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Public Administration Papers Topic : State Government and Administration


Public Administration Papers Topic : State Government and Administration


  • What are the tension areas in Union-State relations in Planning ? (30 marks 2008)
  • There is a separate Central Ministry or Department on each subject allocated to the State List. Does it mean supremacy of the Union Government or an emphasis on development administration ? Analyse. (60 marks 2007)
  • "The main problem of Centre-State relations  in India is bottlenecks in fiscal federalism." Comment.(60 marks 2006)
  • "One of the greatest weaknesses inherent in a  Federal polity is the possibility of conflict of loyalty and responsibility on the part of public servants as between Central and State Governments." - 8aborate and comment.(60 marks 2004)
  • "Because of several judicial pronouncements, Governors in States are no longer viewed as agents of the 'Party in Power' at the Central level." Evaluate. (20 marks 2007)
  • "The position of Governors towards exercising their discretion and powers has considerably changed after 1967." Discuss.(60 marks 2004)
  • "Article 163 makes the Governor the sole judge in matters in which he is required to act in his discretion." Explain. (30 marks 20003)
  • 'The Chief Minister is the real executive of the State, whose effectiveness is largely related to his personality traits and equation with central leadership.' Explain and illustrate with relevant examples. (60 marks 2008)
  • "The Chief' Minister symbolizes ruling power structure and is the real executive head of the State Government." Discuss the above statement in the light of his position in a Coalition Government. (60 marks 2005)
  • "The highly significant and elevated position of Chief Secretary is significantly undermined in practice today." Comment.(20 marks 2004)
  • "The dispute between Secretariat and Directorate is the result of Generalist Vs Specialist controversy." Analyse. (60 marks 2007)
  • States with a record of good governance, it is argued by spokesperson of some states, lost their earlier share from the Finance Commission's award. Comment. (20 marks 2010)
  • 'The authority of the Governor in the discretionary field is not unrestrained. If it is misused ... the President can check him / her and if necessary, he may even remove the Governor: Examine this statement critically in the context of the Office of the Governor. , (25 marks 2012)
  • "The success and prestige enjoyed by a Chief Secretary depend, to a large extent, upon his equations with the varied sets of people and institutions that form the work environment." Critically evaluate the statement and its relevance to the role the Chief Secretary in the discharge of his functions.(30 marks 2012)
  • “The Finance Commission in India performs the job of statics aggregation.” Comment.(10 marks 2013)
  • Is there a need to dispense with the office of the Governor? Examine the context of coalition governments. (10 marks 2013)
  • “There is a tendency of centralism in Indian federalism, but it is not because of its institutional framework but because of its socialist goals and centrally devised plan development.” Explain the statement in the context of Union-State relationship. (In about 250 words) (20 marks 2013)
  • “The Centre – State relations have acquired new dimensions in recent times due to several political parties being in power at the Centre and the States.” (Second Administrative Reforms Commission)] Do you agree? Give reasons to support your arguments. (10 marks 2014)
  • “The gubernatorial position of the Governor is comfortably placed in the fuzzy area between ‘Withdrawal of pleasure of the President’ and ‘Compelling reasons for removal’. “Discuss with some recent examples. (20 marks 2014)
  • “In very recent times, the role of the State Governor is found to be more of diplomatic than administrative nature.” Comment on the statement with suitable examples. (20 marks 2015)
  • “Introduction of G.S.T. (Goods and Services Tax) no doubt has economic benefits, but tends to compromise the States’ ” IN this context, comment on the changing nature of Union-State financial relations. (20 marks 2016)
  • “Legislatures have become a place for infighting rather than for proper policy making.” Comment in the context of the working of State Governments.(10 marks 2016)
  • “The position of council of ministers  in a state is reduced to that of a body of secretaries in the presence of a domineering of  chief minister.” Critically analyse with examples (20 marks 2017)
  • “The chief secretary is often termed as the alter ego of the Chief Minister.” Discuss, with examples, the dynamics of their relationship in State administration.(20 marks 2017)
  • “Implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) has led to a paradigm shift in the Centre-State relations , both financially and politically .”Analyze with examples (20 marks 2017)
  • Critically examine the criteria adopted by the 15th Finance Commission for allocation of resources to States. What have been the major issues of contention since the 10th Finance Commission? (20 marks 2018)
  • “In the coalition era with the elusive majority of a single party in the State Legislature, the role of the Governor becomes even more challenging." Discuss. (20 marks 2018)
  • Various commissions have reiterated the crucial role of the Governor in Indian system of governance, but the successive governments have not heeded to make the Governor's office apolitical. Examine with example. (10 Marks 2019)
  • Article 356 acts, “very much like the proverbial bolt from the blue…. without giving an opportunity or notices to the State Government to correct its alleged shortcoming”. This phenomenon not only undermines the autonomy of the State Government, but also demeans the statue of the President of India. Critically analyze. (20 Marks 2019)
  • Efforts to strengthen State Finance Commissions have faced apathy of State Governments over the years, which has also affected the successive Central Finance Commissions in recommending appropriate fiscal transfers to local bodies. Substantiate the answer with example. (20 Marks 2019)
  • Even if all the States combine together, they cannot have their way decision-making in the GST Council, unless the Union agrees to it. Analyse this in the perspective of federalism in India. (10 Marks 2020)
  • The Speaker of the State Assembly has assumed a significant role in formations and dissolutions of government. Examine under the circumstances of coalition governments with examples.(20 Marks 2020)

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(Getting Started) AIR-112 Sizal Agarwal's Strategy For Philosophy Optional



(Getting Started) AIR-112 Sizal Agarwal's Strategy For Philosophy Optional



Sizal Agarwal secured an all India rank of 112 in her fourth attempt in UPSC Civil Services Examination 2019. Both her last 2 attempts have been with Philosophy Optional. Sizal is from a commerce background and the Jorhat district of Assam. She holds a graduate degree in Commerce, and currently, she is pursuing her post-grad as a Master of Economics student. She had started her preparation in 2014 right after her graduation and dedicated 10 months just to it. Thereafter, she has been trying to find her name in the final merit list, finally succeeding this year.

Book List 

Standard Text Books

  1. Indian Philosophy – Dutta and Chatterjee
  2. Western Philosophy – Y Masih, Donald Palmer
  3. Socio-political Philosophy – O.P. Gauba
  4. Philosophy of Religion – Y Masih, John Hick

Additional Study Material

  1. Patanjali IAS Printed Material
  2. Mitra’s Printed Notes

Key Points To Pursuing Philosophy Optional

Conceptual Clarity

Philosophy is all about having a vision. Until and unless one can understand the point of view of different philosophers, they will not be able to tackle this subject. Conceptual clarity thus becomes the most important element for Philosophy optional. Mugging up details will not help.

Previous Years’ Questions

An important part of Sizal’s Philosophy strategy was analyzing past years’ papers. They were her pillars. Paper-I especially comes with a barrage of repetitive questions and you can find some common topics if you have analysed PYQs.

Study The Syllabus Serially

Philosophy has trends and there is a flow to the ideas. To understand them properly one must read these concepts serially.

Philosophy Optional Printed Study Materials for UPSC Mains

Notes Making

Philosophy doesn’t have one source material. There are multiple sources one must follow. Making notes is important to ensure you have all the information at the same place. It also helps one connect the similarities and dissimilarities between thinkers.

Philosophy Optional Printed Study Materials for UPSC Mains

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Current Affairs

The Paper-II of Philosophy has become very dynamic. It is important to connect recent events to concepts to write the paper-II.

Key Strategies

Answer Writing

The first thing to remember is that this is not a General Studies paper. The demand for the paper is philosophical values and concepts. For example, if a question asks about the solution to terrorism, do not start ranting about social and economic aspects. Instead write about interfaith dialogue, distinguishing faith from blind adherence, the need to promote religious tolerance, etc.

The richness of content is important to score well. For example, whether you have used keywords, what real-life example you use, if you have analyzed the philosophy you have used, etc. Identify command words such as “Describe”, “Analyze”, “Critically examine”, and write answers fulfilling the distinct demand of each of these words.

Do not forget to point out similarities of the philosophy asked in the question to that of others across time, or any such distinct dissimilarities between contemporaries. Try to solve PYQs to understand the scope and depth of the questions that will be asked.

Message To Aspirants

Always remember these days Youtube videos and Google searches are always there for your help. Do not be afraid to collect material all over. Philosophy is a very interesting subject. As long as you put in the right effort, you will succeed.

