One of the most popular and commonly attempted papers in the UPSC exam is the public administration subject. In the mains exam, this subject can be chosen as the optional paper. There will be two papers (1 & 2) under this subject.
Public Administration Optional Subject deals with
- Pooling and managing resources of a country.
- Managing fiscal accounts of public departments.
- Operations for enforcement of public policies.
- Rules and regulations for social setups.
- Legal application of policies and practices.
- Formulation and execution of political processes.
Public Administration Syllabus for UPSC (Paper I)
Introduction: Meaning, scope and significance of Public Administration; Wilson’s vision of Public Administration; Evolution of the discipline and its present status; New Public Administration; Public Choice approach; Challenges of liberalization, Privatization, Globalization; Good Governance: concept and application; New Public Management.
Administrative Thought: Scientific Management and Scientific Management movement; Classical Theory; Weber’s bureaucratic model – its critique and post-Weberian Developments; Dynamic Administration (Mary Parker Follett); Human Relations School (Elton Mayo and others); Functions of the Executive (C.I. Barnard); Simon’s decision-making theory; Participative Management (R. Likert, C. Argyris, D. McGregor).
Administrative Behavior: Process and techniques of decision-making; Communication; Morale; Motivation Theories – content, process and contemporary; Theories of Leadership: Traditional and Modern.
Organizations: Theories – systems, contingency; Structure and forms: Ministries and Departments, Corporations, Companies, Boards and Commissions; Ad hoc and advisory bodies; Headquarters and Field relationships; Regulatory Authorities; Public – Private Partnerships.
Accountability and control: Concepts of accountability and control; Legislative, Executive and Judicial control over administration; Citizen and Administration; Role of media, interest groups, voluntary organizations; Civil society; Citizen’s Charters; Right to Information; Social audit.
Administrative Law: Meaning, scope and significance; Dicey on Administrative law; Delegated legislation; Administrative Tribunals.
Comparative Public Administration: Historical and sociological factors affecting administrative systems; Administration and politics in different countries; status of Comparative Public Administration; Ecology and administration; Riggsian models and their critique.
Development Dynamics: Concept of development; Changing profile of development administration; ‘Antidevelopment thesis’; Bureaucracy and development; Strong state versus the market debate; Impact of liberalization on administration in developing countries; Women and development – the self-help group movement.
Personnel Administration: Importance of human resource development; Recruitment, training, career advancement, position classification, discipline, performance appraisal, promotion, pay and service conditions; employer- employee relations, grievance redressal mechanism; Code of conduct; Administrative ethics.
Public Policy: Models of policy-making and their critique; Processes of conceptualization, planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and review and their limitations; State theories and public policy formulation.
Techniques of Administrative Improvement: Organization and methods, Work study and work management; e-governance and information technology; Management aid tools like network analysis, MIS, PERT, CPM.
Financial Administration: Monetary and fiscal policies; Public borrowings and public debt Budgets – types and forms; Budgetary process; Financial accountability; Accounts and audit.
Public Administration Syllabus for UPSC (Paper-II)
Evolution of Indian Administration: Kautilya’s Arthashastra; Mughal administration; Legacy of British rule in politics and administration – Indianization of public services, revenue administration, district administration, local self-government.
Philosophical and Constitutional framework of government: Salient features and value premises; Constitutionalism; Political culture; Bureaucracy and democracy; Bureaucracy and development.
Public Sector Undertakings: Public sector in modern India; Forms of Public Sector Undertakings; Problems of autonomy, accountability, and control; Impact of liberalization and privatization.
Union Government and Administration: Executive, Parliament, Judiciary – structure, functions, work processes; Recent trends; Intragovernmental relations; Cabinet Secretariat; Prime Minister’s Office; Central Secretariat; Ministries and Departments; Boards; Commissions; Attached offices; Field organizations.
Plans and Priorities: Machinery of planning; Role, composition and functions of the Planning Commission and the National Development Council; ‘Indicative’ planning; Process of plan formulation at Union and State levels; Constitutional Amendments (1992) and decentralized planning for economic development and social justice.
State Government and Administration: Union-State administrative, legislative and financial relations; Role of the Finance Commission; Governor; Chief Minister; Council of Ministers; Chief Secretary; State Secretariat; Directorates.
District Administration since Independence: Changing role of the Collector; Union state- local relations; Imperatives of development management and law and order administration; District administration and democratic decentralization.
Civil Services: Constitutional position; Structure, recruitment, training and capacity-building; Good governance initiatives; Code of conduct and discipline; Staff associations; Political rights; Grievance redressal mechanism; Civil service neutrality; Civil service activism.
Financial Management: Budget as a political instrument; Parliamentary control of public expenditure; Role of finance ministry in monetary and fiscal area; Accounting techniques; Audit; Role of Controller General of Accounts and Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
Administrative Reforms since Independence: Major concerns; Important Committees and Commissions; Reforms in financial management and human resource development; Problems of implementation.
Rural Development: Institutions and agencies since independence; Rural development programmes: foci and strategies; Decentralization and Panchayati Raj; 73rd Constitutional amendment.
Urban Local Government: Municipal governance: main features, structures, finance and problem areas; 74th Constitutional Amendment; Global local debate; New localism; Development dynamics, politics and administration with special reference to city management.
Law and Order Administration: British legacy; National Police Commission; Investigative agencies; Role of central and state agencies including paramilitary forces in maintenance of law and order and countering insurgency and terrorism; Criminalization of politics and administration; Police-public relations; Reforms in Police.
Significant issues in Indian Administration: Values in public service; Regulatory Commissions; National Human Rights Commission; Problems of administration in coalition regimes; Citizen-administration interface; Corruption and administration; Disaster management.
Also, Check Other Optional Subject’s Syllabus
Preparation tips for Public Administration
- Paper 1 is mostly theoretical. So a good knowledge of administration theories and public policies would help.
- Paper 2 focuses more on the functioning of the Indian administration in specific.
- Keep yourself updated in general knowledge.
- Everyday reading of newspapers is a must to attempt this paper.
- The latest knowledge of current affairs with respect to the ongoing government implementations would be bonus learning.
- Concentrate on theories of administration and popular public policies.
- Maintain clarity in principles of administration.
- You are strictly advised to make notes while studying for this subject.
- In the case of abstract questions, be clear about what you explain. If it’s a policy you are explaining, then please get your facts correct and then get to the core of the answer.
- This is a subject-specific paper and has to be approached in style different from the general awareness paper.
- Keep your basics thorough. Try attempting answers and get them evaluated by an expert. Do not hit the examination hall without practising good answer writing.
- When explaining principles and policies, take care to understand the logical connection between them, do not showcase different facts at different places, it could lead to a disastrous attempt in the paper.
- Take the current policies in place and keep yourself abreast about principles and facts regarding the ongoing administration. You need to be an expert in explaining current topics of interest at depth. Relate them to answers wherever necessary. It could fetch you more marks than expected.
- Take quotes from expert thinkers in the field and put this as an additional point in your answer. Each of your answers should carry weight age in terms of facts, substantial information regarding administration concepts, practices followed, and comprehension on modern-day status.
- Public Administration by Laxmikanth
- New Horizons of Public Administration by Mohit Bhattacharya
- Contemporary debates in Public Administration by Dhameja Alka
- Indian administration by Maheshwari
- Strategy for Public Administration by Lohit Matani
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