If you are a UPSC aspirant then you must know that the Civil Service prelims have been postponed to October 10, 2021 all over India as per the notice published by the commission.
Now let’s take a detailed look at the UPSC syllabus 2021 for prelims and mains. Below we go through each paper in detail and then give links to the detailed syllabus of each optional in UPSC.
This article will provide you with a complete UPSC syllabus so that you can focus on your UPSC preparation.
Three Phases of The Civil Service Exam
Phase 1: Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective Type)
Phase 2: Civil Services (Mains) Examination (Descriptive Type)
Phase 3: Personal Interview (Personality Test)
The Civil Services Preliminary exam comprises two compulsory papers of 200 marks each (General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper-II). The questions will be of multiple-choice, objective type. The marks in prelims will not be counted for final ranking, but just for qualification for the main exam.
The commission will draw a list of candidates to be qualified for Civil Service (Main) Examination based on the criterion of minimum qualifying marks of 33% in General Studies Paper-II of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination and total qualifying marks of General Studies Paper-I of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination as may be determined by the Commission.
UPSC Prelims Exam 2021 Syllabus
GS Paper 1
Current events of National & International significance.
History of India & Indian National Movement.
Indian & World Geography – Economic, Social, Physical Geography of India and the World.
Indian Polity & Governance – Panchayati Raj, Constitution, Political System, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
Economic & Social Development – Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Sustainable Development, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
General issues on climate change Biodiversity and Environmental ecology – that do not require subject specialization.
GS Paper 2
Interpersonal skills including communication skills.
analytical ability and Logical reasoning .
problem solving and Decision making .
General mental ability.
Basic numeracy (numbers & their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation ( tables, graphs, charts,data sufficiency, etc. – Class X level)
Prelims Exam Pattern
No. of Papers
2 compulsory papers
Type of Questions
Objective (MCQ) type
Total Maximum Marks
400 (200 each paper)
Duration of Exam
2 hrs. each (Candidates with Cerebral Palsy and Locomotor Disability (minimum 40% disability) will receive 20 minutes per hour extra time.)
1/3rd of the marks assigned to a answer
Medium of Exam
Bilingual (English and Hindi)
Civil Services (Mains) Exam Facts
No. of Papers
Two (2) – written test (9 papers) and an Interview test
Type of Questions
Written Test: 1750 marks
Interview Test: 275 marks (with no specific qualifying marks)
Duration of Exam
3 hrs each
Medium of Exam
Hindi and English (other than the literature of language papers)
IAS Mains Exam Pattern as per UPSC Exam Syllabus 2021
#The written test will consist of nine traditional essay-style papers, two of which will be qualifying in nature.
#Marks obtained in an interview for a personality test will be counted for ranking.
#Candidates will be assigned to various services based on their exam scores and preferences for various services and positions.
#For paper A, a candidate has to choose one of the Indian languages that are included in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution. Paper B will have problems with English.
Questions will be objective and subjective in nature, depending on the paper.
#Each paper is of 250 marks.
#The marks obtained in the qualifying papers are not counted in the formation of the IAS merit list.
#The question paper is bilingual in nature.
#The total time duration of IAS Mains is 3 hours.
#Blind candidates will be given 20 minutes for each paper.
UPSC Mains Syllabus 2021
Only the marks obtained in the Main and Interview determine a candidate’s rank in the UPSC Civil Service Exam. The main exam is for 1750 points, while the interview is worth 275.
The written test (main) will have nine papers, however, only seven of them will be counted in the final merit ranking. For the next two examinations, the candidate must score at least the minimum marks set by UPSC each year.
Paper 1: Essay
Candidates may be asked to write essays on a variety of topics in the Essay Paper. They will be expected to stick to the essay’s topic, organise their thoughts in a logical manner, and write concisely. The effective and precise expression will be rewarded.
Paper 2: GS Paper 1
UPSC Civil Services Mains General Studies 1 Paper Syllabus The exam covers the following major topics: World History and Geography, Indian Heritage and Culture, and Society. The following is a detailed syllabus:
#From ancient to present times, Indian culture will cover the most important parts of Literature, Art Forms, and Architecture.
#Significant events, characters, and topics in modern Indian history from the middle of the eighteenth century to the present.
#The many stages of the Freedom Struggle, as well as significant contributors/contributions from various sections of the country.
#Consolidation and reform of the country after independence.
#Events from the 18th century will be covered, including the industrial revolution, world wars, redrawing of political systems, colonisation, state boundaries, decolonization, such as communism, capitalism, and socialism, as well as their forms and effects on society.
#Indian society’s distinguishing characteristics, India’s diversity
#Women’s roles and organisations, population and related challenges, urbanisation, poverty and developmental issues, its problems, and solutions
#Globalization’s Impact on Indian Society
#Social empowerment, regionalism, communalism, and secularism are all concepts that have been discussed recently.
#Physical characteristics of the world’s physical geography.
#Factors influencing the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent); distribution of significant natural resources around the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent) (including India)
#Important geophysical occurrences such as earthquakes, volcanic activity, tsunamis, and cyclones, as well as geographical features and their location- changes in essential geographical features (such as water bodies and ice caps) and flora and fauna, as well as the impacts of such changes.
Paper 3: General Studies Paper 2
#Historical foundations, evolution, features, amendments, major provisions, and the basic structure of the Indian Constitution.
#Functions and obligations of the Union and States, concerns and challenges related to the federal framework, devolution of powers and money to local levels, and challenges therein
#Separation of powers among distinct organs; methods and structures for resolving disputes.
#Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme to those of other countries’ legislatures — business conduct, functioning, structure, powers and privileges, and issues emerging from these.
#Pressure groups, formal/informal associations, and their role in the Polity; structure, organisation, and operation of the Executive and Judiciary Ministries and #Departments of the Government.