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Public Administration Papers Topic : Plans and Priorities


Public Administration Papers Topic : Plans and Priorities


  • “Effective implementation of plan projects has been the weakest link in the chain of the entire planning programme.” Elucidate. (30 marks 2004)
  •  "Indian planning is highly centralized." Comment (20 marks 2003)
  • "National Development Council is criticized as a usurping authority-functioning as a virtual super - cabinet." Explain.(30 marks 2005)
  •  "The National Development Council was established to co -ordinate between the Union government, the Planning Commission and the State governments." Comment. (20 marks 2004) 
  • "Welfare of the people has been constitutional and legal obligation of the state wherein - both the Centre and State Governments are required to discharge the obligation within available resources." Does. does this stand true in the context of globalization ? (60 marks 2004)
  • "Inspite of having Constitutional status the District Planning Committee is not able to implement decentralised planning due to centralised nature of economic planning. Comment.  (20 marks 2007)
  • Discuss the problems in the planning process at the state and sub-state levels.(30 marks 2008)
  • 'Indicative' planning in the context of LPG. (10 marks 2012)
  • “Planning enables comprehensive and scientific understanding of problems.” Examine the statements in the context of planning methodology. (10 marks 2013)
  • “Gender Responsive Budgeting has infused greater accountability of planning departments towards women empowerment programmes.” Examine the statement. (20 marks 2014)
  • How far do you agree with the view that the National Development Council (NDC) could resonate the demands of State governments as long as the Planning Commission is kept subservient to it? Critically examine.(20 marks 2014)
  • Why has District Planning been marginalized in many States and remained prominent in a few States? Explain.(10 marks 2015)
  • The objectives, approaches and organizational arrangements for decision-making of the NITI Aayog aim at restoring the federal character of the Indian polity. Explain .(20 marks 2016)
  • “Planning in India has failed to meet the challenges of economic development and social change.” Discuss the statement in the context of the emergence of NITI Aayog. (10 marks 2017)
  • It is argued that the NITI Aayog has broken the edifice of planning into fragments. Comment. (20 marks 2018)
  • "In the transition from the State-led economy to the market economy, India should rely more on 'indicative planning'.” Do you agree? Explain your position. (10 marks 2018)
  • ‘NITI Aayog’ has changed the way India strategized for economic development, but its effectiveness is yet to be seen, especially when its financial powers are far less than its predecessor. Analyze.( 20 Marks 2019)
  • Considering India's diversity, the planning pattern of 'one-size-fits-all' was discarded in favour of indicative planning. To what extent has it been useful to India? (10 Marks 2020)

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(Getting Started) How To Handle Loaded/ Controversial Questions In UPSC Mains



(Getting Started) How To Handle Loaded/ Controversial Questions In UPSC Mains



UPSC conducts the Civil Services Examination to select the crème de la crème of candidates who will serve this country as bureaucrats over the next three to four decades. India is a democracy and governed by elected governments. However, the government changes every five years. It is the bureaucrats and the thousands of other employees that serve the government machinery that keeps this country moving forward. Bureaucrats also handle a lot of the execution of policies that directly affect the people of this country and thus, UPSC takes great care in ensuring they select people who will do not only a good job but a just job.

The Controversy Around “Loaded Questions”

UPSC has always maintained a standard by which they can filter out candidates and select those with the least political or social bias. Doing so ensures that no matter which government is in power, the bureaucracy never becomes a roadblock in their implementation of policies. In recent years, a trend is being noticed by which UPSC has started asking questions that seem to be prejudiced towards one direction or another, often leading an aspirant into the trap of taking an extreme position. As expected, this has drawn some flak.

What Is A “Loaded Question”?

In 2019, a question was asked that led to some uproar among aspirants and others alike. The question was “What are the challenges to our cultural practices in the name of secularism?” As one can tell, the question seems to assume that secularism is indeed contradictory to Indian culture and has negatively affected it. Aspirants, along with serving and former bureaucrats alike, were left wondering if UPSC is indeed taking a political stance. Questions like this, that make assumptions, whether true or false, and force aspirants to take the bait of taking an extreme stance are called “loaded questions”. Another such question asked in 2019 was “Do you agree with the view that steady GDP growth and low inflation have left the Indian economy in good shape? Give reasons in support of your arguments.”

How Should You Answer Loaded Questions?

In 'loaded' question, UPSC asks about 'challenges to our culture in the  name of secularism' | The News Minute

First thing first – always know the reason why such a question was asked. It is because –

  1. UPSC wants to ensure that an aspirant is always rooted in facts and will not get carried away by fallacies.
  2. UPSC wants to ensure that every aspirant understands that their first duty is towards the Constitution of India.

Keeping this in mind, here are the top do’s and don’ts of answering loaded questions.

What Not To Do

  1. Do not find facts where there are none. For example, just because it says in the question that the GDP growth has been steady, you need not agree to it when you know that fact is that the growth has been faltering.
  2. Do not try to be diplomatic and neutral when a question calls for disagreement. The Constitution is sacred. So, there is no question of agreeing to a notion that goes against the very primal nature of our Constitution, irrespective of the tone of the question. Being diplomatic in this situation is disrespectful to the ethos on which our country was built.

What To Do

  1. Stand by your core values and answer like an upright officer. This isn’t a multiple-choice; you get to put your point forward. Agreeing or disagreeing isn’t the only option.
  2. Stand by facts and challenge assumptions made in the question. For example, if you know that the GDP is falling, mention those facts and figures before even attempting to answer the question. Talk about how the GDP calculation method change has affected the numbers. The examiner must realise that you know your facts.
  3. Compare the positives and negatives. In the secularism question, the framing seems to paint secularism in a negative light while holding Indian culture in a higher stature. However, you needn’t do that. Explain how the negatives of Indian culture such as casteism, the now abolished practices such as sati and child marriage, etc. must be weeded out. Explain how secularism, although often rejected as a western concept, helps India remain the melting pot of cultures, races, and religions, and is enshrined in our constitution.

Remember, as career bureaucrats there will be many contradictory, and in rare cases volatile, situations you will have to handle. Handling questions like this are meant to prepare you for that path, and that is UPSC’s true intention.

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Public Administration Papers Topic : Union Government and Administration


