How to Prepare Economy Syllabus For UPSC | Preparation Strategy & Booklist

Indian economy is a part of the General Studies III paper in the UPSC CSE Main exam. It is included in all the three stages of the UPSC CSE exam, hence, it is pertinent to prepare it extremely well. Questions related to recent development and growth vis-a-vis industry, agriculture, trade, and transportation are asked in prelims, mains, and even during the interview process.

This article discusses the detailed economy syllabus for UPSC along with the preparation strategy and suggested booklist for preparing economy syllabus for UPSC exam.

Economy Syllabus For UPSC Exam Preparation

The syllabus of the Indian economy for UPSC entails two major sections including economic development and agriculture. The detailed syllabus for each of these sections is discussed below:

Economic Development

Indian Economy & Issues Relating 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;

Indian Planning History;

Techniques of Indian Planning;

Achievements & Failures of Indian Planning;

Shortcomings of Planning in India;

NITI Aayog Vs. Planning Commission;

Mobilization of Resources

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

Need for Resource Mobilisation

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 Mobilising; 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 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 Liberalisation;

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; Investment Model;

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 Why 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 & 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 & Minimum Support Prices

Agricultural Pricing Policy;

Rationale for Subsidies;

Types of Subsidies;

Effectiveness, Extent & 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 & Lacunaes Associated with PDS;

Steps Taken by Government in this regard;

Issues of Buffer Stocks & Food Security

Buffer Stock – Objectives & Norms in India;

Impact of Government Procurement & Distribution

Need for Food Security;

NFSM And the 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 Economy Syllabus For UPSC

The economy of any country serves as the foundation for its growth and development. As a potential member of the bureaucracy, it is important to have a sound understanding of how the Indian economy works. The GS III paper in UPSC CSE Mains 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 tips that may be useful for preparing economy syllabus for UPSC:

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

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

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

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

  • Current Affairs: Current affairs play a very important role especially for economy subject as it covers the recent developments in Indian economy. Read “Economic Times” and “Business Standard” to cover the current affairs of economy portion for UPSC preparation.

  • Solve Mock Test: Mock tests are an extremely important element of UPSC preparation. Solve as many mock tests as you can, analyze your mistakes, amend them and repeat this process.

Booklist for Preparing Economy syllabus for UPSC

  • NCERTs (Class 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

Some of the additional resources include The Hindu and Economic Times newspaper along with government publications like Yojna, Kurukshetra, and India Year Book.

If you need further assistance with the preparation of economy for UPSC, you can enroll in our economy-subject-specific course that is designed to cater to the needs of aspirants who find economics difficult to understand. In addition to that, Career Launcher also 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 course along with the applicable offers and discounts here. Get in touch with our course counselors to get more information on course offerings.

Current Affairs analysis