UPSC Civil Services Prelims cum Mains Exam Syllabus & Leap Strategy-Study Plan by Toppers and (IAS/IPS) Officers

UPSC Civil Services Prelims cum Mains Exam Syllabus & Leap Strategy-Study Plan by Toppers and (IAS/IPS) Officers

UPSC Civil Services Exam is a Common Exam for IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS & A-B Group Services of the nation, Conducted by Union Public Service Commission in each year. In previous blog we have discussed about all details like; Eligibility Criteria, Exam Pattern, Selection Process and other important details: CLICK HERE to Read Previous Blog (*Must Read)   Civil Services work as the backbone of the administrative machinery of the country. Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and Indian Foreign Service (IFS) are three of the most preferable services under this. IAS is most sought after among these services as IAS officers get the opportunity to serve on higher strategic positions in the Union Government and State Governments.

UPSC 2020-21(Click Here to Read/Download)

Plan of Examination

The Civil Services Examination consist of two successive stages

  1. Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective type) for the selection of candidates for the Main Examination; and
  2. Civil Services (Main) Examination (Written and Interview) for the selection of candidates for the various Services and posts.

*Candidates who are declared qualified for Civil Services (Main) Examination; have to submit Detailed Application Form (DAF).

First Stage Details

  • The Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination comprises of two papers of 200 marks each i.e. General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II.
  • GS Paper-II (also known as CSAT i.e. Civil Service Aptitude Test) is of qualifying in nature and in which a candidate has to secure 33% marks only.
  • Objective type (Multiple Choice Questions) is asked in this stage. Marks obtained in this stage are counted only to decide merit in preliminary examination, not for final selection. Clearing the Prelims makes one eligible for the next stage of the exam.

Second Stage Details

  • Civil Services (Main) Examination is the ‘written stage’ of the examination. It consists of nine papers of which, marks of only seven papers are counted in deciding the final merit list. In the remaining two papers, a candidate has to secure the minimum qualifying marks decided by UPSC each year. The question papers for the Mains examination are of conventional (essay) type.
  • The Civil Services Personality Test consists of a board of members for assessing the candidate’s personality. A candidate is asked questions on matters of general interest. The object of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers. The test is intended to judge the mental caliber of a candidate.

*Final rank of a candidate in merit list is depends upon the marks scored in second stage only i.e. written and Interview.

  UPSC Strategy 2021-22(Prelims & Mains Exam:Click Here to Read/Download)

UPSC Preliminary Examination Syllabus

  1. Paper I – (200 marks)
  • 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, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.
  • General Science.

Paper II – (200 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).

Note 1: Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.
Note 2: The questions will be of multiple choice, objective type.


UPSC Mains Examination Syllabus 

General Studies (GS) Paper-I: Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society

  • Indian Culture – 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, Redrawal 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.
  • 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 World’s Physical Geography.
  • 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).
  • 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.


Indian Heritage & Culture

Indian Art Forms

  • Indian Paintings
  • Classical Dance Forms
  • Folk Dance Forms
  • Classical Music
  • Puppetry
  • Pottery
  • Drama/Theatre
  • Martial Arts


  • Ancient Indian Literature
  • Classical Sanskrit Literature
  • Literature in Pali and Prakrit
  • Early Dravidian Literature
  • Medieval Literature
  • Women Poets of Bhakti
  • Trends in Medieval Literature
  • Modern Indian Literature


  • Harappan Architecture
  • Temple Architecture
  • Cave Architecture
  • Indo-Islamic Architecture
  • Medieval Architecture
  • Modern Architecture
  • Contribution of Buddhism & Jainism to the Development of Indian Architecture
  • Rock Cut Architecture
  • Colonial Architecture & the Modern Period

Modern Indian History

Middle of the Eighteenth Century Until The Present

  • Socio-economic Condition of People
  • European Penetration of India
  • British Conquest of India
  • British Policies & Their Impact – Economic, Administrative & Socio-cultural
  • Socio-cultural Reform Movements
  • Uprisings Against British Pre-1857
The Freedom Struggle

Revolt of 1857

Growth of Nationalism in India (1858-1905)

  • Political, Economic & Administrative Unification of the Country
  • Role of Western Education
  • Role of Press
  • Rediscovery of India’s Past
  • Early Political Movements
  • Formation of INC
  • Era of Moderates

Growth of Militant Nationalism & Revolutionary Activities (1905-1918)

  • Swadeshi & Boycott Movement
  • Surat Split
  • International Influence
  • Morley – Minto Reforms
  • Growth of Communalism

Beginning of Mass Nationalism (1919-1939)

  • Mahatma Gandhi – His Ideas & Leadership
  • Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms
  • Rowlatt Act, Satyagrah and Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
  • Non-cooperation & Khilafat Movement
  • Swarajists & No-Changers
  • Emergence of New Forces – Socialistic Ideas, Youth & Trade Unionism
  • Revolutionary Activity
  • Simon Commission & Nehru Report
  • Civil Disobedience Movement
  • Round Table Conferences
  • Communal Award & Poona Pact
  • Participation in Elections to Central Legislature (1934) & Provincial Assemblies (1937)
  • Government of India Act, 1935

