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Syllabus of PSIR Paper - I

Political Theory and Indian Politics:

  1. Political Theory: meaning and approaches.
  2. Theories of state: Liberal, Neo-liberal, Marxist, Pluralist, Post-colonial, and Feminist.
  3. Justice: Conceptions of justice with special reference to Rawl’s theory of justice and its communitarian critiques.
  4. Equality: Social, political, and economic; the relationship between equality and freedom; Affirmative action.
  5. Rights: Meaning and theories; different kinds of rights; Concept of Human Rights.
  6. Democracy: Classical and contemporary theories; different models of democracy—representative, participatory and deliberative.
  7. Concept of power: hegemony, ideology, and legitimacy.
  8. Political Ideologies: Liberalism, Socialism, Marxism, Fascism, Gandhism, and Feminism.
  9. Indian Political Thought: Dharmashastra, Arthashastra, and Buddhist Traditions; Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Sri Aurobindo, M. K. Gandhi, B. R. Ambedkar, M. N. Roy.
  10. Western Political Thought: Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, John S. Mill, Marx, Gramsci, Hannah Arendt.

Indian Government and Politics

  1. Indian Government and Politics
    (a) Political Strategies of India’s Freedom Struggle: Constitutionalism to mass Satyagraha, Noncooperation, Civil Disobedience; Militant and Revolutionary Movements, Peasant and Workers Movements.
    (b) Perspectives on Indian National Movement; Liberal, Socialist, and Marxist; Radical Humanist and Dalit.
  2. Making of the Indian Constitution: Legacies of the British rule; different social and political perspectives. 
  3. Salient Features of the Indian Constitution: The Preamble, Fundamental Rights and Duties, Directive Principles; Parliamentary System and Amendment Procedures; Judicial Review and Basic Structure doctrine.
  4. (a) Principal Organs of the Union Government: Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislature, and Supreme Court.
    (b) Principal Organs of the State Government: Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislature, and High Courts. 
  5. Grassroots Democracy: Panchayati Raj and Municipal Government; Significance of 73rd and 74th Amendments; Grassroot movements.
  6. Statutory Institutions/Commissions: Election Commission, Comptroller and Auditor General, Finance Commission, Union Public Service Commission, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Women; National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Minorities, National Backward Classes Commission.
  7. Federalism: Constitutional provisions; changing nature of center-state relations; integrationist tendencies and regional aspirations; inter-state disputes.
  8. Planning and Economic Development: Nehruvian and Gandhian perspectives; Role of planning and public sector; Green Revolution, land reforms and agrarian relations; liberalization and economic reforms.
  9. Caste, Religion, and Ethnicity in Indian Politics.
  10. Party System: National and regional political parties, ideological and social bases of parties; Patterns of coalition politics; Pressure groups, trends in electoral behavior; changing socio-economic profile of Legislators. 
  11. Social Movement: Civil liberties and human rights movements; women’s movements; environmentalist movements.

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Syllabus of PSIR Paper - II

Comparative Politics and International Relations
Comparative Political Analysis and International Politics: 

  1. Comparative Politics: Nature and major approaches; Political economy and political sociology perspectives; Limitations of the comparative method.
  2. State in Comparative Perspective: Characteristics and changing nature of the State in capitalist and socialist economies, and advanced industrial and developing societies.
  3. Politics of Representation and Participation: Political parties, pressure groups and social movements in advanced industrial and developing societies.
  4. Globalisation: Responses from developed and developing societies.
  5. Approaches to the Study of International Relations: Idealist, Realist, Marxist, Functionalist and Systems theory.
  6. Key Concepts in International Relations: National interest, security and power; Balance of power and deterrence; Transational actors and collective security; World capitalist economy and globalisation.
  7. Changing International Political Order:
    (a) Rise of superpowers; Strategic and ideological Bipolarity, arms race and cold war; Nuclear threat;
    (b) Non-aligned movement: Aims and achievements.
    (c) Collapse of the Soviet Union; Unipolarity and American hegemony; Relevance of non-alignment in the contemporary world. 
  8. Evolution of the International Economic System: From Bretton woods to WTO; Socialist economies and the CMEA (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance); Third World demand for new international economic order; Globalisation of the world economy.
  9. United Nations: Envisaged role and actual record; Specialized UN agencies—aims and functioning; the need for UN reforms.
  10. Regionalisation of World Politics: EU, ASEAN, APEC, AARC, NAFTA.
  11. Contemporary Global Concerns: Democracy, human rights, environment, gender justice terrorism, nuclear proliferation.

India and the World

  1. Indian Foreign Policy: Determinants of foreign policy; the institutions of policy-making; continuity and change. 
  2. India’s Contribution to the Non-Alignment Movement Different phases; current role. 
  3. India and South Asia:
    (a) Regional Co-operation: SAARC-past performance and future prospects.
    (b) South Asia as a Free Trade Area.
    (c) India’s “Look East” policy.
    (d) Impediments to regional co-operation: River water disputes; illegal cross-border migration; Ethnic conflicts and insurgencies; Border disputes.
  4. India and the Global South: Relations with Africa and Latin America; Leadership role in the demand for NIEO and WTO negotiations. 
  5. India and the Global Centres of Power: USA, EU, Japan, China and Russia.
  6. India and the UN System: Role in UN Peace-keeping; Demand for Permanent Seat in the Security Council.
  7. India and the Nuclear Question: Changing perceptions and policy.
  8. Recent developments in Indian Foreign Policy: India’s position on the recent crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, and West Asia, growing relations with US and Israel; Vision of a new world order.

