UPSC GS 2 Syllabus: GS Paper 2 Syllabus for UPSC Mains

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

GS 2 Syllabus is a crucial part of the UPSC Mains Examination, which includes nine papers in total. It covers topics such as Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, and International relations. Unlike General Studies Paper 1, the questions from UPSC GS 2 Syllabus require critical thinking and an ability to interlink various aspects to provide a holistic answer. Hence, candidates must have a thorough understanding of the GS 2 Syllabus to pave the path to success.

Being acquainted with the detailed curriculum for General Studies Paper 2 will help candidates strategize their preparation and put their efforts in the right direction. Therefore, in this article, we have provided a comprehensive overview of the GS Paper 2 Syllabus, including detailed information on the topics that one must cover to ace the IAS Exam.

GS 2 Syllabus

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts Civil Services Examination (CSE) every year to recruit candidates for various administrative services of the Indian government. General Studies is one of the most important papers in both Prelims and Mains examinations. It carries a total weightage of 250 marks and comprises 4 subjects, namely, Governance, Polity, Social Justice, and International Relations.

UPSC GS 3 Syllabus UPSC GS 4 Syllabus
UPSC GS Paper 1 Syllabus UPSC GS Syllabus

Since it covers a wide range of topics, aspirants must know the detailed UPSC Paper 2 Syllabus and formulate an effective preparation strategy to cover all the important topics rather than wasting time on irrelevant topics. It also enables them to frame effective answers, which will improve their overall score and outrank others. Tabulated below is the overview of the UPSC GS Paper 2 Syllabus.

Subjects of GS2 Syllabus Sub-topics
Governance Government policies and interventions, Governance, Transparency, Accountability and E-governance applications
Polity Indian Constitution, Features of Indian Constitution, Amendments in Indian Constitution, Provisions and Constitutional and non-constitutional bodies
International Relations Bilateral Groupings, Regional and global groupings, and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
Social Justice Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services, and Issues relating to poverty and hunger

It is clear from the GS 2 syllabus that the paper broadly covers Governance, Polity, Social Justice, and International relations. In order to cover the UPSC GS Paper 2 Syllabus of the Mains Exam, one needs to have a comprehensive understanding of each subject to write a brief answer. Take a look at the snippet of the official UPSC GS2 Syllabus to get better clarity on it.

UPSC GS 2 Syllabus

UPSC GS Paper 2 Syllabus PDF

Downloading UPSC GS Paper 2 Syllabus PDF will be useful while preparing for the Prelims and Mains exam. It will help you to segregate topics according to the relevance of the UPSC Prelims and Mains Syllabus and cover them accordingly. Here is the direct link to download the syllabus for GS Paper 2.

GS 2 Governance Syllabus

The Governance section under GS 2 Mains Syllabus covers the various aspects of governance and polity in India, including the government policies & interventions for development, citizen charters, the role of civil services in democracy, and important aspects of governance, transparency & accountability. The detailed coverage of each topic mentioned in the UPSC GS Paper 2 Governance Syllabus is as follows.