Towards Freedom & Partition (1939-1947)

  • National Movement During World War II
  • August Offer
  • Individual Satyagraha
  • Growth of Communalism
  • Peasant Movements
  • State People’s Struggle
  • Cripps Mission
  • Quit India Movement
  • Wavell Plan
  • INA & Subhash Chandra Bose
  • Cabinet Mission
  • Nationalist Upsurge Post-World War II
  • Independence with Partition
Post-independence Consolidation

Nation Building

  • Partition and Its Aftermath
  • Integration of Princely States
  • Reorganisation of States
  • Issue of Official Language
  • Tribal Consolidation
  • Regional Aspirations

Foreign Policy

  • Non-Aligned Movement
  • Panchsheel
  • Wars with Pakistan & China
  • Nuclear Policy


  • Planned Development
  • Green Revolution, Operation Flood & Cooperatives
  • Agrarian & Land Reforms
  • Industrial Reforms
  • LPG Reforms


  • Era of One-Party Dominance
  • Emergence of Opposition Parties
  • Emergency: Crisis of Democratic Order
  • Rise of Regional Parties
  • Coalition Era


  • Popular Movements
  • Communalism
  • Indian Women Since Independence
  • Naxalism
History of the World

Industrial Revolution

  • Renaissance
  • Discovery of Sea Routes
  • Reformation
  • Counter Reformation
  • European Nations Settle North America
  • Rise of Slave Trade
  • American War of Independence
  • French Revolution
  • Nationalism in Europe
  • Rise of Capitalism, Colonialism & Imperialism

World War I

  • Causes of the War
  • Scope & Course of the War
  • Russian Revolution
  • End of the War & Peace Treaties
  • Consequences of the War
  • League of Nations

World Between the Two Wars

  • Europe After the War – Fascism & Nazism
  • The Great Depression
  • Emergence of Soviet Union
  • Nationalist Movements in Asia & Africa
  • US as a Strong Power

World War II

  • Fascist Aggression & Response of Western Democracies
  • Outbreak of the War
  • Theatres of the War
  • US Entry into the War
  • Global Nature of the War
  • The Holocaust
  • Resistance Movements
  • After-effects of the War

Decolonialisation & Redrawal of National Boundaries

  • Europe after World War II
  • Cold War
  • Rise of Asia & Africa
  • Developments in West Asia & North Africa
  • Spread of Communism
  • Korean War
  • Vietnam War
  • Cuban Crisis
  • Collapse of Soviet Union

Concept, Types & Social Impact of Political Philosophies

  • Communism
  • Capitalism
  • Socialism



Salient Features of Indian Society
  • Diversity (Types – caste, linguistic, social and religious, race, tribe and ethnicity, culture)
  • Challenges posed by Diversity
  • Unity
  • Pluralism
  • Unity in Diversity
  • Inequality and Exclusion
  • Family System
  • Examples of above. 
Role of Women and Women’s Organization
  • Women’s Organisations – Empowerment through Action
  • 19th Century Social Reform Movements and Early Women’s Organisations – (1) Agrarian Struggles and Revolt, (2) Participation in Freedom Struggle
  • Women’s Organisations Post – 1947
  • Resurgence of Women’s Movement in the 70s: (1) Emergence of New Organisations, (2) Approaches and Issues
  • Contemporary Women’s Issues & Organisation Response
  • Women’s Organisations and SHGs
  • Challenges faced by Women’s Organisations
Population and Associated Issues
  • Basic Demography of India
  • Population Trends in India and their Implications
  • Causes and Effects of Over Population
  • Challenges of Population Explosion
  • Changing Age Structure of Indian Population
  • Demogarphic Dividend: Boon or Bane for India
  • Population Aging in India
  • India’s Population Policy & Initiatives
Poverty and Developmental Issues
  • Concept of Development and Poverty
  • Types of Poverty
  • Measurement of Poverty – Poverty Line
  • Causes of Poverty
  • Poverty as a Social Problem
  • Socio-economic Spread of Poverty
  • Consequences of Poverty –
    • Inequality
    • Continuation of Vicious Cycle
    • Who are worst affected by poverty?
  • Problem of Rising Urban Poverty
  • Poverty Alleviation Initiatives
  • Policy shift from “Trickle Down” Economics to Inclusive or Pro-poor Development to Reduce Poverty
  • Relation between Poverty Reduction and Development: Poverty-Inequality-Development Nexus
  • Urbanisation Trends in India and Their Implications – Demographic and Social Dimensions
  • Factors Driving Urbanisation
  • State of Service Delivery and Challeges posed by Urbanisation
  • Problems of Urban Areas
  • Social Consequences of Urbanisation
  • Impact of Urbanisation in Rural Areas
  • Urban Planning and Role of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs)
  • Reforms Required and Government Initiatives Taken So Far
  • Problems of Slums
Effects of Globalization on Indian Society
  • Understanding Globalisation – Its Different Dimensions
  • Globalisation & Culture – Homogenisation vs. Glocalisation
  • Factors Driving Globalisation
  • Globalisation & India
  • Impact of Globalisation on India – Socio-cultural, economic, on women, agrarian sector etc.
  • Does Globalisation cause Poverty?
Social Empowerment
  • Which are the Socially Disadvantaged Groups?
  • Dimensions of Social Empowerment
  • Government Initiatives to Aide Social Empowerment
  • Communalism – Its Characteristics
  • Communalism in India in the Past
  • Communalism in Contemporqary India
  • Causes of Communalism
  • Consequences of Communalism
  • Measures to Control & Eradicate Communalism
  • Secularism as an Antidote to Communalism
  • Concept of Region & Regionalism
  • Different Forms of Regionalism
  • Regionalism in India
  • Causes of Regionalism
  • Concept of ‘Sons of Soil’
  • Consequences of Regionalism
  • Federalism & Regionalism
  • Role of Regional Parties
  • Measures to Contain Regionalism
  • Regionalism in the International Sphere
  • Concept of Secularism
  • Indian Model of Secularism
  • Secularism in India
  • Nature & Practice of Secularism in India
  • Uniform Civil Code
  • Challenges faced by Secularism in India
  • Measures to Make India Truly Secular



