GS Paper-2 Syllabus for UPSC Main Exam


GS Paper-2  Syllabus for UPSC Main Exam

(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.

UPSC Main Exam: GS Paper-2  Syllabus


1.1. Government Policies & Interventions for Development

(a) Government Policies & Interventions in Various Sectors

  • Health, Gender, Education, Poverty, Economic etc

(b) Issues Arising Out of Their Design & Implementation

  • Concerns/Issues
  • Suggestions for Improvement
  • Critical Assessment of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS)
  • Rationalization of CSS
  • Analysis of Main Schemes:
  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao
  • Smart City
  • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
  • Digital India
  • Make in India
  • Skill India
  • PM Jan Dhan Yojana
  • Start-up India etc.

1.2. Development Processes & the Development Industry

  • Role of Social Capital Organizations
  • Indian Context
  • Classification
  • Provisions for the Third Sector in the Indian Constitution
  • National Policy on the Voluntary Sector 2007

(a) Non-Governmental Organizations

  • Role and Impact of Non-governmental Organizations
  • Issue Areas: Accreditation, Legitimacy & Accountability, Foreign Funding etc.

(b) Self Help Groups (SHGs)

  • Need for SHGs
  • Benefits of SHGs
  • Weaknesses of SHGs
  • Challenges
  • Measures to Make SHGs Effective
  • Case Studies: Kudumbashree (Kerala), Mahila Arthik Vikas Mahamandal (Maharashtra)

(c) Societies, Trusts and Cooperatives

  • Societies
  • Trust
  • Religious Endowments
  • Cooperatives –
  • Need for Cooperatives
  • Constitutional Provisions
  • National Policy on Co-operatives, 2002
  • Issues and Challenges in the Cooperatives Sector

1.3. Important Aspects of Governance, Transparency & Accountability

(a) Governance

  • Dimensions of Governance
  • Good Governance (GG)
  • Aspects of GG
  • Barriers to GG
  • Necessary Pre-conditions for GG
  • How to Ensure GG

(b) E-Governance

  • Applications
  • Models
  • Successes
  • Limitations
  • Potential
  • Recent e-governance Initiatives by Government

(c) Citizens Charters (CC)

  • Components of CC
  • Features of CC
  • Six Principles of CC
  • Shortcomings of CC
  • Measures to Make CC Effective
  • Sevottam Model

(d) Aspects of Transparency

(e) Elements & Types of Accountability

(f) Means to ensure Transparency & Accountability

  • RTI
  • Social Audit
  • Whistleblower Protection Bill
  • Lokpal & Lokayuktas Act

1.4. Role of Civil Services in a Democracy

(a) Relationship Between Civil Service And Democracy

(b) Role Played By Civil Services

  • Advisory Role in Policy Making
  • Institutionalize Socio-economic change
  • Discharge Delegated Functions
  • Administer Law of the Land
  • Watchdogs
  • Continuity in times of Political Instability
  • Record-Keeping
  • Channel of Communication

(c) Ailments/Issues Afflicting Indian Civil Services

  • Lack of Professionalism & Poor Capacity Building
  • Inefficient Incentive Systems
  • Outdated Rules & Procedures
  • Systemic Inconsistencies in Promotion
  • Lack of Adequate Transparency & Accountability Procedures
  • Arbitrary & Whimsical Transfers
  • Political Interference & Administrative Acquiescence
  • Gradual Erosion in Values & Ethics
  • Redtapism
  • Elitist in Nature
  • Poor Pay
  • Tendency to Capture Power

(d) Reforming Bureaucracy to Strengthen Democracy

  • Setting Right the Asymmetry of Power
  • Insulating Civil Servants from Undue Political Interference
  • Professionalization with Stability of Tenure & Competition
  • Citizen-Centric Administration
  • Accountability
  • Outcome Orientation
  • Promoting Public Service Values & Ethics


2.1. Indian Constitution

(a) Historical Underpinning & Evolution

  • Regulating Act (1773) to Independence Act (1947)
  • Constituent Assembly
  • Objective Resolution
  • Enactment & Enforcement of Constitution

(b) Features

  • Written
  • Flexible & Rigid
  • Federal & Unitary
  • Parliamentary Form of Government (Presidential vs. Parliamentary Type of Government)

(c) Amendments

  • List of Significant Amendments & Their Provisions
  • Procedure for Amending Constitution

(d) Significant Provisions

  • Fundamental Rights
  • Directive Principles of State Policy
  • Judicial Review
  • Universal Adult Franchise
  • Single Citizenship
  • Separation of Powers

(e) Basic Structure

  • The Doctrine
  • Judgments & Cases

2.2. Functions & Responsibilities of the Union and the States

  • 7th Schedule
  • Legislative Functions
  • Financial Functions
  • Administrative & Quasi-Judicial Functions

2.3. Issues & Challenges Pertaining to the Federal Structure

(a) Federal Structure in India – Is India truly Federal?

