Union Public Service Commission is termed as India’s premier central recruiting agency responsible for recruiting candidates for civil services for group A and Group B categories.
To qualify any civil service exams, candidates have to study the IAS syllabus prescribed by the UPSC. This article will cover UPSC syllabus 2020 for IAS prelims, mains, and interview.
UPSC Prelims Syllabus
Prelims exam consists of two compulsory papers, 200 marks each, i.e., General Studies Paper-I and General Studies Paper-II (CSAT). These general studies papers will have multiple and objective type questions.
Marks scored by the candidates in preliminary exam will not be added in the Mains exam, but these are required to qualify to the next level i.e., Civil Service Main Examination.
The minimum marks that are required to be scored in the Preliminary are 33%. Let’s look at the UPSC syllabus for Prelims that is required to qualify the first level exam.
UPSC IAS Prelims Syllabus for General Studies (Paper 1)
The total duration for Paper I will be 2 hours and maximum marks will be 200 only. Out of this, only 33% of marks are needed to qualify.
- Current events of national and international importance
- History of India and Indian National Movement
- Indian Polity and Governance Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, and Rights Issues Economic and Social Development‐Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives and
- General issues on Environmental ecology
- General Science
- Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World
- Biodiversity and Climate Change ‐ that do not require subject specialisation and General Science
UPSC IAS Prelims Syllabus for CSAT (Paper 2)
CSAT or Civil Services Aptitude Test is the candidate’s first screening test in the civil services examination. It tests the candidate’s knowledge against a whole set of factors such as mental ability, problem-solving skills, social awareness, comprehension, interpersonal skills, decision-making, etc. The paper is set in both languages English and Hindi.
The total duration for Paper II will be 2 hours, and maximum marks will be 200 only from which only 66.67 marks are needed to qualify.
- Logical reasoning and analytical ability
- Decision-making and problem-solving
- General mental ability
- Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.)
- Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)
UPSC Mains Syllabus
The UPSC Mains Exam is only for those candidates who qualify in the Preliminary exam. The Mains examination will have 1750 marks only. It is an exam that assesses the candidates’ academic experience in specialised subjects. It also analyses the overall intellectual traits and understanding of concepts. It determines the suitability of candidates in public service.
PAPER A: Modern Indian language will be of 300 marks. You can expect a matriculation level of questions to be asked in this section. The syllabus for paper A is as given below:
- Comprehension of given passages.
- Precise Writing
- Usage and Vocabulary.
- Short Essay
- Translation from English to the Indian language and vice-versa.
PAPER B: English paper (300 marks) aims to assess the candidate’s ability to quickly comprehend the English language, his ability to read, write, and understand the language clearly. It is mandatory to clear to go for the next interview level.
- Comprehension of given passages
- Precise Writing
- Usage and Vocabulary
- Short Essay.
The UPSC mains examination will consist of 9 papers, but only 7 papers will be counted for final outcomes. The first two papers are qualifying in nature. The marks obtained in these two papers are not counted along with the rest of the 7 papers.
Paper – I
It will contain Essay type of questions for 250 Marks. Here the candidate has a choice to choose the language that he is comfortable with. Also, he can attempt specific topics of essay writing in English language.
The candidate has to choose from a list of topics presented to him. Clear and concise writing of the essay is suggested. The flow of writing should match standards and care to be taken of vocabulary and good communication.
Paper – II General Studies – I (250 marks)
- 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, redrawing 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.
Paper – III General Studies –II (250 marks)
- 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 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 (250 marks)
- 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.
- 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 (250 marks)
- 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 behavior; 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 and VII (Optional subjects for both papers)
2 papers each of 250 Marks. Candidates need to choose any one of the ‘Optional Subjects’ from the list of subjects given below.
List of IAS Mains Optional Subjects Syllabus
- Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
- Civil Engineering
- Commerce & Accountancy
- Electrical Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Medical Science
- Political Science & International Relations
- Public Administration
List of IAS Mains Literature Optional Subjects Syllabus
UPSC IAS Interview Syllabus
The total marks allotted for the interview section is 275. The candidates are recommended to score good marks in an interview as these will be added with the marks scored in their Mains examination
The candidates could be interviewed by way of a board of panelists where they may be asked questions on matters of general interest.
The interview intends to evaluate the non-public suitability of the candidate for a career in public service.
The interview will not only address the intellectual traits of the candidates but also include social developments and awareness in cutting-edge affairs.
Some of the features to be judged are intellectual alertness, essential powers of assimilation, clean and logical exposition, a balance of judgment, range and intensity of hobbies and personal interests, the potential for rising in social concord and management, intellectual and moral integrity.
The participants are expected to have a keen interest not only in their particular subjects of academic excellence but also perform well in co-curricular activities in their sates and otherwise (at national levels)
A good interest in general knowledge and things happening in and around the globe is a must to clear the IAS Interview.
Confidence plays a significant part in the interview. For this, candidates are requested to maintain calm and gracious composure and avoid being anxious and too overconfident.
The interview will be the last step to clear and to become a civil service officer in India successfully.
To download the UPSC CSE syllabus PDF, make sure to click on the following link.
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