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!

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391 responses to “Reference Books For UPSC Civil Services Mains 2013 (New Pattern Syllabus)

  1. edward

    Thanks a again :) i will follow as you said
    Another doubt is regarding the TMH manuals.I have GS manuals with me and i find it so huge.Can you advice me about studying it i mean which areas i have to exclude and include, and how to use the reference books then?Like Ramachandra guha’s book,bipan chandra book?We have to read them completely and make notes?Some chapters are very long and so difficult to study
    Thank you sir :)

    • TMH manual is not needed for basic reading. Use it for solving questions. But for reading use standard book and NCERT books.

      Ramachandra Guha and Bipan Chandra must be read completely if you have time. If not read selectively from them based on the syllabus.

  2. Rupesh

    In G.S Paper-I syllabus every topic is given with respective sub topics For example: globalization is in syllabus but only with the Indian society perspective or in case of Urbanization only problems and remedies relating to it is expected to learn.
    But nothing is given about Social Empowerment, Communalism, Regionalism & Securalism topics should i need to learn everything about it like features, merits, demerits etc etc. and from whose prespective i should look at this topics from WHOLE WORLD or from INDIAN point of view only.
    Sir kindly guide me am I in right path of understanding the SYLLABUS or I need to develop some other way….As you always guide us stating that UNDERSTANDING SYLLABUS IS VERY VERY IMPORTANT.

    • Good question: You should read them from the global perspective but apply them to Indian scenario.But emphasis should be on understanding the underlying concepts.

      You are on the right path. Keep syllabus always on your side.

  3. Rupesh

    my Another query is regarding geography topics in paper -II
    1. Here distribution of key natural resources across the world is given including south Asia and Indian subcontinent my question is when India is part of the world and when i read about world resources Indian subcontinent will automatically come in its way so why separate name of South Asia and Indian Subcontinent is given do I need to given special emphasis to this Two region.
    2. Same in case of industries when india is part of world why separate name of India is given.
    3. In geographical features and their location a dash is given making it like a major topics and other topics are written after that like changes , its effects etc my question is should i need to prepare topics of geographical features and their location or only topics after dash like changes, effects etc

    Sir kindly answer my previous day query and this one too, as i in in state of confusion.

    • First, though India is part of the world, the syllabus requires you to give emphasis on India. For example, If you are reading about Coal distribution around the world, along with it, make a not on its distribution in India too.

      In geographical features, for example, Tsunami – you need to know what it is, how it is caused, what are its consequences, major regions across the world prone to it, India’s experience, measures taken by India to manage post-Tsunami effects, etc.

      It applies to all other phenomena or features too.

  4. Rupesh

    thank u so much sir

  5. archana karri

    Hi sir
    I hv coverd 6topics according to u r adv.. which u gvn in ths sight ….so pls let me knw the chaparts which covers 10 to 15 laxmikanth r else can i refer other books for ths particular topics
    Tell me in detai sir..
    THNKUs letm

  6. Rupesh

    Now moving to paper III, here also i need your guidance
    this paper is quite vast than other papers,
    1. Sir has UPSC randomly given name of Governance, Constitution, Polity as three major topics, as I used to think Constitution is supreme topic containing other topics Governance and Polity too. UPSC by giving these three name has made me bit confused to find out which sub topics belongs to these major topics.By analyzing this syllabus I find that many of this topics belongs to same mother that is CONSTITUTION. Sir am i right, if so than why UPSC is confusing us like this.
    2. What is Dispute Redressal mechanisms and institution?
    3. what is Pressure groups?
    4. what is Representation of people Act?
    Sir which major heads does these above question belongs too.

    5. sir i found many topics of Public Administration too here good governance, citizens charters etc etc so my question is why upsc has extracted some topics from Pub Ad or this topics belongs to other subjects too.

    Sir kindly help me I also read your article on these Paper III but sorry I m still i Dilemma of confusion.

    Thank You

    • Rupesh Dahal

      Kindly reply please

        • praneeth vaddepalli

          Hello Sir,

          This is praneeth from Hyderabad. I’m civil services aspirant and planning to face those examinations next year (i.e 2014) selected Mains subject as “Anthropology”. i’m an software employee and how can i make my time to read or prepare for the typical tasks and please give me some tips and tricks for exact ans perfect preparation. As the schedule demands, even I’m ready to resign my job now.

          Please do help me in this issue sir.

          Thank you

    • UPSC has not given syllabus randomly.

      Governance and polity are the outcomes of our constitution. Governance is the process of running a government which involves administration, whereas polity is the form of government we have.(Democratic Polity in India, we say)

      Constitution provides the framework for the both.

