Best Recommended Books for IAS Mains GS Paper 2

For an IAS aspirant, it is important to evolve his preparation with new trends in study material. It is essential to examine which book or material source can help to achieve excellent answers in UPSC IAS Mains Exam. We are providing here information on all the relevant books for IAS for General Studies Paper 2.

Paper 2 is the most dynamic and challenging portion of the whole general studies syllabus of IAS Mains exam. Questions asked from this paper are mostly analysis based which requires both current as well as fundamental Concepts. Paper mostly consists of Indian Constitution, Governance and International Relations.

This paper requires a good understanding of static political concepts coupled with application based issues. In this regard, the following books/sources can prove to be very productive:

Indian Constitution at Work (NCERT):  Aspirants from the science background who are totally new to the concept of Indian Polity and how it functions in a general fashion should read this book first. It will help to devise the basic answers to why constitution is read and how to proceed to study the lengthiest constitution in the world. It is although expected that you read Ncert’s before the Prelims exam itself.

Indian Polity by Laxmikanth: Perhaps, the most important source for Indian polity for the IAS Prelims as well as Mains exam. It has excellent content coupled with good examples from famous judicial case to give a detailed account on Indian constitutional machinery. Any going event’s static part can be covered from this book. Read the book from the first to last page and try to recall as much as possible. All the conventional topics for mains can be covered from this book.


Introduction to the Constitution of India by D.D. Basu: It is highly recommended book for topics like making of the Indian constitution, preamble and fundamental rights because of its unique outlook towards constitutional interpretation. The first 5 chapters of this book will help one gain an overall perception of the whole constitution.

PRS Annual Report: only socially and politically relevant bills or acts summary should be read from this annual report because it is the most authentic source after parliament itself. The reports introductory and conclusive pages are also relevant as they give a brief understanding on the overall development in each sector like health, education etc.

Governance in India by Laxmikanth: Topics like Role of civil servants in democracy, transparency in governance and e- governance role in society can be covered from this book. It also gives a detailed view on administrative reforms.

Arc Report: Administrative Reforms Commission Report on local governance, probity in governance, Capacity Building for Conflict Resolution and Organizational Structure of Government of India can give lucid recommendations to be supplemented in the answers.

India Year Book: Only specific chapters on welfare schemes, Education, Health and non- governmental organizations can be read to make notes on new schemes launched by Government of India.

Yojana and Kurukshetra magazine: Some editions of yogana are very lucid for the mains exam like regional development, e-governance, government schemes etc as they provide good conclusive outlook to be added in the answers. Go through all editions from last year and read the topics according to the syllabus.

India since Independence by Bipin Chandra (Old NCERT): This is a very big book and it is advisable to make notes from this only on chapters on social and economic consolidation on the nation after independence and few chapters on constitution building, princely state consolidation and social changes.

Contemporary World Politics (NCERT): For basic understanding of Indian foreign policy just after the independence, this Ncert is a good source. It should be read in one go just to get a rough idea on India’s stand in international politics.

Pax Indica by Shashi Tharoor: This book is a reference book and should definitely be covered while understanding India’s stand in United Nations and other relevant international forum. Some specific chapters for Indian foreign policy after the cold war era, war against terrorism and Indian sub continent is vigorously covered. It is a good read for Internal Security syllabus also.

Ministry of External Affairs Annual Report:
This gives a holistic outlook on the foreign policy of India in the ongoing year. It describes the future prospects for India globally and also what India wish to achieve. Notes can be made from the introductory pages of this report to know the accurate policies envisaged by India internationally.
World Focus Magazine: Some editions of world focus which are specifically on the political changes in South Asia are rated highly for IAS preparation for international relations. Topics like India and neighborhood is vigorously covered by this magazine.

To streamline your Mains preparation after prelims, its advisable to finish all the overlapping syllabus of this paper with prelims itself. Maintain separate notes for current Political and International issues impacting the polity and economy of India.


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