Public Administration Papers Topic : Union Government and Administration


  • "By taking some offices out of the jurisdiction of the Office of Profit Act, the Government of India has doubly assured the public mind of its duplicity." Comment.  (20 marks 2006)
  • 'Indian Prime Minister should not only be accountable to the Indian Parliament but should appear to be so." ,Comment on the accountability of the Prime Minister to the Indian Parliament in the context of extra- constitutional power. (60 marks 2006)
  • "Not the Potomac, but the Thames, fertilizes the flow of Yamuna". In the light of the statement comment on the symbolic institution of the President of India.  (20 marks 2006)
  • "The veto-power of the Indian President is a combination of the absolute, suspensive and pocket veto." Comment. (20 marks 2005)
  • Critically examine the variables in the composition and functioning of Cabinet Committees.(12 marks 2012)
  • "The respective roles of the Cabinet Secretary of the Government of India and of the Chief Secretary of a State are similar in certain respects, and dissimilar in other." Explain. (30 marks 2009)
  • "The Cabinet Secretariat provides the eyes and ears for the Prime Minister to keep in touch with the process of official business in Central Government." Comment.(30 marks 2005)
  • Critically analyse the functions and role 0 Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment with regard to development of disabled persons in India. (20 marks 2007)
  • What concrete steps have been taken by the Union and the State Governments to protect child labour and prevent abuse of children? (20 marks 2006)
  • What measures have been taken by the Union and the States for the welfare of women in the profession of sex ?  (20 marks 2006)
  • Critically evaluate the policies of the Union Government with regard to the welfare of women and children of India. (20 marks 2006)
  • "In an era of hung parliaments the power of the President expands, more so when the  incumbent decides to be assertive." Comment on the statement with reference to the Situation  In India during the last two decades. (30 marks 2010)
  •  Does the emergence of an Empowered Group of Ministers at the Central level impair the doctrine of Cabinet responsibility ? (20 marks 2010)
  • ‘In the exercise of his/ her functions, the President of India is a mere 'Convenient Working hypothesis'. Do you agree with this view? Justify your reasoning with illustrations. (30 marks 2012)
  • “Central Secretariat is the nodal agency for administering the Union subjects and establishing coordination among the various activities of the government.” Discuss. (20 marks 2013)
  • The functional role of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) depends on the Prime Minister’s policy orientation, personality and style of administration. Comment on the statement with suitable examples.(10 marks 2014)
  • “Management of intra-governmental relations is as important as that of intergovernmental relations.” Examine the impact upon the performance of the government.(20 marks 2014)
  • “From coalition government to one-party dominance is a big change that is bound to affect the government system.” Explain why and how.(10 marks 2014)
  • The 13th Finance Commission highlighted an indispensable need to improve the finance of rural and urban level bodies. Does this make local bodies more accountable in the discharge of their functions?(20 marks 2014)
  • “Ordinance-making power of the Executive needs to be suitably restrained.” Examine it critically.(10 marks 2015)
  • Discuss the arguments for and against the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014 .(20 marks 2015)
  • “Dominant centralized administration is correlated with decisive and authoritative leadership provided by the Prime Minister’s office.”(20 marks 2016)
  • What factors have led to the expansion of the role of the Ministry of Home Affairs? How can it coordinate its affairs more effectively with the Ministry of Defence ?(20 marks 2016)
  • “The absence of congruence of views on appointments to the judiciary between the Supreme Court and the Union Government has had an adverse impact on the judicial system.” In the light of the above statement, examine the proposal to constitute an All India Judicial Service. (AIJS). (20 marks 2016)
  • “The status and functioning of the Cabinet Secretariat face a stiff challenge from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).” Argue both in favour and against the contention. (10 marks 2017)
  • Do you agree that “All India Judicial Service (AIJS) would contribute to timely delivery of justice to the citizens? Argue your case. (10 marks 2017)
  • “Pro-Active Governance and Timely implementation (PRAGATI) is an innovative project of the Union Government.” Discuss its features and modalities. (10 marks 2017)
  • “The attached offices and subordinate offices are integral to the functioning of the Cabinet Secretariat.” Discuss. (10 marks 2018)
  • “Judicial overreach to a large extent is a consequence of ineffective executive.” Examine. (15 marks 2018)
  • There has been an opinion that the ethos of Indian Judicial System continues to be colonial. Suggest measures for raising the level of judicial excellence for achieving speedy justices. (10 Marks 2019)
  • “Strong PMO is antithesis to the feature of collective responsibility of the Council of Ministers' '. Examine the issues in relation to the position of PMO via-a-vis Council of Ministers in the light of this statement. (20 Marks 2019)
  • Parliamentary committees are at the deliberative core of parliamentary work which is crucial for resining legislations. Elucidate.(10 Marks 2020)
  • The spirit of democratic values requires that the independence of judiciary remains absolute. It is high time that the All India Judicial Service (AIJS) was created. Elaborate. (20 Marks 2020)
  • To strengthen the Election Commission of India and its commissioners is the need of the hour. Suggest measures to make it more independent and impartial.(10 Marks 2020)
  • Examine the National Health Policy in the context of the current pandomia situation, Identify the problems and suggest improvements.(20 Marks 2020)

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(Getting Started) UPSC MAINS - Best Revision Strategy



(Getting Started) UPSC MAINS - Best Revision Strategy



Now that UPSC preliminary examinations are over, lakhs of aspirants are waiting for results. Not all will qualify but for the handful that will, the struggle has only begun. UPSC Mains is the monster they have to defeat to secure a good rank and achieve their IAS dream. Given the vast upsc syllabus, this is not the time to be learning new things. Instead, it is now time to concentrate hard on revising and polishing off the knowledge you already possess. The time constraint means that there has to be an effective revision strategy. Today, we discuss a revision strategy that will for sure give your mains preparation an edge over others.

Upsc main syllabus

Keep the UPSC Syllabus In Mind

General Studies

General Studies is a common hurdle in both prelims and mains. However, the way you approach the topics is different. If you have planned your preparation right, there are a very few additions you now need to make to your General Studies knowledge. So concentrate on revision instead.

A good strategy is to immediately sit with the syllabus, and topic notes if you have them, and see what additions can be made and if any material can be added or updated to them. Once that is done, now devise a weekly plan on which sections you need to cover each week. You are no longer trying to deal with just facts, so start writing answers on each relevant topic that you come across in the news. And don’t forget to keep updating your study notes with the latest current affairs.

Ethics and Essays

Ethics Paper Analysis

Average upsc aspirant would leave this to the last minute, but remember, your goal is to be above average. Try to write at least 3 essays and answer 3 case studies a week. Pick topics from previous year’s questions and ensure that you have a good grip over topics that are asked about frequently. Analyze the essays you write by comparing them with toppers' answers and improve your writing skills.

Writing at least 10-12 essays before the exam will give you the much-needed edge. Practicing enough case studies will ensure you write quality answers in the exam. Always remember that most UPSC aspirants who make it to the final list have similar scores in the first three GS papers. It is Essays and Ethics that decide who ranks on top.

Mains Optional

Start your optional revision from day one. Remember that the last time you read this material was probably 6 months ago and thus, it will take time to cover again. If you have some portion of the syllabus still incomplete, take a week right at the beginning, leaving aside the rest of the papers, and complete this first. Your optional can make or break your rank too.

For optional, writing is key. Update relevant topics with Current Affairs and make compact notes. You will most definitely need to make these connections in your exam paper, so start early. Make sure you have covered each topic in the syllabus and covered all PYQs of the last 10 years again.

Write, Write, Write

UPSC IAS (Prelims) 2020: Check Tina Dabi's (AIR 1) Study Plan & Preparation  Strategy for Last 3 Months Revision

Topper Tina Dabi’s (AIR-1, UPSC CSE 2016) Revision Strategy

And finally, the key to writing good answers is to keep on writing regularly. It may not be possible to take full tests regularly, given how long each paper is, but ensure you write answers daily. Keep 2-3 hours of your day aside for this. And full-fledged tests are important. Ensure that you take at least 3 tests for each of the GS papers. Similarly, try taking at least 2 Essay and Ethics tests. For optional, at least 3 tests are required to analyze your preparation. And this also helps you figure out your time management technique and answer all questions in each paper. 

Most importantly, don’t relax just yet. Keep pushing and working hard, and you will achieve your dream.

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Public Administration Papers Topic : Public Sector Undertakings


Public Administration Papers Topic : Public Sector Undertakings


  • "The size of the leviathan goes on expanding,  despite the country's recent commitment to downsizing or rightsizing." Comment. (20 marks 2003)
  • "The steady expansion and the gradual decline of the public sector has been one of the most conspicuous developments in post- Independence India." Discuss this statement  and suggest measures to arrest the decline  of the public sector in India. (60 marks 2003)
  • "Memorandum of understanding scheme' between government and public enterprise has forced public undertakings to improve the overall performance." Comment. (20 marks 2007)
  • "In the context of liberalisation the role of Public Sector and its welfarist approach is being drastically changed." Elucidate. (30 marks 2004)
  • Is it correct to state that "one of the major reasons for the failure of many public sector undertakings was due to departures from the original concept of autonomy" ?  (20 marks 2010)
  • "The blame for our poor public sector performance can be laid on the way our bureaucracy is structured." Comment. (20 marks 2007)
  • Can the holding company's structure act as an institutional change to efficiency? Give your answer illustrations. (30 marks 2011)
  • "'Memorandum of Understanding' scheme between the Government and Public enterprises has forced public undertakings to improve their overall performance." Do you agree with this statement ? (10 marks 2012)
  • “Autonomy to public sector understating is a myth.” Analysis in the context of the use of government expenditure by politicians who control government at different levels. (In about 150 words).(10 marks 2013)
  • Despite the adoption of decentralized planning, participatory initiatives remain marginalized and divisive in many regions. Discuss. (10 marks 2014)
  • “Public Sector Undertakings must learn to survive and be entrepreneurial without assured government budgetary support.” In the light of this statement give your suggestions for strengthening their autonomy and reviving the health of sick Public Sector Undertakings. (20 marks 2014)
  • Explain fully how a balance can be struck between autonomy and accountability of India’s public enterprises.(20 marks 2015)
  • Argue the case for and against creating Indian Public Enterprises and Industrial Service for boosting the moribund public sector in India .(10 marks 2015)
  • Evaluate the performance and efficacy of the Maharatna, navratna and Miniratna type of Public Sector Undertakings in the context of Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization (LPG). (10 marks 2016)
  • “The growing prominence of NGOs in development areas is strongly related to the declining legitimacy of the State.” Explain.(10 marks 2016)
  • “Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) in India face tough competition from the private enterprises and Multinational Corporations (MNCs) . “ Explain(10 marks 2017)
  • “Contracting out tasks without effective accountability mechanisms can be counter-productive for effective service delivery." Comment. (10 marks 2018)
  • "The market-driven profitability concerns have shaken the foundation of the public sector undertakings.” Do you agree? Give reasons. (20 marks 2018)
  • Public Sector Undertaking was expected to take the Indian economy to the “commanding heights” instead of successive governments pushing for disinvestment. Critically examine how the scenario has changed over the years. (20 Marks 2019)
  • Does the privatization of key public sector bodies augur well for welfarisin in India? Discuss with suitable illustrations (20 Marks 2020)

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(Getting Started) Clearing UPSC With Geography Optional Strategy By Om Kant Thakur AIR-52



(Getting Started) Clearing UPSC With Geography Optional Strategy By Om Kant Thakur AIR-52



Hailing from a small village of Bihar, Om Kant Thakur is a story of what not giving up can help you achieve. UPSC CSE 2019 was his 4th attempt and succeeded in securing a top all India rank of 52 in this attempt. Being an engineering student from NIT, Patna, UPSC was a little removed from his graduation course. Moreover, being from a Hindi medium background and attempting interviews in English, Om Kant felt he was at a disadvantage, but he never gave up.