      Dispute redressal mechanism is a process of bringing disparate groups together to reach a mutual agreement. We have Tribunals – for river disputes, tax disputes, etc they are institutions.

      Pressure groups which are also known as Interest groups/advocacy groups are group of like minded well organized individuals collectively trying to influence policy making or formation public opinion to meet certain interests of theirs. We can see them in businesses, religions, trade unions etc trying to lobby, or conduct polls etc..

      For Representation of people’s act please go through the link I have given in the article on paper-III strategy.

  7. Rupesh

    You are a great mentor I m asking u too many question and you are giving your precious time to my each question
    Thank You So Much

  8. Priya

    I am appearing for UPSC-2014. I completed my graduation in medicine in english medium. As far as UPSC mains examination is concerned I found myself less confident in writing part (Paper I -V). I am appearing for the first time. Which books should I refer to? Please Help!!!

  9. Rupesh

    As i was watching news on suspension of IAS officer in UP, there a local politician commented arising lots of question in my mind he said “Centre can recall all IAS officer we are capable to run by our own state officers”
    My question is :
    1. Why IAS officer are appointed in States (but interview are taken by center) when states are also appointing lots of state civil servants?
    2. Why is there difference between Centre appointed officers & state appointed officers when job they do are same?
    3. Why there is no uniformity in appointment of IAS offices: some states has less number of IAS officer compared to state officers while other states have many IAS officer compared to state officers?

    Kindly answer my previous day question and this one too, I am eagerly waiting for your answer.

    • These are basics which I think you should be aware of.

      IAS, IPS and IFoS are all India services – an officer can be posted to anywhere in India This is mainly done to secure India’s unity and strengthen federalism. They are recruited by the centre according to the provision of the Constitution under the All India Services Act 1951 (UPSC is entrusted with this)

      State officers are recruited by the respective states by their Public Service commissions as per the constitutional provision – this is done to provide states with autonomy in recruiting their own officers to govern State List subjects.(ex. states can recruit Asst Commissioner – Commercial Tax , but not AC Income Tax)

      Third question – I am not sure about the data or to which states you are referring. May be because States don’t regularly conduct exams so they have less number of officers. I think it is unlikely though.

  10. Sir i want to prepare for ias.But with so much information availaible i have got confused.Kindly please tell the exact reading material need to be prepared for both mains and prelims.Do we need to learn by hard ncert books of SST from 6 to 12th.And which other books we need to refer.And is that includes disaster management also.Please help.

  11. archana karri

    Hi sir
    Am a bgnr n wrkng…tooo..a consern i need to read selected chptrs..i hv strtd polity frst n coverd 6tpcs could u pls tel me tht is tht neceasary to read all the 11parts of laxmicanth..r else is thr is any chaptr to quit lk tht…pls tell me sir
    N tel me that the topics frm 10 to 15 of pobs vhch chapters cover this topics frm laxmknth….ppls never mind to clarifie my doughts sir
    Usally i vl get more doughts
    I hv asked ths qustn twice bt u didnt replied it sir..
    Ths tm pls tel.mme abt these doubts

    • Archana,

      Laxmikant is a good book for Prelims and for some topics of mains. It is better to read all the parts. Are you writing Mains? If yes, go for selective study (topics which i have mentioned in strategy for Paper-III). If not, read the entire book twice. It helps a lot in both prelims and mains.

  12. Rupesh

    thank u so much, now i feel much confident after getting all answer.
    Sir you told us to refer DD Basu book on constitution, but I have book by Subash Kashyap Our Constitution purchased last year from local market. Can i trust Kashyap’s book for preparation or I need to purchase DD basu book.
    Thank u again

    • You must read D D Basu. It is difficult initially but one you start understanding concepts, you will enjoy the book very much. Read Laxmikant/ Subash Kashyap first and then read D D Basu ( you have plenty of time )


    dear sir, I the list of reference books do not have any book on WORLD PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY. Please recommend one

  14. edward

    Is reading a competitive magazine necessary?Evert toppers are saying about Pratiyogita darpan, wizrad and such.If you dont read them you cannot pass?what if you are from a small town and also with much money and other ‘needed stuffs and also self studying?I have only The Hindu with me and some online news papers thank god i have a net connection :)

    • If you read newspapers every day and have the habit of keeping a file of paper cuttings, then you definitely don’t need those magazines. They are for those who just ‘read’ paper and forget today’s news next day.

  15. priyanka


    I am Priyanka and I am new to preparing to upsc. I know there have been recent changes in the mains of taking one optional paper. As far as prelims is considered there is csat and gs papers. I want to start with my preparation before enrolling for coaching classes. Please share the link of the books which one should start with for the preparation as per the new changes. Also please share your email address.
    Thanks in advance.

