UPSC Main: Strategy for Public Administration Optional
Q. What is the basic reason for ‘Public Administration’ becoming so
popular among the aspirants of Civil Services and State Services ?
Ans. The basic reason lies in the interdisciplinary nature and non-technical
content of the subject matter. The subject has lot of practical significance and
this makes it more interesting and understandable even to those students, who
are completely newcomers in the field of Public Administration. At the same time
every candidate has some basic knowledge of what administrative system is.
Public Administration is pragmatic in nature dealing also with Indian
Administrative System, which facilitates the success of candidates at each and
every stage of examination, that is, Preliminary, Mains and Interview. As
compared to other social sciences, humanities, Public Administration is more
dependable and manageable within a specified time period subject to the
condition that a systematic approach is adopted during the course of preparation
to meet the requirements of the examination.
Q. 2. Which is the most suited combination of the optional subject with
Ans. In view of the combined range of syllabus and limited span of time at
the disposal of the candidate, Anthropology, despite its revised syllabus, can
be the most appropriate choice. An analysis of the success rate of different
subjects’ combination at the Civil Services main examination is indicative of
the above mentioned fact. At the same time the duration between the examination
of the two subjects i.e. Public Administration and Anthropology is substantial.
With same logic, Geography too can be another choice.
However, in accordance with your own interest and aptitude preference can be
made for any other prescribed subjects.
Q. 3. What are the basic requirements for preparing Public Administration
in Preliminary Examination ?
Ans. (a) A cursory glance at the syllabus brings out the fact that it is
segmented into ten major topics but it has a reasonable amount of coherence. The
first seven topics mainly relate to structure process and behaviour of Public
Administration and the remaining three are specific to Indian Administration.
The interrelationship of various topics requires a comprehensive and integrated
knowledge of the subject.
(b) Memorization of facts is important but not an end in itself. Since the
Preliminary examination is meant to test a candidate’s clear understanding; the
understanding of basic concepts and the fundamental aspects of the subject is a
prerequisite to success.
(c) Since the syllabus is non-detailed, it is of utmost importance to take
care of the related aspects of the sub-topics mentioned in the syllabus.
(d) The application of knowledge, information and understanding are equally
important. This can be developed by practising questions only after completion
of the syllabus.
(e) While solving the questions, keep a record of performance and specific
problem areas which require greater concentration and more in- depth study.
Q. 4. What is optimum time required to prepare the Preliminary syllabus?
Ans. With a systematic plan of action the time required for success- oriented
preparation is about two and a half to three months. Two weeks preceding the
date of examination should be exclusively devoted to revision work.
Q. 5. How to systematically prepare the topic ‘Comparative Public
Administration’ prescribed in Preliminary syllabus.
Ans. While going through the subject matter, always take care of varying
references in the context of other countries, more particularly France, USA, UK
and erstwhile USSR. Try to develop an attitude of comparative analysis of
various administrative ideologies, institutions, concepts and fundamentals.
Q. 6. What is the best way to understand the contributions of the thinkers
in a right perspective?
Ans. (a) Learn basic theories and techniques of Managements relevant to the
subject matter of Public Administration. This is important because most of the
thinkers have been primarily concerned with developing theories to improve the
management of private sector.
First of all, try to understand the essential ingredients of any theory and also
understand the contemporary socio-eco-political conditions prevailing at the
time of the crystallization of the theories.
After this, the second step should be to understand the contributions of
respective thinkers under specific theories.
Q. 8. While preparing the subject, to what extent one has to be familiar
with Political Science.
Ans. Public Administration is an offshoot of Political Science, but has its
own ‘locus’ and ‘focus’. At the same time the functioning of administrative
system has direct influence of prevailing political system. Both these factors
make it desirable that there should be fundamental understanding of political
ideologies and institutions. It has to be kept in mind that a proper grasp of
theories governing political ideologies and institutions is must. In this
respect NCERT books (class XI-XII) prescribed for Political Science can be
Q. 9. What specific suggestions you can offer to prepare the Mains with
Ans. (a) The syllabus comprises of two papers, but it is never desirable to
prepare the two papers separately. The integrated approach to the completion of
syllabus is always desirable. This saves time and provides in-depth
understanding of the subject matter in a realistic manner.
(b) The main examination is generally considered to be highly subjective in
nature. But through objective preparation the zone of subjectivity can be
reduced to a great extent.