Salient Features of World’s Physical Geography


  • Origin & Evolution of Earth
  • Interior of the Earth
  • Distribution of Continents & Oceans
  • Plate Tectonic Theory
  • Distribution of Earthquakes & Volcanoes
  • Rocks & Rock Cycle
  • Geomorphic Processes – Endogenic & Exogenic
  • Landforms & their Evolution


  • Hydrological Cycle
  • Seafloor Spreading
  • Ocean Floor Configuration
  • Temperature & Salinity of Oceans
  • Movement of Oceans – Waves, Tides, Currents


  • Earth’s Atmosphere – Composition & Structure
  • Solar Radiation, Heat Budget & Temperature
  • Atmospheric Circulation & Weather Systems
  • World Climate (examples)

Soil Geography

  • Soil & Soil Contents
  • Process of Soil Formation
  • Soil Forming Factors
  • Types of Soils (examples)
  • Soil Erosion & Conservation
Distribution of Key Natural Resources Across the World

Types of Resources

  • On the Basis of Origin, Ownership, Exhaustability etc.

Land Resources

  • Land Utilisation
  • Land Use Pattern
  • Land Degradation & Conservation

Forest Resources

  • Types & Distribution – Grasslands, Forests etc.
  • Causes of Depletion
  • Conservation of Forests

Water Resources

  • Marine & Freshwater
  • Water Scarcity & Need For Conservation
  • Integrated Water Resources Management

Agricultural Resources

  • Types of Farming
  • Cropping Patterns
  • Contribution to Economy, Employment & Output
  • Food Security

Mineral & Energy Resources

  • Classification of Minerals – Ferrous & Non-Ferrous
  • Occurrence of Minerals
  • Conservation of Minerals
  • Classification of Energy Resources – Conventional & Non-Conventional
  • Occurrence of Energy Resources
  • Conservation of Energy Resources
Factors Responsible for the Location of Industries

Classification of Industries

Location & Distribution of the Industries on the Basis of

  • Raw Material
  • Labour
  • Market
  • Capital
  • Land
  • Grants & Financial Incentives
  • Power
  • Transport
  • Water
  • Communication

Distribution of Major Industries – Iron & Steel, IT, Cotton Textile

Agglomeration & Footloose Industries

Important Geophysical Phenomena


  • Why Does Earth Shake?
  • Earthquake Waves
  • Shadow Zone
  • Types of Earthquake
  • Measuring Earthquake
  • Effects of Earthquake


  • What Causes Tsunami
  • Effect of Tsunami
  • Mitigating the Impact of Tsunami


  • Types of Volcanoes
  • What Causes Volcanoes?
  • Volcanic Landforms


  • Tropical Cyclones
  • Anti-Cyclone
  • Extra Tropical Cyclones
Geographical Features and their Location
  • Factors Causing Changes in Critical Geographical Features
  • Examples of Changing Geographical Features – Melting of Ice Sheets, Desertification etc.
  • Impact of Changing Geographical Features



Civil-Services-Exam-Strategy-by-IAS-IPS-Officers (Read/Download)

General Studies(GS) Paper-II : 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.
  • Separation of Powers between various organs Dispute Redressal Mechanisms and Institutions.
  • Comparison of the Indian Constitutional Scheme with that of Other Countries.
  • Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, 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 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.
  • Role of Civil Services in a Democracy.
  • India and its Neighborhood- 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.


