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UPSC-CSE Syllabus 2023

UPSC conducts what is regarded as the ‘toughest exam in the world’, Civil Service Examination (CSE) for various administrative posts in central government. Popularly called just UPSC or IAS examination, it is conducted in 3 stages.
1] Preliminary exam.
2] Mains exam.
3] Personality test / personal interview.

STAGE 1: UPSC Prelims

Two papers.
1] Paper 1 – General Studies – 200 marks
2] Paper 2 – CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test) – 200 marks.
Duration : Two hours for each paper

Syllabus for Paper 1.
1] Current events of national and international importance.
2] History of India and Indian National Movement.
3] Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
4] Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
5] Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics,
Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
6] General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.
7] General Science.

Syllabus for Paper 2
1] Comprehension;
2] Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
3] Logical reasoning and analytical ability;
4] Decision making and problem solving;
5] General mental ability;
6]  Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. — Class X level);

Note 1 :Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.
Note 2 :The questions will be of multiple choice, objective type.
Note 3 :It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the Papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in case he/she does not appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination.

Click here for strategy on UPSC Prelims examination

Stage 2: UPSC Mains

Total 9 papers (2+7)
Paper 8 and Paper 9 are qualifying in nature only. Merit is calculated on the basis of sum of first 7 papers.
Last two papers consist of 300 marks each while next 7 consist of 250 marks each.
Duration: 3 hours for each paper.


Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.

General Studies-I : Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society.

A] Indian History
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.

B] World History
5] History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

C] Indian Society
6] Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
7] Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
8] Effects of globalization on Indian society.
9] Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

D] Geography
10] Salient features of world’s physical geography.
11] 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).
12] 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.

General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

A] Indian Constitution & Polity
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 dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
4] Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.
5] Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, 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.

B] Social Justice
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 development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
14] Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

C] Governance
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.

D] International Relations
17] India and its neighbourhood- 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.

General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

A] Indian Economy
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.

B] Science and Technology
11] Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
12] Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
13] Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

C] Environment
14] Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

D] Disaster Management
15] Disaster and disaster management.

E] Security Issues
16] Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
17] Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
18] 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.
19] Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
20] Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

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 utilise the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered :

A] Theoretical Part
1] 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.
2] Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
3] 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.
4] Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.
5] Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
6] 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.
7] 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.

B] Case Studies
8] Case Studies on above issues.

Optional Subjects

Candidate may choose any optional subject from amongst the List of Optional Subjects given below.

List of optional subjects for Main Examination :
(i)  Agriculture
(ii)  Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
(iii)  Anthropology
(iv)  Botany
(v)  Chemistry
(vi)  Civil Engineering
(vii)  Commerce and Accountancy
(viii)  Economics
(ix)  Electrical Engineering
(x)  Geography
(xi)  Geology
(xii)  History
(xiii)  Law
(xiv)  Management
(xv)  Mathematics
(xvi)  Mechanical Engineering
(xvii)  Medical Science
(xviii)  Philosophy
(xix)  Physics
(xx)  Political Science and International Relations
(xxi)  Psychology
(xxii)  Public Administration
(xxiii)  Sociology
(xxiv)  Statistics
(xxv)  Zoology
(xxvi)  Literature of any one of the following languages:
Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English.

Download detailed syllabus for options subjects.

Paper VIII : English Language.
Paper IX : Indian Language.

Syllabus for both papers :
1] Comprehension of given passages.
2] Précis Writing.
3] Usage and Vocabulary.
4] Short Essays.
5] Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa. (only for the Indian language).

Posted in UPSC Exam

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