  • Government Policies & Interventions in Various Sectors: Health, Gender, Education, Poverty, Economic, etc.
  • 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, MGNREGA, Digital India, Make in India, Skill India, PM Jan Dhan Yojana, Start-up India, etc.
  • Development Processes & the Development Industry: Role of Social Capital Organisations, Indian Context, Classification, Provisions for the Third Sector in the Indian Constitution, National Policy on the Voluntary Sector 2007
  • Non-Governmental Organizations: Role and Impact of Non-governmental Organizations, Accreditation, Legitimacy & Accountability, Foreign Funding, etc.
  • Self-Help Groups (SHGs): Benefits, Weaknesses, Challenges, Measures to Make SHGs Effectiveness, and Case Studies
  • Societies, Trusts, and Cooperatives: Religious Endowments, Need for Cooperatives, Constitutional Provisions, National Policy on Co-operatives, 2002, etc.
  • Important Aspects of Governance: Dimensions of Governance, Good Governance (GG), Aspects, Barriers, Necessary Pre-conditions for GG
  • E-Governance: Applications, Models, Successes, Limitations, Potential, Recent e-governance Initiatives by Government
  • Citizens Charter (CC): Components, Features, Six Principles, Shortcomings, Sevottam Model
  • Aspects of Transparency and Means to ensure Transparency & Accountability: Elements & Types of Accountability like RTI, Social Audit, Whistleblower Protection Bill, Lokpal & Lokayuktas Act
  • Role of Civil Services in a Democracy: Advisory Role in Policy Making, Institutionalise Socio-economic change, Discharge Delegated Functions, Administer Law of the Land, Watchdogs, Continuity in times of Political Instability, Record-Keeping, Channel of Communication
  • Ailments/Issues Afflicting Indian Civil Services: Inefficient Incentive Systems, Systemic Inconsistencies in Promotion, Lack of Professionalism & Poor Capacity Building, Gradual Erosion in Values & Ethics, Red Tapism, Elitist in Nature, Tendency to Capture Power, Poor Pay
  • Reforming Bureaucracy to Strengthen Democracy: Accountability, Outcome Orientation, Citizen-Centric Administration, Setting Right the Asymmetry of Power, Promoting Public Service Values & Ethics

GS Paper 2 Syllabus for Polity

UPSC GS Paper 2 Syllabus for Polity covers the various provisions of the Indian Constitution, including the Preamble, the Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles of State Policy, the Union and its Territories, the Federal Structure, the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary. Candidates must thoroughly understand the salient features of the Constitution, and its functioning to attempt the maximum questions from this subject.

The GS 2 Syllabus for Polity is vast and needs to be updated regularly with all the developments and amendments happening. The detailed coverage of topics includes:

  • Indian Constitution: Regulating Act (1773) to Independence Act (1947), Constituent Assembly, Objective Resolution, Enactment & Enforcement of Constitution
  • Features of the Indian Constitution: Written, Flexible & Rigid, Federal & Unitary, Parliamentary Form of Government (Presidential vs Parliamentary Type of Government)
  • Amendments to Indian Constitution: Procedure for amending the constitution, List of significant amendments and their provisions
  • Provisions of the Constitution: Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles of State Policy, Judicial Review, Universal Adult Franchise, Single Citizenship, Separation of Powers
  • Functions & Responsibilities of the Union and the States: 7th Schedule, Legislative Functions, Financial Functions, Administrative & Quasi-Judicial Functions
  • Centre-State Relations: Legislative relations, Administrative relations, Financial relations, Trends in center-state relations
  • Inter-State Relations: Inter-state water disputes, Inter-state councils, Zonal councils, Inter-State Trade and Commerce, Public Acts, Records, and Judicial Proceedings
  • Emergency Provisions: Role of President and Governor
  • Reports of Various Commissions: 2nd ARC Report, Punchhi, Sarkaria, etc.
  • Dispute Redressal Mechanisms and Institutions: RTI, PIL, Tribunals, etc.
  • Ministries and Departments of the Government: Cabinet Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries
  • Devolution of Powers & Finances to Local Levels & Challenges Therein: Role of State Government and State Finance Commission, 11th & 12th Schedule, Reasons for Ineffective Performance, Panchayat Devolution Index (NITI Aayog), Steps to improve their performance
  • Comparison of the Indian Constitutional Scheme With That of Other Countries Parliament & State Legislatures: Written Constitution, Blend of Rigidity and Flexibility, Federal System with Unitary Bias, Parliamentary Form of Government, Secular State, Universal Adult Franchise, Single Citizenship, Emergency Provisions, Three-tier Government, Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles of State Policy, Fundamental Duties, Synthesis of Parliamentary Sovereignty and Judicial Supremacy, Impeachment of the President, etc.
  • Pressure Groups & Formal/informal Associations & Their Role in Polity: Characteristics, Types, Functions, Techniques, Role & Importance of Pressure Groups, Salient Features of Representation of People’s Act, Pressure Groups in India etc.
  • Appointment to Various Constitutional Posts: Election Commission, Union Public Service Commission, State Public Service Commission, Finance Commission, National Commission for SC & STs, Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities, Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Attorney General of India, and Advocate General of the State.
  • Issues & Challenges Pertaining to the Federal Structure: Cooperative & Competitive Federalism, Federal Structure in India – Is India truly Federal?
  • Separation of Powers Between Various Organs: Separation of Power in the Indian Constitution, the doctrine of Separation of Power, the doctrine of Checks & Balances, Provisions for Checks & Balances in the Indian Constitution
  • Statutory, Regulatory & Quasi-Judicial Bodies: NITI Aayog, RBI, National Human Rights Commission, State Human Rights Commission, Central Information Commission, National Commission for Women, Central Vigilance Commission, National Commission for Minorities, Competition Commission of India, Central Bureau of Investigation, Lokpal and Lokayuktas, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Medical Council of India, Bar Council of India, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Inland Waterways Authority of India, National Commission for Backward Classes, and Securities and Exchange Board of India
  • Structure, Organization & Functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary: Union, State, and Judiciary.

