UPSC PSIR Optional Syllabus-Best PSIR Optional Books and Notes by Toppers

  • The article begins with the PSIR Optional syllabus followed by the download link as many aspiring candidates need a softcopy of the syllabus.
  • Then it characterizes an effective and specific recommendation by topper booklist of the important books of PSIR Optional subjects and information about the notes of the PSIR Optional subjects which includes the famous Shubhra Ranjan PSIR Optional Notes.
  • Lastly, the article concluded with some frequently asked questions which will add additional information about PSIR Optional Subject.

The UPSC exam is conducted in three parts which are divided into Prelims, Mains and Interview. After passing the prelims exam of UPSC Civil Services, the candidates must clear the mains exam also. Candidates have the option to choose any one of the 48 optional subjects in the UPSC Mains exam. In which a major optional subject is considered to be political science and international relations which is PSIR optional fullform.

To prepare for the optional Political Science and International Relations (PSIR) subject in the UPSC Mains exam, candidates must know the complete syllabus of the Political Science and International Relations (PSIR) subject.

The complete PSIR Optional Syllabus is given here. Through this article, you will be able to do your exam preparation in a better way with the recommendation of our PSIR Optional books by Topper, and PSIR Optional notes.

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The PSIR (Political Science and International Relations) Optional Syllabus of UPSC

Here is the complete information of the Mains PSIR Optional Subject of UPSC. Political Science Optional Syllabus is being given here, which is separated into 2 papers and each has two sections. You can see the syllabus  given below-

PSIR (Optional) Paper-1


Political Theory and Indian Polity

  1. Political Theories: Meaning and Technique
  2. Theories of State: Liberal, Neo-liberal, Marxist, Pluralist, Post-colonial and Feminist.
  3. Justice: Concept of Justice and its Communitarian Critique with special reference to Rawl’s Theory of Justice
  4. Equality: Relationship between social, political and economic equality and liberty, positive action.
  5. Rights: Meaning and principles, various types of rights, concept of human rights.
  6. Classical and Contemporary Theories of Democracy, Various Models such as Representative, Participatory and Deliberative of Democracy.
  7. Concept of power, hegemonic ideology and legitimacy.
  8. Political Ideologies: Liberalism, Socialism, Marxism, Fascism, Gandhism and Women’s Rights.
  9. Indian Political Thought: Theology, Arthashastra and the Buddhist Traditions, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Sri Aurobindo, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Bhim Rao Ambedkar, Manabendra Nath Roy.
  10. Western political thoughts of philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, John S. Mill, Marx, Antonio Gramsci, and Hannah Arendt.


Indian Governance and Politics

  1. Indian Nationalism:

(a) Political strategies of India’s freedom struggle from constitutionalism to mass satyagraha, non-cooperation, civil disobedience and Quit India, extremist and revolutionary movements, peasant and workers’ movements.

(b) Liberal Socialist and Marxist, Radical Humanist and Dalit Perspectives of the Indian National Movement.

  1. Making of the Constitution of India: Rituals of British rule, various social and political perspectives.
  2. Salient Features of the Constitution of India: Preamble, Fundamental Rights and Duties, Directive Principles, Parliamentary System and Amendment Process, Judicial Review and Basic Structure Principles.
  3. (a) The considered role and actual functioning of the executive, legislature and the Supreme Court, the principal organs of the Union Government.

(b) The considered role and actual working of the executive, legislature and high courts, the main organs of the state government.

  1. Grassroots democracy: Importance of Panchayati Raj and Municipal Governance 73rd and 74th Amendments, Basic Movement.
  2. The Supreme Audit Institution known as Comptroller and Auditor General of India,  The Finance Commission as a Government Agency, UPSC, The Government ministries such as the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Women, National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Minorities, National Commission for Backward Classes.
  3. Union Territory System: Constitutional provisions, changing nature of Centre-State relations, integrationist tendencies and regional aspirations, inter-state disputes.
  4. Planning and Economic Development: Nehruvian and Gandhian perspective, role of planning and private sector, Green Revolution, Land Reforms and Agrarian Relations, Liberalization and Economic Reforms.
  5. The Caste, Religion and Race in Indian Politics.
  6. Party System: National and regional political parties, ideological and social basis of parties, forms of multi-party politics, pressure groups, trends in electoral behaviour, changing socio-economic nature of legislators.
  7. Social Movements: Civil Liberties and Human Rights Movements, Women’s Movements, Environmental Movements.

