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About Civil Services

About the Civil Services –

Most of us option for Civil Services for a red beacon or just to become famous, but as long as there is no commitment towards helping people and addressing their solutions – the real point of becoming an IAS (Indian administration service) is suppressed. Civil Services, unlike the private jobs and businesses, shouldn’t be approached with ‘what is there for me?’ Rather it should have an outlook of societal reformation, and candidates must see the macro picture of what they can deliver for the nation and how they can bring positive changes in the current manifesto of society.

Unlike any other job which remains confined to the organization you work for, Civil Services gives an opportunity to work towards the country and its citizens. One who knows this service can understand why there is too much flux of people opting for IAS, even if we keep the power and status aside – theirs is still something substantial in the picture.

Civil services not only demand knowledge, which most of the IAS aspirants traditionally think, rather cracking UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) surpasses all the primitive approaches and seeks for candidates who possess a strong love, dedication, and commitment towards the nation. UPSC is meant for such candidates who yearn of administering rightful traits, meticulous decision-making skills, exhibit right judgment powers along with the ability to handle the difficult situations at all given circumstances.

UPSC examination closely monitors these social traits of each examinee through their well-defined 3 stages namely Prelims, Mains & Interview. Therefore, UPSC exam pattern is crafted in a manner which is case study oriented, while giving importance to current affairs and trending issues in collaboration with past years government schemes and national policies.

Let’s have a look at the stages of Civil Services Exam Preliminary Exam

The prelims Examination shall comprise of two compulsory Papers of 200 marks each.

Note : 

  1. Both the question papers will be of the objective type (multiple choice questions) and each will be of two hours duration.
  2. The General Studies Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.
  3. The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English.
  4. 1/3 negative marking in both paper I and II.


Being the first stage of Civil Services exam, Prelims is the first step which takes the aspirants towards the ladder of Success. Preliminary exam tests the basic knowledge and general aptitude of the candidate. Therefore, UPSC demands the candidates to work on their personalities and aptitude, right from the beginning of the preparation. Students often make a mistake to gain knowledge of almost everything under the sun and forget the basic requirement of UPSC, i.e., right aptitude and administrative traits. Therefore, to begin with, candidates should thoroughly study NCERT books to make a stronger foundation and then start solving previous years question papers. Current affairs should never be avoided and must be on fingertips of every candidate. Hence, reading Newspapers (Current affairs) is one of the most important parts of the preparation process.

Paper 1 – General Studies:

This includes areas like; Indian National Movement, Indian Polity, Basic Economic Understanding, Geography. While these are static part of the syllabus, the dynamic part includes current affairs, General Knowledge and that does not proper definition, thus making the syllabus quite vast.


Paper II – Aptitude Test:

Paper II is dynamic in nature and includes mathematics, reasoning, analytical ability, and interpersonal skills. All these areas require spot mental ability.

The Paper II is now of only qualifying nature and its mark is not counted while making the merit list. However, it is mandatory for the candidate to score minimum 33 per cent in this paper to qualify the Prelims exam.

The question papers are set both in Hindi and English. Blind candidates are allowed extra time of twenty minutes for each paper.

What after the Prelims exam?

Moving to the 2nd stage, which is the Main Exam, UPSC undoubtedly looks for in-depth knowledge of the candidates on different subjects. But the preparation process in itself is a wonderful journey which transforms the candidate entirely; the thought process, the way of looking at the society, the way of interacting with people. Students should study efficiently and should not limit themselves to their rooms and books. It’s highly advisable that they move out and see things from higher perspectives and look at what and how they can change the society. This helps candidates in essay writing as it increases their thinking capacity.

Current affairs should not be mugged up rather be discussed with other people; as the important discussions always stay in mind. The optional paper must be selected wisely and should be completely based on personal interest. Attaining efficient speed of writing is another crucial point for general studies, as UPSC gives stipulated time within which the candidate has to answer all the questions efficiently. Therefore, students must practice question paper of past years, literally by writing answers to each and every question. Apart from this, essay writing practice is mandatory and should not be neglected at any cost. One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution

IAS Exam Pattern & IAS Exam Syllabus in Detail

The written Mains exam as per upsc syllabus consists of the following papers:

Paper A – Modern Indian language 300 Marks – Qualifying nature – Marks not counted – Passing mandatory-

(i) Comprehension of given passages.