GS 2 Syllabus for International Relations

The UPSC GS Paper 2 Syllabus for International Relations covers various aspects of India’s relations with its neighboring countries, the United Nations, and other international organizations. Candidates are expected to have in-depth knowledge of India’s foreign policy, diplomatic initiatives, and role in global affairs to score well in this section.

To do so, one must check out the UPSC GS Paper 2 Syllabus for International Relations and kickstart their preparations accordingly.

UPSC GS 2 International Relation Syllabus
Topics Sub-topics
India’s Relations With Neighboring Nations Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal, Maldives, China, Pakistan, Myanmar, and Bhutan
India’s Major Foreign Policy Doctrines Since 1947 Non-aligned Movement (NAM), Nuclear Doctrine, Gujral Doctrine, Look East to Act East, Think West, etc
Bilateral Relations With the USA, Russia, Japan, Central Asian Countries, West Asian Countries, African Countries, Australia & New Zealand, EU & European Countries, Latin American Countries, and Pacific Countries
Regional & Global Groupings SAARC, BRICS, BBIN & BCIM, BIMSTEC, IBSA, ASEAN & RCEP, India-Africa Forum, SCO, Ashgabat Agreement, FIPIC, IOR-ARC, Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC), Raisina Dialogue, Heart of Asia Conference, East Asia Summit, G-20, National Security Summit, Asian Development Bank, Multilateral Nuclear Export Regulatory Regimes, APEC, etc.
Effect of Policies & Politics of Developed & Developing Countries on India’s Interests One Belt One Road, International North-South Transport Corridor, Global Trade War, WTO Reforms, South China Sea Conflict, Brexit, Syrian Crisis, UN Reforms, Global Currency War, OPEC Oil Prices Manipulation, etc
Important International Institutions IMF, World Economic Forum, Commonwealth of Nations, UN & its Agencies, WTO, World Bank, etc
Indian Diaspora LM Singhvi High-Level Committee on the Diaspora, Role, Issues, Policy and Spread of Indian Diaspora

UPSC GS 2 Syllabus for Social Justice

Social justice means a fair relationship between individuals and society. It aims to meet the challenge of socioeconomic inequality and the rule of law. The UPSC GS 2 Syllabus for Social Justice includes the state’s role in promoting social justice, affirmative action, and the rights of marginalized communities. The detailed GS Paper 2 Syllabus for Social Justice is listed below.