How To Study Geography Optional

The key to Om Kant’s optional strategy is the sources he used. Om Kant divides up Geography Optional into 3 main parts –

  1. Physical Geography

Start with NCERTs. The 11th and 12th books are mostly sufficient. Use them for definitions, diagrams, etc. and make notes.  For Physical Geography, Savinder Singh is a great book. Geomorphology can be covered by P. Dayal. But read it selectively. Geography made simple - 1 by Rupa publication covers full physical geography and is a very good book that should be read cover to cover. 

For Bio-Geography and the ALS booklet, Shankar IAS, Current Affairs, along with Rupa’s Made Simple series is a lifesaver. Use G.C. Leong for more insight into Physical Geography and related diagrams. Use any good Atlas for maps. Om Kant also used some scanned pages of Strahler for diagrams and definitions, as well as selective pages from Critchfield for Climatology. And finally, Penguin India’s Physical Geography Dictionary was always kept at hand for looking up words and definitions.

Geography Optional Online Classes by Neetu Singh

  1. Human Geography

Om Kant read Models in from selective reading of Majid Hussain, choosing chapters as per the topics in the UPSC syllabus. For Economic Geography he used the ALS booklet, NCERTs of 11th & 12th on Economic Geography, both new and old. He enriched his knowledge with Current Affairs. He also practiced the world map with economic resources, agriculture, industries, ports, trade routes, etc. and practiced trend analysis with the help of maps.

For Perspective Geography he again used ALS class notes, a book by Sudipta Adhikari, and picked up some diagrams and additional topics from Majid Hussain. The population geography part is covered very well in Majid Hussain and he kept updating his notes from current affairs. And once again, Rupa’s Geography Made Simple - 2 helped him complete Human Geography.

Once again for Settlement Geography, he chose the ALS booklet, and read the topics mentioned in the syllabus selectively from K Siddhartha for urban settlements. Regional Planning was again covered from the ALS Booklet and Current Affairs. The glossary section in Dictionary in Human geography completed his preparation.

  1. Indian Geography

D R Khullar is the most important source for Geography optional paper-II. All chapters in the book are as per the UPSC syllabus It is the bible for Indian Geography. He also recommends practicing Indian map pointing using the ALS classroom technique and pointing out places mentioned in the news on maps.  And to make the best impact, use current affairs as an example throughout the paper.

How to Prepare for Geography for UPSC Prelims | NeoStencil

Final Words

Make your own notes, read each source at least thrice, and keep practicing answer writing – this is the best advice Om Kant has for you. 

He wishes you all the best.

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Public Administration Papers Topic : Philosophical and Constitutional Framework of Government


Public Administration Papers Topic : Philosophical and Constitutional Framework of Government


  • “Values of Indian administration must be rooted in the preamble of the Indian Constitution.” Discuss.(30 marks 2009)
  • “Over-dependence on bureaucracy for bringing about socio-economic development in India has proved to be dysfunctional.”  (20 marks 2011)
  • Explain with appropriate illustrations the interface between political culture bureaucratic in contemporary India. (20 marks 2011)
  • “The liberal-democratic ideology of the West influenced the shaping of value premises of the India Constitution.” Discuss. (20 marks 2013)
  • Discuss the value of premises of Constitutionalism in India which the bureaucracy cannot violate. (10 marks 2014)
  • “Beneath the soft outer shell of democratic administrative framework lines unscathed the steel frame of Indian administration which has survived through the ages.” In the light of this statement, examine the relationship between bureaucracy and development in the last one decade. (10 marks 2014)
  • “Democracy within bureaucracy is likely to reduce its effectiveness.” Do you agree with this view? Argue your case. (10 marks 2014)
  • ‘Minimum government, maximum governance’ is not just a slogan but a philosophy of administration with enormous potentialities.” Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer. (10 marks 2015)
  • To what extent has political culture influenced the administrative culture of India? Explain. (20 marks 2015)
  • Briefly discuss the main recommendations of the Punchhi Commission (2010) on Centre-State relations for transforming Indian Federal System. (20 marks 2015)
  • As Dr. B. R. Ambedkar observed, “the text of the Constitution can provide the organs of the State, but the final outcome of the governance process depends on how it has operationalized by the political parties and people”. Elucidate the statement. (10 marks 2015)
  • Do you think that some of the ideals enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution remain only on paper even today? Critically evaluate. (10 marks 2016)
  • Examine the efficacy of the measures taken to redefine and execute cooperative federalism in India. (10 marks 2016)
  • “Constitutionalism is the foundation of the administrative edifice e in India.” Discuss (10 marks 2017)
  • “The market reforms have not infringed the basic structure of the Constitution of India, but have largely comprised the realization of the ideals of social and economic justice.” Comment (20 marks 2017)
  • “Bureaucracy has to make a balance the need for environmental sustainability and developmental imperatives .” Discuss(20 marks 2017)
  • The philosophy of the Westminster model is at odds with the political culture of India.” Critically analyse. (10 marks 2018)
  • The economic reforms have significantly infringed the basic values and spirits of the Indian Constitution. Examine. (10 Marks 2019)
  • Macaulay’s ideas on Indian Civil Service Corresponded to the elite theory of bureaucracy, which continue to persist. Do you agree? Justify. (10 Marks 2019)
  • There is a constant and continuous collision between bureaucratic values and democratic values which adversely affects development. Do you agree? Elaborate.(10 Marks 2020)
  • The structural part of the Constitution of India is to a large extent derived from the Government of India Act, 1935, whereas its philosophical part has many other sources. Discuss the sources of the philosophical part.(20 Marks 2020)

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(Getting Started) One Year Plan To Crack UPSC By Ananya Singh AIR-51



(Getting Started) One Year Plan To Crack UPSC By Ananya Singh AIR-51



Ananya Singh has secured an all India rank of 51 in the UPSC Civil Services Examination 2019. She is an Economics Graduate from Lady Shri Ram College under Delhi University and hails from the city of Allahabad. She started her full-fledged preparation for UPSC in May of 2018. 

Ananya’s Book List

  • History
  • Art And Culture – Selective chapters from Nitin Singhania, Vision IAS Notes
  • Polity – Laxmikanth, Current Affairs Notes
  • Geography – New NCERT Class 11 and 12, NCERT 6-10 as a reference, G.C. Leong for Physical Geography, Vajiram Yellow Book, Maps from the internet
  • Environment – Class 12 Biology, Shankar IAS
  • Economics – PYQs, Online Materials, Graduation Notes
  • Science And Tech – Current Affairs
  • Ethics – Vajiram Yellow Book, Syllabus Topics, Vajiram Class Notes, Case Studies from Current Affairs

Current Affairs Can Make Or Break You

Start with reading newspapers. It is not just the information that matters; reading newspapers allows you to form opinions that help you write better answers in mains, as well as present better answers during interviews. Know what you must read. For example, ignore all political news. For international affairs, they develop slowly, so following them on a weekly or monthly basis is good enough. Also, following daily summaries and reading monthly compilations, and solving MCQs help. And remember to know the syllabus by heart so that you know which portions to read and which to leave.

Testing and Analysis

Mock tests are integral towards cracking prelims. About 3 months before her preliminary exams, Ananya completely gave in to her target of cracking prelims and exclusively started preparing for it. She insists that testing is only a part of the work done and one must analyze their strengths and weaknesses to truly utilize mock test series.

Answer Writing Crucial For Cracking Mains

The more answers you write, the better you’ll do. If you are short of time, try and utilize topper’s copies. Read the question, think of an answer, and then compare to the topper’s answers. Quoting data and statistics are integral to scoring well. So note down information from ARC reports, NITI Aayog reports, etc. Remember the articles and amendments and use them in answers. One of the most hectic times for Ananya was between the prelims and mains as she had to brush up all the information she had along with putting them in a more detailed and analytical perspective.

