UPSC Mains General Studies Paper 2 Syllabus

(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 On 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.


Indian Constitution

Historical Underpinning & Evolution

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


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


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

Significant Provisions

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

Basic Structure

  • The Doctrine
  • Judgments & Cases

Functions & Responsibilities of the Union and the States

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

Issues & Challenges On the Federal Structure

Federal Structure in India – Is India truly Federal?

Cooperative & Competitive Federalism

Center-state Relations

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

Inter-State Relations

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

Emergency Provisions

Role of Governor

Reports of Various Commissions

  • 2nd ARC, Punchhi, Sarkaria, etc

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

Separation of Powers Between Various Organs

  • The doctrine of Separation of Power
  • Separation of Power in Indian Constitution
  • The 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

Dispute Redressal Mechanisms and Institutions

  • RTI
  • PIL
  • Tribunals, etc.

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

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.

Structure, Organization & Functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary


  • Union:
    • President
    • Prime Minister
    • Council of Ministers
    • Cabinet Secretariat
  • State:
    • Governor
    • Chief Minister
    • Council of Ministers
    • Secretariat


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

Ministries and Departments of the Government

  • Cabinet Ministries
  • Other Ministries
  • Parliamentary Secretaries

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

Appointment to Various Constitutional Posts

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

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


Government Policies & Interventions for Development

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)
  • Rationalisation 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.

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 Organisations

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

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)

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

Important Aspects of Governance, Transparency & Accountability


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


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

Citizens Charters (CC)

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

Aspects of Transparency

Elements & Types of Accountability

Means to ensure Transparency & Accountability

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

Role of Civil Services in a Democracy

Relationship Between Civil Service And Democracy

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

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
  • Realism
  • Elitist in Nature
  • Poor Pay
  • Tendency to Capture Power

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


Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections

Schemes for the Following Vulnerable Sections

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

Performance of These Schemes

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

  • 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
  • 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
  • STs:
    • National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
    • Tribal Sub Plan
    • TRIFED
    • Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act
  • Minorities:
    • National Commission for Minorities
    • National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities

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


  • Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act

Issues Relating to Development & Management of Social Sector/Services


  • 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


  • 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

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

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


India and its Neighborhood – Relations

India’s Relations With

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

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

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

  • 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

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

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

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
  • The role played by Indian Diaspora
  • Issues Concerning the Diaspora:
    • Dual Nationality
    • Remittances, etc.

Important International Institutions

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

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