Indian Constitution

Historical Underpinning & Evolution

  • Regulating Act (1773) to Independence Act (1947)
  • Constituent Assembly
  • Objective Resolution
  • Enactment & Enforcement of Constitution


  • Written
  • Flexible & Rigid
  • Federal & Unitary
  • Parliamentary Form of Government (Presidential vs. Parliamentary Type of Government)


  • List of Significant Amendments & Their Provisions
  • Procedure for Amending Constitution

Significant Provisions

  • Fundamental Rights
  • Directive Principles of State Policy
  • Judicial Review
  • Universal Adult Franchise
  • Single Citizenship
  • Separation of Powers

Basic Structure

  • The Doctrine
  • Judgments & Cases
Functions & Responsibilities of the Union and the States
  • 7th Schedule
  • Legislative Functions
  • Financial Functions
  • Administrative & Quasi-Judicial Functions
Issues & Challenges Pertaining to the Federal Structure

Federal Structure in India – Is India truly Federal?

Cooperative & Competitive Federalism

Centre-State Relations

  • Legislative Relations
  • Administrative Relations
  • Financial Relations
  • Trends in Centre-State Relations

Inter-State Relations

  • Inter-state Water Disputes
  • Inter-State Councils
  • Public Acts, Records and Judicial Proceedings
  • Inter-State Trade and Commerce
  • Zonal Councils

Emergency Provisions

Role of Governor

Reports of Various Commissions

  • 2nd ARC, Punchhi, Sarkaria, etc.
Devolution of Powers & Finances to Local Levels & Challenges Therein
  • Role of State Government
  • Role of State Finance Commission
  • 11th & 12th Schedule
  • Reasons for Ineffective Performance
  • Panchayat Devolution Index ( NITI Aayog)
  • Steps That Can Be Taken to Improve Their Performance
Separation of Powers Between Various Organs
  • Doctrine of Separation of Power
  • Separation of Power in Indian Constitution
  • Doctrine of Checks & Balances
  • Provisions for Checks & Balances in Indian Constitution
  • Related Judgments – Golaknath case, Kesavananda Bharati, Indira Gandhi Vs Raj Narain, Ram Jawaya vs Punjab
Dispute Redressal Mechanisms and Institutions
  • RTI
  • PIL
  • Tribunals, etc.
Comparison of the Indian Constitutional Scheme With That of Other Countries Parliament & State Legislatures

Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges

  • Written Constitution
  • Blend of Rigidity and Flexibility
  • Federal System with Unitary Bias
  • Parliamentary Form of Government
  • Synthesis of Parliamentary Sovereignty and Judicial Supremacy
  • Integrated and Independent Judiciary
  • Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles of State Policy, Fundamental Duties
  • Secular State
  • Universal Adult Franchise
  • Single Citizenship
  • Emergency Provisions
  • Three-tier Government
  • Due Process of Law vs. Procedure Established by Law
  • Impeachment of President, etc.
Structure, Organization & Functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary


  • Union:
    • President
    • Prime Minister
    • Council of Ministers
    • Cabinet Secretariat
  • State:
    • Governor
    • Chief Minister
    • Council of Ministers
    • Secretariat


  • Three-Tier Structure
  • Chief Justice of India
  • SC & HC Judges
  • Jurisdiction
Ministries and Departments of the Government
  • Cabinet Ministries
  • Other Ministries
  • Parliamentary Secretaries
Pressure Groups & Formal/informal Associations & Their Role in Polity
  • Characteristics of Pressure Groups
  • Pressure Groups & Political Parties
  • Pressure Groups & Interest Groups
  • Types of Pressure Groups
  • Functions, Role & Importance of Pressure Groups
  • Techniques/Methods of Pressure Groups
  • Pressure Groups in India
  • Shortcomings of Pressure Groups
Salient Features of Representation of People’s Act
Appointment to Various Constitutional Posts

Appointment, Powers, Functions & Responsibilities of:

  • Election Commission
  • Union Public Service Commission
  • State Public Service Commission
  • Finance Commission
  • National Commission for SCs
  • National Commission for STs
  • Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities
  • Comptroller and Auditor General of India
  • Attorney General of India
  • Advocate General of the State
Statutory, Regulatory & Quasi-Judicial Bodies
  • NITI Aayog & GST Council
  • RBI
  • National Human Rights Commission
  • State Human Rights Commission
  • Central Information Commission
  • Central Vigilance Commission
  • Central Bureau of Investigation
  • Lokpal and Lokayuktas
  • National Commission for Women
  • National Commission for Backward Classes
  • National Commission for Minorities
  • Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority
  • Securities and Exchange Board of India
  • Competition Commission of India
  • Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
  • Central Electricity Regulatory Commission
  • Atomic Energy Regulatory Board
  • Central Pollution Control Board
  • Medical Council of India
  • Inland Waterways Authority of India
  • Central Ground Water Authority
  • Directorate General of Civil Aviation
  • Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority
  • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India
  • Bar Council of India
  • University Grants Commission
  • Financial Stability and Development Council
  • All India Council for Technical Education
  • National Green Tribunal
  • Competition Appellate Tribunal
  • Income-Tax Appellate Tribunal
  • Cyber Appellate Tribunal
  • Intellectual Property Appellate Board