3 Keys To Cracking Interviews

The first step towards cracking your interview is filling your DAF properly and researching all terms you mentioned in the form including details of your hometown, city, state, your degree, hobbies, and even your choice of optional. You get about a month between the mains results declaration and the interview date and this can be achieved within that time. Confidence is important as is honesty. If you do not know the answer to a question, honestly admit it to the interview panel instead of trying to use fillers.

Message To Aspirants

Ananya is confident that with consistency and hard work, UPSC can be cracked within 12-18 months. Keep your targets short-time, and try to always fulfill them. 

Ananya wishes you all the best.

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Public Administration Papers Topic : Evolution of Indian Administration


Public Administration Papers Topic : Evolution of Indian Administration


  • “The Rule of kings depends primarily on written orders...” Why did Kautilya favour Codification of Laws ? (20 marks 2010).
  • Comment on the view that despite different contexts, administrative maxims of kautilya’sArthashastra bear considerable similarity with features of Weber’s ideal bureaucratic model. (20 marks 2009)
  •  “Kautilya was not only the foremost politico-administrative thinker of ancient India but he was an advocate and preacher of moral values too.” Comment. (20 marks 2007)
  • "Bureaucracy developed by the British stifled the village self-rule." Comment. (20 marks 2009)
  • "The main features of British governmental and administrative system continue to influence the present Administrative System." Comment. (20 marks 2004)
  • "Though India emerged as a sovereign state after Independence, the administrative system remained the same as it was during the British period." Comment. (20 marks 2003)
  • “The Arthashastra is India’s Oldest complete text on public administration.” Comment (20 marks 2003)
  • "The Mughal Administrative System was military  rule by nature and a form of centralised despotism." Analyse.      (12 marks 2012)
  • 'Some features of Mughal Administration, in essence, do exist in Indian Administration.' Elaborate. (20 marks 2008)
  • "The             Mughal Administrative System was a military rule by nature and was centralized despotism." Comment. (20 marks 2005)
  • It is said that the British made a significant contribution towards modernising the Indian Administrative System on a 'rational - legal' basis. Justify the assessment with reference to the period from 1830 to 1865.  (30 marks 2010)
  •  ‘The Arthashastra is a book of Political realism.’ Elaborate (15 marks 2012)
  • “The Charter Act of 1853 marked the beginning of the parliamentary system in India.” Explain (10 marks 2013)
  • “Ethics in public services has been the central concern of Kautilya’s Arthashastra.” Critically examine the statement. (10 marks 2014)
  • “Indian administration is said to be characterized by its three features viz. W eberian structures, Kautilyan practice and Gandhian rhetoric.” Examine the statement.(20 marks 2014)
  • “The Regulating Act of 1773 not only introduced value in administration but also laid the foundation on centralized administration in India.” Explain  (10 marks 2015)
  • “In contemporary times, Kautilya’s Arthashstra is relevant more in the field of international relations than in economic affairs.” Analyse the statement(20 marks 2016)
  • “A significant legacy of the Mughal rule in India is a well-organized revenue administration at the State and District Levels.” Comment.(15 marks 2016)
  • “Indianisation of Public Services is a slow but steady process.” Explain(20 marks 2017)
  • “A government next-door is the government that matters most for the people.” Discuss the statement with special reference to the values of the local government. (10 marks 2018)
  • In the text of Arthashastra, ‘the state is neither a police State nor merely a tax gathering State’. Comment. (10 Marks 2019)
  • Mughal administration incorporated a combination of indian and extra-Indian clements. Discuss (10 Marks 2020)
  • The public services in India are an evolution of the British Raj. Trace the Indianization of the services.(10 Marks 2020)

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(Getting Started) Cracking UPSC With Self-Study : Sarjana Yadav's Strategy - AIR-126



(Getting Started) Cracking UPSC With Self-Study : Sarjana Yadav's Strategy - AIR-126



Sarjana Yadav succeeded with an all India rank of AIR-126 in UPSC Civil Services Examination 2019. She is an Engineer from Delhi University of Technology and has worked in TRAI as a Research Officer. This is her 3rd attempt. Sarjana considers this her first serious attempt which she pursued after quitting her job in 2018 and preparing full-time. However, she had already taken UPSC Civil Services twice before this. With her experience, she tries addressing all doubts of beginners so that they too may achieve their IAS dreams. 

Should I join a IAS coaching institute?

There are 2 questions you need to ask yourself – 

  1. Do you thrive in a classroom environment and need continuous guidance?
  2. Do you perform better by self-assigning goals and studying in your comfort zone?

Depending on the answer, choose your path. Sarjana found herself to be more inclined towards path number 2 and thus resorted to ias self-study.

How many resources should I pursue each subject?

Reading one book multiple times is always the better path than reading multiple books one time each. Do not panic if that one book doesn’t have one or two topics, or those are difficult to understand. Google is your friend. But keep your resources limited and choose standard resources as suggested by senior aspirants and toppers.

How many hours must I put in?

Sarjana requests you not to dwell on hours. It’s a matter of covering all topics well and not the amount of time taken. Set weekly targets and try to keep a timetable. And ensure you finish those targets. It takes longer in the beginning and that is okay. Do not be afraid. 

Do I need to make notes for everything?

Sarjana believes the upsc syllabus is far too vast for one to be making notes for everything. For example, for Polity, Laxmikanth is very structured. The topics are well-arranged and to the point, so she chose not to make notes for it. On the other hand, for Modern History, she felt Spectrum was a little too scattered and thus she made concrete study notes from it.

How many Mock Tests do I need to take?

Sarjana asks you to judge if the test series you are taking covers both static and dynamic parts of the UPSC syllabus properly. If you feel it does a good enough job, stick to it. Do not start taking multiple test series just because others are doing so. Stick to a maximum of 2 test series if you must, but even one standard test series will suffice.

How should I read the newspaper for UPSC?

Sarjana like most other aspirants found herself lost amidst the huge amount of information being served daily in the newspaper. To succeed in UPSC, one must know which news articles are UPSC-worthy. IAS EXAM portal publishes 5 MCQ questions every day based on current affairs. Trying to solve those questions daily helped Sarjana understand how to read the newspaper and what kind of news articles from PIB have value for UPSC.

Message For Aspirants

Try to work hard but not stress too hard. As long as you are sincere and work towards your goals dedicatedly, you will sail through. 

Sarjana wishes all aspirants the very best in their endeavors.

 

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Public Administration Papers Topic : Financial Administration


Public Administration Papers Topic : Financial Administration


  • An administrator uses the budget as a framework for communication and co -ordination, as well as for exercising administrative discipline throughout the administrative structure. Explain. (20 marks 2011)
  • 'Budget is a series of goals with price-tags attached.' Explain..  (20 marks 2011) 
  • Distinguish between PBBS and performance budgeting.   (20 marks 2010)
  • What is performance budgeting ? Bring out its merits, limitations and difficulties. (60 marks 2007)
  • "Successfully Implementing budgeting approach requires favourable incentive structures." Discuss. (20 marks 2006)
  • Why does the issue of budgeting as politics versus budgeting as analysis remain important in the budgeting process ? Do you agree that some synthesis of the two positions seems possible? Illustrate. (60 marks 2005)
  • "The budget is an instrument of coordination." Explain.   (20 marks 2005)
  • Whereas ‘value for money’ audit aims at economy and ‘performance’ audit goes beyond both, to examine the effectiveness of a programme or activity. Examine this statement with suitable illustrations. (30 marks 2011)
  • “Audit continues to be considered as something alien, something extraneous and something of the nature of an impediment.” Explain.   (20 marks 2006)
  • 'Those who budget, deal with their overwhelming burdens by adopting heuristic aids to calculation' (Wildavsky]. Explain.  (15 marks 2012)
  • "Good economics and bad politics cannot coexist in a sound budgetary process." Discuss this statement in the context of the developmental challenges in countries experiencing competitive politics. (60 marks 2008)
  • What new models of budgetary capacity and incapacity have emerged after the decline of planning programming budgeting and zero based budgeting? (10 marks 2013)
  • Budget allocations involve a series of tensions between actors with different backgrounds, orientations and interests and between the short term goals and long term institutional requirements. Discuss. (15 marks 2013)
  • “Instead of reforms to budgetary process, W ildavsky process to redefine the role of political institutional and rules by which politics leads to agreement on budget.” Explain. (10 marks 2014)
  • “The fact that we call something performance auditing means that we imply salient features which can distinguish it from other forms of inquiry.” Discuss with reference to the main measures or indicators of performance measurement. (20 marks 2014)
  • Identify the main elements of Program Budgeting, Output Budgeting and New’ Performance Budgeting. What do they have in common with PPBS? (20 marks 2014)
  • “No significant change can be made in the budgetary process without affecting the political process.” (Wildavsky). Analyse. (10 marks 2015)
  • “Public Borrowing produces different effects on the economy.” Examine. (10 marks 2016)
  • “Fiscal policy and monetary policy are the two tools used by the state to achieve its macroeconomic objectives.” Examine the statement and point out the differences between the tools. (20 marks 2016)
  • “The key to understanding performance-based budgeting lies beneath the word ‘result’ ”. In the light of the statement, examine the elements of performance-based budgeting. (20 marks 2016)
  • “Budgeting is apolitical process” – (Aaron Wildavsky) (10 marks 2017)
  • “There can be no performance auditing without performance budgeting “(15 marks 2017)
  • "Sound Performance Auditing is impossible without systematic Performance or Outcome Budgeting." Explain the relationship between the two. (15 marks 2018)
  • “Monetary policy of a country can help or hinder its development process." Discuss. (15 marks 2018)
  • Performance measurement remains an emerging issue but it is relegated to exclusively monitor and assess the use of funds. In light of the statement discuss various non-financial parameters of performance measurement to evaluate public sector organization. (20 Marks, 2019)
  • Discuss the major areas of change in the Tax-Reforms of the post liberalization era. How do you justify the importance of the direct Tax reforms in this context? (15 Marks, 2019)
  • Is William Niskanen’s “Budget Maximising Model” relevant today? Argue. (15 Marks, 2019)
  •  "Objectives of performance budgeting include improving expenditure prioritization, effectiveness and efficiency." Has performance budgeting worked effectively in governmental system ? Argue (20 Marks, 2020)

