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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 Modem:
  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, pray 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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2021 2020 2019 2018



  1. Answer the following:
    a). Governance is about managing self-organizing networks." Elaborate.
    b). Two-dimensional taxonomy was used by Herbert Simon to describe the degree to which decisions are programmed or non-programmed." Explain.
    c). Examine the approach of public service motivation as an inducement to bring the desired level of efficiency in public service delivery.
    d). In theory, the 'civil society organizations' promote cooperation between people and public service organizations, but in practice, their activities restrict the promotion of government programmes. Analyze.
    e). Fayol and Taylor had different management perspectives, while having similar goals of organizational efficiency. Comment.
  2. Answer the following:
    a). Behavioural approach has been questioned on the basis of its utility in the analysis of administrative problems. Discuss the weaknesses of the 20 approach and the shifts made therein.
    b). Public administration has been viewed as a socially embedded process of collective relationship, dialogue and action. Examine the statement in light of the consensus achieved in the Third Minnow Brook Conference.
    c). Public-private partnership phenomenon has been transformed into a type of governance scheme or mechanism. Discuss its capacity to overcome future challenges.
  3. Answer the following:
    a). Integration of different streams of administrative thought to propound a universal administrative theory is hindered by the impact of culture. Critically examine.
    b). Judicial review, prevention of misuse or abuse of administrative power and provision of suitable remedies are the basic principles of administrative law. Justify as how various organs of the State are able to uphold these principles.
    c). Regulation is an old but increasingly necessary mode of social coordination and politial intervention into societal processes. Examine it in the context of globalization.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). The new public service model approaches governance on the premises of an active and involved citizenship, wherein the rolc of public officials is to facilitate opportunities for citizens' engagement in governance. Explain.
    b). Neo-Weberian State involves changing the model of operation of administrative structures into a model focused on meeting citizens' needs. Discuss.
    c). Nothing in public administration is more important, interesting or mysterious than leadership. Analyze the statement in the context of strategic leadership.


  1. Answer the following:
    a). The approach to the study of administration in its environmental context is especially more useful for developing countries. Comment.
    b). Gender equality and women's rights have laid down a strong foundation of development. Elaborate.
    c). Performance appraisal needs to be seen beyond the mere suitability of the official for vertical promotion. Explain.
    d). It's widely agreed that the government ought to provide the goods that the market fails to provide or does not provide efficiently. Argue.
    e). MIS has evolved and gone far beyond its traditional advantages due to technological advancements. Comment.
  2. Answer the following:
    a). Emphasis on cost control and reducing public expenditure has diverted the focus of government budgets from the basic objectives of reallocation of resources, bringing economic stability and promoting social equity. Examine.
    b). In modern context, Riggsian terms have not altogether disappeared, but have emerged in different forms with newer meanings. Discuss.
    c). A striking feature of economic development is an apparent symbiotic evolution of strong States and strong market economies. Analyze.
  3. Answer the following:
    a). Policy problems are increasingly tending towards being wicked. Discuss the capacity and preparedness of the State to tackle such problems.
    b). Zero-based budgeting was intended to get away from incrementalism, but cca up being the most incremental of any budgetary approach. Discuss.
    c). ICT has immense potential to transform governance and empower citizens. Examine.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). The successful attainment of SDGs objectives largely depends upon the wisdom, experience and farsightedness of the actors involved and their willingness to cooperate in the implementation process. Analyze.
    b). Groups work to elevate issues on the policy agenda or seek to deny other groups the opportunity to place issues. In this background, discuss the role of interest groups in agenda setting in the developing countries.
    c). Civil servants generally tend to exhibit the values and ethical framework of the political executives under whom they function. Explain.



  1. Answer the following:
    a). The Preamble to the Constitution of India provides a foundational framework of ideals and values for the Indian administration. Discuss.
    b). Examine the extent to which the ideal of Constitutionalism as 'government by limited powers has been a functional reality in India.
    c). Red-tapism is a major obstacle to the implementation of 'good governance. Comment.
    d). The role and status of the Speaker in the parliamentary system have their foundation in the Speaker's stance on neutrality. Comment.
    e). The Union government develops and practices strategies to administer an increasing number of existing local government services by sidelining local initiatives and discretion. Examine.
  2. Answer the following:
    a). Kautilya envisages protection, welfare and prosperity of the State and its people as the utmost concern of a ruler. In this context, discuss the significance of Kautilya's emphasis on governing, accountability and justice in contemporary India.
    b). District Collector is the most important functionary in district administration in India. In light of the above statement, discuss the multidimensional responsibilities of District Collector in effecting coordinated developmental administration in India.
    c). The role of the Governor is of a sagacious counsellor, mediator and arbitrator rather than that of an active politician. In this context, examine the role of the Governor in state politics in India.
  3. Answer the following:
    a). Recruitment is the cornerstone of the whole public personnel structure and it revolves around the problem of attracting the best. Discuss the essential elements of a good recruitment system.
    b). Traditionally structured administrative systems have outlived their utility. Discuss as how administrative reforms can revamp, restructure and redesign the existing governmental structure to meet the new challenges faced by the Indian administrative set-up.
    c). The government policy of large-scale privatization of the key sectors of economy may affect India's economic health. Comment.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). As a constitutionally mandated body the Finance Commission stands at the centre of fiscal federalism. Evaluate the role of Finance Commission in ensuring just and equitable resource sharing among the states and the union.
    b). Recent market approaches to public services present serious challenges to traditional and state-sponsored public service values. Evaluate the statement in the context of Indian administration.
    c). The increasing criminalization of politics is a major threat to the basic fabric of Indian democracy. Comment.


  1. Answer the following:
    a). No rural development strategy can succeed unless it is complemented by appropriate Panchayati Raj Institutions. Examine the statement.
    b). NITI Aayog has been constituted to implement the goal of co-operative federalism. Discuss.
    c). Responsibility and accountability are two major goals of Good Governance. Discuss the statement in the context of lndian administration.
    d). The Prime Minister's Office has become a powerful institution in itself by virtue of its role in decision-making on strategic issues of utmost importance. Examine the statement.
    e). Well planned and goal-oriented training programmes arc the backbone of the civil service system in India. Examine the statement.
  2. Answer the following:
    a). Budget proposals in the Parliament/ State Legislatures fail to ensure their effective scrutiny. the factors which constrain effective scrutiny of the budget proposals.
    b). 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts aimed at making the third tier of government powerful and effective for democratic decentralization. Critically examine the extent to which this goal has been transformed into reality.
    c). The National Human Rights Commission is handicapped by its jurisdictional limitations of not being able to investigate the cases of violation of human rights by the armed forces. Discuss.
  3. Answer the following:
    a). Contemporary urbanism advocates the integration of diverse modes of urban planning and management concerns. Discuss the above statement in light of urban development in India.
    b). Rural development programmes are designed to facilitate multifaceted growth of rural poor. Evaluate the role of some key rural development programmes in India in this context.
    c). Police-public relations in India need to be improved. Suggest measures to strengthen relations between police and public.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). In past two decades India's public policy on Disaster Management has shifted its focus from rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts to holistic management of disaster. Analyse.
    b). The institutional legacy of 'well-entrenched state' affected the post-reforms promises in India. Explain the statement in the light of economic reforms in India.
    c). Do you agree with the view that the civil service in India is losing its neutral and anonymous character? Argue your case.

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