Yes, NCERT Books are the best resource for commencing preparation and clearing the basics.
Reading NCERT books from 6th to 12 standards is not a small task as you have 6-7 subjects books that you require to read.
That mean more than 40 books which you are supposed to mug up before you start serious preparation.
In the beginning, be clear that you have to pick NCERT book for only those subjects which are present in the syllabus for General Studies or may relate to the optional subject you have picked up.
I know it is easy to say that for Civil Services Examination preparation (particularly for General Studies) read this… this… and this and a long list of books starts with NCERT books from 6th to 12 standards. But, I agree with you, it is not a small task as you have 6-7 subjects, which mean more than 40 books which you are supposed to mug up before you start serious preparation.
So, it implies that you are to read this first; it may take months as you begin preparation by reading, remembering and making notes out of these. How to manage this all? A big question!
I will answer this question in two parts; one, what is the need and two, how to manage.
What is the need?
Well, UPSC has always innovated and changed the type, pattern of questions being asked in Preliminary as well as in the Main Examination. This calls for a comprehensive understanding of the topic which comes once your basics are clear.
NCERT books help you build fundamentals. You understand the broad and wide-ranging aspects crystal clear when you correlate it with contemporary developments.
You can’t think of an effective performance till the time your basics are not clear that is why experts recommend NCERT Books.
How to manage
We all have gone through these books while in school and have gained early knowledge reading these only. After 10th standard, when you decide about future career options and chose the stream, you start disconnecting with some subjects and by the time you become eligible to appear in Civil Services Examination, you lose touch with these subjects which you have read in school.
As Civil Services Examination syllabus calls for awareness from diverse streams, you need to comprehend with the demand hence just to be in touch again, you are asked to read NCERT first.
This does not mean that you have to be glued to these for months. You have to refresh what all you had read in school days. May be you had taken science stream and chosen engineering field, but when you will read say History or Civics, chances are you will find these interesting and the purpose of reading these (Civil Services Examination) will keep your curiosity alive.
You have to choose the subjects which require more attention and have more significance in CSE. Prioritise you needs and make a study plan where these are read as leisure pursuit which in turn will never give you a feel that these are a burden.