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Syllabus of Public Administration Paper - I

Administration Theory

  1. 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, Privatisation, Globalisation; Good Governance: concept and application; New Public Management.
  2. 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.)
  3. Administrative Behaviour: Process and techniques of decision-making; Communication; Morale; Motivation Theories content, process and contemporary; Theories of Leadership: Traditional and Modern.
  4. Organisations: 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Administrative Law: Meaning, scope, and significance; Dicey on Administrative law; Delegated legislation; Administrative Tribunals.
  7. Comparative Public Administration: Historical and sociological factors affecting administrative systems; Administration and politics in different countries; Current status of Comparative Public Administration; Ecology and administration; Riggsian models and their critique.
  8. Development Dynamics: Concept of development; Changing profile of development administration; ‘Anti-development thesis’; Bureaucracy and development; Strong state versus the market debate; Impact of liberalisation on administration in developing countries; Women and development the self-help group movement.
  9. 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.
  10. Public Policy: Models of policy-making and their critique; Processes of conceptualisation, planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and review, and their limitations; State theories and public policy formulation.
  11. Techniques of Administrative Improvement: Organisation and methods, Work study and work management; e-governance and information technology; Management aid tools like network analysis, MIS, PERT, CPM.
  12. Financial Administration: Monetary and fiscal policies: Public borrowings and public debt Budgets types and forms; Budgetary process; Financial accountability; Accounts and audit.

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Syllabus of Public Administration Paper - II

Indian Administration 

  1. Evolution of Indian Administration: Kautilya Arthashastra; Mughal administration; Legacy of British rule in politics and administration Indianization of Public services, revenue administration, district Administration, local self Government.
  2. Philosophical and Constitutional framework of Government: Salient features and value premises; Constitutionalism; Political culture; Bureaucracy and democracy; Bureaucracy and development.
  3. Public Sector Undertakings: Public sector in modern India; Forms of Public Sector Undertakings; Problems of autonomy, accountability and control; Impact of liberalization and privatization.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Financial Management: Budget as a political instrument; Parliamentary control of public expenditure; Role of finance ministry in the monetary and fiscal area; Accounting techniques; Audit; Role of Controller General of Accounts and Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
  10. Administrative Reforms since Independence: Major concerns; Important Committees and Commissions; Reforms in financial management and human resource development; Problems of implementation.
  11. Rural Development: Institutions and agencies since independence; Rural development programmes: foci and strategies; Decentralization and Panchayati Raj; 73rd Constitutional amendment.
  12. 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.
  13. 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; Criminalisation of politics and administration; Police-public relations; Reforms in Police.
  14. 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.

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Previous Year UPSC Questions

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  1. Answer the following in about 150 words each:
    a). Public administration horizons have been expanding to cater to the complex needs of the citizens in the globalised era. Explain.
    b). Efficiency, in the specialised sense, is an organisation's capacity to offer effective inducements in sufficient quantity to maintain the equilibrium of the system. Analyse.
    c). "The process of decisions ......... is largely a technique of narrowing choices." Explain.
    d). "The judiciary is playing a more positive role in policy formulation, not just in limiting government actions, but also in mandating them." Comment.
    e). "Citizen Charter's focus is on empowering citizens concerning public service delivery." Analyse.
  2. Answer the following:
    a). Follett firmly advocated for cultivating interdependence and collaboration among individuals as the key to resolving conflicts and establishing more harmonious and all encompassing social structures. Discuss.
    b). Minnowbrook III emphasised the importance of empirical research in generating valuable insights for public administration and recognized the need to tailor education in the field to different regional contexts. Examine.
    c). "Public- Private Partnerships (PPPs) have been justified in various ways over time that seek to privatise public services for the profit of private entities." Do you agree?
  3. Answer the following:
    a). "Organization theory is not a single theory with a loosely knit of many approaches to organisational analysis, and it provides different answers to different situations." Comment.
    b). "Intrinsic motivation in comparison to extrinsic motivation leads to enhanced performance and creativity." Examine.
    c). "The backlash against Right to information (RTI) by the State hampered the citizen's right to know." Examine and point out the need to amend the RTI Act to provide protection to RTI activists.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). "Reddin model of leadership added third dimension to the existing two basic dimensions leadership identified by Ohio Studies and Blake and Mouton." Elucidate.
    b). "Two-factor theory entails certain factors in workplace resulting in job satisfaction, while others, if absent, lead to dissatisfaction." Discuss.
    c). "Subordinate legislation has its drawbacks; this does not negate the fact that it is also quite beneficial." Examine.