#The Representation of People’s Act’s main features.
#Appointment to various Constitutional roles, as well as the powers, functions, and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
#Various quasi-judicial, statutory, and regulatory entities.
#Issues emerging from the creation and implementation of government policies and interventions for development in diverse sectors.
#The role of NGOs, SHGs, diverse groups and organisations, funders, charities, institutional and other stakeholders in development processes and the development industry
#The Centre and States’ welfare plans for vulnerable sectors of the population, as well as their implementation; methods, laws, institutions, and bodies established for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
#Issues linked to the development and management of the social sector/health, education, and human resources services.
#Poverty and hunger-related issues.
#Citizens charters, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and possibilities; and institutional and other measures are all important parts of governance.
#In a democracy, what role does the civil service play?
#Relations between India and its neighbours.
#Groupings and agreements involving India and/or influencing India’s interests at the bilateral, regional, and global levels.
#The impact of established and developing country policies and politics on India’s interests, as well as the Indian Diaspora.
#The organisation and mandate of important international institutions, agencies, and fora.
Paper 4: General Studies Paper 3
#The Indian economy and challenges of planning, resource mobilisation, growth, development, and employment.
#Growth that is inclusive and the difficulties that arise as a result.
#Budgeting by the government.
#Major crops, cropping patterns in different sections of the country, various types of irrigation and irrigation systems, storage, transportation, and marketing of agricultural produce, and related challenges and limits; e-technology in the help of farmers
#Direct and indirect farm subsidies, as well as minimum support prices; objectives, functioning, limitations, and restructuring of the Public Distribution System; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; animal-rearing economics.
#The extent and significance of the food processing and allied industries in India, as well as their location, upstream and downstream requirements, and supply chain management, are all discussed.
#India’s land reforms.
#Changes in industrial policy and their consequences on industrial growth, as well as the effects of liberalisation on the economy.
#Infrastructure includes energy, ports, roads, airports, and railways, among other things.
#Models of investment
#Developments in science and technology, as well as their applications and impacts in everyday life.
#Indigenization of technology and development of new technology are examples of Indian achievements in science and technology.
#IT, Space, Computers, robots, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and concerns connected to intellectual property rights are all areas where awareness is needed.
Conservation, pollution, and destruction of the environment, as well as environmental impact assessment.
#Management of disasters and disasters
#Relationships between progress and extremism’s expansion.
#External state and non-state actors play a role in posing threats to internal security.
#The mandates of various security units and agencies.
#Internal security threats posed by communication networks, the role of the media and social networking sites in internal security threats, the fundamentals of cybersecurity, and money laundering and its prevention.
#Border security concerns and their management; links between organised crime and terrorism.
Paper 5: General Studies Paper 4
This exam will comprise questions designed to assess the candidates’ attitudes and approaches to issues of integrity, probity in public life, and his problem-solving approach to a variety of issues and conflicts that he may confront in dealing with society. To determine these aspects, questions may use a case study technique.
#Ethics and Human Interface: determinants, essence, and consequences of Ethics in human actions; ethics in private and public relationships, dimensions of ethics. #Human Values – lessons from the teachings and lives of great leaders, administrators and reformers; society role of family, and educational institutions in inculcating importance.
#Content, form, and function of attitude; its influence and relationship with cognition and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion
#Integrity, impartiality, and nonpartisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance, and sympathy for the weaker sections are all essential qualities for civil service.
#Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their application and utilities in governance and administration.
Contributions of moral philosophers and thinkers from India and the globe.
#Public/Civil service Ethics and values in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical dilemmas and concerns in private and government institutions; rules, laws, conscience and regulations as sources of ethical guidance; corporate governance, strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; accountability and ethical governance; ethical issues in international funding and relations;
#Probity in Governance: Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Concept of public service; Information transparency and sharing in government, Utilization of public funds, Work culture, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Quality of service delivery, challenges of corruption.
Case Studies on the above issues.
UPSC Optional Syllabus 2021
Here are the optional subjects with the syllabus link.
Qualifying Papers: Not Counted for Final Ranking
Paper ‐ A – Indian Language – Syllabus. 300 Marks.
(One of the Indian Languages to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution. This paper will not be compulsory for candidates hailing from the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim.)
Paper‐ B – English Language – Syllabus. 300 Marks.
UPSC Syllabus 2021 – Civil Services Interview
All candidates who successfully clear IAS Prelims and Mains will be called for the interview round.
#This stage is of total of 275 marks.
#Candidates will be asked some general interest questions.
#Candidates can also choose one language in which they wish to be interviewed.
#This interview will test a candidate’s mental calibre, mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, the balance of judgment, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity and personality fit.
#Candidates must secure at least 55% in this round.
A candidate securing 60% and above will most likely get a service of his choice.
Marks obtained by a candidate in IAS Interview will be added in the Mains stage. This will form the basis of the final merit list.
The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination but of a natural, though directed and purposive conversation which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.
The interview test is not intended to be a test either of the specialised or general knowledge of the candidates which has been already tested through their written papers. Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their special subjects of academic study but also in the events which are happening around them both within and outside their own state or country as well as in modern currents of thought and in new discoveries which should arouse the curiosity of well-educated youth.
#Sub Total (written test): 1750 Marks
#Personality test: 275 Marks
#Grand total: 2025 Marks
2020 and 2021 have been horrifying years for humanity. Many exams have been postponed and one should use this time effectively.
Hopefully, this must detail about the UPSC syllabus 2021 will be sufficient for you to understand every bit of it clearly. Keep the syllabus in mind, find suitable books for the prelims and well as books for mains for the subjects and start preparing for it.
So, which part of the syllabus is more interesting to you? Share your thoughts in it in the comment section below.