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UPSC IAS Syllabus 2020 PDF : Check Detailed Subject-wise Syllabus of UPSC – SSCAdda

The UPSC IAS Syllabus for preliminary and mains examination has been provided in this post for the recruitment to Indian Administrative Services, Indian Police Services, Indian Revenue services, Indian Railway services and other central services. You must be thorough with the subject wise UPSC IAS syllabus 2020 pdf and prepare accordingly in order to crack the IAS exam. There are 3 stages of the exam to be cleared one by one namely the Preliminary exam followed by the mains examination and then the Interview. The UPSC IAS prelims exam 2020 will be held on October 4, 2020.

Union Public Service Commission conducts the Civil Services Examination every year. It is considered as one of the most difficult exams to crack and lakhs of candidates all over India aspire to clear the UPSC CSE exam. What is the complete syllabus required to study for the UPSC IAS Exam 2020? This post will provide you with the detailed subject-wise UPSC syllabus of the Preliminary and mains examination.

UPSC IAS Cut Off Prelims & Mains

UPSC IAS Syllabus – UPSC IAS Prelims Syllabus 2020

The Preliminary exam for UPSC IAS consists of 2 mandatory papers for 200 marks each. The Prelims is only for screening purposes. The marks scored in Paper 1 will be counted to select the students for Mains whereas you must qualify the CSAT with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%

Paper Subject Marks Duration
Paper 1 General Studies (GS) 200 marks 2 Hours
Paper 2 Aptitude Test 200 marks 2 Hours

UPSC IAS 2020 Exam: Syllabus, Eligibility, Age Limit, Exam Dates, Exam Pattern
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UPSC IAS Paper 1 Syllabus 2020

Paper 1 for 200 marks will consist of objective type multiple choice questions based on current events, history, geography, polity, economics, etc. A thorough study of all subjects is needed to ace through the prelims exam. The subject wise Syllabus for UPSC including important topics is listed below:

UPSC IAS Paper 1- General Studies Syllabus
Current events of national and international importance History of India and Indian National Movement
Indian Geography
Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India
Indian Polity and Governance
Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc
World Geography
Physical, Social, Economic Geography of the World
General issues on Environmental ecology
Bio-diversity and Climate Change
Economic and Social Development
Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives
General Science

UPSC IAS Paper 2 Syllabus 2020

Paper 2 is only qualifying in nature and you need 33% to qualify it. The IAS syllabus is mentioned below. You must stick to the syllabus to qualify this paper:

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

UPSC IAS Syllabus 2020 PDF – UPSC IAS Mains Syllabus 2020

The Mains exam consists of subjective type questions with a total of 9 papers. 2 papers are qualifying while the marks scored in 7 papers will be added to prepare the final merit. Each Paper will be of 3 hours duration. The question papers (Except the literature of language papers) will be set in Hindi and English only. Check out the Papers of Mains exam:

Paper Subject Marks
One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate 300 marks
English 300 marks
Paper-I Essay 250 Marks
General Studies-I
Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society 250 Marks
General Studies -II
Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations 250 Marks
General Studies -III
Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management 250 Marks
General Studies -IV
(Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)- 250 Marks 250 Marks
Paper-VI Optional Subject Paper 1 250 Marks
Paper-VII Optional Subject Paper 2 250 Marks


PAPER-I Essay Syllabus

  • Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics.
  • They will be expected to keep close to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in an orderly fashion and to write concisely.
  • Credit will be given for effective and exact expressionist and you must not limit yourself as the questions can be asked from anywhere focusing on the given topics.
  • The smart study focusing on the key areas related to current affairs is a key point while preparing for the UPSC IAS 2020 exam.

PAPER-II- General Studies-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.
  • History of the world will include events from the 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redraw 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.

PAPER-III- General Studies- 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.
  • 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; citizens 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.

PAPER-IV- General Studies-III: Technology, Economic 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; issue 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.

PAPER-V- General Studies- IV: 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. Questions may utilise 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; 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 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
  • 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.

PAPER-VI & PAPER VII- Optional Subject Papers I & II

Candidate may choose any optional subject from amongst the List of Optional Subjects given above. Click on the below link to download the UPSC syllabus PDF of optional subjects.

  1. Agriculture
  2. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  3. Anthropology
  4. Botany
  5. Chemistry
  6. Civil Engineering
  7. Commerce and Accountancy
  8. Economics
  9. Law
  10. Management
  11. Mathematics
  12. Mechanical Engineering
  13. Electrical Engineering
  14. Political Science and International Relations
  15. Psychology
  16. Public Administration
  17. Sociology
  18. Statistics
  19. Zoology
  20. Geography
  21. Geology
  22. History
  23. Medical Science
  24. Philosophy
  25. Physics
  26. The literature of any one of the following languages:
    Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English.

Click here to download the Syllabus PDF For UPSC Mains Examination 2020

UPSC IAS Syllabus FAQs

Q. What are the subjects of UPSC Prelims exam?
UPSC IAS preliminary exam consists of 2 papers namely general studies and aptitude test.

Q. What are the subjects of UPSC mains exam?
UPSC mains exam consists of a total of 9 papers out of which 2 are qualifying in nature. The subjects include Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society, polity, economic development, ethics, integrity, aptitude and optional subjects.

Q. How can I get UPSC IAS syllabus PDF from UPSC?
You can download the complete syllabus by visiting the official website at

Q. How many optional subjects are there in UPSC IAS Syllabus?
There are 25 optional subjects and 23 language subjects that students can choose from for UPSC IAS exam.

Q. Are IAS and Upsc same?
UPSC stands for Union Public Service Commission and IAS is Indian Administrative Services. UPSC is the exam conducting body for recruiting IAS officers.

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