UPSC IAS Mains Syllabus 2020 for Civil Services Exam - General Studies and Optional Subjects

UPSC Mains is the second phase of Civil Service Examination after IAS Prelims. It is a written exam consisting of 9 papers including the optional subject. Out of the nine, the total marks of seven papers i.e. is 1750 is considered for final merit list.The language and English papers are qualifying in nature.

UPSC Civil Service Mains 2020 Exam is scheduled on January 8, 2021.

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UPSC IAS Mains Exam Pattern for CSE 2020

Here are the details of 9 papers along with their maximum marks.

Paper. Subject. Mark
Paper A Indian languages (candidates should be select one of the Indian language listed in the Eighth schedule of Indian Constitution). (Qualifying) 300
Paper B English (Qualifying) 300
Paper I Essay 250
Paper II General Studies I (Indian heritage and culture, History  and Geography of India and the World) 250
Paper III General Studies II (Governance, constitution, polity, social justice and International relations)management) 250
Paper IV General Studies III (Technology, Economic Development, bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster management) 250
Paper V General Studies IV (ethics, integrity and aptitude) 250
Paper VI and VII Two papers on optional. Candidate should be opted subject from the list provided by UPSC. 500
Total Marks (excluding Language papers) 1750

UPSC Mains Syllabus 2020 for IAS Exam

UPSC Mains Exam syllabus revised from 2012 onwards. The revised UPSC Civil Services Mains syllabus is 7+2 model i.e. two qualifying paper- paper A and Paper B. Paper A regarding Indian Language mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. The intention behind these two paper is to analyze the ability of the candidate whether he or she can understand basic language.

UPSC Mains Syllabus 2020 | Paper A - Indian Language

Pattern of the questions asked-
  • Comprehension of given passages
  • Precis writing
  • Usages and vocabulary
  • Short Essay
  • Translation from English to Indian language and vice-versa
List of Indian Languages for IAS Exam.

Assamese Bengali Bodo Dogri Gujarati
Hindi Kannada Kashmiri Konkani Maithili
Malayalam Manipuri Marathi Nepali Odia
Punjabi Sanskrit Santali Sindhi Tamil
Telugu Urdu

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    UPSC Mains Syllabus 2020 | Paper B - English Paper

    English- This is compulsory for all

    The form of the question is

    • Comprehension of given passages
    • Precis writing
    • Usage and Vocabulary
    • Short essay

    Paper - I: Essay Paper Syllabus for IAS Mains Exam

    Essay - 250 Marks - To be written in the medium or language of the candidate's choice - Candidates will be required to write an essay on a specific topic. The choice of subjects will be given. The paper is divided into two sections with 4 topics each. The candidate has to select one topic from each section. Each essay has a word limit of 1100-1200 words.

    The candidates are expected to keep matter close to the subject of the essay and to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion. Credit is usually given for concise, effective and exact expression.

    Check the IAS Topper Essay Preparation Strategy here

    IAS Mains Syllabus 2020 | Paper - II: General Studies Paper 1

    General Studies-I: 250 Marks (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.
    • History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawing 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 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.

    Check Topic wise UPSC Mains GS Paper 1 Preparation Strategy here

    IAS Mains Syllabus 2020 | Paper - III: General Studies Paper 2

    General Studies-II: 250 Marks (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.
    • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries Parliament and State Legislatures - structure, functioning, 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 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; citizen s charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
    • Role of civil services in a democracy.
    • India and its neighborhood- 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.

    IAS Mains Syllabus 2020 | PAPER - IV: General Studies Paper 3

    General Studies-III: 250 Marks (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management) Development, Bio diversity, 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, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; 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.

    Check Topic wise UPSC Mains GS Paper 3 Preparation Strategy here

    IAS Mains Syllabus 2020 | Paper - V: General Studies Paper 4

    General Studies-IV: 250 Marks (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)

    • This paper will include questions to test the candidate's 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 utilize the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered.
    • 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 behavior; 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.

    Check UPSC Mains GS Paper 4 - Ethics Preparation Strategy here

    UPSC CSE Mains Syllabus 2020 | Paper VI & VII: Optional Subject

    List of optional subjects for UPSC Mains

    Click on the icon to go to the respective optional subject syllabus page.

    Literature of any one of the following language:

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