Government Policies & Interventions for Development

Government Policies & Interventions in Various Sectors

  • Health, Gender, Education, Poverty, Economic etc

Issues Arising Out of Their Design & Implementation

  • Concerns/Issues
  • Suggestions for Improvement
  • Critical Assessment of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS)
  • Rationalisation of CSS
  • Analysis of Main Schemes:
    • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao
    • Smart City
    • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
    • Digital India
    • Jalshakti 
    • Make in India
    • Skill India
    • PM Jan Dhan Yojana
    • Start-up India etc.
    • Other Important GoI Schemes & Plans
Development Processes & the Development Industry
  • Role of Social Capital Organisations
  • Indian Context
  • Classification
  • Provisions for the Third Sector in the Indian Constitution
  • National Policy on the Voluntary Sector 2007

Non-Governmental Organisations

  • Role and Impact of Non-governmental Organizations
  • Issue Areas: Accreditation, Legitimacy & Accountability, Foreign Funding etc.

Self Help Groups (SHGs)

  • Need for SHGs
  • Benefits of SHGs
  • Weaknesses of SHGs
  • Challenges
  • Measures to Make SHGs Effective
  • Case Studies: Kudumbashree (Kerala), Mahila Arthik Vikas Mahamandal (Maharashtra)

Societies, Trusts and Cooperatives

  • Societies
  • Trust
  • Religious Endowments
  • Cooperatives –
    • Need for Cooperatives
    • Constitutional Provisions
    • National Policy on Co-operatives, 2002
    • Issues and Challenges in the Cooperatives Sector
Important Aspects of Governance, Transparency & Accountability


  • Dimensions of Governance
  • Good Governance (GG)
  • Aspects of GG
  • Barriers to GG
  • Necessary Pre-conditions for GG
  • How to Ensure GG


  • Applications
  • Models
  • Successes
  • Limitations
  • Potential
  • Recent e-governance Initiatives by Government

Citizens Charters (CC)

  • Components of CC
  • Features of CC
  • Six Principles of CC
  • Shortcomings of CC
  • Measures to Make CC Effective
  • Sevottam Model

Aspects of Transparency

Elements & Types of Accountability

Means to ensure Transparency & Accountability

  • RTI
  • Social Audit
  • Whistleblower Protection Bill
  • Lokpal & Lokayuktas Act
Role of Civil Services in a Democracy

Relationship Between Civil Service And Democracy

Role Played By Civil Services

  • Advisory Role in Policy Making
  • Institutionalise Socio-economic change
  • Discharge Delegated Functions
  • Administer Law of the Land
  • Watchdogs
  • Continuity in times of Political Instability
  • Record-Keeping
  • Channel of Communication

Ailments/Issues Afflicting Indian Civil Services

  • Lack of Professionalism & Poor Capacity Building
  • Inefficient Incentive Systems
  • Outdated Rules & Procedures
  • Systemic Inconsistencies in Promotion
  • Lack of Adequate Transparency & Accountability Procedures
  • Arbitrary & Whimsical Transfers
  • Political Interference & Administrative Acquiescence
  • Gradual Erosion in Values & Ethics
  • Redtapism
  • Elitist in Nature
  • Poor Pay
  • Tendency to Capture Power

Reforming Bureaucracy to Strengthen Democracy

  • Setting Right the Asymmetry of Power
  • Insulating Civil Servants from Undue Political Interference
  • Professionalisation with Stability of Tenure & Competition
  • Citizen-Centric Administration
  • Accountability
  • Outcome Orientation
  • Promoting Public Service Values & Ethics



Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections

Schemes for the Following Vulnerable Sections

  • SCs & STs
  • Minorities
  • Children
  • Elderly
  • Disabled
  • Women
  • Transgender

Performance of These Schemes

Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions & Bodies Constituted for Protection & Betterment of These Vulnerable Sections

  • SCs:
    • The Protection of Civil Rights Act
    • The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act
    • National Commission for Scheduled Castes
    • Scheduled Castes Sub Plan
  • Disabled:
    • The Rehabilitation Council of India Act
    • The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act
    • Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act
    • The National Trust for Welfare of Persons with
      Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act
    • Rights of the Persons with Disabilities Act
  • STs:
    • National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
    • Tribal Sub Plan
    • TRIFED
    • Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act
  • Minorities:
    • National Commission for Minorities
    • National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities

Women & Children

  • The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act
  • The Indecent Representation of Women (Prevention) Act
  • The Dowry Prohibition Act
  • The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act
  • The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act
  • Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act
  • Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act
  • Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA)
  • The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act
  • Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal)
  • Pre-Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC&PNDT) Act
  • Gender Budgeting
  • National Policy for Women
  • Domestic Violence Act
  • Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act


  • Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act
Issues Relating to Development & Management of Social Sector/Services