  16. Rupesh

    what is indian Diaspora and what kind of question one can expect from this topic

  17. Rupesh

    every time when I read interview of toppers interview they are asked to share their success mantra and i also eagerly used to read or listen that part so that i could know how to become successful. But sir i was really amazed to know the answer not only one but each and every topper has same success mantra “Hard Work and Perseverance”
    What is Hard Work, perseverance?
    why is it so important for every ias aspirant and how its role is so broad that every one is only talking about it?

    I am struggling with my book to understand the syllabus and it takes more than one week to understand just 1st chapter of Bipin Chandra History, sometime vocabulary irritates and sometime time language structure, I also tried to answer daily question given by you but knowledge sometime becomes hurdle or English sometime. Sir is this same type of hard work what the toppers was taking or I still don’t know actual meaning and usage of hard work.
    Please help me
    thank you

    • Rupesh,

      The meaning of and degree of hard work varies from person to person. If you think you have many weaknesses, then the degree of hard work you have to put should be more.

      If you find it difficult to read, understand and finish one chapter from Bipan Chandra in one week, then, definitely you have to put in more hard work. Read a lot of good English. Try to write something everyday, even 100 words about something you find interesting (you can maintain a notebook). You are still a beginner, so naturally things appear difficult.

      No matter how difficult things appear, keep studying – even if you don’t understand. Use dictionary and read systematically. Initially it consumes time. later when you are experienced, it takes less time to finish things. So work hard to equip yourself with skills.

      About diaspora question, please use net. They are simple things and you must get used to do ‘self study’. :-)


        Dear Rupesh,
        I really find your case quite matching to me. I belong to a science background and always thought of subjects like history and geography a waste of time. Therefore, I did not understand them initially. Also I am not too good at english. However when I decided to go for civil services I started reading them. Initially I took weeks to understand the single chapters and words like imperialism, socialism and nationalism always went over my head. But i kept reading books more and more and it gives me immense pleasure to inform you that this time I cleared civil services pre (roll no- 575067). I am giving you my roll no. just to give authenticity to my words that I say here. I may or may not pass further but my reading over this period make me understand the real life around us and that is equally important as science and mathematics. So keep reading, not for any exam but to know about our past, present and probable future. You will then find that automatically you have done sufficient hard work to progress in your life.

    • gurwinder singh

      hi,,,brother… i am also studying for ias,,,i ‘ve covered lot of part of bipin chandra’s histry,,,u should use a good dictionary,,,if that will in ur mother tongue,,,that will b good :) bt it will take some time,,,i did the same,,,all d best

  18. Rupesh

    friend thank u so much for your comment, congrats for passing pre you deserve it, i really needed such strong motivation thanks again

  19. Rupesh

    Still today many country has monarch as supreme head like UK, Indonesia, Bhutan, japan etc so are considered as a democratic country?

    • These are not absolute monarchies – these are constitutional monarchies where king/queen is the nominal head of a state and derives power from the Constitution. In absolute monarchies, power emanates for the ruler. Some countries do not want to part with their legacies so they retain monarchy within a democratic set-up.

  20. naveen

    hello insightsonindia..sir/madam .. i started preparing for cse2014 from last month..i am goin through with ncerts along with hindu newspaper..i have choosen geography as my optional.i want to ask which magzines to follow from mains point of view..?is dere any specific time period for following these supplementary materials.. starting from july 2013 till exam date in 2014 will be sufficient ?? please do reply..i have no one nearby to ask my querry nor any one to help me..

    • Read Frontline and EPW (selectively). There is no specific period, but for next year’s mains, you should be thorough with current events from this year’s June. (i.e June 2013 to November 2014 – For Mains) As you will be preparing for next year prelims, you have to read current events from this January itself.

  21. gurwinder singh

    sir,,,i am going to atempt pre 2014,,,i ‘ve coverd,,ncert,,indian polity laxmikanth,,,modern india bipin chandra,,,for geography of india,,,majid tata mcgraw is good? or d.r khullar ?,,,nd for indian economy i have 2 books,,,datt and sundaram and ramesh singh,,,for which should i go? sir actually i live in a village,,nd i could nt get ‘the hindu’ then what should i do? …nd how much there is imp. for current affairs in mains acc. to new syllabus…????

    • For geography, first finish books that I have mentioned here:, then you can go for either Khullar or majid, Khullar is very good but it is extensive (buy it only if you can afford and don’t read it fully for GS – link is above)

      For economy read only Ramesh Singh. Dutt and Sundaram is for optional (economics).

      If you are unable to access The Hindu, better subscribe to their e-paper or just go through their site – paste and save every day important articles in Word document and file them based on the syllabus into different sections.

