Notes based on NCERT Books for UPSC Preparation 

UPSC Prelims Syllabus for Paper I

(200 marks) Duration: Two hours (Counted for the merit rank in the Prelims)

If you look at the syllabus of civil services prelims examination, then you will find that there are two papers consisting of 200 marks each.

While the marks of paper – 1 will be counted in the merit list of prelims whereas the paper – 2 is of qualifying nature.

It is simple to cover the paper 2 of prelims syllabus with a single book but most of the aspirants are confused with the topics of paper 1 in prelims, that’s why we have provided the breakdown of these topics and accordingly selected the materials.

Topics Broad Meaning
Current events of national and international importance. Here you need to look at the newspaper and divide the Important events as national & international. Check example here
History of India and Indian National Movement. History of India is a broad term, which means you have to cover Ancient, Medieval and Modern Indian History. Indian National Movement is the part of Modern Indian History. It also includes culture and Society.
Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World. We think this one is simple to understand because they have clearly mentioned the three important branches of both India and World Geography.
Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc. For this you need to focus on two things, the first one is the static portion of Indian Polity and Governance, the second source will be current affairs.
Economic and Social Development Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc. This topic can be covered with the help of NCERT books for Economics, books on Economic Geography, Human Geography and Current Affairs. So here the two main sources of preparation will be NCERT Books and Current Affairs.
General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization. For this section current affairs are really important, you have to pick up the popular and trending issues related to this topic from newspaper and work on those concepts. For covering those concepts and static portion NIOS materials will be really helpful. Although there are study materials in the market which we have suggested below. But self-made notes will be the best option.
General Science For this portion again two sources are really important. First, one is NCERT books on Science & Tech and second on is Current Affairs. NCERT books will clear your basic concepts which you have already learned in the school. Current topics of science and tech will keep you updated on the happenings, which is really important for the examination.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus for Paper-II

(200 marks) Duration: Two hours (Not counted for the merit rank in Prelims but a qualifying Paper; just needs 33% marks)

  • 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).

Civil Services (Main) Examination

(Written and Interview) for the selection of candidates for the various services and posts

The written examination will consist of the following papers:

UPSC Mains Paper-I and II:

There will be two qualifying papers in any Indian language and English each of 300 marks.

UPSC Mains Paper-III: Essay 250 Marks

Candidates will be required to write an essay on a specific topic. The choice of subjects will be given. They will be expected to keep close to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in an orderly fashion and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.

UPSC Mains Paper-IV

General Studies-I

 (Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society) of 250 marks which may include following topics:

  • Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature, and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
  • Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
  • The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.
  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country. History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redraw of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.
  • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
  • The role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems, and their remedies.
  • Effects of globalization on Indian society
  • Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
  • Salient features of the world’s physical geography.
  • Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)
  • 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.

UPSC Mains Paper-V

General Studies -II

(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations) of 250 marks which may include following topics:

  • 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.
  • Separation of powers between various organs disputes redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
  • Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, the conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
  • 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.
  • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions, and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
  • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
  • 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.
  • Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  • Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency, and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
  • The role of civil services in a democracy.
  • India and its neighbourhood- relations.
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora. Important International institutions, agencies, and fora- their structure, mandate.

UPSC Mains Paper-VI

General Studies -III

(Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management) of 250 marks which may include following topics:

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development, and employment.
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
  • Government Budgeting.
  • 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
  • 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; economics of animal-rearing.
  • Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
  • Land reforms in India.
  • Effects of liberalization on the economy change 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.
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
  • Disaster and disaster management.
  • Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
  • The role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
  • 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
  • Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism
  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

UPSC Mains Paper-VII

General Studies -IV

(Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude) of 250 marks which may include following topics:

  • This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem-solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilise the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered.
  • 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 behaviour; 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

UPSC Mains PAPER-VIII & PAPER IX

For optional subjects, there are two papers, below is the list of optional subjects and literature subjects. Here you need to choose one subject either you choose it from optional subjects or literature subjects. For any subject, there will be two papers.

List of optional subjects for Main Examination:

Agriculture; Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science; Anthropology; Botany; Chemistry ; Civil Engineering ; Commerce and Accountancy ; Economics ; Electrical Engineering ; Geography ; Geology ;History ; Law ; Management; Mathematics ; Mechanical Engineering ; Medical Science ; Philosophy ; Physics ; Political Science and International Relations ; Psychology ;Public Administration ;Sociology ;Statistics and Zoology .

Or

List of literature subjects for Main Examinatioion:

Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, English.

Note: The candidates would be allowed to use anyone language from the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution or English as the medium of writing the examination.

Download UPSC Prelims & Mains Syllabus in PDF Format 

Here we have shared the syllabus for Manis examination from the official website of UPSC, you may browse the article or use this link to Download Mains syllabus in PDF Format.

Click here to download UPSC Prelims syllabus in PDF format

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