  • India’s Performance on Various Health Indicators
  • Weaknesses of Indian Healthcare System
  • Health Infrastructure in India
  • Universal Health Coverage
  • 12th FYP Strategy
  • Universal Health Coverage
  • Health Insurance
  • National Family Health Survey
  • National Health Policy
  • National Health Mission
  • Maternal & Adolescent Health
  • Child Health
  • Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Disease Burden in India
  • Measures to Ensure Good Health Outcomes
  • Government Initiatives


  • Status of Literacy in India

  • NEP 2019-20
  • Education Structure in India

  • Challenges Faced by Education Sector in India
  • Reforms Required
  • Government Initiatives
  • ASER Report
  • Financing Education
  • Subramanian Panel Report

Human Resource

  • Need For Skill Development
  • Skill Development Initiatives
  • Challenges in Skilling Landscape in India
  • Shortcomings of Current Skill Development Initiatives
  • Reforms Required
  • Steps that can Be Taken
Issues Relating to Poverty & Hunger
  • Relation between Poverty & Hunger
  • Distribution of Poverty & Hunger
  • Magnitude & Trends of Poverty & Hunger
  • Causes of Poverty & Hunger
  • Cost/Impact of Poverty & Malnutrition
  • MDGs & SDGs
  • Food and nutrition insecurity – a consequence of structural inequities
  • Constraints in Reducing Poverty & Hunger
  • Measure to Reduce Poverty & Hunger – National Food Security Act, Mid-day Meal Scheme, MGNREGA etc.



India and its Neighborhood – Relations

India’s Relations With

  • China
  • Pakistan
  • Myanmar
  • Bhutan
  • Bangladesh
  • Sri Lanka
  • Afghanistan
  • Nepal
  • Maldives
Bilateral, Regional & Global Groupings & Agreements Involving India and/or Affecting India’s Interests

India’s Major Foreign Policy Doctrines Since 1947

  • Non-aligned Movement (NAM)
  • Nuclear Doctrine
  • Gujral Doctrine
  • Look East to Act East
  • Think West, etc.

Bilateral Relations With

  • Major Powers Like – USA, Russia, Japan
  • Central Asian Countries
  • West Asian Countries
  • African Countries
  • Australia & New Zealand
  • EU & European Countries
  • Latin American Countries
  • Pacific Countries

Regional & Global Groupings

  • IBSA
  • India-Africa Forum
  • SCO
  • Ashgabat Agreement
  • Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC)
  • Raisina Dialogue
  • Heart of Asia Conference
  • East Asia Summit
  • G-20
  • Asian Development Bank
  • National Security Summit
  • Multilateral Nuclear Export Regulatory Regimes: Wassenar, MTCR, Australia Group
  • Asian Development Bank
  • APEC, etc
Effect of Policies & Politics of Developed & Developing Countries on India’s Interests
  • One Belt One Road
  • International North–South Transport Corridor
  • Global Trade War
  • Global Currency War
  • Syrian Crisis
  • UN Reforms
  • WTO Reforms
  • South China Sea Conflict
  • Brexit
  • Deglobalisation & Protectionism – US Sanctions on Iran, US Pullout from Paris Agreement, H-1B Visa Issue etc.
  • OPEC Oil Prices Manipulation, etc.
Indian Diaspora
  • Spread of Indian Diaspora
  • India’s Diaspora Policy & Engagement Initiatives
    • OCI
    • Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
    • Know India Programme, etc.
  • LM Singhvi High Level Committee on the Diaspora
  • Role played by Indian Diaspora
  • Issues Concerning the Diaspora:
    • Dual Nationality
    • Remittances, etc.
Important International Institutions
  • UN & its Agencies
  • WTO
  • World Bank
  • IMF
  • World Economic Forum
  • Commonwealth of Nations, etc.



General Studies (GS) Paper-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management



  • 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, 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.
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-technology, Bio-technology 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.
  • Role of External State and Non-state Actors in creating challenges to Internal Security.
  • Challenges to Internal Security through Communication Networks, Role of Media and Social Networking Sites in Internal Security Challenges, Basics of Cyber Security; 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.


Indian Economy & Issues Relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development & Employment


  • Meaning of Planning
  • Need for Planning in Economic Development
  • Imperative Vs. Indicative Vs. Structural Planning
  • Objectives of Planning
  • Indian Planning History
  • Techniques of Indian Planning
  • Achievements & Failures of Indian Planning
  • Shortcomings of Planning in India
  • NITI Aayog Vs. Planning Commission

Mobilisation of Resources

  • Types of Resources – Financial, Human, Natural etc.
  • Need for Resource Mobilisation
  • Role of Savings & Investment
  • Government Resources – Tax & Non-Tax ( or Fiscal & Monetary Policy)
  • Banking Sector & NBFCs
  • Capital Market
  • External Sources – FDI, ODA etc.
  • Public Borrowing & Management of Public Debt
  • Challenges in Mobilising Resources for Development
  • Steps That Can Be Taken