      In Mains Paper -3 and 4, most of the topics have to be read keeping current events in the mind. Current events is very important. To form your opinions on topics in the syllabus, current events help you a lot.

  22. edward

    Literally i am confused about note making.I started my preparation from last june by reading the hindu.What i used to do was read each news story (At that time i didn’t know how to be selective) and jot the synopsis on a notebook.But after sometime i heard somebody saying like it is a bad method and don’t do it.I felt like i have wasted a lot of time but what to do.But these notes, when i looked back have almost all stuffs needed for the exam,RBI policy’s, various yojanas regarding to the government,international affairs,science etc with in maximum 2 pages.Then i thought about changing in to paper cutting methods too and it seems okay too.I read AL Bashams the wonder that was india, and made complete notes out of it, almost 35 pages, with specific underlines with colour pens.
    Is this method wrongs sir?Please say and advice me
    And thanks a lot as ever :)
    god bless you

    • Making hand written notes from paper is advised only if you have plenty of time at your disposal. If not, it is better cut important articles and file them separately based on the syllabus – eg, separate file for judiciary related articles, environment related so on.

      Instead of A L Basham, it would have been good if you had made notes from Bipan Chandra books. Nevertheless, it is not a waste of time. Prioritize your strategy – go for important books first, not the ones which interests you more.

      Underlining, or highlighting with colour pens is useful only when you read the same book again and again. So, stick to one book and read it repeatedly – writing quick points is advised as it helps in retention.

  23. edward

    Thanks a lot sir
    have a nice day :)

  24. gurwinder singh

    thanks sir,,for env. and biodiversity which book i should prefr?? ,one more question,,,due to some financial problem,,i couldn’t join coaching institute,,,nd now batch has been started,,so i ‘ve only option to study at home,,,sir if i take notes from good institute (for mains),,shall it b good? and sir what about cut off for prelim,,i met a girl who has succeeded in ias,,, she said it is near about 180-200,,,is it good score to clear prelim,,,??? sir if u provide analysis of pre 2013 from each subject,,i ‘ll b thankful 2 u…

    • For environment and biodiversity, NCERT 12th Bilogy last few chapters are very good. Also there is a ICSE Environmental Studies book.

      Material from coaching institutes is not advised. It is all copy paste stuff. It is better to enjoy the feel of real books. There are standard books available, read them, re-read them. Revise few book repeatedly. Cut-off may be above 230 for GM .

      For analysis of 2013 prelims you may visit or sites – they are good at it.

  25. Rupesh

    latest developments in science and tech given in HINDU or frontline is so much technical so how to understand it and find which is important for exam .

  26. edward

    I heard that there are some programmes in Aksahvani or some radio stations which were of use for many toppers..Is it true we can depend up on mediums other than news papers and books for this exam?
    And a very personal question .Its about maintaining the momentum.:) sometimes its so difficult to desist from procrastinating..hmm ..and sometimes this take much time too :)
    thanks a lot sir

    • You can not substitute newspapers with any other medium. Yes, there are excellent current affairs programs on Lok Sabha TV, DD News and AIR. They help you in forming your opinion on many issues.

      Every one procrastinates. I watch Big Bang Theory after strongly making my mind to write an article.

      Solution is to prioritize your tasks. Finish the most important task first at any cost. When you feel like postponing a task, don’t spend time on TV/Movies/talking, instead spend it on going through previous question papers/syllabus/NCERT books etc.

  27. edward

    thanks a lot sir :)

  28. Rupesh

    Kindly comment on my reading style
    for example Bipin Chandra History:
    1. First I read the whole chapter in one go some one hour is taken
    2. second I again come to same chapter reading in some details but my focus remains to look and write those words from dictionary which i find difficult and that is important to understand the context (two to three hours is taken) as Bipin Chandra contains loads of those words.
    3. After writing all unknown words I again go to starting but this time I focus on context (some five hours)
    4. After understanding the context I try to make notes (one hour taken)

    Sir my whole day is just for one chapter or sometimes when context is hard like news paper editorials it takes more than one day.

    I am thinking to follow same above technique for all subjects and news paper reading too, Sir is my reading techniques right ?
    Can this kind of reading style helps me to crack India’s most prestigious exam? If not than kindly give me right technique please

    Sir many sites only provides what to read, but how to read is hardly found anywhere

    Please guide me

    Thank You

    • Study techniques differ person to person depending on their aptitude.

      Going by your above method, I would advice you this:

      First two steps are must. Follow them strictly.

      Next, instead of reading again, frame 4-5 questions on the chapter. (see previous year question papers and segregate them according to chapters) Mark the paragraphs.

      Now, find answers for those questions. Read them. Finally, write answers to those questions without looking at the book.

      Next, read answers from the book to see which points you missed.

