Why to choose Political Science & International Relations as Optional?

There are a number of optional subjects in UPSC, Political Science & International Relations or PSIR is one of the popular subjects for the UPSC Mains Exam. For an aspiring bureaucrat, it is one of the most useful subjects to learn as Political Science & International Relations introduces you to one of the complex subjects. Before choosing it as your optional, it is important to have a strong interest in the subject. Read the UPSC political science optional syllabus thoroughly, if you have an inclination towards political science subjects then choose the best PSIR Optional Coaching.

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Syllabus – PSIR Paper-1

Indian Political Thought: Dharmashastra, Arthashastra and Buddhist traditions; Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Sri Aurobindo, M.K. Gandhi, B.R. Ambedkar, M.N. Roy.

  • Political theory: meaning and approaches.
  • Theories of the state: Liberal, Neo-liberal, Marxist, Pluralist, Post-colonial and feminist.
  • Justice: Conceptions of justice with special reference to Rawl’s theory of justice and its communitarian critiques.
  • Equality: Social, political and economic; the relationship between equality and freedom; Affirmative action.
  • Rights: Meaning and theories; different kinds of rights; the concept of Human Rights.
  • Democracy: Classical and contemporary theories; different models of democracy-representative, participatory and deliberative.
  • Concept of power: hegemony, ideology and legitimacy.
  • Political Ideologies: Liberalism, Socialism, Marxism, Fascism, Gandhism and Feminism.
  • Indian Political Thought: Dharma Shastra, Arthashastra and Buddhist traditions; Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Sri Aurobindo, M.K. Gandhi, B.R. Ambedkar, M.N. Roy.
  • Western Political Thought: Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, John S. Mill, Marx, Gramsci, Hannah Arend.

Section B: Indian Government and Politics

  • Indian Nationalism:
  • Political Strategies of India’s Freedom struggle: constitutionalism to mass Satyagraha, Non-cooperation, Civil Disobedience; militant and revolutionary movements, Peasant and workers’ movements.
  • Perspectives on Indian National Movement: Liberal, Socialist and Marxist; Radical humanist and Dalit.
  • Making of the Indian Constitution: Legacies of the British rule; different social and political perspectives.
  • Salient Features of the Indian Constitution: The Preamble, Fundamental Rights and Duties, Directive Principles; Parliamentary System and Amendment Procedures; Judicial Review and Basic Structure doctrine.
  • a. Principal Organs of the Union Government: Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislature and Supreme Court.
  • b. Principal Organs of the State Government: Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislature and High Courts.
  • Grassroots Democracy: Panchayati Raj and Municipal Government; the significance of 73rd and 74th Amendments; Grassroot movements.
  • Statutory Institutions/Commissions: Election Commission, Comptroller and Auditor General, Finance Commission, Union Public Service Commission, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Women; National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Minorities, National Backward Classes Commission.
  • Federalism: Constitutional provisions; changing nature of center-state relations; integrationist tendencies and regional aspirations; inter-state disputes.
  • Planning and Economic Development: Nehruvian and Gandhian perspectives; the role of planning and public sector; Green Revolution, land reforms and agrarian relations; liberalization and economic reforms.
  • Caste, Religion and Ethnicity in Indian Politics.
  • Party System: National and regional political parties, ideological and social bases of parties; patterns of coalition politics; Pressure groups, trends in electoral behavior; changing socio-economic profile of Legislators.
  • Social Movements: Civil liberties and human rights movements; women’s movements; environmentalist movements.

Syllabus – PSIR Paper-2

Section A: Comparative Political Analysis and International Politics

  1. Comparative Politics: Nature and major approaches; political economy and political sociology perspectives; limitations of the comparative method.
  2. State in comparative perspective: Characteristics and changing nature of the State in capitalist and socialist economies, and, advanced industrial and developing societies.
  3. Politics of Representation and Participation: Political parties, pressure groups and social movements in advanced industrial and developing societies.
  4. Globalization: Responses from developed and developing societies.
  5. Approaches to the Study of International Relations: Idealist, Realist, Marxist, Functionalist and Systems theory.
  6. Key concepts in International Relations: National interest, Security and power; Balance of power and deterrence; Transnational actors and collective security; World capitalist economy and globalization.
  7. Changing International Political Order:
  8. (a) Rise of superpowers; strategic and ideological Bipolarity, arms race and Cold War; nuclear threat;
  9. (b) Non-aligned movement: Aims and achievements;
  10. (c) Collapse of the Soviet Union; Unipolarity and American hegemony; relevance of non-alignment in the contemporary world.
  11. Evolution of the International Economic System: From Bretton woods to WTO; Socialist economies and the CMEA (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance); Third World demand for new international economic order; Globalization of the world economy.
  12. United Nations: Envisaged role and actual record; specialized UN agencies-aims and functioning; the need for UN reforms.
  13. Regionalization of World Politics: EU, ASEAN, APEC, SAARC, NAFTA.
  14. Contemporary Global Concerns: Democracy, human rights, environment, gender justice, terrorism, nuclear proliferation.

Section B: India and the World

  1. Indian Foreign Policy: Determinants of foreign policy; institutions of policy-making; continuity and change.
  2. India’s Contribution to the Non-Alignment Movement: Different phases; current role.
  3. India and South Asia:
  4. Regional Co-operation: SAARC-past performance and future prospects.
  5. South Asia as a Free Trade Area.
  6. India’s “Look East” policy.
  7. Impediments to regional co-operation: river water disputes; illegal cross-border migration; ethnic conflicts and insurgencies; border disputes.
  8. India and the Global South: Relations with Africa and Latin America; leadership role in the demand for NIEO and WTO negotiations.
  9. India and the Global Centers of Power: USA, EU, Japan, China and Russia.
  10. India and the UN System: Role in UN Peace-keeping; demand for Permanent Seat in the Security Council.
  11. India and the Nuclear Question: Changing perceptions and policy.
  12. Recent developments in Indian Foreign policy: India’s position on the recent crisis in Afghanistan, Iraq and West Asia, growing relations with US and Israel; the vision of new world order.

PSIR Optional is an optional that has plenty of benefits associated.

Overlapping with general studies papers, especially GS Paper II is one of the salient features of PSIR Optional Subject which makes it more popular among civil services aspirants. This overlap can be seen in both UPSC prelims and the mains exams. For the prelims exams, Indian Polity is an important pillar which is significantly covered by PSIR optional. On the other hand, PSIR optional syllabus has a major overlap in the GS mains Paper II.

GS paper II covers Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations under its syllabus. Apart from this, a part of GS Paper III such as security and even environment are covered under this subject. If you take GS Paper IV as optional then it covers ‘ethical thinkers’ topic under it . Similarly, there are several other important and key topics which are covered under this optional. One can successfully integrate their UPSC prelims and mains preparation and also, can save a lot of time during the preparation process. And if aspirants choose the best PSIR Optional Coaching then it will be a benefit for them, it will save a lot of time, efforts, and money too.