(Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)

The UPSC provides a basic instruction on which you should focus:

“The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues, and ability to analyze, and take a view on conflicting socio‐ economic goals, objectives and demands. The candidates must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.”

Learn all the topics and subtopics by heart. You can write them again and again. Paste a copy of the syllabus on your study table or wall.



Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment

  • It is a vast topic covering static and current affairs. First step is to read the following NCERTs. This will make you understand concepts clearly.
    • NCERT Class X – Understanding Economic Development
    • NCERT Class XI – Indian Economic Development
    • NCERT Class XII – Macroeconomics
    • Also refer to Ramesh Singh- Indian Economy for Civil Services Examination.
  • Interlinking with current affairs: After studying the concepts, try to link them with current issues. Read the business page of ‘The Hindu’ or the Economic Times.
  • Focus areas: 
    • NITI Aayog Vs. Planning Commission
    • Jobless Growth, concepts kie GDP, NNP
    • Challenges to Development & Growth
    • Government Initiatives tackling unemployment
  • Questions from the topic have been consistently asked in the past few years. You can expect questions in the range of 10-20 next year.

Inclusive growth and issues arising from it

  • Read the 11th and 12th Five year Plan documents. Their theme is based on inclusive growth.
  • This topic has accounted for 10-15 marks in the past two years.
  • Focus areas:
    • Indicators of Inclusive Growth
    • Challenges to Inclusive Growth in India


Government Budgeting

Here you have to study about the union Budget- definitions, how it is passed, various constitutional Articles related with it and current issues. Read the following for basic understanding:

  • NCERT Class XII- Macroeconomics: Chapter - The Government: Functions and scope
  • Focus areas:
    • Fiscal Deficit
    • Fiscal Policy
    • FRBM Act

Land Reforms in India

Refer to the following:

Focus areas:

  • Problems in Implementation of Land Reforms
  • Recent govt initiatives

Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth

  • You can refer to Ramesh Singh’s Indian Economy for Civil Services Examinations.
  • Focus areas:
    • FDI, FII
    • National Manufacturing Policy, Govt initiatives like Make in India etc 
    • SEZs

Infrastructure: Energy, ports, Roads, Airports, and Railways etc.

  • Read India Year Book and Economic Survey for this portion.
  • Keep the tab on the latest statistics of Infrastructure and goals.
  • This topic scored ten marks in Mains, 2019. 
  • Focus areas: Govt initiatives like National Infrastructure Pipeline, Bharatmala, UDAN etc

Investment Models

  • It basically covers Public-Private Partnerships model for infrastructure development. For example Build-own-operate (BOO), Build-Operate –Transfer (BOT) etc.
  • Refer to the following link:
  • Focus areas: 
    • Private Investment Model
    • Foteign Investment Model
    • Public Private Participation Investment Model
    • Project Finance Schemes and Finance Models




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

  • Read NCERT- Class VIII: Resources and development
  • For the cropping pattern in India refer to Indian Council of Agricultural Research.
  • For irrigation methods and systems, you can refer to IGNOU link-
  • For agriculture marketing, storage reforms refer to the ‘Economic Survey’ and ‘State of India Agriculture report’
  • This topic is very important. It has consistently scored 30-60 marks in previous years except Mains, 2019.
  • Focus areas:
    • Factors Influencing Cropping Pattern
    • APMCs
    • National Agricultural Market (NAM)
    • Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO)
    • Model Laws by Union govt
    • Need for Systemic Irrigation Reforms


Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution Systems-objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal rearing

  • This portion is very dynamic and is very important. Try to learn the basics as well as do the critical analysis. Take the help of the internet in finding information.
  • For Public Distribution System, refer to  &
  • Technology Mission topics can be covered from the PIB articles.
  • Learn about the need for these missions and their progress.
  • For economics of animal rearing, take the help of Internet, Kurukshetra magazine.
  • Focus areas: 
    • Types of subsidies, effectiveness, & problems 
    • Clash with WTO Agreements
    • Shortcomings of PDS, recent PDS reforms like One Nation One Ration Card etc.
    • National Food Security Mission and other govt. initiatives

Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management

  • Food processing has a lot of potential in India. The government has launched many schemes for it.
  • You need to visit the Food processing Ministry website for schemes. Keep tab on PIB for govt. initiatives. Also look for key points in the 12th Five Year Plan Document. Newspapers are also a good source.
  • Focus areas:
    • Supply Chain Management
    • Government Policies and Initiatives – Mega Food Parks, SAMPADA


Science and Technology

Topic 1:  Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life, Achievements of Indians in Science & technology, Awareness in the fields of IT, Computers, robotics, Nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights

  • For this portion read Science NCERTs (Class 6th to 10th)
  • You can also refer to Spectrum’s Developments in Science and Technology.
  • Read the Hindu and Frontline magazine.
  • Refer to Wikipedia and other internet sources.
  • Focus areas:
    • Chemicals in FoodAntibiotics
    • Robotics
    • Defence
    • Nuclear
    • Nanotechnology
    • Biotechnology
    • International Agreements Related to IPRs



Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

  • You need to cover all concepts relating to biodiversity, climate change, environmental conservation, pollution, waste management systems, etc. Then interconnect the basics with the current events in India & the world.
  • You can read ShankarIAS Environment Book.
  • Also refer to the website of Ministry of Environment & Climate Change’s Annual reports
  • Keep a tab on current affairs.
  • Focus areas:
    • In-situ & Ex-Situ conservation: National Parks, species conserved locations, missions/projects etc
    • Legislations & guidelines
    • International Treaties & Groupings- IUCN, CITES,etc
    • National Environment Agencies, Legislations and Policies
    • Shortcomings of EIA in India

Disaster and Disaster management

  • This is a current event based portion. Refer to Yojna and Kurukshetra magazines. Refer to the website of Ministry of Home affairs’ Disaster Management Division.
  • Focus areas:
    • Government Initiatives on Disaster Management, PM’s 10 points for disaster management
    • Disaster profile of India
    • Sendai framework



Linkages between development and spread of extremism, Role of external state & 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

  • Refer to
  • Read National Cyber Security Policy
  • Read about various basics about Money laundering, anti-Money laundering provisions, recent Financial Action Task Force events
  • Focus areas:
    • Naxalism,North East Insurgency,  reasons and remedies, State Sponsored Terrorism
    • Challenges in Managing Social Media
    • National Cybersecurity Policy
    • Prevention of Money Laundering Act
    • Land Boundary Disputes with Neighbours
    • Link between Organised Crime & Terrorism

Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

  • It is a theoretical topic and can be covered with the help of internet. Read about Indian Armed Forces, Indian Paramilitary Services, and Various Intelligence Agencies.
  • Focus areas:
    • Central Armed Police Forces, Central Paramilitary Forces. Intelligence Agencies like RAW etc.