How to Prepare Economy for UPSC | Preparation Strategy for UPSC Economy Syllabus

Indian Economy is a part of the General Studies III paper ofUPSC CSE Main. In fact, questions from it can be asked in all the three stages of the UPSC Civil Services exam;and hence, you should prepare it well. Questions related to recent development and growth vis-a-vis industry, agriculture, trade, and transportation areregularly asked in Prelims, Main, and even during the interview.

Detailed Syllabus of Economy for UPSC

The syllabus of Indian Economy for UPSC is divided into two major sections:Economic Development and Agriculture. The detailed syllabus for each of these sections is mentioned below:

Economic Development

Indian Economy & Issues Related to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development & Employment


Meaning of Planning;

Need for Planning in Economic Development;

Imperative vs Indicative vs Structural Planning;

Objectives of Planning;

History of Indian Planning;

Techniques of Indian Planning;

Achievements & Failures of Indian Planning;

Shortcomings of Planning in India;

NITI Aayog vsthe Planning Commission

Mobilization of Resources

Types of Resources: Financial, Human, Natural, etc.;

Need for Resource Mobilization

Role of Savings & Investment;

Government Resources – Tax & Non-Tax (or Fiscal & Monetary Policy);

Banking Sector & NBFCs

Capital Market;

External Sources – FDI, ODA, etc.;

Public Borrowing & Management of Public Debt;

Challenges in Mobilizing; Resources for Development;

Steps that can be Taken;

Growth & Development

Meaning of Development & Growth;

Difference between Development & Growth;

Determinants of Growth & Development;

Importance & Limitations of Economic Growth;

Jobless Growth;

Pro-Poor Growth;

Balanced & Unbalanced Growth;

Dimensions of Development;

Measurement & Indicators of Development;

Approaches to Development:

Market-Based Approach,

Role of State, and Planned Approach,

Mixed Economy Approach;

Challenges to Development & Growth


Nature – Rural vs Urban;

Formal vs Informal;

Terms Related to Employment – Labour Force Participation Rate, Employment Rate, Working Age Population, etc.;

Sectoral Distribution of Employment;

Quality of Employment;

Causes of Lack of Employment;

Restructuring of Workforce;

Government Initiatives for Generating Employment

Inclusive Growth & Issues Arising from It

What is Inclusive Growth;

Elements of Inclusive Growth;

Need for Inclusive Growth;

Indicators of Inclusive Growth;

Challenges in Achieving Inclusive Growth in India;

12th FYP & Inclusive Growth;

NITI Aayog’s Vision Document

Government Budgeting

Need for Government Budgeting

Components of the Government Budget

Revenue Account – Revenue Receipts & Revenue Expenditure;

Capital Account – Capital Receipts & Capital Expenditure

Changes in the Budgetary Process

Measures of Government Deficit

Revenue Deficit;

Fiscal Deficit;

Primary Deficit

Fiscal Policy

Deficit Reduction


Other Types of Budgets 

Outcome, Zero-Based, etc.

Land Reforms in India

The Rationale for Land Reforms;

Components of Land Reforms;

Impact of Land Reforms;

Problems in Implementation of Land Reforms;

The Success of Land Reforms;

Recent Initiatives - Land Leasing, Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act, etc.

Effects of Liberalization on the Economy

The Phase of Liberalization;

Impact on Different Sectors of the Economy

Changes in Industrial Policy &their Effects on Industrial Growth

Industrial Policy Before 1991;

Industrial Policy After 1991;

Phases of Industrial Growth;

Linkage Between Economic Reforms and Economic Outcomes;

Weaknesses and Failures of Industrial Policies;

National Manufacturing Policy;


Make in India







Investment Models

Need for Investment

Sources of Investment

Types of Investment Models

Domestic Investment Models;

Public Investment Model;

Private Investment Model;

Public-Private Participation; 

Foreign Investment Models: FDI

FII, etc.;

Sector-Specific Investment Models;

Cluster-Based Investment Models

Investment Models Followed by India


Major Crops &Cropping Patterns in Various Parts of the Country

Importance of Cropping Pattern;

Types of Cropping Pattern;

Reasons Cropping Pattern Differ;

Factors Influencing Cropping Pattern;

Emerging Trends in Cropping Pattern;