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(Getting Started) Last Minute Revision Strategy For UPSC CSE Prelims Exams



(Getting Started) Last Minute Revision Strategy For UPSC CSE Prelims Exams



UPSC has finally released admit cards and UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Examination is all set to take place soon. There is a lot of material aspirants now need to keep in mind and successfully apply in the exam. The last-minute revision strategy is the most important step in ensuring that you qualify. To that end, here are the top 7 tips you must follow to put your best foot forward this prelims – 

  1. No New Sources

The best advice we can give you is this – do not add new information to your already overcrowded mind. The last few days are meant for revising. Attempting to add intake new information at this stage will only lead to confusion. Instead, revise your own notes once more. Read the year-long recap modules for current affairs published by many coaching centres around this time. They are all you need at this stage of your preparation.

  1. Study Topic-Wise

Questions asked in UPSC Prelims are analytical in nature. This means that you need to connect facts from current affairs with the background information you have from studying the related subjects more thoroughly. Revising current and static material by clubbing them under a common umbrella will help you enhance this analytical ability as well as make it easier to recall during the exam.

UPSC, IAS (PRE) Papers Download

  1. Set Daily And Weekly Targets

Do not attempt to study everything at once. You need a plan if you are to cover all material at least once. For this, the ideal way to proceed in setting up daily and weekly revision targets. For example, take Ancient History and try to revise every static and current topic under this umbrella in 3 days. Then, at the end of the week, sit and go through all Ancient History topics and phrases mentioned in the UPSC syllabus. Whatever you cannot recall clearly, revise once more.

  1. Practice Topic-Wise MCQs

Taking full-blown mock tests at this stage is nor advisable as it blocks 2 hours of your day. Instead, as you complete each topic, try to attempt PYQs from those topics. Most question banks already have PYQs sorted topic-wise. This allows you to test yourself by the UPSC standards and helps build confidence.

  1. Use Mindmaps Diligently

Mindmaps are very useful tools for quick revisions. They allow you to interconnect topics and as our brains are conditioned to retain visual memories best, they can be easily recalled in the examination hall. Many coachings publish mindmaps on different areas of the UPSC syllabus. You can also create your own while revising. Either way, use them in order to enhance your retention power.

  1. Work on the UPSC Cut-Off

High scores in the preliminary exam might be an encouraging sign, but they are not of much use. When taking mocks, do not get discouraged by aiming for an 80 or 90 percent. UPSC is a standard exam and the cut-off itself is well above average. Pressuring yourself to attempt more questions than you are confident only leaves more room for negative marking. Remember, you only need to clear the cut-off. Your rank will be decided months later by your mains exam.

UPSC Cut Off – IAS Prelims 2019

Category

UPSC Cut Off

General

98

EWS

90

OBC

95.34

SC

82

ST

77.34

PwBD-1

53.34

PwBD-2

44.66

PwBD-3

54.66

PwBD-4

61.34

Revise the best you can, try and stay calm and stress-free, and always have faith in yourself. 

We wish you the best of luck!

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Public Administration Papers Topic : Techniques of Administrative Improvement


Public Administration Papers Topic : Techniques of  Administrative Improvement


  • Bring out the various techniques of 0 & M adopted in India to improve efficiency in administration. (60 marks 2007).
  • Examine the needs and facets of administrative reforms in the fast changing scenario of the 21st century. What are the obstacles to administrative reforms ? Give suggestions to overcome them. (60 marks 2003)
  • In what ways and how can information technology play a crucial role in effective government - citizen interaction in the context of good governance? (60 marks 2005)
  • What is Information Technology? Describe its impact on Public Administration.  (60 marks 2004)
  • "Organisations today seem to invest in information and information systems, but their investments often do not seem to make sense." Comment. (20 marks 2003)
  • 'The apparent demise of e - Government and e-Business as the main organizing principles of society has created the conditions-for the rise of e - Governance from the ashes' .... In the context of the above statement show the distinctions between e - Government and e - Governance. (15 marks 2012)
  • A system of Information ties planning and control by managers to the operational system of implementation. Elaborate. (15 marks 2011)
  • E-governance is the final arrival of Max Weber's 'iron cage of rationality '. Discuss.  (20 marks 2011) Q.4 Do you think that there is a sort of paradox between e-Governance and good governance? Explain fully.  (20 marks 2010)
  •  "e-governance has the potential to emerge as the most effective instrument of efficiency, transparency and accountability." Comment.  (20 marks 2008)
  • What are the main functions of an O and M office?  (15 marks 2011)
  • 'Relations are the building blocks of network analysis' .... In the light of this statement summarize the form and content of relations in 'network analysis '. (15 marks 2012)
  • Trace the background and development of PERT and enumerate the steps involved in the application of PERT. (15 marks 2012)
  • Draw a simple PERT chart for a seminar planning project.  (15 marks 2012)
  • "Techniques like PERT and CPM help in effective office management." Elaborate. (20 marks 2009)
  • The success of e-government projects in most developing countries is state to be rather low. Assess the reason. (10 marks 2013)
  • “The bottom line for governance is outcomes rather than the outputs of government.” Analyze in the context of e-government and e-governance. (10 marks 2014)
  • “The field of MIS is not necessarily an extension of computer science, but of management of organization theory.” Elucidate. (15 marks 2014)
  • “Comparative Performance Measurement (CPM) bridges everyday work experience with the broader horizons of comparativism.”Explain.(10 marks 2015)
  • “E-Governance creates a direct relationship between the Citizen and the State.” In this context, explain the changing role of the elected representatives. (15 marks 2015)
  • MIS, PERT and CPM have accelerated the process of reinventing 0 & M.” In the context of the above statement, explain the recent developments in managerial techniques.(15 marks 2015)
  • “Information Technology brings efficiency and transparency to Public Administration.”Examine the statement with suitable examples(15 marks 2016)
  • “The term ‘work study’ may be used in narrower and wider senses.” Elucidate. (15 marks 2016)
  • “Digitalization provides great impetus to E-governance .” Discuss(10 marks 2017)
  • To what extent has e-governance made the administrative system more citizen-oriented ? Can it (e- governance) be made more participative ?(10 marks, 2018)
  • A narrow view of information comes in the way of successful implementation of MIS in organization. Analyze. (10 Marks, 2019)
  • Has e-governance led to debureaucratization and decentralization ? Assess its impact on bureaucratic inertia. (10 Marks, 2019)
  • In the era of increasing stress on productivity work study provides the road ahead for the administration. Identify the positive attributes of work study in the light of the statement. (15 Marks, 2019)

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Public Administration Papers Topic : Public Policy


