Download Mains Syllabus for UPSC Civil Service Examinations

Download Mains Syllabus for UPSC Civil Service Examinations

Welcome to, a hub for all your study material requirement. Here you will find the Mains Syllabus for the Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Scroll down to Download Mains Syllabus for UPSC Civil Service Examinations.

The phases of the Civil Services Exam.

The civil services exam comprises of three phases:-

  • Phase 1: Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective Type)
  • Phase 2: Civil Services (Mains) Examination (Descriptive Type)
  • Phase 3: Personal Interview (Personality Test)

What is the Civil services mains examination?

This post is all about the Civil Services Mains Examination.[For Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination click here].

The Civil Services Mains Examination is an objective type of exam which comprises of 9 theory papers (descriptive type). However only 7 papers are considered for preparing the final merit list.

The other two papers, English and Indian Language, are qualifying in nature (candidates have to score a minimum of 25% to be eligible for selection). The UPSC mains syllabus is discussed below and aspirants can also download the UPSC mains syllabus in PDF form by scrolling down.

Only those candidates who are qualified in the Preliminary Examination in the year will be eligible for admission to the Main Examination and that too provided they are otherwise eligible for admission to the Main Examination

The number of candidates to be admitted to the Main Examination will be approximately about twelve to thirteen times the total number of vacancies to be filled in the year through this examination.

Download UPSC Mains Previous Year Question Papers.

download mains syllabus for upsc civil service examinations
download mains syllabus for upsc civil service examinations

Why read UPSC Syllabus?

UPSC exam is considered as one of the toughest and most prestigious examinations in India. Over a million aspirants are sitting in this exam every year and the competition level is very high.

To get an understanding of the UPSC exam one must have a good hold of the UPSC exam syllabus. Analyzing the syllabus is necessary to get the whole idea of the UPSC examination pattern, the type of questions asked, and the demand for the questions.

This helps to eliminate wasteful efforts like reading unnecessary topics leading to a loss of time & efforts and keeps one strictly aligned in the right direction from day one.

UPSC Mains Pattern.

PaperSubjectDurationTotal Marks
Paper ACompulsory Indian language3 hours300 (Qualifying)
Paper BEnglish3 hours300 (Qualifying)
Paper II Essay3 hours250
Paper IIGeneral Studies I – Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society3 hours250
Paper IIIGeneral Studies II – Governance, Constitution, Welfare Initiatives, Social Justice & International Relations3 hours250
Paper IVGeneral Studies III – Technology, Economic Development, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management3 hours250
Paper VGeneral Studies IV – Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude3 hours250
Paper VIOptional Subject – Paper I3 hours250
Paper VIOptional Subject – Paper II3 hours250

Points to be remembered.

  • The UPSC Mains Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits, analytical capabilities, 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.
  • The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues and the ability to analyze and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives, and demands.
  • The candidates must give relevant, meaningful, and concise answers.
  • The scope of the syllabus for optional subject papers (Paper VI and Paper VII) for the examination is of the honors 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.

Download UPSC mains syllabus detailed topic wise pdf download

UPSC mains syllabus detailed topic wise pdf download

Download Mains Syllabus in Hindi

UPSC mains syllabus detailed topic wise pdf download

UPSC mains topic wise detailed syllabus is as under:-

Qualifying Papers On Indian Languages And English: The aim of the paper is to test the candidate’s ability to read and understand serious discursive prose, and express his ideas clearly and correctly, in English and Indian Language concerned.

The pattern of questions would be broad as follows:-

  • Comprehension of given passages
  • Precis Writing
  • Usage and Vocabulary
  • Short Essays
  • Translation from English to the Indian language and vice-versa.

1: The Papers on Indian Languages and English will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature only.
2: The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.
3: The candidates will have to answer the English and Indian Languages papers in English and the respective Indian language (except where the translation is involved).

PAPER-I Essay: Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to keep close to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in an 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 the 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redraw 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 the 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.

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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 disputes 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 the 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, Biodiversity, 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 Achievement 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, the role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cybersecurity; 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; the 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 the 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 the above issues.

Download UPSC mains syllabus detailed topic wise pdf download

UPSC mains syllabus detailed topic wise pdf download

Download Mains Syllabus in Hindi

UPSC mains syllabus detailed topic wise pdf download


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If you are fresh UPSC Aspirants, we recommend you know about UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains and also UPSC Optionals for a better understanding of the exam.

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