“Pattern and Syllabus of UPSC Civil Services Examination, Syllabus Of All Optional Subjects” 2023-24

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Pattern and Syllabus of UPSC

Pattern and Syllabus of UPSC Civil Services Examination


The Preliminary Examination consists of two compulsory Papers, each carrying 200 marks.

Both papers are objective type (multiple-choice questions) and have a duration of two hours each.

General Studies Paper-II is a qualifying paper with a minimum qualifying mark of 33%.

Question papers are available in both Hindi and English.

Details of the syllabi are provided in Part A of Section III.


The Main Examination consists of the following papers:

Qualifying Papers:

Paper-A (Indian Language): 300 Marks

Paper-B (English): 300 Marks

Papers to be counted for merit:

Paper-I (Essay): 250 Marks

Paper-II (General Studies-I): 250 Marks

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

Paper-III (General Studies – II): 250 Marks

Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, and International Relations.

Paper-IV (General Studies – III): 250 Marks

Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management.

Paper-V (General Studies – IV): 250 Marks

Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude.

Paper-VI (Optional Subject – Paper 1): 250 Marks

Paper-VII (Optional Subject – Paper 2): 250 Marks

Sub-Total (Written Test): 1750 Marks

Personality Test (Interview): 275 Marks

Grand Total: 2025 Marks

Optional Subjects for Mains Examination:

Candidates can choose from the following optional subjects for Papers VI and VII:

Note: Question papers for the Mains examination are of the conventional (essay) type, each with a three-hour duration. Candidates have the option to answer all papers except the Qualifying Language Paper.

Detailed Syllabus for Preliminary Examination

Paper I (200 marks) – Duration: Two hours

– 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.

–  General Science.

Paper II (200 marks) – Duration: Two hours

–  Comprehension.

– Interpersonal skills, including communication skills.

– Logical reasoning and analytical ability.

– Decision making and problem solving.

– General mental ability.

– Basic numeracy (Class X level) and Data interpretation (Class X level).

Note: Paper II is a qualifying paper with a minimum qualifying mark of 33%.

It is mandatory for candidates to appear in both papers for the Preliminary Examination.

Detailed Syllabus for Mains Examination (Papers I to VII)

Paper-I: Essay (250 Marks)

Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They should:

– Keep closely to the subject of the essay.

– Arrange their ideas in an orderly fashion.

– Write concisely.

– Be given credit for effective and exact expression.

Paper-II: General Studies-I (250 Marks)

This paper covers the following areas:

– Indian culture, encompassing Art Forms, Literature, and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

– Modern Indian history from the middle of the eighteenth century to the present, including significant events, personalities, and issues.

– The Freedom Struggle, its stages, and important contributors from different parts of India.

– Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

– History of the world, including events from the 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism, etc.

– Salient features of Indian Society and Diversity of India.

– Role of women, population, poverty, development issues, urbanization, globalization, social empowerment, communalism, regionalism, and secularism.

Paper-III: General Studies-II (250 Marks)

This paper includes the following topics:

– Indian Constitution, its historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions, and basic structure.

– Functions and responsibilities of the Union and States, challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances, and related challenges.

– Separation of powers, dispute redressal mechanisms, and institutions.

– Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with other countries.

– Structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges of Parliament and State legislatures.

– Structure, organization, and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary.

– Ministries and Departments of the Government, pressure groups, 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 Constitutional Bodies.

– Statutory, regulatory, and quasi-judicial bodies.

– Government policies, interventions for development in various sectors, and issues arising from their design and implementation.

– Development processes and the development industry, role of NGOs, SHGs, groups, associations, donors, charities, and stakeholders.

– Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections, mechanisms, laws, institutions, and bodies for their protection and betterment.

– Issues related to development and management of Social Sector/Services, poverty, hunger, governance, transparency, accountability, e-governance, and civil services in a democracy.

– India and its neighborhood relations, bilateral, regional, and global groupings and agreements involving India.

– Effects of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

– Important international institutions, agencies, and their mandates.

Paper-IV: General Studies-III (250 Marks)

This paper covers various topics, including:

– Indian Economy, issues related to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development, and employment.

– Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

– Government Budgeting.

– Major crops, cropping patterns, irrigation systems, storage, transport, and marketing of agricultural produce.

– Direct and indirect farm subsidies, minimum support prices, and the Public Distribution System.

– Food processing and related industries in India.

– 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.

– Awareness in IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology, and issues related to intellectual property rights.

– Conservation, environmental pollution, degradation, environmental impact assessment.

– Disaster and disaster management.

– Linkages between development and extremism.

– Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

– Challenges to internal security through communication networks, media, social networking sites, and cyber security.

– Money-laundering and its prevention.

– Security challenges in border areas, organized crime, and its linkages with terrorism.

– Various security forces, agencies, and their mandates.

Paper-V: General Studies-IV (250 Marks)

This paper assesses the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues related to ethics, integrity, and aptitude. The topics covered include:

– Ethics and Human Interface.

– Attitude: Content, structure, function; influence and relation with thought and behavior.

– Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service.

– Emotional intelligence.

– Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers.

– Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration.

– Probity in Governance.

Paper-VI & Paper-VII: Optional Subject Papers I & II (250 Marks Each)

Candidates can choose any optional subject from the list. Each paper is worth 250 marks.

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