Syllabus for UPSC Mains Stage:

As we know that the Mains Round consists of 9 papers and it is mandatory to write all the 9 papers. Out of 9 papers, 7 papers are considered for final ranking. The remaining 2 papers are qualifying in nature, however, marks are not counted in the final result but passing the exam is mandatory. The two qualifying papers for Civil Services Main Examination are:

Language Papers

  1. Paper A – Indian Language: Candidates will have to select one of the Indian languages selected from the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
  2. Paper B – English language.

Both of these papers are of 300 marks each.

Note 1: The papers on Indian Languages & English will be of Matriculation or Equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature. Note 2: The candidates have to answer the English and Indian Language Papers in English or in the respective Indian Language (except translation).
paper Subject Marks
Paper-I Essay (can be written in the medium of candidate`s choice) 250
Paper-II General Studies-I(Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of The World & Society) 250
Paper-III General Studies-II(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations) 250
Paper-IV General Studies-III(Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management) 250
Paper-V General Studies-IV(Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude) 250
Paper-VI Optional Subject-Paper I 250
Paper-VII Optional Subject-Paper II 250
  • Paper I: Essay
  • Paper II: General Studies-I
  • Paper III: General Studies-II
  • Paper IV: General Studies-III
  • Paper V: General Studies-IV
  • Paper VI: Optional Subject-I
  • Paper VII: Optional Subject-II

Paper I: Essay

A candidate is required to write essays on multiple topics and essays must be kept close to the subject. Answers must be in precise manner so that one can easily read the answers and can reach to the soul of the answers.

Paper II: General Studies-I

Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society
  1. Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature, and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
  2. Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
  3. The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.
  4. 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, redrawing of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism, etc.- their forms and effect on the society.
  5. Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
  6. Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems, and their remedies.
  7. Effects of globalization on Indian society.
  8. Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
  9. Salient features of the world’s physical geography.
  10. 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)
  11. 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

  1. Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
  2. 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.
  3. Separation of powers between various organs disputes redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  4. Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.
  5. Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, the conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
  6. 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.
  7. Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
  8. Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions, and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
  9. Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
  10. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  11. Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
  12. 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.
  13. Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  14. Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
  15. Important aspects of governance, transparency, and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
  16. Role of civil services in a democracy.
  17. India and its neighborhood- relations.
  18. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
  19. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
  20. Important International institutions, agencies, and fora, their structure, mandate.

Paper IV: General Studies-III

Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

  1. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development, and employment.
  2. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
  3. Government Budgeting.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
  7. Land reforms in India.
  8. Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
  9. Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.
  10. Investment models.
  11. 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
  12. Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
  13. Conservation, environmental pollution, and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
  14. Disaster and disaster management.
  15. Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
  16. Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
  17. 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
  18. Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism
  19. Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

Paper V: General Studies-IV

Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude

  1. 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.
  2. Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants, and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.
  3. 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.
  4. Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
  5. 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.
  6. Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.
  7. Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.
  11. Case Studies on the above issues.

Paper VI: Optional Subject-I

Candidates have option to choose any one of the ‘Optional Subjects’ from the list of the subjects given below-

List of the Optional Subjects for the UPSC Mains Exam-

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