  • Welfare Schemes for the Vulnerable Sections
  • Issues Relating to Development & Management of Social Sector/Services: Status of Literacy in India, Education Structure in India, Challenges Faced by Education Sector, Reforms Required, Government Initiatives, ASER Report, Financing Education, Subramanian Panel Report, Universal Health Coverage, 12th FYP Strategy, Health Insurance, National Health Policy, National Health Mission, Child Health, Antimicrobial Resistance, Need For Skill Development, Skill Development Initiatives, etc.
  • Issues Relating to Poverty & Hunger: MDGs & SDGs, Food and nutrition insecurity, Constraints in Reducing Poverty & Hunger, National Food Security Act, MGNREGA, Causes, Impact, and Magnitude of Poverty & hunger.
  • Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions & Bodies Constituted for the Protection & Betterment of Vulnerable Sections: Protection of Civil Rights Act, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, Rehabilitation Council of India Act, Rights of the Persons with Disabilities Act, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, TRIFED, National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities, Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, POCSO Act, National Policy for Women, etc.

Important Topics in GS Paper 2 Syllabus

Cracking UPSC Mains is not a cakewalk. Every year lakhs of candidates attempt the Civil Service Examination (CSE). However, only a tiny fraction of them are able to ace it. Hence, candidates must follow a proper preparation strategy and revise important topics regularly. Listed below are some important topics you must focus on while covering GS 2 Syllabus.

  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the states;
  • Issues and challenges related to the Federal Structure;
  • Devolution of powers and finances up to the local government level;
  • Challenges in the devolution of power;
  • Separation of powers between various organs of the government;
  • Parliament and State Legislatures;
  • Salient features of the People’s Representation Act;
  • Powers, functions and responsibilities of various constitutional bodies;
  • Statutory, regulatory, and various quasi-judicial bodies;
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency, and accountability;
  • E-governance;
  • India and its neighbourhood;
  • Relations between India and neighbouring countries;
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s Interests;
  • Mechanisms, laws, institutions, and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections of the population;
  • Issues related to the development and management of the social sector/Services relating to Health, Education, and Human Resources.

GS 2 Syllabus in Hindi

यूपीएससी मेन्स का जीएस पेपर 2 सामान्य अध्ययन के चार पेपरों में से एक है। यूपीएससी मेन्स जीएस पेपर 2 में शासन व्यवस्था, संविधान, शासन प्रणाली, सामाजिक न्याय तथा अंतर्राष्ट्रीय संबंध जैसे विषय शामिल हैं।

  • भारतीय संविधान- ऐतिहासिक आधार, विकास, विशेषताएँ, संशोधन, महत्त्वपूर्ण प्रावधान और बुनियादी संरचना। संघ एवं राज्यों के कार्य तथा उत्तरदायित्व, संघीय ढाँचे से संबंधित विषय एवं चुनौतियाँ, स्थानीय स्तर पर शक्तियों और वित्त का हस्तांतरण और उसकी चुनौतियाँ।
  • विभिन्न घटकों के बीच शक्तियों का पृथक्करण, विवाद निवारण तंत्र तथा संस्थान। .
  • भारतीय संवैधानिक योजना की अन्य देशों के साथ तुलना।
  • संसद और राज्य विधायिका- संरचना, कार्य, कार्य-संचालन, शक्तियाँ एवं विशेषाधिकार और इनसे उत्पन्न होने वाले विषय।
  • कार्यपालिका और न्यायपालिका की संरचना, संगठन और कार्य- सरकार के मंत्रालय एवं विभाग, प्रभावक समूह और औपचारिक/अनौपचारिक संघ तथा शासन प्रणाली में उनकी भूमिका।
  • जन प्रतिनिधित्व अधिनियम की मुख्य विशेषताएँ।
  • विभिन्न संवैधानिक पदों पर नियुक्ति और विभिन्न संवैधानिक निकायों की शक्तियाँ, कार्य और उत्तरदायित्व।
  • सांविधिक, विनियामक और विभिन्न अर्द्ध-न्यायिक निकाय।
  • सरकारी नीतियों और विभिन्न क्षेत्रों में विकास के लिये हस्तक्षेप और उनके अभिकल्पन तथा कार्यान्वयन के कारण उत्पन्न विषय।
  • विकास प्रक्रिया तथा विकास उद्योग- गैर-सरकारी संगठनों, स्वयं सहायता समूहों, विभिन्न समूहों और संघों, दानकर्ताओं, लोकोपकारी संस्थाओं, संस्थागत एवं अन्य पक्षों की भूमिका।
  • केन्द्र एवं राज्यों द्वारा जनसंख्या के अति संवेदनशील वर्गों के लिये कल्याणकारी योजनाएँ और इन योजनाओं का कार्य-निष्पादन; इन अति संवेदनशील वर्गों की रक्षा एवं बेहतरी के लिये गठित तंत्र, विधि, संस्थान एवं निकाय।
  • स्वास्थ्य, शिक्षा, मानव संसाधनों से संबंधित सामाजिक क्षेत्र/सेवाओं के विकास और प्रबंधन से संबंधित विषय।
  • गरीबी एवं भूख से संबंधित विषय।
  • शासन व्यवस्था, पारदर्शिता और जवाबदेही के महत्त्वपूर्ण पक्ष, ई-गवर्नेंस- अनुप्रयोग, मॉडल, सफलताएँ, सीमाएँ और संभावनाएँ; नागरिक चार्टर, पारदर्शिता एवं जवाबदेही और संस्थागत तथा अन्य उपाय।
  • लोकतंत्र में सिविल सेवाओं की भूमिका।
  • भारत एवं इसके पड़ोसी- संबंध।
  • द्विपक्षीय, क्षेत्रीय और वैश्विक समूह और भारत से संबंधित और/अथवा भारत के हितों को प्रभावित करने वाले करार।
  • भारत के हितों पर विकसित तथा विकासशील देशों की नीतियों तथा राजनीति का प्रभाव; प्रवासी भारतीय। महत्त्वपूर्ण अंतर्राष्ट्रीय संस्थान, संस्थाएँ और मंच- उनकी संरचना, अधिदेश।


