Syllabus & Exam Pattern for UPSC Civil Service Examination

The Civil Service Examination (CSE) is an all India level competitive examination conducted by UPSC annually for recruitment to various posts of Civil Services under the Government of India. UPSC CSE consists of three stages:

  • Preliminary Examination (Objective type)
  • Mains Examination (Descriptive Type)
  • Personality Test (Interview)

The Preliminary Examination consists of two objective-type papers- General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II also known as Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT) and the Mains Examination consists of 9 papers out of which two papers are of qualifying nature and marks of 7 papers are counted for ranking followed by a personality test. The question paper is provided both in Hindi and in English and answers can be given in any one of the scheduled languages of India.

Following are the services which one gets on qualifying the Civil Service Examination:

  • Indian Administrative Service.
  • Indian Foreign Service.
  • Indian Police Service.
  • Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Revenue Service (I.T.), Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Ordnance Factories Service, Group ‘A’ (Assistant Works Manager, Administration).
  • Indian Postal Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Railway Traffic Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Railway Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Railway Personnel Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Defence Estates Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Information Service (Junior Grade), Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Trade Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Corporate Law Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’ (Section Officer’s Grade).
  • Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service, Group ‘B’.
  • Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service, Group ‘B’.
  • Pondicherry Civil Service, Group ‘B’.
  • Pondicherry Police Service, Group ‘B’.

Eligibility

I.Nationality:

  1. For the Indian Administrative Service, the Indian Foreign Service and the Indian Police Service, a candidate must be a citizen of India.
  2. For other services, a candidate must be either-
    1. a citizen of India, or .
    2. a subject of Nepal, or.
    3. a subject of Bhutan, or
    4. a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or
    5. a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

II.Educational Qualification:

A Degree(Graduation) in any discipline from a University recognized by the Govt. Of India or any equivalent qualification recognized as such by the Central Government.

III.Age Limit:

  • A candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years (for the General category candidate) on the 1st of August of the year of examination.
  • For Other Backward Classes (OBC), the upper age limit is 35 years.
  • For Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST), the upper age limit is 37 years.
  • For Defence Services Personnel disabled in operations during hostilities, the limit is 40 years.
  • For Candidates belonging to ex-servicemen including Commissioned officersand ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered military services for at least five years as on 1 August, of the year and have been released
    1. on completion of assignment (including those whose assignment is due to be completed within one year from 1 August of the year otherwise than by way of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or inefficiency or
    2. on account of physical disability attributable to Military Service or
    3. on invalidation or
    4. Relaxation of up to a maximum of five years will be given in the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years of Military Service as on 1 August of the year and whose assignment has been extended beyond five years and in whose case the Ministry of Defence issues a certificate that they can apply for civil employment and that they will be released on three months’ notice on selection from the date of receipt of offer of appointment, the limit is 32 years.
  • For ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years of Military Service, the limit is 32 years.
  • For PwD candidates, the limit is 37 years.
  • For Domicilesof Jammu and Kashmir from 1 January 1980 to 31 December 1989, the limit is 32 years.

No. of Attempts:

  • General Candidates- 6
  • OBC and PwBD- General Candidates- 9
  • SC & ST Candidates- No Limits

The complete list of topics for the Civil Service Examination syllabus as per the UPSC is given below:

Preliminary Examination Pattern

General Studies Paper-I

Duration: 2 Hours

Marks: 200

General Studies Paper-II

Duration: 2 Hours

Marks: 200

Total Marks: 400

Note 1: Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.

Note 2 :The questions will be of multiple choice, objective type.

Note 3: It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the Papers of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in case he/she does not appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination.

Syllabus(Prelims):

General Studies Paper-I

  • Current events of national and international importance.
  • History of India and Indian National Movement.
  • Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
  • Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  • Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
  • General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.
  • General Science.

General Studies Paper-II

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

Mains Examination Pattern:

1.Language Paper (Qualifying Only)            

Duration: 3 Hours            

Marks: 300

2.English (Qualifying Only)

Duration: 3 Hours            

Marks: 300

3.Essay

Duration: 3 Hours            

Marks: 250

4.General Studies Paper-I

Duration: 3 Hours            

Marks: 250

5.General Studies Paper-II

Duration: 3 Hours            

Marks: 250

6.General Studies Paper-III

Duration: 3 Hours            

Marks: 250

7.General Studies Paper-IV

Duration: 3 Hours            

Marks: 250

8.Optional Subject Paper-I

Duration: 3 Hours            

Marks: 250

9.Optional Subject Paper-II

Duration: 3 Hours            

Marks: 250

Written Test Total: 1750

Interview Marks (After Qualifying in Written Test):275

Grand Total: 2025

Note 1: The papers on Indian Languages and English will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.

Note 2: The candidates will have to answer the English and Indian Languages papers in English and the respective Indian language (except where translation is involved).

Syllabus(Mains):

Language Papers:

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

English:

  • Comprehension of given passages.
  • Precis Writing.
  • Usage and Vocabulary.
  • Short Essays.

Essay:

Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.

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 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.
  • 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.

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. Government strives to have a workforce which reflects gender balance and women candidates are encouraged to apply.
  • 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.

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 strives to have a workforce which reflects gender balance and women candidates are encouraged to apply.
  • 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.

General Studies- IV: 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 Government strives to have a workforce which reflects gender balance and women candidates are encouraged to apply. 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 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.

Optional subjects for Mains Examination:

  • Agriculture
  • Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  • Anthropology
  • Botany
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Commerce and Accountancy
  • Economics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • History
  • Law
  • Management
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medical Science
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Psychology
  • Public Administration
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Zoology
  • 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.

Personality Test (Interview):

The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of his career. He will be asked questions on matters of general interest.

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