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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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2022 2021 2020 2019 2018



  1. Answer the following in about 150 words each:
    a). Public Management takes 'what' and 'why' from Public Administration and 'how' from Business Management. Elaborate.
    b). Every human organisation shall start from System-I and ultimately end up with System-IV. Comment on Likert's statement.
    c). All tribunals are courts, but all courts are not tribunals. Explain.
    d). Classical Organisation Theory formed the bedrock for the modern organisation theories. Analyse.
    e). Interaction between the State and Civil society has hitherto been largely neglected, especially in developing countries. Examine.
  2. Answer the following:
    a). 'The administrative state is the creation of a power to bind us, with rules ... that are not made by legislature.' Discuss the constitutionality of the administrative state and its future.
    b). Transformational leadership requires high degree of coordination, communication and cooperation. Explain.
    c). Human relationists postulate that 'what is important to a worker and what influences his/her productivity level may not be the organisational chart but his or her associations with other workers'. Is it more relevant today?
  3. Answer the following:
    a). Barnard posits the zone of indifference as the human condition that animates authority relationships and cooperation in modern organisations. Examine.
    b). New public service celebrates what is distinctive, important and meaningful about public service. Discuss.
    c). Strategic communication ought to be an agile management process. Discuss the conceptualization of strategic communication for the government actions.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). 'Leadership is seen as dealing with change, whereas administration is viewed as coping with complexity.' In this context, discuss the contextuality of leadership and administration for the success of organisations.
    b). Regulatory governance frameworks have become essential building blocks of world society. Discuss their potential and impact in fulfilling the hopes and demands.
    c). Social auditing is not just saving the money, it creates positive impact on governance. Comment.


  1. Answer the following in about 150 words each :
    a). Development Administration 'embraces the array of new functions assumed by the developing countries'. Explain.
    b). Policy evaluation contributes fundamentally to sound public governance. Discuss.
    c). Weber's construct of bureaucracy has served a great heuristic purpose in furthering research in the field of Comparative Public Administration. Do you agree with the statement ? Give reasons.
    d). Standards are the foundation which do not replace regulations but complement them. Comment.
    e). 'Outcome budgeting addresses the weaknesses of performance budgeting.' Elaborate.
  2. Answer the following:
    a). 'The more exogenetic the process of diffraction, the more formalistic and heterogenous its prismatic phase; the more endogenetic the less formalistic and heterogenous.' Examine this hypothesis of Riggs.
    b). The environment and situational conditions under which the government operates have an important bearing on its human resource development practices. Examine.
    c). 'Lindblom regarded rational decision-making as an unattainable goal.' In the light of the statement, suggest measures to avoid policy failures.
  3. Answer the following:
    a). The results of Washington Consensus were far from optimal for transitional economies. In this background, discuss the change of direction towards post-Washington Consensus.
    b). A sound budgeting system is one which engenders trust among citizens that the government is listening to their concerns. Elaborate this in the context of budgetary governance.
    c). Performance problems are rarely caused simply by lack of training and rarely can performance be improved by training alone. Critically analyse the statement.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). The audit function has always been viewed as an integral part of government financial management. Discuss the significance of internal audit in improving the performance of the government sector.
    b). Most civil service regimes still equate 'Public Sector Ethics' with anti-corruption efforts. Discuss the insufficiency of Ethics-code in this background.
    c). Failure of Public policies has often been attributed to problems of implementation, while implementors question the policy design. Discuss the contestation.



  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:
    a). “The Indian federal structure is largely symmetric albeit with some asymmetric features”. Examine the status of States and Union Territories through the principle of weighted and differentiated equality in India.
    b). The Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan is a progressive policy. Analyse.
    c). “Indicative Planning, is a middle path of planning and market mechanism to ensure coordination between public and private activities.” Explain.
  3. Answer the following:
    a). “The New Economic Reforms during the past three decades have not only reduced the scope of industrial licensing and areas reserved exclusively for Public Sector but also infringed the autonomy of existing public sector undertakings”. Examine.
    b). “National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Ayog has become super cabinet in formulating the development agenda of our country”. Examine the statement by giving suitable examples.
    c). Despite the constitutional status, the District planning committees remained a non-entity in preparation and implementation of plans. Discuss.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). “The Indian judicial system has failed to deliver justice expeditiously”. Examine the challenges faced by the judiciary and suggest measures to overcome them.
    b). Analyse the specific areas of controversies with regard to Union-State financial relations, particularly in the context of one nation - one tax policy.
    c). Examine the role of central government in adjudication of disputes relating to water of interstate rivers.


  1. Answer the following in about 150 words each:
    a). Examine the lateral entry recruitment in government in the context of Part XIV of the Indian Constitution.
    b). Examine the role of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in protecting the interests of the investors in securities.
    c). Citizens charters in India have not succeeded in their objectives in making administrative system citizen centric. Do you agree? Give reasons.
    d). Following the onset of globalisation, the traditional bureaucratic model appears to have lost its significance. Comment.
    e). “The financial suitability of the Urban local bodies can become a reality only when they receive their due share of public finances.” Explain
  2. Answer the following:
    a). The recommendations of National Finance Commissions are more norms based than the need based. In the light of this statement analyse the terms of references of 15th National Finance Commission.
    b). “The objective of Mission Karmyogi is to enhance capacity building of Indian Civil Servants and improve governance.” Discuss.
    c). Parliamentary control over administration is no substitute for judicial control. Comment.
  3. Answer the following:
    a). In India, for the upliftment of majority of people, governmental intervention remains a central fact of life. Nevertheless, the effective implementation of policies depends on the ethical values of Public Servants. Discuss.
    b). Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) is today a primary cause of widespread and paralysing unwillingness on the part of government institutions to decide and act. Discuss.
    c). Do you think that the new localism relegate the spirit of 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992?.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). The main objective of Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 is to enable tribal society to assume control over their livelihoods and traditional rights. Critically examine the implementation of the Act.
    b). The effectiveness of law and order administration depends on cooperative attitudes of people towards police, than bringing reforms in the structure and procedures of law and order machinery. Do you agree? Give reasons.
    c). Examine the role of Lokpal in ensuring transparency and accountability in Indian administration.

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