UPSC IAS Syllabus and Exam pattern Old papers

UPSC IAS Syllabus

UPSC IAS Syllabus and Exam pattern Old papers – UPSC IAS Syllabus and Examination pattern 2021

Union Public Service Commission has recently released the much-awaited notification regarding the Civil Service Examination 2021. Civil Services is one of the most sought-after examinations in our country.

Every year thousands of aspirants compete for the 19 highly prestigious positions of the administrative realm of our nation including Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IRS), and Indian Police Service (IPS).

An elaborated syllabus, unpredictable questions, and an exam cycle of almost one-year duration make the Civil Service Examination one of the toughest examinations in India.

UPSC syllabus Hindi pdf 

Selection Procedure of UPSC Civil Service

The selection procedure of UPSC Civil Service Examination Consists of three phases. The details of the same are given below.

  • Preliminary Examination
  • Mains Examination
  • Interview/ Personality Test

Candidates have to clear Preliminary examination to appear for Mains examination.

Candidates who clear Mains examination will be intimated to appear for Interview/ Personality Test.

An Interview Panel consists of experts from various arenas of society will be assessing candidates during Interview.

Those candidates who score higher marks in all these three phases will be absorbed to positions like IAS, IFS, IPS and so on according to the ranking of the merit list.

Examination Pattern of Preliminary Exam

The preliminary Examination of UPSC Civil Service Examination consists of two papers. Details of the same are given below.

Name of the PaperTotal Number of QuestionsTotal MarksDuration of Examination
General Studies100 Questions2002 Hours
(Civil Service Aptitude Test) CSAT80 Questions2002 Hours

Examination Pattern of Mains Exam of UPSC

Main examination of UPSC Civil Service Examination 9 papers.

It is important for candidates to clear the prescribed cut-off of General Studies Paper 1 and score 33% of marks in CSAT to appear for Main Examination.

All of these papers are descriptive in nature. Details of the exam pattern of the Mains Exam of UPSC Civil Service Examination 2021 are given below.

PaperName of the SubjectTotal marksTime Duration
Paper ACompulsory Indian language300 Marks3 hours
Paper BEnglish300 Marks3 hours
Paper IEssay250 Marks3 hours
Paper IIGeneral Studies Paper I250 Marks3 hours
Paper IIIGeneral Studies Paper II250 Marks3 hours
Paper IVGeneral Studies Paper III250 Marks3 hours
Paper VGeneral Studies Paper IV250 Marks3 hours
Paper VIOptional Paper I250 Marks3 hours
Paper VIIOptional Paper II250 Marks3 hours

In Mains Examination Paper A and Paper B will be qualifying in nature.

Candidates have to score a minimum of 25% marks in Paper A and Paper B (Language Papers) to consider the remaining papers for evaluation.

Paper I to Paper VII are Merit Based ranking papers in nature.

Pattern of Language Papers (Paper A and Paper B)

TopicsAllotted Marks
Reading Comprehension60 Marks
Essay Writing100 Marks
Precis Writing60 Marks
Translation (English to compulsory Language)20 Marks
Translation (Compulsory Language to English)20 Marks
Grammar and Basic Language Usage40 Marks

Topics distribution of General Studies Papers of Mains Exam

General Studies Paper I

  • Indian Heritage
  • Indian Culture
  • World History
  • World Geography
  • Society

General Studies Paper II

  • International Relations (IR)
  • Governance
  • Polity
  • Constitution
  • Social Justice

General Studies Paper III

  • Economic Development
  • Environment
  • Technology
  • Bio Diversity
  • Security
  • Disaster Management

General Studies Paper IV

  • Aptitude
  • Ethics
  • Integrity

Optional Subjects for Mains Exam of UPSC

Out of 48 Optional subjects, candidates have to choose any one optional subject as per his/her interest.

The details of all the 48 optional subjects are given below

  • Agriculture         
  • Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science           
  • Anthropology   
  • Botany 
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering              
  • Commerce and Accountancy      
  • Economics          
  • Electrical Engineering    
  • Geography
  • Geology              
  • History 
  • Law       
  • Management   
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medical Science
  • Philosophy         
  • Physics
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Psychology        
  • Public Administration    
  • Sociology            
  • Statistics             
  • Zoology

Literature Subjects as Optional Subjects

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

Interview or Personality Test of UPSC Civil Service

  • Interview or Personality Test is the third phase of UPSC Civil Service Examination 2021.
  • Marks of Interview or Personality Test will be considered for merit ranking.
  • The maximum score of this interview is 275 Marks.

While considering the final merit list, the total marks to be considered will be 2025 Marks.

Most of the students find it difficult to crack this UPSC Interview. A competent interview panel will assess the suitability of candidates to handle our nation’s topmost administrative positions.

Qualities of candidates such as decision-making capacity, negotiating power, time and stress management, logical thinking and problem-solving skills will be assessed thoroughly.

In depth knowledge about what is happening around us along with good subject knowledge is essential for candidates to crack this examination with flying colours.

Persistence, Patience and self-motivation also plays a major role in boosting the morale of the candidates to go on with their preparation strategies and tackle their long-cherished dream of becoming a civil servant.

Detailed Syllabus UPSC

Preliminary Examination Syllabus of UPSC Civil Service Examination 2021

  • Nationally and internationally important current events.
  • History of India and Indian National Movement.
  • Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty
  • Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World. Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
  • General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change
  • General Science
  • Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues

CSAT Syllabus for UPSC Civil Service Examination 2021

  • English Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy
  • Data interpretation
  • Logical reasoning
  • Analytical ability
  • Decision making
  • Problem solving

Main Examination Syllabus of UPSC

Paper‐I – Essay

Write an essay from given choices. The essay must be well structured and must have written with a logical coherence including all relevant to the pertained topic

Paper‐II – General Studies-I

  • Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society.
  • Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
  • History of the world will include events from 18th century (Industrial revolution, World wars, redefining of national boundaries, Colonization, Decolonization, Political philosophies like Communism, Capitalism, Socialism), their forms and effect on the society.
  • Important features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
  • Social empowerment, Communalism, Regionalism and Secularism.
  • Important features of physical geography of World
  • 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).
  • Indian culture includes topics such as Art Forms, Architecture from ancient to modern times and Literature
  • The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.
  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
  • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
  • 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 neighbourhood- relations.
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
  • Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Poverty and hunger related issues
  • 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.
  • Food processing and related industries in India- scope’ and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
  • Land reforms in India.
  • 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.
  • Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
  • 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
  • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways
  • Investment models
  • 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.
  • Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
  • Achievements of Indians in science and 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.
  • 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

  • Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions
  • Dimensions of ethics
  • Ethics in private and public relationships.
  • Strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance
  • Ethical issues in international relations and funding
  • Corporate governance.
  • Probity in Governance: Concept of public service
  • The philosophical basis of governance and probity
  • Information sharing and transparency in government
  • Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers, and administrators
  • Laws, rules, regulations, and conscience as sources of ethical guidance
  • Accountability and ethical governance
  • Role of family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.
  • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world.
  • 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.
  • Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions
  • 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.

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