It is important to have enlisted guidance on necessary books before starting with the preparation of the UPSC Prelims exam.  IAS toppers have suggested some indispensable books on the same. These will help a beginner to start to catch the dream of being an IAS shortly.  Here is a comprehensive guide to having a detailed idea on it.

1. Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations by M. Laxmikanth (Polity)

This book is one of the most preferred books in cracking civil service exam for IAS for the polity.  McGraw Hill presents the fifth edition of this book which needs no introduction. It covers almost all issues related to Indian Polity needed for an aspirant.  This book is interesting enough to know about the country’s civil, constitutional and political issues. The chapters are always updated every year. The author is a holder of a postgraduate degree in Political Science from Osmania University.  Most of the aspirants and toppers regard this book as a holy grail choice for political science.  

2. Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania (Culture)

The author himself is an IAS officer.  This book is focused on the syllabus of Indian Heritage and culture for general studies (Paper-I).  This must-have book provides a wide range of knowledge on Indian culture, music, sculpture, paintings, and architecture.  This book has been integrated with various interesting pictures to engage the reader convincingly.

3. Oxford School Atlas by Oxford Publishers (Geography)

This indispensable guide of Geography is famous for in-depth cartographic details and also accurate information.  It is helpful to map out any geographical position with a single glance. This book comprises almost 200 maps and 94 thematic maps concerned with India.  This map book also has important charts, diagrams, and other related things. Extensive coverage of geo-political, socio-economic developments, world facts and figures are updated with every single edition.

4. Certificate Physical and Human Geography by Goh Cheng Leong (Geography)

This book contains necessary geographical knowledge on the syllabus of the UPSC Prelims Exam.  It c. comprises of easily understandable language along with relevant maps, photographs, illustrations, and information.  Professor Goh Cheng Leong is a well established and famous geographer. This book is enough for Prelims aspirants.

5. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh (Economy)

This book on Economy by Ramesh Singh is a presentation on comprehensive knowledge of the Indian economy.  This is a productive guide for UPSC Prelims aspirants to know about both current and static data on the Indian Economy.  This book is an ample guide for those who want to self-study only on relevant things on the economy.


6. Economic Survey by the Ministry of Finance (Economy)

This guide is important to know about the financial affairs of both states and the country.  It concerns financial legislation, capital markets, financial institutions, taxation, and the Union Budget.  This is nothing but a survey on the economy of India by the Government of India. The print and paper quality is also very impressive with focussed objectivity.  Facts and statistics are shown with greater clarity for understanding only in a single read.  

7. India Year Book (Current Affairs)

 This is nothing but a completely comprehensive guide on the most important issues, events, people, affairs and ideas of the country.  This is a handbook for covering the current affairs for the Prelims of UPSC. Writers of this guide consist of almost 30 experts with reputed backgrounds.  

8. A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir (Modern India)

This book comprises of various aspects of the modern history of the country.  One can get the details from ‘The Advent of the Europeans in India’ to ‘India after Independence’.  The projection of history has been done simply with detailed data.

9. General Studies Paper 2 Manual by MHE (CSAT)

This book is necessary to have more objectified data and revision.  It has vast coverage of the whole syllabus of UPSC Paper-II Prelims (CSAT).  Deeper penetration of knowledge with detailed analysis of every chapter along with previous years’ questions.  The topics are explained logically. This book does not need any introduction before buying as suggested by UPSC toppers.

10. NCERT Books

NCERT Books are a complete guide for every Prelims aspirant.  Every subject of the syllabus is covered with apt knowledge and detailed instruction.  NCERT books come with simple language, in-depth knowledge and objectified focus on important areas to be studied.  This is a must-have part of the bookshelf of an IAS topper.

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About the Author

Akshay Palande

Akshay Palande is a passionate teacher helping hundreds of students in their UPSC preparation. With a degree in Mechanical Engineering and double masters in Public Administration and Economics, he has experience of teaching UPSC aspirants for 5 years. His subject of expertise are Geography, Polity, Economics and Environment and Ecology.

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