(ii) Precise Writing

(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.

(iv) Short Essay

(v) Translation from English to the Indian language and vice-versa.

Note 1: The Papers on Indian Languages and English will be of High School level and will be of qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for final 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).

Paper B – English – 300 marks – Qualifying nature – Marks not counted- Passing mandatory

The aim of the paper is to test the candidates’ ability to read and understand serious discursive prose, and to express his ideas clearly and correctly, in English and Indian Language concerned.

The pattern of questions would be broadly as follows:-

(i) Comprehension of given passages

(ii) Precis Writing

(iii) Usage and Vocabulary

(iv) Short Essay.


Essay – 250 Marks – To be written in the medium or language of the candidate’s choice. Candidate is required to write an essay on a specific topic. The choice of subjects will be given. They are expected to keep their thoughts closely to the subject and arrange their ideas in orderly fashion and be concise. Credit will be given to effective and coherent expression.


General Studies-I 250 Marks (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, redrawing 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: 250 Marks (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 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 neighbourhood- 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 250 Marks (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)

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 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.

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 250 Marks (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)

This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilise the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered.

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 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 Subject – Paper I -250 Marks


Optional Subject – Paper II -250 Marks

Candidates may choose any ONE optional subject from amongst the list of subjects given below.

Interview/Personality Test – 275 Marks
IAS Candidate can give preference of the language in which they may like to be interviewed. UPSC will make arrangement for the translators.

As we are approaching for UPSC interview 2020, let’s look at the final stage of Civil Services exam which most of the aspirants must be eagerly waiting for. After completion of Mains comes the final stage – “Interview”.
As termed by UPSC, the Interview process is completely a personality test of the candidate and aspirants should keep this fact in mind during their preparation. Usually, around 5 to 6-panel members are present during an interview headed by the chairperson. The interviews are conducted at the UPSC office at Dholpur House in Connaught Place, New Delhi. Each panel member holds a specialized degree and knowledge in his or her particular field; they could be a retired judge, a lawyer or a former officer. Though there is no shorter way – good way or bad way, one’s way to prepare is to develop their zeal, passion, and ability to take pressure in order to achieve success for a lifetime. In the course of the career of an IAS – the post promises, with respect and fame, a series of achievements that are undeniably enticing and at the end of the day – makes a substantial difference. It’s a wonderful journey; let’s have a look at the benefits an IAS officer gets after their allocation at their post.


Marks obtained by the candidates for all papers EXCEPT PAPER A & B will be counted for merit ranking by the UPSC. However, the Commission will have the discretion to fix qualifying marks in any or all papers of the examination. Aspirants can log on to UPSC’s official website ( to see the detailed notification for the 2019 upsc mains syllabus.


Policy Making

An IAS Officer contributes towards the Policy formulation and helps the system to effectively implement it. IAS Officers have become an integral part of policy construction and the bureaucrat system that governs it. And, reserving the top posts of our bureaucracy – IAS officers have become the central power houses of our system.


Most of the decisions by an IAS affects the lives of thousands of people in and around the region. It’s not a secret that impact zone of an IAS is wider and varied in nature, as an IAS officer is held responsible for regulations of policies, developmental activities and also, the administration.


Being an IAS officer, the person is endowed with unmatched power. Even state government cannot take action against IAS officials without taking permission from MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Development). The job protects and keeps you away from the plethora of detrimental effects which are otherwise unavoidable for people working in private sector and other government jobs. All of this tie-up to become a package of immense value and that is why our youths are behind it. Most importantly, the candidates opting for Civil Services must not forget the basic reason of entering into this service; to serve the nation, serve the people and to bring positive changes in the society.



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