Long-Run Effects of Current Trends in Cropping Pattern

Different Types of Irrigation & Irrigation Systems’ Storage

Modes of Irrigation;

Sources of Irrigation;

Choosing an Irrigation System;

Problems Associated with Irrigation;

Progress of Irrigation under Five-Year Plans;

Environmental Effects of Irrigation;

Need for Systemic Irrigation Reforms;

Need for a National Water Policy

Transport & Marketing of Agricultural Produce and Issues & Related Constraints

Process of Agricultural Marketing - Marketing Channels, Functionaries, Costs, etc.;

Role of FCI;

Regulated Markets;


Cooperative Marketing;

Shortcomings of Current Agricultural Marketing Process;


National Agricultural Market (NAM);

Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO);

Contract Farming;

Futures Trading in Agricultural Commodities

E-Technology in the Aid of Farmers; Technology Missions

Issues Related to Direct & Indirect Farm Subsidies and Minimum Support Prices

Agricultural Pricing Policy;

Rationale for Subsidies;

Types of Subsidies;

Effectiveness, Extent,and Problems of Subsidies;

Clash with WTO Agreements

Public Distribution System: Objectives, Functioning, Limitations, Revamping


Functioning - Fair Price Shops, FCI, Ration Cards, Aadhar Linking, etc.;

Shortcomings or Problems Associated with PDS;

Need to Improve the Working of PDS;

Measures to Improve the Loopholes & Lacunae Associated with PDS;

Steps Taken by the Government

Issues of Buffer Stock& Food Security

Buffer Stock – Objectives & Norms in India;

Impact of Government Procurement & Distribution;

Need for Food Security;

NFSM and Food-Security-Related Government Initiatives

Economics of Animal-Rearing

Food Processing & Related Industries in India

Scope & Potential in India;



Constraints and Challenges;

Upstream & Downstream Requirements;

Supply Chain Management;

Government Policies and Initiatives – SAMPADA, 12th FYP, etc.

Preparation Strategy & Booklist to cover UPSC Economy Syllabus

The economy of any country serves as the foundation for its growth and development. As a potential member of the bureaucracy, it is important for you to have a sound understanding of how the Indian economy works. The GS III paper in UPSC CSE Main assesses the candidate’s knowledge in this regard. Indian economy is also included in the General Studies Paper in Prelims wherein the major focus is on the budget allocation and recently-launched schemes. Here are some useful tips:

  • Start with NCERTs: It is important to have a strong understanding of key concepts aboutthe economy. NCERTs are the best resource for that. Moreover, questions are asked directly from the NCERT. Hence, it is important to read them carefully.

  • Read IGNOU/NIOS notes: After you are done with NCERTs, supplement your knowledge by reading IGNOU/NIOS notes. You do not need to read them cover to cover, just the relevant chapters that are a part of the UPSC’sEconomy syllabus. 

  • Cover Previous Years’ Questions: Next, it is important to glance through previous years’ question papers to get a clear understanding of the types of questions that are asked in the exam.

  • Read the Basic Books: Next, you need to read the basic books, like Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh and Indian Economy - Key Concepts by Sankarganesh Karuppiah. These books are specifically written for CSE preparation, hence are very helpful in covering the entire syllabus strategically. 

  • Current Affairs: Current Affairs plays a very important role in theEconomy subject, as it deals with, among other things, the recent developments in Indian economy. Read “Economic Times” and “Business Standard” regularly.

  • Write Mock Tests: Attempt as many mock tests as you can, analyze your mistakes, work on them; and repeat the process.

Booklist for Economy for UPSC

  • NCERTs (Classes X, XI, and XII)

  • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh

  • Indian Economy: Performance and Policies by Uma Kapila

  • Indian Economy - Key Concepts by Sankarganesh Karuppiah 

  • NIOS Notes and IGNOU Notes

Additional resources include ‘The Hindu’ and ‘Economic Times’ newspapers, along with government publications like Yojana, Kurukshetra, and India Year Book. 

Career Launcher brings to you comprehensive courses for UPSC CSE preparation that will surely boost your score and enhance your chances of selection. Check out the entire range of courses, along with the applicable offers and discounts here. Do get in touch with our course counselors to get more information on course offerings. 

Current Affairs analysis