Reference Books For UPSC Civil Services Mains 2013 (New Pattern Syllabus)


Strategy For Mains Exam

A Guide For Mains – Excellent Book

NEW: Daily Answer Writing Challenge!

For UPSC mains one need to supplement their every day Newspaper (The Hindu) reading with certain books to have a deep insight over varied topics that are now part of the new syllabus.

To gain knowledge on diverse topics it is prudent to read standard texts rather than depending on materials provided by various coaching institutions. First hand reading of basic books enables aspirant to tackle questions of different dimensions.

Reading newspaper everyday is sine qua non of UPSC  preparation. A fortnightly magazine like Frontline is a must to enhance understanding about current events related to India and abroad. If possible, also go through The Economist magazine to understand international events.

Following is the list of books that are necessary for UPSC Civil Services Mains exam (links are given to Flipkart which provides nearly 40% – 50% discount on each book and it has home delivery facility to every corner in India- Of course you can buy from nearest shop if  that is comfortable and affordable!):

1) Shorter Constitution Of India (Set of 2 Volumes) 14th Editon – D.D.Basu (THIS IS PURELY FOR REFERENCE – VERY GOOD BOOK TO HAVE)

OR This Small Book : Introduction to the Constitution of India 20 Edition or

Introduction to the Constitution of India

2) India 2014 – Publication Division, Govt.of India 

3) Economic Survey 2012-2013

4) India Since Independence – Bipan Chandra

India Since Independence – new edition

5) Ideology And Politics in Modern India 

6) India’s Struggle For Independence – Bipan Chandra


From Plassey to Partition – A History Of Modern India (Now Super Hit With Aspirants – Choice is yours! )


7)Indian Economy : For Civil Services Examinations 5th Edition (2013) – Ramesh Singh

For Beginners:

The Indian Economy – Sanjiv Verma

Available on Amazon India

(read reviews on Flipkart - but not available.)

8) Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations 4th Edition – Laxmikanth

9) Geography of India- Majid Hussain

10) Ethics In Governance

11) India After Gandhi: The History Of The World’s Largest Democracy

12) Mastering Modern World History – New Edition – Norman Lowe

Or Buy this Imported Vesrion updated with in-depth chapters on Arab Spring and 2008 Financial Crisis: Mastering Modern World History -5th Edition, Norman Lowe

13) Trends in Indian Culture and Heritage: For Civil Services

Or this book from Government of India: The Gazetteer of India: History and Culture Vol II

14) Select Constitutions: 16th Edition – S Chand


15) India’s Foreign Policy – Muchkund Dubey

16) Challenge And Strategy : Rethinking India’s Foreign Policy – Rajiv Sikri

 (Buy from AMAZON India)

17) History of the World from the Late Nineteenth to the Early Twenty First Century – Arjun Dev (As Norman Lowe is not available anywhere, This is the best book available that covers all the topics)

18) Social Problems in India 2 Edition – Ram Ahuja

19) Politics and Ethics of the Indian Constitution - Review

20) Public Institutions in India: Performance and Design – PRATAPA BHANU MEHTA

21) Certified Physical and Human Geography – Goh Cheng Leong

22) India’s National Security – A Reader (Oxford University Press – Important for Paper-IV GS)

Available On Amazon India

23) Indian Social System – Ram Ahuja


Other Books Civil Services Aspirants Must Read (DURING LEISURE):

1) The Wonder That Was India- A.L.Basham

2) India Unbound: The Social and Economic Revolution from Independence to the Global Information Age – Gurcharan Das

3) Pax Indica: India and the World of the 21st Century – Shashi Tharoor (Pre-order 30% off )

4) An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions – Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze

5) The Argumentative Indian : Writings on Indian History – Amartya Sen

Of course you need to read NCERT texts as well. The above list is for reference and reading as well. As you have plenty of time for Mains, you can savour these books leisurely.

Don’t forget: The Hindu is the mother of Mains preparation now. Cut and Paste every article related to syllabus from October 2012 to November 2013!

393 Responses

  1. SURESH says:

    I need your clarification on determining OBC CREAMY LAYER AND NON CREAMY LAYER status.

    My father is a railway employee earning Rs.30000 per month. My father is going to get retired this october and my mother is house wife and she is getting RS.25000 per month through term deposit in SBI. The above mentioned are the only source of income to my family.We are having a self owned house apart from this there is nothing in the name of property.




  2. hello sir,
    i have completed my B.E computer science engg.i would like to appear for UPSC on 2015.i dont have clear view on selecting my optional and preparation.can you kindly help me through your guidance.

  3. niks says:

    For 2015 attempt is there need to practise secure mains 2014 …..also tell me from which month current affairs notes require for 2015 attempt…..plz reply ……

  4. Reuben says:

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    by reading thes nice content.

    Here is my webpage homepage, Reuben,

  5. sonal says:

    sir i am sonal sagar i want to know which type of books should be preferred to prepare gs papers 1,2,3,4

  6. abhimanyu says:

    and plz start geography answer writing also..

  7. shikham .m says:

    Dear sir,
    I am a law student, completing B.A.LL.B in 2015. And also targeting CSAT 2015, can you plz tell me is that sufficient time for me now? I choose LAW as optional as my degree in law, is there any negatuve things, in choose such subject in mains ?
    Waiting for rly
    Thank you

  8. I do trust all the concepts you have offered to your post.
    They are really convincing and can definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are very quick for newbies.
    May just you please prolong them a bit from next time?
    Thanks for the post.

  9. If some one desires to be updated with latest technologies therefore he must be visit this web page and be up to date all the time.

  10. sandeep singh says:

    sir i m a student and for ias exams i want to choose physics as my main subject so regaurding the level of knowledge required for ias sir plj suggest me best books whom i can refer to.

  11. Shardul Kadam says:

    Respected Sir,
    I have NCERT of 11& 12(new and old) also other NCERT of 6-10(new) for history subject. Sir tell me which topics to be covered from these books for Mains preparation. Along with these I hv Bipin Chandra India struggle for freedom. Do I need to go for spectrum for modern to prepare for Mains and which topic to be read. Please reply..

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