(b) Cooperative & Competitive Federalism

(c) Centre-State Relations

  • Legislative Relations
  • Administrative Relations
  • Financial Relations
  • Trends in Centre-State Relations

(d) Inter-State Relations

  • Inter-state Water Disputes
  • Inter-State Councils
  • Public Acts, Records and Judicial Proceedings
  • Inter-State Trade and Commerce
  • Zonal Councils

(e) Emergency Provisions

(f) Role of Governor

(g) Reports of Various Commissions

  • 2nd ARC, Punchhi, Sarkaria, etc.

2.4. Devolution of Powers & Finances to Local Levels & Challenges Therein

  • Role of State Government
  • Role of State Finance Commission
  • 11th& 12th Schedule
  • Reasons for Ineffective Performance
  • Panchayat Devolution Index ( NITI Aayog)
  • Steps That Can Be Taken to Improve Their Performance

2.5. Separation of Powers Between Various Organs

  • Doctrine of Separation of Power
  • Separation of Power in Indian Constitution
  • Doctrine of Checks & Balances
  • Provisions for Checks & Balances in Indian Constitution
  • Related Judgments – Golaknath case, Kesavananda Bharati, Indira Gandhi Vs Raj Narain, Ram Jawaya vs Punjab

2.5. Dispute Redressal Mechanisms and Institutions

  • RTI
  • PIL
  • Tribunals, etc.

2.6. Comparison of the Indian Constitutional Scheme With That of Other Countries Parliament & State Legislatures

(a) Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges

  • Written Constitution
  • Blend of Rigidity and Flexibility
  • Federal System with Unitary Bias
  • Parliamentary Form of Government
  • Synthesis of Parliamentary Sovereignty and Judicial Supremacy
  • Integrated and Independent Judiciary
  • Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles of State Policy, Fundamental Duties
  • Secular State
  • Universal Adult Franchise
  • Single Citizenship
  • Emergency Provisions
  • Three-tier Government
  • Due Process of Law vs. Procedure Established by Law
  • Impeachment of President, etc.

2.7. Structure, Organization & Functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

(a) Executive

  (i) Union:

  • President
  • Prime Minister
  • Council of Ministers
  • Cabinet Secretariat

  (ii) State:

  • Governor
  • Chief Minister
  • Council of Ministers
  • Secretariat

(b) Judiciary

  • Three-Tier Structure
  • Chief Justice of India
  • SC & HC Judges
  • Jurisdiction

2.8. Ministries and Departments of the Government

  • Cabinet Ministries
  • Other Ministries
  • Parliamentary Secretaries

2.9. Pressure Groups & Formal/informal Associations & Their Role in Polity

  • Characteristics of Pressure Groups
  • Pressure Groups & Political Parties
  • Pressure Groups & Interest Groups
  • Types of Pressure Groups
  • Functions, Role & Importance of Pressure Groups
  • Techniques/Methods of Pressure Groups
  • Pressure Groups in India
  • Shortcomings of Pressure Groups

2.10. Salient Features of Representation of People’s Act

2.11. Appointment to Various Constitutional Posts

(a) Appointment, Powers, Functions & Responsibilities of:

  • Election Commission
  • Union Public Service Commission
  • State Public Service Commission
  • Finance Commission
  • National Commission for SCs
  • National Commission for STs
  • Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities
  • Comptroller and Auditor General of India
  • Attorney General of India
  • Advocate General of the State

2.12. Statutory, Regulatory & Quasi-Judicial Bodies

  • NITI Aayog
  • RBI
  • National Human Rights Commission
  • State Human Rights Commission
  • Central Information Commission
  • Central Vigilance Commission
  • Central Bureau of Investigation
  • Lokpal and Lokayuktas
  • National Commission for Women
  • National Commission for Backward Classes
  • National Commission for Minorities
  • Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority
  • Securities and Exchange Board of India
  • Competition Commission of India
  • Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
  • Central Electricity Regulatory Commission
  • Atomic Energy Regulatory Board
  • Central Pollution Control Board
  • Medical Council of India
  • Inland Waterways Authority of India
  • Central Ground Water Authority
  • Directorate General of Civil Aviation
  • Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority
  • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India
  • Bar Council of India
  • University Grants Commission
  • Financial Stability and Development Council
  • All India Council for Technical Education
  • National Green Tribunal
  • Competition Appellate Tribunal
  • Income-Tax Appellate Tribunal
  • Cyber Appellate Tribunal
  • Intellectual Property Appellate Board


3.1. Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections

(a) Schemes for the Following Vulnerable Sections

  • SCs & STs
  • Minorities
  • Children
  • Elderly
  • Disabled
  • Women
  • Transgender

(b) Performance of These Schemes

(c) Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions & Bodies Constituted for Protection & Betterment of These Vulnerable Sections

