Public Administration Syllabus paper– I

Administrative Theory


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.

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 Behaviour:

Process and techniques of decision-making; Communication; Morale; Motivation Theories – content, process and contemporary; Theories of Leadership: Traditional and Modern.


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; Current 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 liberalisation 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 conceptualisation, planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and review and their limitations; State theories and public policy formulation.

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.

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 Paper – II

Indian Administration

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.

The philosophical and Constitutional framework of government:

Salient features and value premises; Constitutionalism; Political culture; Bureaucracy and democracy; Bureaucracy and development.

Public Sector Undertakings:

The 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; Unionstate-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 the finance ministry in the 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; Criminalisation 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.

Reference Books

Paper I:

Chapter-I: Introduction

  • Mohit Bhattacharya: New Horizons of Public Administration
  • Nicholas Henry : Public Administration and Public Affairs
  • Special Issues of Indian Journal of Public Administration

Chapter-II: Theories of Administration

  • D. Ravindra Prasad, V.S. Prasad and P. Satyanarayana : Administrative Thinkers
  • D. Gvishiani Organisation and Management: A Critique of Western Theories.

Chapter-III: Structure of Public Organisations :

  • R.K. Jain : Public Sector Undertakings; and
  • Mohit Bhattacharya : New Horizons of Public Administration

Chapter-IV: Administrative Behaviour

  • Paul Hersey : Organisational Behaviour
  • OR   Stephen P. Robbin : Organisational Behaviour

Chapter-V: Accountability and Control:

  • Mohit Bhattacharya : New Horizons of Public Administration
  • Special Issues of Indian Journal of Public Administration on Accountability

Chapter-VI: Administrative Law:

  • Massey :Administrative Law
  • OR  M.P. Jain :Administrative Law

Chapter-VII: Administrative Reforms:

  • P.R. Dubbashi : Administrative Reforms
  • G.E. Gaiden :Administrative Reforms

Chapter-VIII: Comparative Public Administration:

  • Ferrel Heady : Public Administration-A Comparative Perspective
  • OR R.K. Arora : Comparative Public Administration

Chapter-IX: Development Administration:

  • Ferrel Heady : Public Administration – A Comparative Perspective
  • ORR.K. Arora : Comparative Public Administration

Chapter-X: Public Policy :

  • IGNOU Lessons on Public Policy
  • R. K. Sapra : Public Policy

Chapter-XI: Personnel Administration:

  • O Glenn :Stahl : Public Personnel Administration
  • S. L. Goel : Personnel Administration in India.

Chapter-XII: Financial Administration

  • M. J. K. Thavaraj :Public Financial Administration
  • OR G.S. Lal :Financial Administration in India
  • IGNOU Lessons on Financial Administration

Paper II:

  • Chapter-I: Evolution of Indian Administration
  • B.N. Puri Administrative History of India (Vol. I, II and III)

Chapter-II: Constitutional Framework

  • D. D. Basu An Introduction to the Constitution of India

Chapter-III: Union Government and Administration

  • A. Avasthi Central Administration

Chapter-IV: State Government and Administration

  • J.D. Shukla State Administration

Chapter-V: District Administration

  • T.N. Chaturvedi District Administration; and
  • Special Issue of Indian Journal of Public Administration on District Administration

Chapter-VI: Local Government

  • S.R. Maheswari Local Government in India

Chapter-VII: Public Sector in India

  • R. K. Jain Public Sector Undertakings
  • Annual Survey on Public Sector of Department of Public Enterprises

Chapter-VIII: Public Services

  • S.L. Goel Personnel Administration in India

Chapter-IX: Control of Public Expenditure

  • M. J. K. Thavaraj Financial Administration
  • IGNOU Lessons on Financial Administration

Chapter-X: Administrative Reforms

  • P.R. Dubbashi Administrative Reforms
  • S. R. Maheswari Administrative Reforms
  • Special Issue of Indian Journal of Public Administration on Administrative Reforms

Chapter-XI: Machinery for Planning

  • A. Avasthi Central Administration

Chapter-XII: Administration of Law and Order

  • K. K. Sharma Law and Order Administration in India
  • K. J. Guha Roy, District Policing

Chapter-XIII: Welfare Administration

Annual Reports of Department of Social Welfare

Chapter-XIV: Major Issues in Indian Administration

  • Special Issue of Indian Journal Public Administration on Indian Administration, Retrospect and Prospect and on Good Governance.

