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UPSC MAINS SYLLABUS

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Mains Examination is second stage of Civil Service Exam conducted by UPSC.

The main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory.

The nature and standard of questions in the General Studies papers (Paper II to Paper V) will be such that a well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialized study. The questions will be such as to test a candidate’s general awareness of a variety of subjects, which will have relevance for a career in Civil Services.

Nature of Civil Service Exam Mains
  • The mains exam is subjective i.e. written examination.
  • There will be 7 papers.
  • Each paper is of 250 marks.
  • Paper I,II,III IV and V are based on Essay and General Studies.
  • Paper VI and VII are based on Optional Subject.
  • Personality Test (Interview) is of 275 marks.
  • Marks obtained by the candidates for all papers (Paper I-VII) will be counted for merit ranking. However, the Commission will have the discretion to fix qualifying marks in any or all papers of the examination.
  • The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues, and ability to analyze, and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives and demands.
  • The candidates must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.
  • If a candidate’s handwriting is not easily legible, a deduction will be made on this account from the total marks otherwise accruing to him. 
  • Marks will not be allotted for mere superficial knowledge.
  • Credit will be given for orderly, effective and exact expression combined with due economy of words in all subjects of the examination.
  • The scope of the syllabus for optional subject papers (Paper VI and Paper VII) for the examination is broadly of the honours degree level i.e. a level higher than the bachelors’ degree and lower than the masters’ degree. In the case of Engineering, Medical Science and law, the level corresponds to the bachelors’ degree.
  • Each paper will be of three hours duration.
Papers in Civil Service Exam Mains:

The written examination will consist of the following papers:
 
Paper Sections Description Marks
Paper I   Essay 250
Paper-II
 
General Studies–I Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World  and Society 250
Paper-III
 
General Studies –II Governance, Constitution,  Polity, Social Justice and International relations 250
Paper-IV General Studies –III Technology, Economic Development,  Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management 250
Paper-V General Studies –IV Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude 250
Paper-VI Optional Subject Paper I 250
Paper VII Optional Subject Paper II 250
Sub Total (Written Test) 1750
Personality Test 275
Grand Total 2025

Apart from this there will be papers on English and regional language, 300 marks each. But these will be only of qualifying nature. There marks will not be counted in final analysis.

Syllabus of Papers

Syllabi of the papers included in the scheme of Civil Services (Main) Examination are given as follows:-

PAPER-I

Essay: 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 closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.

PAPER-II General Studies I:Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society
  • 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, 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 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.
PAPER-III General Studies- 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.
PAPER-IV General Studies-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 
 
PAPER-V General Studies- 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 utilize 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.
PAPER-VI & PAPER VII
 
Optional Subject Papers I & II: Please check the syllabus in UPSC Notification published on www.upsc.gov.in
 
List of Optional Subjects
  1. Agriculture
  2. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  3. Anthropology
  4. Botany
  5. Chemistry
  6. Civil Engineering
  7. Commerce and Accountancy
  8. Economics
  9. Electrical Engineering
  10. Geography
  11. Geology 
  12. History
  13. Law
  14. Management
  15. Mathematics
  16. Mechanical Engineering
  17. Medical Science
  18. Philosophy
  19. Physics
  20. Political Science and International Relations
  21. Psychology
  22. Public Administration
  23. Sociology 
  24. Statistics
  25. Zoology
  26. Literature of any one of the following languages:
  • Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, English.
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