UPSC Mains Exam Syllabus (UPSC Mains Syllabus)

UPSC Mains Exam Syllabus | UPSC Mains Syllabus – Once you qualify the Prelims, the next stage is the toughest one, the Mains Exam. Civil service’s mains preparation is a fright in a lot of students but I can vouch for the fact that with a dedicated approach, earnest efforts and a smart preparation plan, the Mains Exams can be conquered.

As per the latest pattern of Civil Services Exam, as mentioned in my previous post, the mains contain –

4 GS papers + 2 optional papers + 1 essay paper + 2 qualifying language papers

UPSC Mains Exam Syllabus (UPSC Mains Syllabus)   Youth Destination | RBD Books

The core division of each subject and names are – UPSC Mains Exam Syllabus (UPSC Mains Syllabus)

  • Paper 1 – Essay (250 marks)
  • Paper 2 – General Studies – Paper 1 (250 marks) – It includes Indian Heritage and culture, history and Geography of the word and society.
  • Paper 3 – General Studies – Paper 2 (250 marks) – It includes Polity, Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.
  • Paper 4 – General Studies – Paper 3 (250 marks) – It includes Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security Issues, and Disaster Management
  • Paper 5 – General Studies – Paper 4 (250 marks) – It is about Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude.
  • Paper 6 – Optional – Paper 1 (250 marks) – This depends on your choice and we shall discuss this later in detail
  • Paper 7 – Optional – Paper 2 (250 marks) – This depends on your choice and we shall discuss this later in detail
  • Paper 8 – Qualifying – (Hindi) 300 marks  
  • Paper 9 – Qualifying – (English) 300 marks  

UPSC Mains Exam Syllabus (UPSC Mains Syllabus) – This is the marks distribution for Mains Exams, the total being 1750. This unfolds your aptitude and understanding of each subject. If you can understand it clearly, it is easy for you to win the battle of UPSC.

– Overall, the percentage of distribution is as follows:

  • General Study – 49%
  • Optional Subject – 25%
  • Interview – 14%
  • Essay – 12%

UPSC Mains Exam Syllabus (UPSC Mains Syllabus) [From the above, we know General Studies Papers have major weight-age and hence our main focus should be on it while Essay has the least so it should be last on our focus list.]

UPSC Mains Exam Syllabus (UPSC Mains Syllabus) Therefore, all the papers of General Studies are divided according to the subject, then it will be divided as follows. 

Youth Destination      RBD Books

Mains Exam General Studies Question Paper-1 (UPSC Mains Syllabus)

(Indian Heritage and culture, history and Geography of the word and society)

1. Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.


2. Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.


3. The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.


4. Post-independence consolidation and re-organization within the country.


5. History of the world will include events from 18th century such as Industrial Revolution, World wars, Redrawal of national boundaries, Colonization, Decolonization, Political philosophies like Communism, Capitalism, Socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society

6 Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India


7. Role of women and women’s organizations, Population and associated issues, Poverty and developmental issues, Urbanization, Problems and their remedies.


8. Effects of globalization on Indian society.


9. Social empowerment, Communalism, Regionalism & Secularism

10. Salient features of world’s physical geography.


11. 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).


12. Important Geophysical phenomena such as Earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, Cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including Waterbodies and Ice-caps) and flora and fauna and the effects of such changes

Mains Exam General Studies Question Paper-2 (UPSC Mains Syllabus)

(Polity, Governance, Constitution, Polity, social Justice and International Relation. )

1. Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.


2. 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.


3. Separation of powers between various organs, dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions


4. Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries


5. Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these


6. 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


7. Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.


8. Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies


9. Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies



10. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation


11. Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders


12. 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


13. Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources


14. Issues relating to poverty and hunger


15. Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures


16. Role of civil services in a democracy.


17. India and it’s neighbourhood- Relations


18. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests


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


20. Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate

Mains Exam General Studies Question Paper-3

(Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security Issues and Disaster Management)

1. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


2. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.


3. Government Budgeting.


4. Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.


5. Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.


6. Investment models.

7. 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.



8.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.



9.Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.


10.Land reforms in India


11. Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.


12. Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


13. Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

14. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

15. Disaster and disaster management.

16. Linkages between development and spread of extremism.


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


18. 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.


19. Security challenges and their management in border areas; -linkages of organized crime with terrorism.


20. Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

Mains Exam General Studies Question Paper-4

(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)

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.


  • 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.

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