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General Studies Syllabus for IAS Prelims and Mains 2013

Updated on August 3, 2013

The IAS examination is held by UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) for the recruitment of group A posts for various central departments and also to populate the all India services like IAS, IRS, IPS etc. Here you can know about the General Studies Syllabus for IAS for this year.

With the new syllabus of IAS exam, the General Studies has become the main deciding factor. It would decide who will crack the examination to get the coveted posts.

In the prelims you have to face two papers of 200 marks each. You shall be given 120 minutes for each paper. There will be negative marks. Each wrong answer will cost you 0.33 marks. So, boys and girls do not give answers if you are not sure.

The preliminary examination is nothing but a screening test. No marks will be carried forward. You shall only have to clear this exam to be qualified for the main examination.

General Studies Syllabus for IAS Preliminary Examination

The General Studies is on the Paper I. There will be 120 questions. The syllabus for the prelims is as follows:

1) Current Events: This would cover the current events and news from India and abroad.

2) Indian History and Freedom Struggle: The history of India since the Vedic ages to the modern times with special importance on Indian freedom struggle during the British Raj.

3) Geography: Geography of India and the World. It would cover physical, social and economical geography.

4) Indian Polity and Governance: Everything about the functioning of the government of India and the states including the Indian Constitution, Panchayeti Raj, political systems and public rights etc.

5) Economic and Social Development: It would cover economic and social projects, plans, surveys and statistics.

6) Environment: It would cover the topics like bio-diversity, conservation of land, forests, animals, forest and water, climate change and environmental ecology.

7) General Science and Technology: Basic theories, laws and ideas about Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Latest technologies and inventions.

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General Studies Syllabus for the IAS Mains

There is a reform in the syllabus and format for the mains examination of the IAS examination from this year. Total numbers are intact at 2900 but the distribution of marks has changed a bit. Now, instead of two optional, the candidates will have to choose one optional subject. The importance of bookish knowledge has been thus reduced. The 2nd optional has been replaced by two more papers of General Studies. So, GS has now two papers instead of two.

IAS Exam Total Vacancies for the Last Five Years

Govind Jaisawal, IAS and his father
Govind Jaisawal, IAS and his father

Govind Jaisawal, IAS, the Son of a Rickshaw Puller

Govind Jaisawals father was a Rickshaw puller at Varanasi. He got the IAS rank of 48. His family sold lands for his studies. The police was fond of harassing his father like they used to do with other poor people, but now they are calling him "Sir". This is the glory of being an IAS.

The Syllabus

The Syllabus of four GS papers are given below:

G S Paper I

1) History and Culture: Indian art of culture form the ancient ages to the modern. Topics will cover from ancient literature to modern art. Modern Indian history from the 19th century to the latest events with special stress of freedom struggle.

2) History of the World: Modern world history from the Industrial revolution to the latest times. Special importance of rise and fall of colonialism and political ideas and systems like socialism, communism and capitalism.

3) Geography: Physical, political and economical geography of India and the world.

4) Society: Indian society from the independence. Special features of various Indian societies. Role of women and issues with women and children. Effects of globalization. Social empowerment and regionalism, regionalism and secularism.

GS Paper II

1) Polity: Structure and functioning of various government institutions and machineries like the parliament and the judiciary system etc. Constitution of India.

2) Reform and Social Development: Various government policies and schemes for social and economic reforms and development. Issues related to poverty, hunger and public health.

3) Public Administration: Development and role of NGO’s and other groups on it. The functioning of the civil services. E-governance and related subjects.

International Relationship: India’s relationship with the neighboring countries. Various global groups and their importance. Indian interest and international community.

GS Paper III

1) Economy: Indian economy, infrastructure, investment models and government budgets. Effects of globalization on Indian economy.

2) Science and Technology: Latest technological inventions and achievements of Indians in such fields. Effect on everyday life and society.

3) Environment: Pollution, conservation and related issues.

4) Agriculture: Major corps, irrigation, land reforms and latest technologies for agricultural development.

5) Disaster Management

6) Internal Security: Various security forces of government and cyber security. Organized crime, terrorism and extremism.

GS Paper IV

1) Ethics: Philosophical basis of governance, right to information, corruption, work culture etc.

2) Utilization of public funds.

3) Quality of government services.


This is a general and broad presentation of the IAS General Studies Syllabus. It can be more minutely broken if you go for more details. But the purpose of this hub is to give the IAS aspirants a general idea about the syllabus only. Please, tell us what are thinking regarding it as comments below.


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    • profile image

      Niharika 22 months ago

      My only dream is to stand as an IAS officer in my nation and to serve with all its availiblity

    • profile image

      Afarhankhan 2 years ago

      i will be an ips officer because mein apne nation ko corruption free nation bnana chahta hu

      and i want to help the poors and helpless persons

    • profile image

      Mohd Hamid 2 years ago

      I want to do I a s

    • profile image

      sharavathi 2 years ago

      I wish if my son would become a IAS officer,to serve d nation ,and make d country corrupt free,

    • profile image

      Prathap D R 3 years ago

      it's ok good guidelines but it's not enough to achieve so show nearest way to dstination, thank you.

    • profile image

      Nagarajan 4 years ago

      This is not the correct syllabus because upsc change the syllabus so please update quikly