Tips to Prepare UPSC GS 2 Syllabus

GS 2 Syllabus is exhaustive but very scoring if the concepts are clear. A concise and full-fledged UPSC Preparation Strategy for the General Studies Paper 2 can help the candidate score qualifying marks and help him get the desired IAS, IPS, IRS, or IFS post. Listed below are a few preparation tips that one must follow to get their dream job.

  • Familiarize with Exam Pattern: It is necessary to familiarize oneself with the UPSC Exam Pattern to know what areas to focus on. The examination is conducted in three stages, Prelims, Mains, and Interview Stage.
  • Know the Syllabus Thoroughly: As an aspirant, you must know the UPSC Syllabus at your fingertips. Though integrated, the Prelims and Mains syllabus requires a completely different approach to tackle.
  • Keep Resources Limited: One thing to keep in mind while covering GS 2 Syllabus is to keep the booklist and resources limited and revise them regularly. One should start with the NCERT Books for UPSC to have a firm foundation, then proceed with the recommended UPSC Books.
  • Refer to Previous Year Questions: One way to ace the IAS exam is to practice the UPSC Previous Years Question Papers immensely. The PYQs help us understand the pattern of the questions asked and let us know the areas that need more attention.
  • Focus on Current Affairs: Aspirants need to focus on Current Affairs, which can be covered through newspapers and Current Affairs Videos. Though the Syllabus of General Studies Paper 2 is more static, correlating it with recent developments and verified research helps make the answer multi-faceted.

Best Books to Cover GS Paper 2 Syllabus

The Civil Service Examination (CSE) is among India’s toughest competitive exams and you must prepare for it with vigor and zeal. The most important aspect of the preparation phase is covering the UPSC syllabus promptly, which can only be done with the right set of books.

However, with so many books available in the market, choosing the best books to cover GS 2 Syllabus can be a tedious task. Therefore, here we have listed the best books to cover UPSC GS Paper 2 Syllabus in a detailed manner and take you one step closer to your dream job.

  • Class XI and XII NCERTs
  • Introduction to the Constitution of India by Durga Das Basu
  • Governance in India – M. Laxmikanth
  • Pax Indica – Shashi Tharoor
  • Indian Polity by Laxmikant
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