Growth & Development

  • Meaning of Development & Growth
  • Difference between Development & Growth
  • Determinants of Growth & Development
  • Importance & Limitations of Economic Growth
  • Jobless Growth
  • Pro-Poor Growth
  • Balanced & Unbalanced Growth
  • Dimensions of Development
  • Measurement & Indicators of Development
  • Approaches to Development:
    • Market-Based Approach
    • Role of State and Planned Approach
    • Mixed Economy Approach
  • Challenges to Development & Growth


  • Nature – Rural vs. Urban, Formal Vs. Informal
  • Terms Related to Employment – Labour Force Participation Rate, Employment Rate, Working Age Population etc.
  • Sectoral Distribution of Employment
  • Quality of Employment
  • Causes of Lack of Employment
  • Restructuring of Workforce
  • Government Initiatives for Generating Employment
Inclusive Growth & Issues Arising From It
  • What is Inclusive Growth?
  • Elements of Inclusive Growth
  • Need for Inclusive Growth
  • Indicators of Inclusive Growth
  • Challenges in Achieveing Inclusive Growth in India
  • 12th FYP & Inclusive Growth
Government Budgeting

Need for Government Budgeting

Components of the Government Budget

  • Revenue Account – Revenue Receipts & Revenue Expenditure
  • Capital Account – Capital Receipts & Capital Expenditure

Changes in Budgetary Process in 2017-18 & 2018-19

Measures of Government Deficit

  • Revenue Deficit
  • Fiscal Deficit
  • Primary Deficit


Fiscal Policy

Deficit Reduction


Other Types of Budgets – Outcome, Zero-Based, etc.

Land Reforms in India
  • Rationale for Land Reforms
  • Components of Land Reforms
  • Impact of Land Reforms
  • Problems in Implementaion of Land Reforms
  • Success of Land Reforms
  • Recent Initiatives – Land Leasing, Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act, etc.
Effects of Liberalization on the Economy

Phase of Liberalisation

  • Impact on Different Sectors of the Economy
Changes In Industrial Policy & their Effects on Industrial Growth
  • Industrial Policy Before 1991
  • Industrial Policy After 1991
  • Phases of Industrial Growth
  • Linkage Between Economic Reforms and Economic Outcomes
  • Weaknesses and Failures of Industrial Policies
  • National Manufacturing Policy
  • SEZs
  • Make in India
  • Energy
  • Ports
  • Roads
  • Airports
  • Railways
  • Waterways
Investment Models

Need for Investment

Sources of Investment

Types of Investment Models

  • Domestic Investment Models
    • Public Investment Model
    • Private Investment Model
    • Public Private Participation Investment Model
  • Foreign Investment Models:
    • FDI
    • FII, etc.
  • Sector Specific Investment Models
  • Cluster Based Investment Models

Investment Models Followed by India



Major Crops Cropping Patterns in Various Parts of the Country
  • Importance of Cropping Pattern
  • Types of Cropping Pattern
  • Reasons Why Cropping Pattern Differ
  • Factors Influencing Cropping Pattern
  • Emerging Trends in Cropping Pattern
  • Long-Run Effects of Current Trends in Cropping Pattern
Different Types of Irrigation & Irrigation Systems Storage
  • Modes of Irrigation
  • Sources of Irrigation
  • Choosing an Irrigation System
  • Problems Associated with Irrigation
  • Progress of Irrigation Under Five Year Plans
  • Environmental Effects of Irrigation
  • Need for Systemic Irrigation Reforms
  • Need for a National Water Policy
Transport & Marketing of Agricultural Produce & Issues & Related Constraints
  • Process of Agricultural Marketing – Marketing Channels, Functionaries, Costs, etc.
  • Role of FCI
  • Regulated Markets
  • Warehousing
  • Cooperative Marketing
  • Shortcomings of Current Agricultural Marketing Process
  • APMCs
  • National Agricultutral Market (NAM)
  • Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO)
  • Contract Farming
  • Futures Trading in Agricultural Commodities
E-Technology in the Aid of Farmers, Technology Missions
Major Policies for Farmers & Agricculture  
Issues Related to Direct & Indirect Farm Subsidies & Minimum Support Prices
  • Agricultural Pricing Policy
  • Rationale for Subsidies
  • Types of Subsidies
  • Effectiveness, Extent & Problems of Subsisies
  • Clash with WTO Agreements
Public Distribution System Objectives, Functioning, Limitations, Revamping
  • Objectices/Significance
  • Functioning – Fair Price Shops, FCI, Ration Cards, Aadhar Linking, etc.
  • Shortcomings or Problems Associated with PDS
  • Need to Improve the Working of PDS
  • Measures to Improve the Loopholes & Lacunaes Associated with PDS
  • Steps Taken by Governement in this Regard
Issues of Buffer Stocks & Food Security
  • Buffer Stock – Objectives & Norms in India
  • Impact of Government Procurement & Distribution
  • Need for Food Security
  • NFSM And othe Food Security Realted Government Initiatives
Economics of Animal-Rearing
Food Processing & Related Industries in India
  • Scope & Potential in India
  • Significance
  • Location
  • Constraints and Challenges
  • Upstream & Downstream Requirements
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Government Policies and Initiatives – SAMPADA, 12th FYP, etc.