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Previous Year UPSC Questions

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2022 2021 2020 2019 2018



  1. Write on the following in about 150 words each :
    a). Systems Approach
    b). Cultural Relativism
    c). "Revolution in Permanence"
    d). Bases of Power
    e). Locke's Social Contract
  2. Answer the following:
    a). Factors like community, culture and nation weaken the hegemony of neo-liberalism today. Discuss.
    b). Equality of estates caused equality of power, and equality of power is liberty." Comment.
    c). Elitist theory of democracy denies the possibility of democracy as 'rule of the people'. Elucidate.
  3. Answer the following:
    a). Examine the liberal theory of State in contemporary politics.
    b). Human Rights are complex and contested social practice that organises relations between individuals, society and the State. Comment.
    c). Individualism is inherent in Hobbes' absolutist ideology. Comment.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). Dr. Ambedkar's idea of social justice leads to 'egalitarian justice' as compared to Rawls' 'justice as fairness' which aims at the notion of 'pure procedural justice'. Comment.
    b). "The Panchayats with gram Sabhas should be so organised as to identify the resources locally available for the development in agricultural and industrial sectors." Examine the statement in the context of Gram Swaraj.
    c). Examine the entitlement theory of justice.


  1. Answer the following in about 150 words each :
    a). Analyse the workers' movement in India in the pre-Independence period.
    b). The Preamble of the Indian Constitution reflects itself as a 'social contract'. Elucidate.
    c). Legislative Council is a house without any effective powers. Comment.
    d). How far is the National Commission for Backward Classes an empowered body? Assess its role in the context of rising demand for backwardness among dominant communities.
    e). High concentration of economic activities and consumption patterns in post-liberalisation period has led to the failure of environmental movements in India. Elucidate.
  2. Answer the following:
    a). Electoral behaviour of voters is governed more by the social and economic factors than the political factors. Explain.
    b). The Doctrine of Basic Structure of the Constitution has enhanced the power of judicial review of the Supreme Court. Examine.
    c). Discuss the composition and functions of the Inter-State Council. To what extent has this body been successful in achieving its objectives?
  3. Answer the following:
    a). Examine the unique features of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment. Do you think this Amendment would contribute in achieving the goal of empowerment of marginalised sections of the society?
    b). The Speaker represents the freedom and dignity of the House. Examine.
    c). Discuss the policy initiatives of the Fourteenth Finance Commission aimed towards promoting and strengthening agricultural development in India.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). Ethnicity is the underlying cause which poses a great challenge in the resolution of the problems in the North-East region of India. Comment.
    b). The making of the Indian Constitution is described as an attempt towards 'social revolution'. Comment.
    c). How far is it correct that the regional parties have strengthened Indian democracy and federal system? Substantiate your answer with suitable examples.



  1. Write on the following in about 150 words each :
    a). Discuss the main limitationa of the comparative method to the study of Political Science.
    b). What are the main challenges faced by the developing countires in the era of globalisation?
    c). Discuss the commonalities between the Marxist and Realist approach to the study of International Politics.
    d). Bipolar structure of the world is more stable than the multipolar one. Comment.
    e). National Interest is an essentially contested concept. Comment.
  2. Answer the following:
    a). How has the electrol democracy augmented the participation of people in the democratic process?
    b). Discuss the role of social movements in strengthening the democratic processess in developing societies.
    c). Describe the composition of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Discuss its voluntary jurisdication.
  3. Answer the following:
    a). Critically examine the rise of People's Republic of China (PRC) as a great power and its implications on Asian Political order.
    b). Discuss the conceptual dimensions of collective security.
    c). Discuss the efficacy of global conventions to combat international terrorism.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). Identify and evaluate the reasons for deadlock inthe WTO negotiations on fisheries between the developing and developed countries.
    b). What is the realist prescription to the States to ensure their survival in an anarchical world?
    c). Russian-Ukraine crisis has cast a dark shadow on the energy needs of the member states of the European Union (EU). Comment.


  1. Answer the following in about 150 words each :
    a). Peaceful co-existaence remians the cornerstone of India's foreign policy. Comment.
    b). Discuss the ways and means to realise greater economic co-operation among the Member States of South Asia.
    c). Discuss the steps required to realise 'hydro-co-operation' between India and Bangladesh.
    d). Explain the significance fo Basic Exchange and Co-operation Agreement (BECA) for Indo-US strategic relations.
    e). Discuss the role of public diplomacy in the enhancement of India's global standing.
  2. Answer the following:
    a). Discuss the relevance of the demand for New International Economic Order (NIEO) in the present era of globlisation.
    b). Critically examine the major factors responsible for a turmaround in the trajectory of India's foreign policy in the post-cold period.
    c). Discuss the reasons behind India's refusal to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).
  3. Answer the following:
    a). What are the main drivers fo India-Japan Strategic and Global Partnership?
    b). What are the implications of 'Look-East' Policy on the north-eastern region of India?
    c). Explain the factors which justify India's clain for a permanent seat at the UN security council.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). How does India-Israel bilateral ties reflect the autonomy of India's foreign policy choices?
    b). Discuss the consequences of illegal cross-border migration in India's north-eastern region.
    c). Discuss India's vision of a New World order in the 21st century.

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