      You may have to do the same for D D Basu too. Before going for this book, read Laxmikanth.

  29. Rupesh Dahal

    Thank you very very much sir I will definitely follow your advice.
    Sir now please comment at my newspaper reading style
    First I look at international news first here i sort out two things India and world

  30. Rupesh

    Sorry sir I wrongly posted incomplete question above!
    Thank you very very much sir I will definitely follow your advice.
    Sir now please comment at my newspaper reading style
    1. I look at international news first here i try to sort out two things India relations with world and world affairs. In this section Indian relation is hardly given maximum news is on world affairs,
    2. second I look at national news here i try to find many things like Indian relation to world, government schemes, scams of government etc
    3. then editorials and op-ed heart of newspaper here many topics under the sun are given in elaborated form so I try to find out important one. But i end up finding all as important like in sunday paper there was many article on INS Sindurakshak, scientific method to produce meat, bandh on Gorka land, telanagana etc
    4. in last in look economy, environment, science and technology section

    My Query:
    1. In international news is every news relating to US, egypt, syria revolt, iran, nuclear deal etc always important ?
    2. in national news i totally ignore political news like narendra modi firing congress, Mamta Banerjee kicking center govt, Am I doing right?
    and how is news like INS Sindhurakshak blast important?
    3. In hindu there is a section PERISCOPE, is article given there important ?

    Thank You

    • Because you are in the initial stages of preparation, except political and regional news, you must read every news item at least for 4-6 months. Get used to it. Later you will begin to read selectively.

      More than anything else, reading The Hindu improves your English. Initially give importance to improving English and understanding broad issues.

  31. Rupesh

    Kindly help me i know news paper is very important and I am trying to read news paper with full interest but still some question hunt me
    1. how to use editorial and op-ed as my best source, is every article given there is important if not so than is there any techniques to find out which is important till now i am reading whole article given to find out important one as simply reading heading did not give me details view of story.
    2. You suggested us instead of writing notes keep cutting of important article, I started doing so no doubt this one is best method but each day cutting make my file full, just in one week i have nine-ten articles, Sir kindly tell me how to manage this cuttings as in future lots of article will be in my file and how to use it in revision.
    3. I have ramesh Singh Indian economy book of 3rd edition but this year 4th edition is out so do i need to purchase fpurt one also.

    kindly answer my both days question please

    Thank You

    • You should read most of the editorials in initial phases of preparation. Try to read all editorial articles and understand them. Spend more time on such articles now. Later it helps you while writing answers.

      When you cut articles, make a file based on the syllabus and keep them there. Monthly once read them again, underline and keep them organized.

      Even old Ramesh Singh is ok. You can buy next year if new edition comes. For now read the book you have. It is a very good book.

  32. Shweta

    I am in love with your work which acts like a beacon of light for serious aspirants. I really appreciate your promptness in replying to the queries posed. My query is that I am confused regarding this obc creamy layer criterion. If my father was promoted to circle inspector(state police service for Karnataka) before 40 years of age then does it hold good for creamy layer criterion. To be precise,I want to know if circle inspector, which comes under assistant commissioner of police rank comes under group A service or not. Looking forward to your reply and sincere thanks for your time and effort.

    • Thanks Shweta,

      I think Circle Inspector post is a Group-B post. Usually 3 to 5 CI’s will function under DySP (Class-I/Group-A Gazetted)

      Even after getting promoted,if the post is Group-B, you don’t come under creamy layer and you will be eligible for reservation.

      I think you will get the reservation benefit provided your mother is not Group-B also. (only one parent should be in Group-B)

      God luck :-)

  33. Shweta

    Thanks a lot for your reply. My mother is a homemaker so, in that case I will be able to make use of the reservation benefit. Thanks a lot again:)

  34. priysha

    hello sir,
    i just want to ask you that how should we write answers in upsc main is it point wise or a para format in the new trend where it gives space in the question aper itself for the answers.

    • Priysha,

      Write point wise only if the question has the directive ‘enumerate’. If not, write in paragraphs. To make your answer look mature, you should use paragraphs and each paragraph should have a different idea but related to the question.

  35. Rupesh

    kindly tell me how to write under given word limit & how to know that I had reach that given limit, should I count every word that I am writing and stop when i reach word limit?

  36. souvik banerjee

    Pearson csat manual ,hindu , frontline, yojana ,cs chroonicles . Are these enough for prelims ?do u suggestt som more books ?

  37. souvik banerjee

    I m graduate in general course ,my subjects r english , education, journalism, all r sir my question is that ,can I take english as optional in mains exam ? Reply please.

    • Yes you can take English as an optional subject irrespective of your educational background.