(c) Conceptual topics, like Theories of Administration, Administrative
Behaviour, Comparative and Development Administration, require extra effort but
are scoring at the same time.
(d) Comments, statements and observations by eminent thinkers, scholars and
administrators should be analysed with due emphasis to grasp their substantive
Q. 10. How to take care of the current perspective in second paper of the
Ans. The very nature of the second paper demands familiarity with political
and administrative issues of contemporary relevance. For this, develop a habit
of regular study of newspapers, magazines, and newsletters published from Indian
Institute of Public Administration (IIPA).
Q. The syllabus of Public Administration has not be revised for quite some
time. It is going to have a bearing on my score?
Ans. The policy of UPSC probably has been to discourage the popularity of an
optional either by revision of its syllabus or put a change on the scoring
pattern. As a corollary, Public Administration may suffer slightly.
Q. 11. What should be the best way to present answers in the examination ?
Ans. On completion of the textual readings, writing practice is must. Try to
attempt the answers in an orderly, effective and exact expression, combined with
due economy of words. In comment type questions your attempt should be to answer
well within the prescribed limits. For medium and major questions the answers
should be written in about 300 and 500-700 words respectively.
To conclude, it can be suggested that the consultation of authentic standard
reference books is crucial in the success-oriented preparation of Public
Administration. The growing popularity of the subject should not lead to an
impression that satisfactory performance is possible on the basis of general
readings and superficial knowledge. This statement is not to discoverage the
aspirants but to acquaint the prospective candidates with the hard realties
which one has to accept in the right earnest. Wishing you all best.
Q. 12. Please suggest some essential readings to prepare Public
Ans. Since the preparation of Preliminary & Main examinations requires
different orientations, the suggested readings for the two is being illustrated
under separate heading.
1. Introduction to the Study of Public Administration —L.D. White
2. Public Administration —A.R. Tyagi
3. Public Administration in Theory and Practice
—M.P. Sharma & B.L. Sadana
4. Administrative Thinkers —Prasad & Prasad
5. Public Administration —Avasthi & Maheshwari
6. Public Administration —Mohit Bhattacharya
1. Financial Administration : Financial Administration in India
— M.J.K. Thavaraj
2. Comparative Administration : Public Administration : A Comparative
Perspective (Topic No. 5 & 6) —Ferrel Heady
3. Administrative Behaviour : Administrative Behaviour (In press) —Rajiv Ranjan
4. Indian Administration —Avasthi & Avasthi
5. Constitution of India —D.D. Basu.
Relevant Topics : 1. Union Executive 2. State Executive 3. Centre-State
Relations 4. Public Services & Public Service Commission 5. Rights & Liabilities
of Civil Servants.
1. Introduction to the study of Public Administration —L.D. White
2. Public Administration —Mohit Bhattacharya
3. Administrative Thinkers —Prasad & Prasad
4. Public Administration —A.R. Tyagi
5. Public Administration —C.P. Bhambri
1. Basic premises : Modern Public Administration —Nigro & Nigro
2. Vaid’s Fundamentals of Public Admninistrative Series (Ashtam Prakashan)
(i) Principles of Organisation and Comparative Public Administration
(ii) Administrative Behaviour
3. Personnel Administration : Public Personnel Administration
—O. Glenn. Stahl
4. Administrative Law : Administrative Law —M.P. Jain
5. Comparative and Development Administration :
Comparative Public Administration —R.K. Arora
6. Public Policy : Public Policy —R.K. Sapru
1. Constitution of India —D.D. Basu
2. Indian Administration —Avasthi & Avasthi
3. Administrative Reform Commission (ARC) Report on
(a)Machinery of Planning
4. Public Administration —A.R. Tyagi
5. Issues in Indian Administration —R.B. Jain
6. Special volumes of Indian Journal of Public Administration
Specific Topics :
1. Evolution of Indian Administration : NCERT books (Class XI & XII) on
Indian History : Administrative portion.
2. Centre-State Relations : A brief reference to Sarkaria Commission Report.
3. Public Undertakings : Principles and Practices of Public Enterprise
4. Control of Public Expenditure : Financial Administration in India—M.J.K.
5. State Administration : State Administration—J.D. Shukla
6. District Administration : District Administration—S.S. Khera
7. Local Administration : Local Government in India—S.R. Maheshwari
8. Administration for Welfare : Social Welfare Administration—D. Paul Choudhary
Annual Report of Department of Justice & Empowerment