There is the UPSC Political Science syllabus for the candidates to refer to. The syllabus is divided into many sections and subsections, all of which are more or less important. A further idea of weightage can be gathered from previous years question papers.
A) Political Theory and Indian Politics
- Political theory meaning and approaches
- Theories of the state:Liberal, Pluralist, Marxist, Neoliberal, Post-colonial and feminist.
- Justice:Conceptions of justice with reference to Rawl’s theory of justice; communitarian critiques.
- Equality:Relationship between equality and freedom; Political, Social, and economic; Affirmative action.
- Rights:Meaning and theories; the concept of Human Rights; different kinds of rights.
- Democracy:Contemporary and Classical theories; different models of democracy - deliberative, participatory and representative.
- The concept of power, legitimacy, ideology and Hegemony.
- Political Ideologies:Liberalism, Marxism, Fascism, Feminism, Gandhism, and Socialism.
- Indian Political Thought: Arthashastra, Dharamshastra, and Buddhist traditions; Sri Aurobindo, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, B.R. Ambedkar, M.K. Gandhi, M.N. Roy.
- Western Political Thought: Plato, Machiavelli, John S. Mill, Aristotle, Locke, Hobbes, Marx, Gramsci and Hannah Arendt.
B) Indian Government and politics
1. Indian Nationalism:
- Perspectives on Indian National Movement: Socialist, Liberal, and Marxist; Radical humanist and Dalit.
- Political Strategies of India’s Freedom Struggle: Civil Disobedience, constitutionalism to mass Satyagraha, Non-cooperation; Peasant and workers’ movements, militant and revolutionary movements.
2. Making of the Indian Constitution: Legacies of the British rule; Different political and social perspectives.
3. Salient Features of the Indian Constitution: Fundamental Rights and Duties, The Preamble, Directive Principles; Judicial Review and Basic Structure doctrine, Parliamentary System and Amendment Procedures.
- Principal Organs of the Union Government: Envisaged role and actual working of the Legislature, Executive, and Supreme Court.
- Principal Organs of the State Government: Envisaged role and actual working of the Legislature, Executive, and High Courts.
4. Grassroots Democracy: Significance of 73rd and 74th Amendments; Panchayati Raj and Municipal Government; Grassroot movements.
5. Statutory Institutions/ Commissions: Comptroller, Election Commission, and Auditor General, Union Public Service Commission, Finance Commission, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Women; National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, National Human Rights Commission, National Backward Classes Commission, National Commission for Minorities.
6. Federalism: Changing nature of centre-state relations; Constitutional provisions; integrationist tendencies and regional aspirations; inter-state disputes.
7. Planning and Economic Development: the role of planning and public sector; Nehruvian and Gandhian perspectives; land reforms and agrarian relations; Green Revolution, liberalization and economic reforms.
8. Religion, Caste, and Ethnicity in Indian Politics.
9. Party System: Ideological and social bases of parties; National and regional political parties, Pressure groups, trends in electoral behaviour; patterns of coalition politics; changing the socio-economic profile of Legislators.
10. Social Movements: Women's movements; Civil liberties and human rights movements; environmentalist movements
A) Comparative Politics and International Relations
1. Comparative Politics: Political economy and political sociology perspectives; Nature and major approaches; limitations of the comparative method.
2. State in comparative perspective: Advanced industrial and developing societies, Characteristics and changing nature of the State in socialist and capitalist economies.
3. Politics of Representation and Participation: Pressure groups, Political parties, and social movements in advanced industrial and developing societies.
4. Globalisation: Responses from developing and developed societies.
5. Approaches to the Study of International Relations: Realist, Idealist, Functionalist, Marxist, and Systems theory.
6. Key concepts in International Relations: Balance of power and deterrence; Security, National interest, and power; World capitalist economy and globalisation; Transnational actors and collective security.
7. Changing International Political Order:
- Rise of superpowers; arms race and Cold War; strategic and ideological Bipolarity, nuclear threat;
- Non-aligned movement: Achievements and Aims;
- Unipolarity and American hegemony; Collapse of the Soviet Union; relevance of non-alignment in the contemporary world.
8. Evolution of the International Economic System: Socialist economies and the CMEA (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance); From Brettonwoods to WTO; Globalisation of the world economy; Third World demand for new international economic order.
9. United Nations: specialized UN agencies-aims and functioning; Envisaged role and actual record; the need for UN reforms.
10. Regionalisation of World Politics: SAARC, ASEAN, EU, APEC, NAFTA.
11. Contemporary Global Concerns: Gender justice, Human rights, Democracy, nuclear proliferation, environment, terrorism.
B) India and the World
1. Indian Foreign Policy: Institutions of policy-making; Determinants of foreign policy; continuity and change.
2. India's Contribution to the Non-Alignment Movement: Current role; Different phases;
3. India and South Asia:
- South Asia as a Free Trade Area.
- Regional Co-operation: SAARC – future prospects and past performance.
- Impediments to regional co-operation: illegal cross-border migration; river water disputes; ethnic conflicts and insurgencies; border disputes.
- India's "Look East" policy.
4. India and the Global South: Leadership role in the demand for NIEO and WTO negotiations, Relations with Africa and Latin America.
5. India and the Global Centres of Power: EU, China, USA, Japan, and Russia.
6. India and the UN System: Demand for Permanent Seat in the Security Council; Role in UN Peace-keeping.
7. India and the Nuclear Question: Changing policy and perceptions.
8. Recent developments in Indian Foreign policy: Growing relations with US and Israel; India's position on the recent crisis in West Asia, Afghanistan and Iraq, the vision of new world order.