How to Study Economics for IAS

How to Study Economics for cracking IAS Exam?

A majority of IAS aspirants find the Indian economy as the toughest nut to crack in both IAS Prelims and IAS Main exam. To get recruited as a civil servant, the candidate needs to remain up-to-date with relevant economic indicators and trends in order to frame the effective policies. Although a huge section of aspirants preparing for Civil Services Exam are confused about the right approach and study-materials for the IAS exam, but one should keep a note that the Economics is more about current affairs and new policies mechanism. This article is dedicated to those who are looking for the economics study material for cracking the IAS exam. Refer to a list of IAS Economics Books by experts and start your preparation.

Tips to Select the Right Economics Book For IAS Exam Preparation

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), the exam conducting authority prescribes the syllabus for the IAS exam for the economics subject. Here is a quick detail on economics exam pattern, as under:

Number of Questions asked in prelims: 10-15 questions (approx based on previous year trends)

Mode of Exam: English and Hindi

However, in order to start your preparation, the initial step is to have the right books, which can be identified by applying these tips:

  • Read a few pages of the shortlisted book and see if you understand the writer’s language and style of explanation.
  • Make sure that the book covers the complete Economics syllabus along with all the relevant topics.
  • Go with the latest edition of the book as it will have the updated information of the complete syllabus and previous year’s questions papers.
  • Look for a book that has enough practice papers and sample papers for better preparation.

List of Recommended Books to Crack IAS Economics Subject

Name of the Book

Author’s Name

Indian Economy

Ramesh Singh

India Economy Since Independence

Uma Kapila

Indian Economy

Datt and Sundaram

Economic Survey (Volume 1 and 2)

By the Ministry of Finance

The Indian Economy Book


Indian Economy: Performance and Policies

Uma Kapila


Class 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th

Indian Economy

Mishra and Puri

IAS Civil Services Exam: Preparation Tips to Pass Economics Paper

If you want to start your preparations for economics subject, then you need to focus on these key points:

  • Stage 1: Clear your core concepts -Understand the core concepts of the subject including Banking, Taxation Structure, GDP, NitiAayog, GST, Money Supply in India, LPG reforms, Human Development, Inflation, etc. To clear all the basic concepts, we must say NCERT textbooks are the best.
  • Stage 2: Understand the concepts and apply them -Once your core concepts are clear, it’s time to implement them in day to day scenarios.

Economics Study Material for IAS Stage 1

As mentioned above, at the first stage you just need to clear all your core concepts of economics. Several experts have told that UPSC more than often has asked very basic terminologies from core economics, so it is advised to the candidate to go through all the basic terminologies in MICRO and MACRO economics. However, one should never forget the very first step that one needs to pursue is to be familiar with the complete syllabus of the subject.  At the beginning stage, candidates are recommended to focus on building conceptual knowledge by using these resources:

  • NCERT Text Books
  • ICSE Books
  • MICRO and MACRO economics notes (school and college level)
  • Indian Economy for Civil Services Examination– Ramesh Singh

Economics Study Material for IAS Stage 2

Once you have cleared the core concepts, it’s time to apply the economics related fundamental concepts to practical scenarios. In the IAS exam, maximum questions appear from this category and tend to be the most confusing and difficult ones. Thus, the most appropriate way to crack these types of questions is to relate it to current affairs and apply core economic concepts in every question. More than this, it is advisable to make a habit of reading newspapers, so you are well-aware of the current affairs.

Books to Recommend:

  • Indian Economy (Magbook) – Arihant Experts
  • Newspaper – The Hindu
  • The Indian Economy for UPSC Pre + Main – SanjivVerma
  • Economic Survey
  • Economic and Political Weekly (EPW)

Indian Economy – A Real Comparison between IAS Preliminary Vs Main

Indian Economy for Preliminary and Main examination needs different approaches to clear the exam. If we are talking about syllabus pattern of both the stages, Mains syllabus specifically mentions subjects like issues relating to planning, growth, Government Budgeting, mobilization of resources, cropping patterns, Public Distribution System, development and employment, Technology missions, Liberalization, Food processing, Infrastructure, and Investment models. On the other hand, Prelims mostly consists of the syllabus, which includes GDP, GST, Reverse REPO, Land reforms, Inclusion, SLR, and Development. With practice and keen observation of the previous year's papers for both prelims and mains, this subject can be well handled without any difficulty.