Best Books to Prepare for Indian Society for UPSC

Indian Society is a part of UPSC Mains General Studies paper 1 and a few topics related to social issues in India are also asked in Prelims and Mains GS-II of the IAS Exam. It becomes important for the aspirants to read the right books to study Indian Society-related topics. Thesis article will provide you with a list of books that once can refer to for both prelims and mains preparation of the UPSC Exam.

To get a list of relevant books for UPSC preparation, once can refer to linked articles below that can be useful to cover UPSC Syllabus:

Best History Books for IAS Preparation Tips to Study from Laxmikanth for Indian Polity for UPSC
UPSC Mains Booklist for International Relations Environment & Ecology Books for UPSC
Best Books for Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude Complete list of NCERT Books for UPSC

Social Issues Books | Indian Society Books – UPSC Prelims

The questions asked in the preliminary stage of the IAS Exam are objective in nature, i.e. multiple-choice questions are asked. Hence, it is very important for candidates to know about the topic holistically. That can be done with exhaustive reading of the books. However, it is not the number of books that make the difference but it is a consistent revision from those books that decide the fate of the aspirant in the exam.

The table below mentions the list of Indian Society books that can be referred to for UPSC Prelims preparation:

IAS Social Issues Books – UPSC Prelims
NCERT Class 11 – Introducing Sociology
NCERT Class 11 – Understanding Society
NCERT Class 12 – Indian Society
NCERT Class 12 – Social Change & Development in India

The above-mentioned four NCERT books are sufficient for a basic understanding of the Indian Society and social issues. For prelims, an aspirant can complement these books’ reading with current affairs. Important editorials and news articles related to social issues should be focussed upon. To complement your current affairs preparation, candidates can take help from the below-mentioned BYJU’s initiatives:

  1. Daily News Analysis
  2. Current Affairs
  3. Gist of RSTV
  4. Gist of Yojana

Preparation Tips for Social Issues for UPSC Prelims

  1. Read NCERTs carefully and make the most out of it.
  2. Periodic revision of NCERTs will be beneficial for the candidates.
  3. Understanding concepts like:
    1. Diversity in India
    2. Social Issues in India
    3. Social Sector Schemes; will help candidates make a clear picture of Indian society and can help them answer better.
  4. Focus on each chapter of the four NCERTs mentioned above. Update yourself with the latest figures of indices wherever important. For example-
    1. India’s rank in HDI
    2. India’s current population
    3. Linguistic Diversity
    4. India’s rank in other social development indices like – Press Freedom Index, World Happiness Report, etc.

Social Issues Books | Indian Society Books – UPSC Mains

Mains stage is a subjective one where General Studies Paper-I and General Studies Paper-II cover Indian Society topics. Also, aspirants can find relevant topics being asked in the Essay paper too of UPSC Mains. A holistic approach to study the Indian Society for IAS Mains will help. The table below mentions the relevant books, resources, and online study material to prepare for Indian Society/Social Issues in UPSC:

IAS Social Issues Books | Indian Society Study Material – UPSC Mains
Social Problems in India by Ram Ahuja
Contemporary Issues in Globalization by Soumyen Sikdar
IGNOU Material on Indian Democracy and Development
The Hindu newspaper – Relevant Editorials
Indian Express newspaper – Relevant Editorials
Previous Year Questions – Aspirants can get Indian Society Questions for UPSC Mains GS 1 from the linked article.

Preparation Tips for Social Issues for UPSC Mains

  1. General understanding of topics is a must, hence, a candidate should focus on covering 5Ws & 1H of every important social issue.
  2. A balanced analysis of the social issues of India for the UPSC Exam is important. An aspirant should be wary of using extreme opinions related to social issues like –
    1. Poverty
    2. Women Empowerment
    3. Hunger
    4. Casteism
    5. Reservation
    6. Empowerment, etc
  3. Candidates should take the exact topic as it is mentioned in the Indian Society Syllabus for UPSC, and prepare notes on each and revise them only.
  4. Aspirants should be updated with government welfare schemes and should know how to connect a particular scheme with a social issue or any other related topic of Indian society.

Apart from the tips above, aspirants can check Social Issues related important articles below:

Social Issues in India – Overview Secularism in India
Difference Between Communalism, Regionalism and Secularism Regionalism in India
Communalism in Post-Independent India Women Empowerment

Indian Society Booklist for UPSC:- Download PDF Here

Frequently asked Questions about UPSC Indian Society


Is Indian Society important for UPSC?

Indian Society is a topic under UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam in GS Paper -1. Along with Indian History, World History, and Physical Geography, Indian Society is also a significant portion and hence should be given its due importance.

What is the social problems in India?

Poverty, Population, Pollution, Illiteracy, Corruption, Inequality, Gender discrimination, Terrorism, Communalism, Lack of Infrastructure, Unemployment, Regionalism, Casteism, Alcoholism, Drugs Abuse, Violence against Women are some of major social problems in India.


Aspirants preparing for IAS Exam with Sociology optional will find it easy to cover Indian Society for prelims and mains. General Studies-I is one of the nine papers of the Mains. Along with Indian Society, there are other major subjects which are covered in the GS paper 1 of UPSC Mains. Candidates can check the GS 1 related articles from the links below:

GS 1 Structure, Strategy and Syllabus Topic-Wise GS 1 Questions for UPSC Mains
History Questions for UPSC Mains Art & Culture Questions for UPSC Mains GS 1
Geography Questions for UPSC Mains Social Justice Questions for UPSC Mains


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