PSIR (Optional) – Paper 2


Comparative Political Analysis & International Politics and Comparative Politics & International Relations

  1. Comparative Politics: Nature and major approaches, political economy and political sociology perspective; comparative process limits.
  2. State in Comparative Perspective: The changing nature and characteristics of the State in Capitalist and Socialist economies and advanced industrial and developing societies.
  3. Political Representation and Participation: Political parties, pressure groups and social movements in advanced industrial and developing societies.
  4. Globalization: Responses received from developed and developing societies.
  5. Directions to the Deconstruction of International Relations: The philosophy of Idealist, Realist, Marxist, Functionalist and Systems Theory.
  6. Basic Concepts in International Relations: National Interest, Security and Power, Balance of Power and Deterrence on National Actor and Collective Security World Capitalist Economy and Globalization.
  7. Changing International Political System: Emergence of Super Powers, Strategic and Ideological Bipolarity, Armament Race and Cold War, Nuclear Threat.
  8. Evolution of the International Economic Order: From Brettonwood to WTO, socialist economies and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA); Third World demand for a new international economic order; Globalization of world economy.
  9. United Nations: Perceived Role and Real Account; Specialized United Nations agencies, mission and functioning, need for United Nations reforms.
  10. Regionalization of world politics: EU, ASEAN, APEC, SAARC, NAFTA
  11. The Co-occurring Global Concerns: Norms like democracy, human rights, environment, gender justice, terrorism, nuclear proliferation.


India and World

  1. India’s Foreign Policy: Determinants of Foreign Policy, Policy Making Institutions Continuity and Change
  2. India’s Contribution to the Non-Alignment Movement: Various Phases, Current Role
  3. India and South Asia:

(a) Regional cooperation: SAARC’s past performance and tomorrow’s prospects

(b) South Asia in the form of a free trade area

(c) Look East Policy of India

(d) Obstacles to regional cooperation: river water disputes, illegal cross-border migration, ethnic conflicts and insurgencies, border disputes

  1. India and the global relations with South Africa and Latin America Leadership role required for NIEO and WTO negotiations
  2. India and the Global Power Centres: United States, European Union (EU), Japan, China and Russia.
  3. The Global Nation India and the United Nations System: Role in UN Peace Keeping, Demand for Permanent Membership in Security Council.
  4. India as a nation and the nuclear query: transforming point-of-view and policy.
  5. Current Evolutions in Indian Foreign Policy: India’s function on the contemporary crisis in Afghanistan; Countries like Iraq and West Asia’s Growing ties with the US and Israel’s Vision of a new world order

UPSC PSIR Optional Syllabus PDF Download

Here is the PDF of the official syllabus of the Union Public Service Commission’s Mains PSIR Optional Subject Syllabus which you can easily download. Download from the given link-

Best PSIR Optional Books by Topper For the Preparation of the UPSC

Here is the list of best books suggested by toppers for the aspirants preparing for the UPSC Mains exam of PSIR Optional Subject. Through this candidates can do topic-wise practice of the UPSC Political Science Optional Syllabus.

  1.  Indian Polity by M Laxmikant ( very selective) + Indian Polity – B. L. Fadia
  2. Indian Political System by Dr. A.P. Awasthi
  3. Foreign Policy of Independent India by V.P. Dutt
  4. Indian Governance by M Laxmikant
  5. Our Parliament: An Introduction to the Parliament of India  by Subhash Kashyap
  6. Sahitya Bhawan Indian Government and Politics by B L Fadia
  7. Contemporary Political Theory by Naresh Dadhich
  8. Western Political Thoughts by Om Prakash Gaba
  9. Western Political Thought by Brian Nelson
  10. The Book Political Ideologies by O.P Gauba
  11. Global Politics by Andrew Heywood
  12. Indian National Movement by Bipin Chandra + Spectrum

PSIR Optional Subjects Notes by Toppers For the Preparation of the UPSC

For effective notes of PSIR Optional Subject, the bellow materials are suggested-

  1. Shubhra Ranjan PSIR Optional Notes for Paper 1, Section-A covered topics.
  2. The Paper 2, Section A is a combination of dynamic and static topics. For static topics, rely on the IGNOU Notes. Nevertheless, be quite particular while going through IGNOU notes. You do not have to cover the entire portion. Read as per the need of the syllabus.
  3. Paper 2, Section B part is heavily dependent on current affairs. The questions are generally asked on the current topics. Hence, make sure you’re detailed with the current affairs.

Important Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to PSIR Optional Subject

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