 (i) SCs:

  • The Protection of Civil Rights Act
  • The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act
  • National Commission for Scheduled Castes
  • Scheduled Castes Sub Plan

(ii) Disabled:

  • The Rehabilitation Council of India Act
  • The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act
  • Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act
  • The National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act
  • Rights of the Persons with Disabilities Act

(iii) STs:

  • National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
  • Tribal Sub Plan
  • Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act

(iv) Minorities:

  • National Commission for Minorities
  • National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities

(d) Women & Children

  • The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act
  • The Indecent Representation of Women (Prevention) Act
  • The Dowry Prohibition Act
  • The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act
  • The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act
  • Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act
  • Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act
  • Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA)
  • The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act
  • Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal)
  • Pre-Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC&PNDT) Act
  • Gender Budgeting
  • National Policy for Women
  • Domestic Violence Act
  • Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act

(e) Elderly

  • Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act

3.2. Issues Relating to Development & Management of Social Sector/Services

(a) Health

  • India’s Performance on Various Health Indicators
  • Weaknesses of Indian Healthcare System
  • Health Infrastructure in India
  • Universal Health Coverage
  • 12th FYP Strategy
  • Universal Health Coverage
  • Health Insurance
  • National Family Health Survey
  • National Health Policy
  • National Health Mission
  • Maternal & Adolescent Health
  • Child Health
  • Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Disease Burden in India
  • Measures to Ensure Good Health Outcomes
  • Government Initiatives

(b) Education

  • Status of Literacy in India
  • Education Structure in India
  • Challenges Faced by Education Sector in India
  • Reforms Required
  • Government Initiatives
  • ASER Report
  • Financing Education
  • Subramanian Panel Report

(c) Human Resource

  • Need For Skill Development
  • Skill Development Initiatives
  • Challenges in Skilling Landscape in India
  • Shortcomings of Current Skill Development Initiatives
  • Reforms Required
  • Steps that can Be Taken

3.3. Issues Relating to Poverty & Hunger

  • Relation between Poverty & Hunger
  • Distribution of Poverty & Hunger
  • Magnitude & Trends of Poverty & Hunger
  • Causes of Poverty & Hunger
  • Cost/Impact of Poverty & Malnutrition
  • MDGs & SDGs
  • Food and nutrition insecurity – a consequence of structural inequities
  • Constraints in Reducing Poverty & Hunger
  • Measure to Reduce Poverty & Hunger – National Food Security Act, Mid-day Meal Scheme, MGNREGA etc.

4.1. India and its Neighbor Relations

  • China
  • Pakistan
  • Myanmar
  • Bhutan
  • Bangladesh
  • Sri Lanka
  • Afghanistan
  • Nepal
  • Maldives

4.2. Bilateral, Regional & Global Groupings & Agreements Involving India and/or Affecting India’s Interests

(a) India’s Major Foreign Policy Doctrines Since 1947

  • Non-aligned Movement (NAM)
  • Nuclear Doctrine
  • Gujral Doctrine
  • Look East to Act East
  • Think West, etc.

(c) Bilateral Relations With

  • Major Powers Like – USA, Russia, Japan
  • Central Asian Countries
  • West Asian Countries
  • African Countries
  • Australia & New Zealand
  • EU & European Countries
  • Latin American Countries
  • Pacific Countries

(d) Regional & Global Groupings

  • IBSA
  • India-Africa Forum
  • SCO
  • Ashgabat Agreement
  • Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC)
  • Raisina Dialogue
  • Heart of Asia Conference
  • East Asia Summit
  • G-20
  • Asian Development Bank
  • National Security Summit
  • Multilateral Nuclear Export Regulatory Regimes: Wassenar, MTCR, Australia Group
  • Asian Development Bank
  • APEC, etc

4.3. Effect of Policies & Politics of Developed & Developing Countries on India’s Interests

  • One Belt One Road
  • International North–South Transport Corridor
  • Global Trade War
  • Global Currency War
  • Syrian Crisis
  • UN Reforms
  • WTO Reforms
  • South China Sea Conflict
  • Brexit
  • Deglobalisation & Protectionism – US Sanctions on Iran, US Pullout from Paris Agreement, H-1B Visa Issue etc.
  • OPEC Oil Prices Manipulation, etc.

4.4. Indian Diaspora

    • Spread of Indian Diaspora
    • India’s Diaspora Policy & Engagement Initiatives
      • OCI
      • Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
      • Know India Programme, etc.
    • LM Singhvi High Level Committee on the Diaspora
    • Role played by Indian Diaspora
    • Issues Concerning the Diaspora:
      • Dual Nationality
      • Remittances, etc.

4.5. Important International Institutions

  • UN & its Agencies
  • WTO
  • World Bank
  • IMF
  • World Economic Forum
  • Commonwealth of Nations, etc.


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