      • souvik banerjee

        Sir ,
        please suggest book for english paper one and two . Also I m reading the anthology ten twentieth century indian poets by oxford uni press for paper 2,sec A poems. And do u think english will be a highly scoring paper for mains optional.

  38. arshu

    I have taken psychology as an optional and doing self study. Everyone says Mukul Pathak sir’s notes are a must to read. Are these really required?

  39. Sir,
    I have taken psychology as an optional and doing self study. Everyone says Mukul Pathak sir notes are must to read. Are these really required?

  40. Arpit Gupta

    for “Faster, More Inclusive and Sustainable Growth’.
    above link is not working.
    try this.


  41. m tousif rab

    sir could u plz guide me for paper-4

  42. nakul

    i am new comer to dis war of upsc, form where should i start?

  43. ritesh

    I hav to write this year mains.I need to know, whether in this new booklet form of exam.writing answer point wise would be more beneficial.or we need to stick to the traditional way of writing in paragraphs. sir plz reply soon

    • It depends on the nature of question. Even if it is question paper-cum-answer sheet with predefined space, you have to fulfill the demand of the question. Except where it is specifically asked, like if directive is ‘enumerate’, you should always write in paragraphs. You may give sub headings if necessary.

  44. Anny Middha

    Sir I need your help. Lately I have started feeling low n panicky about IAS mains. I had taken PCS mains and was expecting a call for interview. but couldn’t clear.
    Now i have not been able to start for IAS mains with confidence. Till now I have completed only GS-1 and Optional Paper 1. And I am left with almost no time for IAS mains. Kindly help me with scheduling the syllabus as I take 2 hours for The Hindu daily and plan to spend around 3 hours on Insights for answer writing.
    Also inform which magazines i should refer or any newspaper to be refered except hindu. Though i check ET editorials from your site.
    Please help me Sir, if its any how possible to complete syllabus till october and revision for mains. I am ready to put my best efforts.
    Thank You.

    • Anny Middha

      And revision in November*

      • Anny,

        I understand your anxiety. But there is no need to worry at this point of time during your preparation.

        You said you have finished reading GS-I and one optional paper. Now prioritize things: You have 75 days with you.

        Leaving aside Essay paper, you have 3 GS + one Optional paper to finish in these many days.

        It is possible for you to finish and revise whole thing within 75 days.

        First 15 days, try to finish GS-2 and at least 50% of other optional paper. If you can spend 8-10 hours a day it is possible. In GS-2, you have polity, and international relations. You have read polity during prelims. Revise it again. in International relations, get a core idea about each bilateral and multilateral relations w.r.t India.

        If you are focused and stop worrying about approaching Mains, things will actually move fast. Don’t think about Mains. Try to finish the syllabus first.

        Also, don’t spend too much time now on newspaper. From October last week stop reading newspaper. Use the time to revise what you have already read earlier and to practice writing answers.

        Also, spend less time on Insights too, may be 1-2 hours (to write and read other’s answers)

        Likewise, you can prepare other papers too. Thing is you should stop worrying right now. :-) When mind is clear, it lets you do more things.

        You still have lot of time. Put more hours per day and go on finishing more and more topics each day. Focus on one thing at a time and finish it fast. This is the key.

        • Anny Middha

          Thank you sir!
          I ll make a plan for sept now, and worry less and study more:)
          Also tell me if I should newspaper except Hindu n ET editorials.
          And currently I am not doing any magazine. So tell about that too
          Thanks a lot for the support!

          • Anny Middha

            Pls reply Sir
            About magazine n newspaper!

            • The Hindu should be ‘studied’ every day. :-)

              I usually suggest Business Standard, but any business newspaper is ok. You should read selectively – mainly editorials and if any articles related to the syllabus.

              Magazines apart from Frontline, Yojana (you can read articles I have posted in an article on Yojana issues) and Science Reporter (very selectively – again syllabus related articles) should not be read provided you are thorough with the newspapers.

              Quality is needed in this exam, so read standard magazines like Frontline(not required now) But as exam is nearing, you may focus more on The Hindu – from last September to this November carefully.

  45. Am a newcomer and aiming for CSE 14…..
    Should i start writing practice through ur platform from now or should i wait till i cover NCERTs (till now partially covered all subjects except Science)+ other Basic Books…?
    However I can now assimilate Newspaper more or less but find smtym trouble in aligning it as per UPSC syllabus…..?
    I have joined Vajiram New DElhi for coaching so its very tough for me to craft sm time for writing practice, however I used to take some view points from the given answers by other students and these are really a learning lesson for myself…
    Can u plz make questions based on current events issues like poverty line, food security, justice juvenile system , Collegium system Vs JAC, CBI Autonomy, POlice Reforms, some Science tech issues etc…. However i used to make appendix of al the imp news items and file them in separate files even smtym attempt to make my own view on them but find myself in lacking sm basic funda’s of the subject … Plz help and suggest me , wht should i do and how to execeute them????/
    Even sm of my teachers told me that assimilating The HIndu alone can guarantee ur success in the final list. That’s why I am focussed on newspaper…..
    Please Suggest me

  46. manish

    Good evening sir,
    Do you have any other source to buy Norman lowe – World History. I am based out of chennai could not find the books in shops (Out of stock since last 2 months).