Developments & their Applications & Effects in Everyday Life

Chemicals in Food

  • Artificial Sweetening Agents
  • Food Preservatives


  • Antacid
  • Antihistamines
  • Neurologically Active Drugs
    • Tranquilizers
    • Analgesics
  • Antimicrobials
    • Antibiotics
    • Antiseptic and Disinfectant
  • Anti-Fertility Drugs, etc.

Cleansing Agents

  • Soaps
  • Synthetic detergents


Water Softener

Water Purification/Disinfection

Microwave Oven, etc.

Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology
  • Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman
  • Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose
  • Satyendra Nath Bose
  • Meghnad Saha
  • Homi Jehangir Bhabha
  • Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
  • A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
  • Vikram Sarabhai
  • Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya
  • Har Gobind Khorana
  • Tessy Thomas
  • C.N.R. Rao
  • Noble Prize Winners (Indian)
Indigenization of Technology & Developing New Technology
  • IT & Computers
  • Space
  • Nanotechnology
  • Biotechnology
  • Robotics
  • Defence
  • Nuclear
Awareness in Different Fields
  • IT & Computers
  • Space
  • Nanotechnology
  • Biotechnology
  • Robotics
  • Defence
  • Nuclear
Issues Relating to Intellectual Property Rights
  • Need for Intellectual Property Rights
  • Types of IPR
  • IPR Regime in India
  • International Agreements Related to IPRs
  • Geographical Indicators
  • Recent Issues – Evergreening, Compuslory Licensing, Prominent Cases etc.




What is Biodiversity?

Types of Biodiversity – Genetic, Species, Ecosystem, etc.

Importance of Biodivesirty – Ecosystem Services, Bio Resources of Economic Importance, Social Benefits etc.

Resasons for Loss of Biodiversity


  • In-situ & Ex-Situ
  • Eco-Sensitive Areas
  • Ecological Hotspots
  • National Guidelines, Legislations & Other Programmes.
  • International Agreements & Groupings
Environmental Pollution & Degradation

Types of Pollution & Pollutants

Impact of Pollution & Degradation

  • Ozone Layer Depletion and Ozone Hole
  • Greenhouse Gas Effect & Global Warming
  • Eutrophication
  • Desertification
  • Acid Rain
  • Hazardous Waste, etc.

Causes/Sources of Pollution & Degradation

Prevention & Control of Pollution & Degradation

National Environment Agencies, Legislations and Policies

International Environment Agencies & Agreements

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
  • What is EIA?
  • Indian Guidelines & Legislations
  • EIA Process
  • Need & Benefits of EIA
  • Shortcomings of EIA in India
  • Measures to Make EIA Effective
Disaster Management
  • Types of Disasters
  • Management of Disasters
  • Community Level Disaster Management
  • Governement Initiatives on Disaster Management



Linkages Between Development & Spread of Extremism
  • Factors Responsible for Spread of Extremism
  • Steps that State can Taken to Reduce the Spread of Extremism due to Underdevelopment
  • Naxalism
  • Urban Naxals
Role of External State & Non-State Actors in Creating Challenges to Internal Security

Threats from Non-State Actors

  • J&K Separatism
  • Left Wing Extremism
  • North East Insurgency
  • Terrorism in Hinterland & Border Areas
  • Right Wing Terrorism

Reasons for Spread of Terrorism

State Sponsored Terrorism

Institutional Framework to Tackle Challenge of Internal Security

  • NIA
  • MAC
  • UAPA
  • TADA
  • POTA
  • NCTC
Challenges to Internal Security Through Communication Networks
  • Role of Media & Social Networking Sites in Internal Security Challenges
  • Challenges in Managing Social Media
  • Steps That can be Taken
Basics of Cyber Security
  • Cyber Security
  • Threats to Indian Cyber Security
  • Steps taken by India
  • International Cooperation on Cyber Security
  • Cyber Warfare
  • Terms Associated with Cyber Security
Money-Laundering & its Prevention
  • Process of Money Laundering
  • Impact of Money Laundering
  • Challenges to Tackle Money Laundering
  • Steps to Counter Money Laundering
  • Terms Related To Money Laundering
Security Challenges & their Management in Border Areas
  • Challenges in Managing Border Security – Coastal & Terrestrial
  • Land Boundary Disputes with Neighbours
  • India’s Policy in Border Area Security Management
Linkages of Organized Crime with Terrorism
  • Types of Organised Crime
  • Challenges in Controlling Organised Crime
  • Indian Context – Link between Organised Crime & Terrorism
Various Security Forces & Agencies & Their Mandate
  • Central Armed Police Forces
  • Central Paramilitary Forces
  • Security & Intelligence Agencies – IB. R&WA, etc.





General Studies (GS) Paper-IV: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

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; 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 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 above issues.


UPSC Civil Services Prelims 2020 Exam 120 Days Strategy  (Read/Download:Click Here)


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