IAS Exam has one of the optional subjects as Political Science and International Relations (PSIR). It has two papers (I & II), each of 250 marks summing up to 500 for the paper. Duration for each paper is 3 hours. It is easy to crack this optional subject for those who have a keen interest in Political Science. Below we have provided the UPSC Political Science Optional Syllabus for IAS Mains 2021. Download the complete PSIR syllabus PDF from here.
UPSC Political Science Syllabus – Paper I
Political Theory and Indian Politics
- Political Theory: meaning and approaches.
- Theories of the State: Liberal, Neoliberal, Marxist, Pluralist, Post-colonial and feminist.
- Justice: Conceptions of justice with special reference to Rawl’s theory of justice and its communitarian critiques.
- Equality: Social, political and economic; relationship between equality and freedom; Affirmative action.
- Rights: Meaning and theories; different kinds of rights; concept of Human Rights.
- Democracy: Classical and contemporary theories; different models of democracy – representative, participatory and deliberative.
- Concept of power, hegemony, ideology and legitimacy.
- Political Ideologies: Liberalism, Socialism, Marxism, Fascism, Gandhism and Feminism.
- Indian Political Thought: Dharamshastra, Arthashastra and Buddhist traditions; Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Sri Aurobin, M.K. Gandhi, B.R. Ambedkar, M.N. Roy.
- Western Political Thought: Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, John S. Mill, Marx, Gramsci, Hannah Arendt.
Indian Government and Politics
- Indian Nationalism: Political Strategies of India’s Freedom Struggle: Constitutionalism to mass Satyagraha, Non-cooperation, Civil Disobedience; Militant and revolutionary movements, Peasant and workers’ movements. Perspectives on Indian National Movement: Liberal, Socialist and Marxist; Radical humanist and Dalit.
- Making of the Indian Constitution: Legacies of the British rule; different social and political perspectives.
- Salient Features of the Indian Constitution: The Preamble, Fundamental Rights and Duties, Directive Principles; Parliamentary System and Amendment Procedures; Judicial Review and Basic Structure doctrine.
- Principal Organs of the Union Government: Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislature and Supreme Court. Principal Organs of the State Government: Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislature and High Courts.
- Grassroots Democracy: Panchayati Raj and Municipal Government; significance of 73rd and 74th Amendments; Grassroot movements.
- Statutory Institutions/Commissions: Election Commission, Comptroller and Auditor General, Finance Commission, Union Public Service Commission, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Women; National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Minorities, National Backward Classes Commission.
- Federalism: Constitutional provisions; changing nature of centre-state relations; integrationist tendencies and regional aspirations; inter-state disputes.
- Planning and Economic Development : Nehruvian and Gandhian perspectives; role of planning and public sector; Green Revolution, land reforms and agrarian relations; liberalization and economic reforms.
- Caste, Religion and Ethnicity in Indian Politics.
- Party System: National and regional political parties, ideological and social bases of parties; patterns of coalition politics; Pressure groups, trends in electoral behavior; changing socio- economic profile of Legislators.
- Social Movements: Civil liberties and human rights movements; women’s movements; environmentalist movements.
UPSC Political Science Syllabus – Paper II
Comparative Politics and International Relations
- Comparative Politics: Nature and major approaches; political economy and political sociology perspectives; limitations of the comparative method.
- State in comparative perspective: Characteristics and changing nature of the State in capitalist and socialist economies, and, advanced industrial and developing societies.
- Politics of Representation and Participation: Political parties, pressure groups and social movements in advanced industrial and developing societies.
- Globalisation: Responses from developed and developing societies.
- Approaches to the Study of International Relations: Idealist, Realist, Marxist, Functionalist and Systems theory.
- Key concepts in International Relations: National interest, Security and power; Balance of power and deterrence; Transnational actors and collective security; World capitalist economy and globalization.
- 7. Changing International Political Order: Rise of super powers; strategic and ideological Bipolarity, arms race and Cold War; nuclear threat; Non-aligned movement: Aims and achievements; Collapse of the Soviet Union; Unipolarity and American hegemony; relevance of non-alignment in the contemporary world.
- 8. Evolution of the International Economic System: From Brettonwoods to WTO; Socialist economies and the CMEA (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance); Third World demand for new international economic order; Globalization of the world economy.
- 9. United Nations: Envisaged role and actual record; specialized UN agencies-aims and functioning; need for UN reforms.
- 10. Regionalization of World Politics: EU, ASEAN, APEC, SAARC, NAFTA.
- 11. Contemporary Global Concerns: Democracy, human rights, environment, gender justice, terrorism, nuclear proliferation.
India and the World
- Indian Foreign Policy: Determinants of foreign policy; institutions of policy-making; continuity and change.
- India’s Contribution to the Non-Alignment Movement: Different phases; current role.
- India and South Asia:
- Regional Co-operation: SAARC – past performance and future prospects.
- South Asia as a Free Trade Area.
- India’s “Look East” policy.
- Impediments to regional co-operation: river water disputes; illegal cross-border migration; ethnic conflicts and insurgencies; border disputes.
- India and the Global South: Relations with Africa and Latin America; leadership role in the demand for NIEO and WTO negotiations.
- India and the Global Centers of Power: USA, EU, Japan, China and Russia.
- India and the UN System: Role in UN Peace-keeping; demand for Permanent Seat in the Security Council.
- India and the Nuclear Question: Changing perceptions and policy.
- Recent developments in Indian Foreign policy: India’s position on the recent crisis in Afghanistan, Iraq and West Asia, growing relations with US and Israel; vision of a new world order.
UPSC Political Science Syllabus 2021 – PDF Download