  47. gautampal

    My mains paper is public admistration . I am confused about which book is best for me .kindly suggest me ..

  48. souvik banerjee

    Sir ,
    please give the booklist of english literature for mains optional and also give the syllabus of mains qualifying papers , paper A – bengali and paper B- english.

  49. Sir , pls suggest me a good book n science n technology.
    Also , pls include strategy for political science optional sir…

  50. ramu

    Sir,Thanks a lot for your kind efforts its really helping a lot

  51. Kirti

    Sir, I have completed by B.Tech. and now I am aiming for 2014 civil services examination. I have completed my optional preparation(Geography), and now I am plannning to start with general studies.
    Is there a need to refer to this book:

    Your site has really helped a lot to zero in on important books required for the exam. I really appreciate your hard work in replying to queries posed by aspirants.

  52. Pingback: How To Prepare UPSC Civil Services Mains Paper – V (GS – 4) | INSIGHTS

  53. shreekanth

    Hi sir, i want to know from from which class of be studied ncert books

  54. Hari Kumar

    I have read From Plassey to Partition and it’s really well written.
    Now is it necessary to read Bipan Chandra ?

    • If you are satisfied with that book then it’s not necessary. Wait till this Mains. If questions are sourced from Bipan Chandra, you can buy it. If not, stick to one book which you like very much.

  55. sir ,i am in state of confusion that what should i read for gs mains current affairs.Are the current events questions asked in gs mains related to syllabus or upsc ask any questions related to india’s and international interest?sir ,please guide me how should i prepare for gs mains current affairs (dynamic portion).

  56. rajesh

    Help me for history optional

  57. Pingback: Book Review – Pathfinder – A Blueprint For UPSC Civil Services Main Exam | INSIGHTS

  58. Tikeswar Sa

    My approach is to study directly along the main syllabus and I have completed certain portion.
    But I want to know sir to crack csat gs 1 where to practice mcqs.

  59. Gaurav

    Sir I have doubt regarding reading material for ethics. People are recommending a book “Ethics by William Frankena”. If possible kindly shower some ‘insight’ on this book or any other suitable materials.
    Thanks :)

  60. Gaurav

    Sir i am waiting impatiently for your reply to above asked question. Kindly respond as soon as possible.

    • Gaurav,

      Tonight I was gonna reply all pending comments. :-)

      Anyway, coming to your question, I have not read the book you mentioned. So can’t comment.

      For now, you can by a book by Ramesh Arora - Ethics in Governance

      Above book covers half of the syllabus and is a very good book. No doubt about it.

      or you can additionally buy Frankena book as its cost is just Rs 115 on flipkart.

      If you are appearing for 2014, you can wait till December second week, observe Ethics question paper and then decide to buy a book. We will be giving another detailed strategy based on the Official Question Paper.

      Thanks for all the patience :-)

  61. Sir,
    Do you think thast Glimpses of world history by Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru would serve as good book for topics given in syllabus. I went through the book for a day or two and found out that the topics have been inter related very well and also explained in a very lucid manner. Needed your opinion.

    Also Would book by Granville Austin on Indian Constitution would serve as a good reference book other than DD basu or Subash Kashyap is a better option.

  62. Amir

    Does the content of INDIA year book changes significantly each year. As I am planning to take UPSC exam in 2015, so Should I wait for the new edition or go with the existing one?
    And when does the new one come in Market?
    Thanks in Advance.

    • sachin mayekar

      1. Almost 98% of the data of ‘IYB’ remains the same.
      2. The things that change in a yearbook edition-wise,
      A. Diary of events
      B. Names of ministers/ President (if new appointed)
      C. New ministry & department list (if created)
      D. New schemes of Government (if launched)
      E. New missiles etc. (if launched)
      3. U r appearing in 2015, so u can buy ‘IYB’ 2014 for preparing well
      4. ‘IYB’ is released in december or jan.
      5. Welcome (in advance)

  63. ashish001

    sir i choose political science as my optional in mains and want to appear in 2014 exam.
    sir will you please guide how to prepare effectively from basic .is ignou
    books can help me .i have MA political science books.

  64. ganesh

    Pls provide me economics optional papers sir..