  1. Answer the following in about 150 words each :
    a). " The Constitution of French Republic does not prohibit ministers from being the leader of political party; it is customary that minister should not occupy such a post to ensure impartiality." Explain.
    b). The ultimate goal of using Management Information System (MIS) is to increase values and Productivity in organisations. Explain.
    c)."Cost-benefit analysis is of great help to the policy makers in framing policies and providing advice on developing public policy." Examine.
    d). "Monetary Policy and fiscal policy are different; but both are used to regulate economy." Discuss.
    e). "Instead of conflicting, the employer-employee relationship should be one of mutual reliance." Explain.
  2. Answer the following:
    a). " The studies in Comparative Public Administration (CPA) got momentum in 1980's and 1990's with a new objective and orientation than its previous counterparts." Critically examine.
    b). "In explaining the 'development', Weidner made a distinction between change in the output and change in the system itself; and warned that what is growth from one point of view may decline from another." Comment.
    c). "Zero-based budgeting (ZBB) is based on programme efficiency rather than budget history." In the light of this, examine the advantages of ZBB over traditional budgets.
  3. Answer the following:
    a). "Public policy-making is an effort to apply the methods of political analysis to policy areas but has concerns with processes inside the bureaucracy and stakeholders." Discuss.
    b). "In career advancement, civil servants are necessitated to political superiors and hence the phenomenon poses the challenges to civil service neutrality." Comment.
    c). "Information Communication Technology (ICT) can harness the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to execute the policies more intelligently creating an efficient and effective Government." Examine and identify the challenges.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). "The management of sound public finances used to be the backbone of administrative system; but unfortunately, it has become the prisoner of populist policies." Critically evaluate.
    b). "Women empowerment is essential for sustainable development; hence it should not be reflected only in programmes but promoting concrete actions to ensure the participation across institutions and communities." Critically examine.
    c). "Training is not a short affair, rather it is a step-by-step process of developing skills, habits, knowledge and aptitude." Elucidate.



  1. Answer the following in about 150 words each:
    a). “Mughal administrative system was centralised despotism”. Comment.
    b). “The office of the District Collector admirably survived the changing times from colonialism to the present times”. Comment.
    c). “The smooth transaction of business in Ministries and Departments depends on the role played by Cabinet Secretariat”. Discuss.
    d). “The Government of India Act, 1935 is the most important source of Indian constitution”. Identify its features.
    e). “The Chief Secretary is the chief communication link between the state and central government”. Explain.
  2. Answer the following in about 150 words each:
    a). "Kautliya's Arthashastra is a theoretical work on the state and Statecraft." Comment.
    b). Critics, sometimes, argue that bureaucracy is an impediment to a nation's development. Analyse.
    c). “Indicative Planning, is a middle path of planning and market mechanism to ensure coordination between public and private activities.” Explain.
    d). Is it true that the Finance Commission has been lending Financial strength to the local bodies in India? Argue in favour of your response.
    e). "Parliamentary democracy in India envisages elected head as the real executive of a State." Discuss.
  3. Answer the following:
    a). "Indian Prime Minister is more empowered than his British counterpart in the Westminster model of democracy." Elucidate.
    b). Post-amendment period Panchayats have become a platform of competitive politics, but could not emerge as an agency of planning and service delivery. Examine.
    c). Former Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra observed: "An efficient judiciary is the hallmark of a great nation." Comment.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). India has significantly advanced in its development goals, increased efficiency in the public sector and unlocked innovation in private sector by adopting the approach of building Digital Public Infrastructure. Elucidate.
    b). "Attempts to prepare unified and holistic plans for the country are complex and full of challenges." Discuss.
    c). "Excessive political interference in development process has become a cause of concern in achieving national goals. Examine.
  5. Answer the following:
    a). "There shall be Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions, except......." This constitutional provision is being intensively debated nowadays. Elucidate.
    b). "There is a need to redefine and realign the functions of the Deputy Commissioner/ District Collector. Elaborate.
    c). Examine Project Bharatmala-Road to prosperity-launched in 2017.


  1. Answer the following in about 150 words each:
    a). The district training component of Induction Training of IAS officers requires to be revisited. Examine.
    b). "Mission Antyodaya strives to realise the vision of poverty-free India." Examine.
    c). The dynamics of coalitions vary with the nature of leadership, political parties and contemporary political conditions. Analyse.
    d). Computerization of treasuries has revolutionised the accounting and budget planning process, Comment.
    e). Do you agree that code of ethics and code of conduct for ministers would help in upholding higher standards of their constitutional and ethical conduct? Explain.
  2. Answer the following:
    a). "Civil Service Reforms along with a transparent transfer policy will go a long way in insulating civil servants from undesired political pulls and pressures." Discuss.
    b). "The withdrawal of AFSPA from Tripura has sent a positive signal across the state and North-Eastern Region." Do you think that now it is an appropriate time to take a more rational policy decision in this matter.
    c). The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is by far the most significant cleanliness campaign by the Government of India. Comment.
  3. Answer the following:
    a). Accountability of the Executive to the Parliament in the domain of financial administration is secured through CAG reports. Discuss.
    b). The government response to the Supreme Court's judgement on Police Reforms has been lackadaisical. The reasons are multiple and multidimensional. Discuss.
    c). Disasters can push the world's poorest deeper into poverty. Do you think that a a comprehensive strategy to deal with such vulnerabilities is required?
  4. Answer the following:
    a). In the context of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission recommendations, evaluate Public-Private Partnership (PPP) as a preferred mode of implementing infrastructural projects.
    b). In 2011, India ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). Evaluate the existing legal framework for fulfilling this commitment.
    c). Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission is a cluster-based approach of converging rural development efforts of different departments of the government. Comment.

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