UPSC SYLLABUS 2020 – 2021

UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) is a constitutional body conducts nationwide Civil Services Examination (CSE) to recruit various category of civil servants for Government of India including Indian Administrative Services (IAS), Indian Police Services (IPS), Indian Foreign Services (IFS) etc., This Examination is simply referred as UPSC Examination.

UPSC Examination is conducted in three phases

1.Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective type) for the selection of candidates for the Main Examination -Preliminary examination consisting of two objective-type papers (General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II also popularly known as Civil Service Aptitude Test or CSAT).

Detailed Syllabus of Preliminary Examinaton-

Paper I – (200 marks) Duration: Two hours

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) Duration : Two hours

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.
Note 3 :It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the Papers of Civil Services (Prelim)
Examination for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in
case he/she does not appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination.

2. —Main Examination

The written examination will consist of the following papers :—
Qualifying Papers :

(One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the
Eighth Schedule to the Constitution). 300 Marks
English 300 Marks
Papers to be counted for merit
Essay 250 Marks
General Studies-I 250 Marks
(Indian Heritage and Culture, History and
Geography of the World and Society)
General Studies -II 250 Marks
(Governance, Constitution, Polity,
Social Justice and International relations)
General Studies -III 250 Marks
(Technology, Economic Development,
Bio-diversity, Environment, Security
and Disaster Management)
General Studies -IV 250 Marks
(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)
Optional Subject – Paper 1 250 Marks
Optional Subject – Paper 2 250 Marks
Sub Total (Written test) 1750 Marks

Detailed Syllabi of the papers included in the scheme of Civil Services (Main) Examination are given as
follows :—
The aim of the paper is to test the candidates’ ability to read and understand serious
discursive prose, and to express his ideas clearly and correctly, in English and Indian language
The pattern of questions would be broadly as follows :
(i) Comprehension of given passages.
(ii) Précis Writing.
(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.
(iv) Short Essays.
Indian Languages:—
(i) comprehension of given passages.
(ii) Précis Writing.
(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.
(iv) Short Essays.
(v) Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa.
Note 1: The papers on Indian Languages and English will be of Matriculation or equivalent
standard and will be of qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be
counted for ranking.
Note 2: The candidates will have to answer the English and Indian Languages papers in English
and the respective Indian language (except where translation is involved).


Essay: Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. 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.


General Studies-I : Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and
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 presentsignificant 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
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.


General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International
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
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-governanceapplications, 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.


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
Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.


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 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
Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and
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.


Optional Subject Papers I & II
Candidate may choose any optional subject from amongst the List of Optional Subjects given below-

(i) Agriculture
(ii) Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
(iii) Anthropology
(iv) Botany
(v) Chemistry
(vi) Civil Engineering
(vii) Commerce and Accountancy
(viii) Economics
(ix) Electrical Engineering
(x) Geography
(xi) Geology
(xii) History
(xiii) Law
(xiv) Management
(xv) Mathematics
(xvi) Mechanical Engineering
(xvii) Medical Science
(xviii) Philosophy
(xix) Physics
(xx) Political Science and International Relations
(xxi) Psychology
(xxii) Public Administration
(xxiii) Sociology
(xxiv) Statistics
(xxv) Zoology
(xxvi) Literature of any one of the following languages:

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

General Instructions (Preliminary as well as Main Examination) :
(i) Candidates must write the papers in their own hand. In no circumstances will they be allowed the help of a scribe to write the answers for them. The Persons with Benchmark Disabilities in the categories of blindness, locomotor disability (both arm affected – BA) and cerebral palsy will be provided the facility of scribe, if desired by the person. In case of other category of Persons with Benchmark Disabilities as defined under section 2(r) of the RPWD Act, 2016, the facility of scribe will be allowed to such candidates on production of a
certificate to the effect that the person concerned has physical limitation to write, and scribe is essential to write examination on behalf, from the Chief Medical Officer/ Civil Surgeon/ Medical Superintendent of a Government Health Care institution as per proforma

(ii) The candidates have discretion of opting for his/her own scribe or request the Commission
for the same. The details of scribe i.e. whether own or the Commission’s and the details of
scribe in case candidates are bringing their own scribe, will be sought at the time of filling
up the application form online as per proforma.

(iii) The qualification of the Commission’s scribe as well as own scribe will not be more than the minimum qualification criteria of the examination. However, the qualification of the scribe should always be matriculate or above.
(iv) The Persons with Benchmark Disabilities in the category of blindness, locomotor disability (both arm affected – BA) and cerebral palsy will be allowed Compensatory Time of twenty minutes per hour of the examination. In case of other categories of Persons with Benchmark Disabilities, this facility will be provided on production of a certificate to the effect that the person concerned has physical limitation to write from the Chief Medical
Officer/ Civil Surgeon/ Medical Superintendent of a Government Health Care institution.

3. Personality Test- 275 Marks

This test/interview will asses the personality of the candidate for the suitability of the posts.

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