How to Prepare for GS Paper 2 for UPSC CSE Mains: Syllabus, Booklist & Strategy | Career Launcher

UPSC General Studies Paper 2. titled “Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations” is a 250-marks subjective paper that is ranking in nature which means the score obtained in the paper is considered for determining the final rank of the candidate.

Broadly, UPSC GS Paper 2 covers polity, governance, social justice, and international relations. In this article, we’ve discussed the entire syllabus for UPSC GS Paper 2, how to prepare for UPSC GS Paper 2 and booklist for the preparation of General Studies Paper 2 for the UPSC CSE Main Exam.


UPSC GS Paper 2 Syllabus

General Studies Paper-II: 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 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.


How to prepare for GS Paper 2 for UPSC Civil Services Main Examination: Tips & Strategies

As you may know from the syllabus, the major components of UPSC GS paper 2 are polity, governance, social justice, and international relations, so, let get into how to prepare each of these components effectively:


  • Polity: Start with reading NCERTs of Class XI and XII if you’re a fresher, reading NCERTs or IGNOU/NIOS notes will introduce you to the terminologies of the subject; after that, read the book authored by M. Laxmikanth thoroughly. It is a must-read book for covering Indian polity for UPSC CSE. 

  • Governance: Refer to Governance in India by M.Laxmikanth to prepare this subject. However, be selective in reading only the chapters that are relevant to the syllabus. Other than that, you can rely on online free resources in the form of articles and pdfs of topics included in the syllabus. 

  • International Relations: Refer to the MEA website for covering this segment of the UPSC GS Paper 2 syllabus. Questions from contemporary events (current affairs) are mostly asked from this segment, hence, keep a tab on the current affairs by following newspapers, monthly magazines, and other online websites. You can also enroll in the CL-CAP course to effectively cover the current affairs. 

  • Previous Year Questions & Mock Tests: Glance through the PYQs to assess the type of questions that are being asked and browse through the answer copies of toppers to get an idea of answer-writing that you have to incorporate into your answer-writing practice. Practice it and get your copies evaluated by your mentors.  


Recommended Booklist for UPSC GS Paper 2 for Civil Services Main Exam

  1. Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations – M. Laxmikanth. 

  2. Governance in India - M.Laxmikanth.

  3. Pax Indica – Shashi Tharoor.

  4. India and the World: Through the Eyes of Indian Diplomats by Surendra Kumar.

  5. Introduction to the Constitution of India by Durga Das Basu.

  6. Public Institutions in India: Performance and Design by Devesh Kapur & Pratap Bhanu Mehta

  7. NCERTs of Class XI and XII 


So, this is the preparation strategy or the expert answer to how to prepare for GS Paper 2 for UPSC! In addition to the self-study using these preparation tips, you can effectively cover the entire syllabus of General Studies paper by enrolling in our comprehensive course for General Studies.


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