UPSC Civil Services Exam 2021 Syllabus : Syllabus For Prelims & Mains

UPSC Civil Services Exam 2021 Syllabus:

UPSC has released the official notification for the civil services prelims exam. Lakhs of Aspirants are preparing and appearing for the UPSC Civil Service Exam every year. This recruitment is for the appointment of officers in a prestigious post.  UPSC Civil Service Exam Preparation requires sincere and dedicative efforts to crack one of the toughest exams. Aspirants should submit the online application on or before March 24, 2021. With the ocean wide syllabus topics, Aspirants should know the complete details of the UPSC Civil Services Exam 2021  Syllabus for both prelims and Mains. The foremost thing in the UPSC Civil Services Exam Preparation is a clear understanding of the UPSC Civil Services Exam 2021 Syllabus. UPSC Civil Services Exam 2021 Syllabus for both Prelims and Mains exam is discussed below in this article. Aspirants preparing for the UPSC exams can go through the UPSC Civil Services Exam 2021 Syllabus and exam pattern and make a proper schedule accordingly.

UPSC Exam Pattern -Prelims

Before going for the syllabus for the  UPSC prelims exam, let’s have a glance at the UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern. The time duration of each of the paper is two hours.

The UPSC General Studies (GS) paper consists of 100 questions, while the CSAT paper consists of 80 questions. Both papers have negative marks for wrong answers marked to the tune of 1/3rd of the total marks assigned to that question.

Paper Questions Marks Time Duration
General Studies Paper I 100 Questions 200  2 hours (9.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m.)
General Studies Paper-II (CSAT – Qualifying only) 80 Questions 200 (Qualifying)  2 hours ( 2.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.)
Total 200  

UPSC Civil Services Exam 2021 Syllabus – Prelims

The UPSC Prelims Exam consists of two papers -General Studies (GS) and CSAT.

UPSC Syllabus For General Studies

The General Studies test is the first paper of the preliminary examination. This test is intended to test the general awareness of a candidate in a wide range of subjects that include:

  • Current events of national and international importance.
  • History of India and Indian National Movement.
  • Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
  • Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  • Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
  • General issues on environmental ecology, bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.
  • General Science.

UPSC Syllabus For Paper-II (CSAT)

The UPSC Prelims syllabus for CSAT is generally to assess the ability of the candidate in solving ‘Reasoning and Analytical’ questions, apart from ‘Reading Comprehension’ and the occasionally asked ‘Decision Making’ questions. The ‘Decision Making’ based questions are generally exempt from negative marks.The syllabus topics include:

  • Comprehension.
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills.
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability.
  • Decision making and problem-solving.
  • General mental ability.
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data
    interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. — Class X level).

Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%. The preliminary examination is only meant for screening a candidate for the subsequent stages of the exam. The marks obtained in the Prelims will not be added up while arriving at the final rank list.

UPSC Mains Syllabus

UPSC Mains Exam Pattern

Paper Subject Marks
Paper – I Essay (can be written in the medium of the 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
UPSC Main (written)Total 1750
UPSC Interview   275
Total 2025

UPSC Mains Syllabus for Paper -I (Essay)

The Essay paper is to test the candidates’ ability to read and understand serious discursive prose and to express ideas clearly and correctly, in the English and Indian language concerned.

There are no particular topics mentioned for the essay paper. The pattern of questions include:

  • Essay – 100 marks
  • Reading comprehension – 60 marks
  • Precis Writing – 60 marks

Translation:

  • English to compulsory language (e.g. Hindi) – 20 marks
  • Compulsory language to English – 20 marks
  • Grammar and basic language usage – 40 marks

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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

UPSC Syllabus – General Studies Paper-I

Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society.

  • Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
  • Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
  • The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.
  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.
  • The history of the world will include events from 18th century such as the industrial revolution, world wars, re-drawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.
  • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
  • 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.
  • Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
  • Salient features of the world’s physical geography.
  • 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).
  • 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.

UPSC Syllabus – General Studies Paper-II

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.
  • Separation of powers between various organs, dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  • Government strives to have a workforce that reflects gender balance and women candidates are encouraged to apply.
  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.
  • Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, the conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
  • 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.
  • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies. 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.
  • Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
  • 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 the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
    Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
  • 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.
  • 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.

UPSC Syllabus General Studies Paper III

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

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.
  • 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; 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.
  • Food processing and related industries in India- scope’ and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
  • 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.
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
  • 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, the role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cybersecurity; money laundering and its prevention.
  • Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

UPSC Ethics Syllabus

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.

  • 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; the 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 nonpartisanship, 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 the 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 the above issues.

Optional Subjects For Paper VI & VII

There are 25 optional subjects in the UPSC  main exam and the candidates need to choose only one out of them. The optional subject carries 500 marks out of 1750. It is around 30% of the total. The detailed UPSC Civil Service Exam 2021 Syllabus for Optional Subjects are given in the UPSC Official Notification 2021 pdf

  • 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.

List of literature optional subjects in UPSC

The literature optional subjects in UPSC Mains Exam are mentioned below.

S.No List of Literature Optional Subjects
1 Assamese
2 Bengali
3 Bodo
4 Dogri
5 Gujarati
6 Hindi
7 Kannada
8 Kashmiri
9 Konkani
10 Maithili
11 Malayalam
12 Manipuri
13 Marathi
14 Nepali
15 Oriya
16 Punjabi
17 Sanskrit
18 Santhali
19 Sindhi
20 Tamil
21 Telugu
22 Urdu
23 English

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the role of current affairs in the IAS syllabus?

A. Current Affairs plays a very important role in IAS preparation. All the topics in the IAS Syllabus need to be linked with the current events national and International happenings.

Q. Which subject is best for IAS Mains optional?

A. Subjects with a high syllabus overlap with General Studies are usually considered to be a good choice.

Q. How many stages are there in the UPSC Recruitment 2021?

A. There are three stages in the selection process, Prelims, Mains and Interview with the total marks of 2025.

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