Public Administration Papers Topic : Public Policy


  • Policy is a decision driven model of research use. Explain.  (20 marks 2004)
  • Public Policy is not an independent variable and human history shows little evidence of systematic learning from policy experience. Discuss.  (20 marks 2004)
  • "... even if pollees are well-organized, effiCiently operated, widely utilized, adequately financed and supported, we may still ask, so what? Do they work ? ... What about their costs, outputs and impact?" Discuss.  (60 marks 2009)
  • 'Our normal expectation should be that new programs will fail to get off the ground and that, at best, they will take considerable time to get started. The cards in this world are stacked against things happening' [Pressman and Wildavsky]. Comment.  (15 marks 2012)
  • "Public administration can be portrayed as a wheel of relationships focused on the formulation and implementation of public policy." Explain. (20 marks 2010)
  • "Implementing a public policy is a process of discovering what works and what does not." Examine. (20 marks 2007)
  • "Nothing comes across more strongly than the great naivete about policy implementation." Discuss. (20 marks 2006)
  • Give an assessment of the processes of policy formulation and discuss the problems of policy implementation. (20 marks 2010)
  • Comment on the role of public administration in policy making and its implementation. What are the other factors influencing the policy process ? (20 marks 2005)
  • 'Policy is being made as it is being administered and administered as it is being made.' Comment. (20 marks 2011)
  • Critically examine the following statements in the field of Policy Sciences : (15 marks 2011)
  • The incrementalist paradigm posits a conservative tendency in public policy making. (15 marks 2011) 
  • Dror's Optimal Model is a fusion of the economically rational model with the extra - rational model. 
  • "Yehezkel Dror's normative models of policy making tend to be academic in perspective with poor operational utility:' Comment. (20 marks 2009)
  • 'Policy judgements comprise reality judgements, value judgements and instrumental judgements' [Geoffrey Vickers]. Elucidate.  (12 marks 2012)
  • Would you agree with Bachrach and Baratz that along with decisions, non - decisions are also part of policy ? Give reasons for your answer. (20 marks 2012)
  • Policies determine politics as governments constrain.” Attempt a critique of this statement. (10 marks 2014)
  • “The Output Studies Approach to public policy analysis overstressed the rational techniques and allocative dimension of public policy.” Analyze the statement. (15 marks 2014)
  • According to Y. Door, “The Science of Muddling through is essentially a reinforcement of pro- inertia and anti innovation ideas in policy-making”. Comment. (15 marks 2014)
  • “British philosophy of administration is based on a unification of science of administration with ethics.” Analyze.(15 marks 2014)
  • “The term policy implementation is in some respects preferable to the label public administration.” Argue .(10 marks 2015)
  • “In the appreciative systems of policy makers, goals are subsidiary to norms and values.” (Vickers). Explain. (10 marks 2015)
  • “Lenin’s concept of Socialist management refers to directing the organisational development of Socialist society.” Explain .(15 marks 2015)
  • “Policy analysis is incomplete without taking into account policy delivery.” Argue .(15 marks 2015)
  • “The concept of political feasibility in policy alternative is a probabilistic concept and is related to each policy alternative.” In the context of the above statement analyse Dror’s contribution .(20 marks 2015)
  • “In Public Policy Marking, ‘Rationalism’ is the opposite of ‘incrementalism’.” (10 marks 2016)
  • “Fred Riggs continuously changed his theory in order to create the perfect model.” Comment. .(20 marks 2016)
  • “Off all the processes involved in public policy, implementation is of greatest importance.”Examine the impediments in policy implementation. (15 marks 2017)
  • "A public policy without the active involvement of people in its formulation, implementation and evaluation is only a facade." How can this anomaly be corrected ? (15 marks 2018)
  • “Maximum social gain” in public policy making is an attractive goal which is rarely found in practices. Discuss. (10 Marks, 2019)
  • Has policy analysis become a major source of legitimation of status quo in political and social order? Discuss.(10 Marks, 2020)
  • Have political realities thwarted the move towards evidence based policy making ? Critically examine.(15 Marks, 2019)
  • “Globalization is impacting the context of national policy making. The national policy agenda is becoming international.” Explain. (20 Marks, 2020)

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(Getting Started) Scoring High in Ethics – Navneet Mann's Strategy (AIR-33)



(Getting Started) Scoring High in Ethics – Navneet Mann's Strategy (AIR-33)



Navneet Mann has secured a brilliant all India rank of 33 in UPSC Civil Services Examination, 2019. Navneet is the daughter of a Delhi Police Inspector and public service has always been a part of her life. This was Navneet’s second UPSC attempt. Over the years, Navneet has heard many toppers stress on the importance of UPSC Mains General Studies Paper-IV, which is the Ethics paper, for securing a good rank in this exam. It was only after her first attempt that she realised its true importance.

Navneet Mann, AIR-33, UPSC 2019

Importance of GS-IV or Ethics

Navneet soon noticed that for the first three General Studies papers, the marks of the candidates fall within a very close range. Of course, some go above and beyond, but generally, it is GS-IV which allows a candidate to outshine their competition. Navneet urges aspirants NOT to neglect this paper. She believes one of the reasons she fell short of her goals in her first attempt was because she neglected her Ethics paper. This year she had already set the goal that she will practice this paper thoroughly.

Preparation Strategy

  1. Know UPSC Ethics Paper Syllabus

GS-IV (Ethics) is the most abstract paper in UPSC. Most aspirants find it difficult to grasp as there is a lack of concrete information. Thus, the very first difficulty faced by aspirants is from where should they start their preparation for this paper. As clichéd as it sounds, Navneet suggests that one should start by reading the syllabus carefully. Commit it to memory. 

Because in Ethics, you are often required to quote exact terms from the syllabus such as “conflict of interest”, “crisis of conscience”, “probity in governance”, etc. These phrases and terminologies will be used repeatedly in your answers, even case studies. Thus, memorizing the syllabus is the first step.

How to Study for Ethics Paper?

  1. Most Definitely Make Notes

The second-most important aspect is note-making. Many aspirants assume that because of the abstract nature of the paper, they will just write answers they can think of on spot. However, Navneet assures you that will not be the case. The examination takes a toll on your mental energy. Making crisp notes within 25-30 pages will allow you to revise in the last moment. It will also allow you to get into the mindset of writing ethics answers after having dealt with the other three GS papers over the last 48 hours.

How To Make Ethics Study Notes

  1. Start by the definition – Take each term in the syllabus. Define them simply with limited words.
  2. Keep quotes/one-liners handy – For each topic, keep either a quote or one-liner handy. You can use them as openers.
  3. Incorporate examples – Always have examples/caste studies ready for each topic. Incorporating a few examples, whether from your personal life or eminent personalities, adds weightage to your answers.
  4. Add flowcharts and/or diagrams – Use flowcharts and/or diagrams to add weight to your answers. Prepare some for each topic so that you do not have to think it up during the exam.

Identifying Stakeholders Via Diagram

  1. Importance in personal life/public administration – Add why each term/phrase is required in personal life or public administration.
  2. Challenges/Issues – Every topic in ethics has some challenges or issues one faces. These should be added to your notes.
  3. Solutions – Once you have covered issues and challenges, add solutions to it. You can do so by adding a stakeholder approach that is popular for case studies.
  1. Answer Writing

The Ethics paper is very lengthy. Thus, without practicing, there is a very slim chance that you can complete the paper in time. The Ethics paper, being abstract, even if you have memorised all concepts and definitions, even examples, answers will have to be well analysed and thought of on spot. The most time spent on Ethics is to cook up an answer on spot. Thus, to limit this thinking time, taking mock tests, and practicing answers will allow you to think up good quality answers in a short amount of time. At least 5-6 full Ethics paper tests are recommended.

  1. Case Studies Practice

Case Studies test your logical mindset. To do so, it is important to practice. The steps are as follows-

  1. Identify the problem.
  2. Identify stakeholders.
  3. Detect the ethical dilemma.
  4. Write down the options available.
  5. Choose the most ethical and yet practical option.

Steps To Analysing Case Studies

Even if the option you choose is not original, the point is you justify why you chose this option and rejected the others.

  1. Read Question Properly

This comes with practicing answer writing. Understand the question before answering. Answer what is asked, not just what you want to. Be careful as you have limited time and a lot to write up. Do not waste time.

At the end of the day, practice makes you perfect. Do not worry if your answers are not great in the beginning. As you keep on practicing, you’ll surely score enough marks that will push your name on to the final merit list.

Best Of Luck

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(Getting Started) Important Exam Day Guidelines For UPSC CSE Prelims 2020



(Getting Started) Important Exam Day Guidelines For UPSC CSE Prelims 2020



Finally, after a lot of debates over whether UPSC will conduct the Preliminary Examinations as per the revised schedule amidst the rising Corona numbers, the council has released Admit Cards as per schedule and Supreme Court has given go ahead for the exams. The exam will be held on the 4th of October, 2020, as planned. However, to ensure safety for aspirants and staff alike, UPSC has released a series of guidelines for the exam day. Aspirants need to follow these guidelines in order to be allowed to sit for the examination on the day.