Optional Notes – Available under mentorship program



  • This optional syllabus overlaps with GS II, III & IV substantially
  • Syllabus is shorter and can be finished earlier than most other optional papers


  • relatively tougher papers;
  • abstract questions;
  • stricter evaluation; less generous marking;

How to prepare:

  • Memorise the Syllabus.
  • Stick to limited reference books
  • Before starting preparation, go through previous year qps

Strategy for paper 1

  • Introduction: Read it from Sharma and Sadana or S Polianaidu. Supplement your reading with Mohit Bhattacharya. It will enrich your perspective. Almost all the pages will be important. We see little possibility of converting them into short notes. But you should jot down key ideas and concepts after second reading. Do not make notes right after first reading as you will not have a broader outlook of the subject and you may write everything in your notes.
  • Administrative Thought: One and only Prasad and Prasad should be referred for this. Since questions will inter-link thinkers, try relating the theory of one thinker to that of other. Also read the background of the thinker. You can always correlate his theories with his background for e.g. Max weber ideas on bureaucracy were also a product of him being under the German authoritative system of the 1920s.
  • Underline important lines/keywords like Mental Revolution, Zone of Indifference etc. Do try to remember some lines of these thinkers verbatim. It adds value to your answers in exam. Also, learn to apply these theories in real life administrative situations. UPSC has been asking case studies on the same. For e.g. you can relate Mcgregor’s theories to the present condition of the lower bureaucracy in India.
  • Administrative Behaviour: Sharma and Sadana covers it pretty exhaustively. For motivation theories of Herzberg, Maslow etc, you can also refer to Prasad and Prasad. There is immense scope of making short notes here. The topics are also very easy to understand.  
  • Organisations: Refer Sharma and Sadana for all topics except PPP. For PPP refer Fadia and Fadia. There is a lot of scope for relating this part to the Indian administration (paper-2). Quote examples and facts from the Indian context in answers. You need not necessarily quote international examples.
  • Accountability and control; 6. Administrative Law: For both of them refer Sharma and Sadana. For dynamic topics like Civil Society, Right to Information, Citizen Charters keep an eye on international and national developments. Quote them heavily in your answers. Use small case studies if possible.
  • Comparative Public Administration; 7. Development Dynamics: Ramesh K Arora – CPA is a brilliant book. It is a small book and covers the topic exhaustively. You can be assured of answering even the most twisted questions on CPA. For those who don’t have Arora, refer S. Polianaidu. Even though he covers CPA in a fragmented manner, it covers the topic thoroughly. Development administration is covered better in Polianaidu.
  • Try to use cross-cultural examples heavily in answers. For e.g. Pakistan is an unbalanced polity with military at the helm of affairs in major policy matters; but India is a balanced polity where all organs of the government get their due share in policy making.
  • Personnel Administration: Sharma and Sadana should be referred. this topic should be covered alongwith Civil Services of Paper-2.
  • Public Policy: IGNOU BA and MA Public Policy cover it thoroughly. There will be various modules that cover the same topic in BA and MA modules.
  • Techniques of Administrative Improvement: There is no single good source. Mohit Bhattacharya covers in a scanty manner, nevertheless go through it once. You will need to rely on the internet mostly. Questions from these topics do not carry much weightage.
  • Financial Administration: Combine this with Financial Management from Paper-2. Both can be covered from Sharma and Sadana and current events in India. A lot of questions are being asked from this area. Prepare it well. Try making consolidated notes of both theoretical financial administration and Indian financial management.
  • After reading all these books once, go through Mohit Bhattacharya which is often called as the “Gita” of Public Administration.

Strategy for Paper-2

  • We need not pinpoint different books for different topics here because you only need to refer three sources:
  • Indian Administration by Rajni Goyal and Ramesh Arora – entire book. Making notes is not very useful as a large part of the syllabus coincides with Indian Polity of GS-II. The book covers almost all topics exhaustively
  • Second ARC reports cover the rest of the issues. These are very high quality reports. Its recommendations should be used heavily in your Paper-2 answers. Also try to make short notes. Reports that should be referred are:
  • Personnel Administration
  • State and District Administration
  • Public Order
  • Disaster Management
  • Local Government
  • Ethics in Governance (Selectively)
  • Other topics are mostly dynamic. Newspapers are the best source. The Hindu, Indian Express and Livemint editorials frequently comment on administrative matters. Also note down any new policies, plans, committees etc. Make issue-wise notes. Questions from current issues have a very high weightage. Do not ignore these at any cost. You will also need to quote facts/examples/ideas from the editorials quite often in your answers.
  • You need not refer to IJPA journals. Even if you refer them where will you use the content in your answers? IJPA journals are PhD plus stuff. You only need a graduate plus level of understanding here.
  • First Cleary understand  the Concepts
  • express the concept clearly (logically) on paper which requires a lot of writing practice
  • relate the subject with current affairs especially administrative and political issues wherever is necessary.
  • Ability to substantiate your argument with facts, evidence, and committee reports etc.
  • Write  answer with theoretical foundations and perspective of various thinkers, contemporary Administrative Practices and comparative Public Administration angle.

Previous Year Question Papers:



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Sample Topper Answers(pdfs) : 

pub-ad Ashish Tiwari full length paper 1

Pub-Ad Paper II_Ashish Tiwari