UPSC » UPSC Mains GS 2 Syllabus, Books & Preparation Tips

UPSC Mains GS 2 Syllabus, Books & Preparation Tips

UPSC will conduct the CSE 2023 preliminary examination on 28th May 2023. The UPSC main exam is expected to start on 15th September 2023. The Commission will release a notification regarding the same on 1st February 2023. The application window will remain open till 21st February 2023. Candidates must go through the notification which will be uploaded on the official website – This article will provide you with the GS 2 syllabus, relevant books, tips for preparation, and other necessary information.

General Studies 2 Paper Syllabus for UPSC Mains

The GS 2 paper has the following 3 subjects.

  • Polity & Governance
  • Welfare
  • International Relations

The detailed GS 2 syllabus is mentioned below.

Indian Constitution          

  • Historical underpinnings of the constitution
  • Evolution of the Constitution
  • Salient features
  • Basic structure
  • Amendments
  • Significant provisions
  • Challenges in the devolution of power
  • Comparison of India’s constitutional scheme with other countries
  • Devolution of finances and powers up to the local government level
  • Dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions
  • Responsibilities and functions of the states and the Union territories
  • Issues and challenges related to the Federal Structure
  • Separation of powers between various organs of the govt.

Governance & Polity       

– Parliament and State Legislatures

– Structure

– Functioning

– Conduct of Business

– Powers & Privileges

– Issues arising out of Powers and Privileges of legislative bodies

  • Executive and Judiciary
  • Structure
  • Organization
  • Functioning
  • Ministries and departments of the government
  • Pressure groups
  • Formal & Informal associations and their role in the polity
  • Salient features of the People’s Representation Act


  • Appointment to various constitutional posts
  • Powers, functions and responsibilities of various constitutional bodies
  • Development processes and the development of industry
  • Government policies and interventions for the development of various sectors
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability
  • Issues arising out of the design and implementation of government intervention
  • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
  • The role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
  • e-governance
  • applications
  • models
  • successes
  • limitations and potential
  • citizens charters
  • transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
  • Role of Civil Services in a Democracy

Social Justice        

  • Issues related to poverty and hunger
  • Issues related to the development and management of the social sector/Services relating to Health, Education, and Human Resources
  • Mechanisms, laws, institutions, and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections of the population
  • The performance of welfare schemes
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the centre and states

International Relations    

  • India and its neighbourhood
  • Relations between India and the neighbouring countries
  • 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
  • Important International institutions and agencies
  • Indian diaspora – Its structure and mandate

Books for GS paper 2

The books for UPSC GS Paper 2 (Main Examination) are mentioned below. 

  • Governance in India – M. Laxmikanth.
  • India and the World: Through the Eyes of Indian Diplomats by Surendra Kumar.
  • Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations – M. Laxmikanth. 
  • Introduction to the Constitution of India by Durga Das Basu.
  • NCERTs of Class XI and XII 
  • Pax Indica – Shashi Tharoor.
  • Public Institutions in India: Performance and Design by Devesh Kapur & Pratap Bhanu Mehta

How to Prepare UPSC GS Paper 2 Syllabus?

For various sections in the examination, there are different techniques that can be used while studying & preparing for UPSC GS 2 Paper. Following given are some of them:


  • When you start preparing for the GS paper 2, begin your preparation for polity by going through the NCERT books of Class 11 and 12.   
  • Going through these books will acquaint you with the terminologies of the subject. 
  • Also, prepare from the book Indian polity for Civil Service examinations by M Laxmikant. 
  • Remember it is better to study thoroughly from a few books rather than going through many books. 


  • To prepare for the governance topics, take the help of the book Governance in India by M. Laxmikant. 
  • Follow only the content which is relevant to the syllabus. 
  • Also, refer to online study materials for topics mentioned in your syllabus. 
  • International Relations – questions on international relations are mostly asked from current affairs. 
  • Therefore, follow the newspapers, magazines, and online articles to be aware and well-informed. 

General Tips for Studying

  • In order to succeed in the UPSC CSE examination, the first step is choosing the relevant study material. 
  • One should pick up the best books for preparation (available in the market/ online). 
  • Make a study schedule and start preparing accordingly. Make short-term and long-term targets and try to achieve them. 
  • Do not be disheartened, as there is ample time for preparation. 
  • As you continue preparing, you will gain confidence and speed. 
  • After you cover the syllabus, start revising and solving sample papers and previous years’ question papers. 
  • Also, give time to revise the short notes you have prepared on the important topics. 


The main examination of UPSC GS Paper 2 will be conducted from 15th September 2023 onwards. You still have enough time to prepare for the examination. Go through the syllabus and get ahold of the relevant books. Study honestly in a systematic way. You will certainly succeed. 


Frequently Asked Questions

What should be my last month’s preparation strategy for the UPSC CSE 2023 examination?

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