The Most Important Guidelines (Specific To COVID-19)

UPSC preliminary exam: UPSC issues guidelines for Oct 4 civil services  preliminary exam, makes face masks mandatory, Government News, ET Government

This is the most important of the usual guidelines released by UPSC. To ensure a safe examination environment, UPSC has made it mandatory for the below rules to be followed -

  • Mask/face cover must be mandatorily used for all aspirants. Anyone without mask/face cover is not to be allowed entry to the exam hall, or even the venue.

  • Aspirants their own hand sanitizers in transparent bottles. Note that opaque bottles are not allowed.

  • All COVID-19 norms of ‘social distancing’ and ‘personal hygiene’ are to be followed by everyone present within the examination hall and the premise of the venue.

Paper Admit Card NOT To Be Issued

All admit cards have been uploaded to upsc online .nic.in like every year for the convenience of aspirants. Paper Admit Not To Be Issued. Aspirants will have access to the online copies till 4 P.M. on 4th October 2020. They are expected to hang on to the copy of their admits until the whole exam process is completed.

Admit Card And Photo ID Must Be Carried To Venue

For both sessions of General Studies Paper-I and CSAT Paper-II, aspirants must have a photo ID and print out of their admit on them. These documents will be verified once during entrance to the venue and then again during the examination.

UPSC admit card 2018: Civil Services prelims hall tickets released at  upsc.gov.in, how to download - The Financial Express

Carry Photographs 

Carry 2 copies of your passport size photographs. In case the photograph printed on either the admit card or/and the examination roll-call sheet is hazy, these photographs are used. It is always safer to carry them just in case.

Be On Time: Gates Close 10 Minutes Early

UPSC guidelines dictate that gates to the venue are shut exactly 10 minutes before the exam begins. DO NOT BE LATE. It is one of the most important examinations of your career, the least you can do is reach the venue an hour early.

Only Black Ball-Point Pens Allowed

OMR Sheets support black ball-point pens only. Using any other pen on the answer script or the attendance sheet will lead to disqualification. Please carry the right pen and ensure you only use it.

amblitz UPSC Combo Prelim 50 OMR Sheet of 100MCQ with Mains 200 Pages Blank  Practice Answer Sheet: Amazon.in: Office Products Reynolds Jiffy Black Gel Pen, Pack of 5: Amazon.in: Office Products

No Accessories Allowed

Any digital device or any device with the capability of establishing or accessing a wireless connection is not allowed inside the examination hall. This includes mobile phones, digital watches, calculators, etc. UPSC recommends not bringing expensive pieces of equipment to the exam centre as the authorities will not be responsible for the loss of any item.

No Mobile Phones sign P2217 - National Safety Signs

Best Of Luck

Do not stress yourself too much. Stress only has a negative impact on your examination performance. Relax and do your best. You will surely be a step closer to achieving your dream.

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Public Administration Papers Topic : Personnel Administration


Public Administration Papers Topic : Personnel Administration


  • Recruitment is the backbone of Public Administration. Explain. (20 marks 2004)
  • It is said that 'position classification', as originally conceived is sound in terms of its operational characteristics, but complicated and unresponsive in practice. Why is it still considered better than other models of civil service classification?  (60 marks 2009)
  • "If positions are the raw material of classification, class is the operating unit:' Discuss. (20 marks 2005)
  • Why do public organisations evaluate employees' performance? How can performance evaluation. systems affect employees' behaviour? How can administration effectively evaluate employees?  (60 marks 2005)
  • Discuss in this connection the case for an against promotion based on seniority.  (40 marks 2010)
  • "The widening gap In emoluments of government employees versus the public sector corporations and private sector employees has a strong bearing on the motivation and ability to work." Comment. (60 marks 2007)
  • Civil Service neutrality is a thing of the Past. (20 marks 2004)
  • Briefly discuss the principles of ensuring ethics in public service as recommended in the Nolan Committee Report (1994). (20 marks 2010)
  • The administrator needs autonomy and discretion in much the same way as the politician needs control and intervention. Discuss.  (20 marks 2004)
  • Account for the increasing corruption in Administration. Suggest remedies to curb administrative corruption.(60 marks 2003)
  • Distinguish fully between the syndicate method, role playing method, and T-Group training method in personnel management. (40 marks 2010)
  • "Training has proved its incapacity to change the attitudes, behaviour and values of civil servants." Do you agree with this statement ?  (20 marks 2008)
  • "Training is essential not only for efficiency and effectiveness but also for broadening the vision of the employees:' Substantiate.  (20 marks 2007)
  • "Training is practical education in any profession, not only to improve skills but also to develop attitudes and scheme of values necessary for effective performance." Elaborate. (20 marks 2003)
  • 'Position Classification can be problematic. A serious complaint in its practice is that it dehumanises the employee":'  Discuss.(20 marks 2011)
  • "To talk of administrative modernization and still continue with the conventional practice of public personnel administration is a gross incongruity." Offer suggestions to initiate radicals . reforms in Human Resource Management of public administrative systems. (60 marks 2008)
  • The 'selection model of recruitment rests on the assumption that the primary needs to be met are those of the organization.' Examine.  (15 marks 2012)
  • “The technical and multidisciplinary nature of e-government has created an interdependent relationship within government between policymakers, programme administrators and technical specialists.” Analyze in the context of generalist-specialist relationships. (20 marks 2014)
  • “Many Asian and African countries have inherited the colonial idea of civil services as a privileged elite. Hence, the social status of the civil services is an important aspect of the bureaucracy’s unsuitability for change.” Comment. (15 marks 2014)
  • Analyse the relevance of W hitleyism in contemporary employer — employee relationship. (10 marks 2015)
  • “Administrative ethics is a process of independently critiquing decision standards, based on core social values that can be discovered, within reasonable organisational boundaries that can be defined, subject to the personal and professional accountability.” (Denhardt). Explain. (20 marks 2015)
  • Distinguish between ‘Codes of Conduct’ and ‘Codes of Ethics’. Justify your answer(15 marks 2015)
  • “The position-classification attempts to establish a triangular relationship between duties and responsibilities, working conditions and qualification requirements.” Elucidate. (15 marks 2015)
  • “Training is considered as paid holidays.” Comment(10 marks 2016)
  • “A central reason for utilization of Performance Appraisal is performance improvement of the employees.” In the light of the statement, analyze the needs of Performance Appraisal in an organization. (15 marks 2016)
  • “Disciplinary action may be informal and formal.” Explain and point out the provisions made in the Constitution or Statute to check the misuse of power to take disciplinary action. (15 marks 2016)
  • “360 degree performance appraisal system is a rational idea, but it involves complex and inauthentic procedures”. How can it be made foolproof?(10 marks, 2017 )
  • ”Lateral entry of competent experts into the government will promote freshness and innovation, but it can create problems of accountability.” (15 marks, 2017)
  • “Various components of Human Resource Management are inter- related .” Discuss(20  marks, 2017)
  • “Administrative ethics includes the code of conduct of civil servants, but goes beyond it as well.” Discuss(15  marks, 2017)
  • “Administrative values have no value unless they are valued by all stakeholders of the governance system." Comment. (15 marks 2018)
  •  “Lateral entry is an antidote to complacency in civil service.” Discuss. (15 marks 2018)
  • Currently, administrative training focuses more on improving efficiency than on transforming the attitudes and behaviour of civil servants. What type of training will you suggest to fill this gap ? Elaborate. (15 marks 2018)
  • “Governance is neither a paradigm nor a panacea for all the ills of government. It may be a more useful approach when other methods fail in providing public service.” Critically evaluate. (20 Marks, 2019)
  • A more effective system of performance appraisal should acknowledge the subjective elements in it and be less obsessed with the objective criteria. Elucidate. (15 Marks, 2019)
  • The imperatives of administrative ethics are necessarily an antidote to “I was only obeying the orders” argument by public official. Explain. (15 Marks, 2019)
  • In the absence of a merit-based, fair and objective civil service a more partisan and corrupt government will emerge. Is the statement justified? Give reason. (15 Marks, 2019) 
  • "Prevention of misconduct requires institutionalization of ethical values at the political and administrative levels." Justify.(10 Marks, 2020) 
  • "Performance Management Framework enables a clear line of sight between planning, measuring and monitoring performance." Critically analyse.(15 Marks, 2020)

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Public Administration for UPSC Mains Exams Study Kit

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