UPSC Mains 2020 General Studies Paper Syllabus (I, II, III, and IV )
The Civil Services Main examination is designed to check the scholastic skills of the aspirants and also his/her ability to present his/her knowledge in a comprehensible, consistent and descriptive manner. The IAS Mains Exam intents to evaluate the intellectual quality in whole and candidates’ insights on diverse issues rather than just their memory.
Revised UPSC Exam Pattern
The Civil Services Examination pattern for Mains has been revised by UPSC since 2015. Now, the mains examination has 9 papers (7+2) and all of them require descriptive answering. There are two qualifying papers each for 300 marks:
- Any modern Indian language
- English language
However, the marks secured by candidates in the two language papers are not counted for merit-ranking in the UPSC Mains. According to the new pattern, there are 4 General Studies papers each totalling 250 marks giving a total of 1000 Marks. The standard of the General Studies subjects is of graduate degree level.
UPSC Mains General Studies Paper Syllabus (I, II, III, and IV )
Paper-I General Studies-I 250 Marks(Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)
Paper-III General Studies-III 250 Marks (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)
Paper-II General Studies-II: 250 Marks(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)
Paper-IV General Studies-IV 250 Marks (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) Marks carried by General Studies was 4X250=1000
Below is a detailed list of the topics to be studied for the GS papers I, II, III and IV:-
Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society:
- Indian culture covers the salient features of Literature, Art Forms, and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
- Modern Indian history include the significant events, personalities, issues during the middle of the eighteenth century until the present
- Various stages and important contributors and contributions from different parts of the country in ‘The Freedom Struggle’
- Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country
- History of the world includes events, forms and effect on the society from 18th century like world wars, industrial revolution, colonization, redrawal of national boundaries, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc
- Salient aspects of Diversity of India and Indian Society
- Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and remedies
- Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism
- 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
- 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
- Salient features of world’s physical geography
Candidates can get UPSC GS 1 Strategy and Structure in the linked article.
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
- Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
- Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions
- Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these
- Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies
- 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
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
- Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
- 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
- Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
- Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures
- Issues relating to poverty and hunger
- Role of civil services in a democracy
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- India and its neighborhood- relations
- Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora
Candidates can UPSC Mains GS 2 Strategy and Structure in the linked article.
Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management:
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
- Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management.
- Government Budgeting.
- Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
- 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
- Economics of animal-rearing.
- Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
- 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
- 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 Achievements of Indians in science & technology;
- Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
- Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
- Disaster and disaster management.
- Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
- Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
- 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
- Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate
- Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism
Candidates can check the UPSC Mains GS 3 Strategy and Structure in the linked article.
Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude: This paper includes questions to check the candidate’s attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his/her problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him/her while dealing with society. Questions may utilise the case study approach to determine these aspects and covers area:
- 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
- Attitude- content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; 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 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 above issues
Candidates can check the UPSC Mains GS 4 Strategy and Structure in the linked article.
The nature of questions in General Studies in civil services mains exam need answers that are relevant, consequential and synoptic and will impress the examiner. These questions are to test the candidate’s skill on assessing and taking a view on the diverging socio-economic goals and objectives.