  65. richa

    sir how is unique quintessence reference buk of history by j.k. chopra

  66. Ankita

    World history syllabus as mentioned in the mains syllabus, covers everything from 18th century onwards, but the books that you mentioned provide information only from 20th century(almost) onwards..
    So, is that book enough along with the NCERT’s and the material you have provided, or do we have to go through something else as well?

    • in mains 2013, many questions came from world history. do not neglect this portion, read thoroughly, starting from industrial revolution. i recommend starting from wikipedia, then you can move to some good ebook.

  67. reshma ashok ingale

    i want detailed syllabus for ias mains.i stay in solapur(maharashtra)
    here no coaching classes are there for upsc & i am working as accountant.i wanted to become an ias it has a dream of me since childhood.i had done i complete preparation of upsc mains
    while doing job,sir i can devote 4 to 5 hours a day for studies is this sufficient for preparation of ias.sir

    • 4 hours daily is enough for targeting mains 2014 if your basics are good. otherwise target 2015. coaching is irrelevant in current era. search internet for preparation strategies, i recommend mrunal

  68. reshma ashok ingale

    sir please guide me

  69. reshma ashok ingale

    from where to start preparation for mains

  70. Rahul Dubey

    I have just started preparing for Civil services. I am student , Although I am form English Background I find it very difficult to understand different Political, Economic, Geographical, and constitutional terms which I encounter while reading. I just want to clarify whether it happens to all who start preparing or I am lagging Behind and how should I cope up with this.

    • i am not discouraging you but you need to be aware of the fact that your English is not good.
      If you accept this fact, improvement is not difficult. Start reading newspapers, preferably online, so that you can search any difficult word’s meaning instantly.
      start maintaining notes. while doing so, try this method – when you encounter a difficult word, use it in summary/notes but with meaning in brackets

  71. saif

    dear sir u did nt mention any book for world geo… kindly plz mention…
    urs obidiently…

  72. prashanth tillu

    good evening sir,
    im pursuing my btech 2nd year , and my goal is to be an I.P.S officer. i have started my preparations for prelims exam….i came to know that ncert books and magazines such as yojana and kurukshetra helps a lot for civil aspirants..
    im requesting you sir to give me some guidance about reffernce books and about my preparation….
    thank you sir…

  73. prashanth tillu

    at present im referring arihant book for general studies paper 1

  74. nikita k

    can anybody tell me which sections to read from datt and sundharam for gs3?? im in a fix, help would be much appreciated

    • pk

      answer depends on whether your optional is economics or not. if not, i don’t recommend dutt and sundhram. it is very detailed and bulky, if you go by topics, almost all are important in some way. look at the 2013 mains paper, you wont be able to answer one question using the book. for economy part use internet and newspapers. if basics bad use some ebook.

  75. Pearls


    Can you pls list out the names of NCERT books for civil services.As iam really confused about what to read and what not to read from these NCERT books pls help me sir.

    Thank You

    • pk

      for history refer std 8th to 12th, old syllabus, according to syllabus you need to read selectively, for geo refer std 11, 12 books. almost entire content is very relevant. also, note that even each std book may be in 2-3 parts depending on source. i prefer ebooks. you can visit mrunal for links.

  76. sandeep

    2014 attempt will be last attempt for me
    I left my job in june 2013
    started preparing but still struggling with Ncert….I have started feeling guilty
    now only 8 months in hand as pre is on 24th august
    is i t possible to crack the exam?
    plz suggest me
    hw to approach…I am really started feeling low
    as i left my job had a 5 years of exp…family responsibilty is alos der
    but i am managing wid parents supports
    don’t know wat to do…hw to do…in mumbai there is no onw to talk on upsc…
    plz guide me…i will be thank ful to u

  77. Nice post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog and I’m impressed!
    Very useful info particularly the remaining section :) I deal
    with such info a lot. I was looking for this certain information for a very long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  78. sanjay

    sir plz reccommend books for ancient history and medieval history because in your reference list u’ve stressed mostly on modern history…

  79. Ambika

    do i need to buy NCERT books of class-6 to class-12.I have the e-book versions of it.but it is really very very difficult to read from a laptop and take down also give a pain to my eye.I am asking u please give me a suggession what to do?

  80. Sanjay

    Sir I m just starts Upsc preparation can u tell me plz from we’re started

  81. Sandeep S R

    Your suggestions are really helpful for upcoming candidates ….thanks sir..

  82. krishna

    Please suggest me books for Ancient History. I am confused with lot of books, For example, Romilla Thapar has alone 4 or 5 books and other authors.
    Sir, Please throw a light on Ancient History preparation books.

  83. leena priya

    i have completed my BCA from smu. It is a correspondent course. Am i elligibile for UPSC exam?
    sir please guide me. i would be thank full to you.

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