Today we are providing UPSC Civil Services  Public Administration Paper preparation tips & strategies. Now we will teach you strategy of “How to Prepare UPSC Civil Services Public Administration Paper 2019“. This post is aimed to help you in forming your strategy for Public Administration optional for Civil Services Exam, considering its various aspects.

How to Prepare UPSC Mains Public Administration Paper 2019

The recent performance of Public Administration has not been very encouraging. A number of factors have contributed to the same which include relatively tougher papers; abstract questions; stricter evaluation; less generous marking; mysterious scaling/moderation by UPSC etc.

However, as the number of ‘Pub Ad’ applicants reduces year by year (given its performance), it may be assumed that the present trend is unlikely to continue for long.

To Prepare UPSC Civil Services Public Administration Paper for 2017, you need to follow below-given steps.

Step 1 : Know the Syllabus – Public Administration Paper

UPSC MAINS PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION SYLLABUS 2019. Get UPSC Mains Public Administration Syllabus, Paper structure & Applicable Topics covered in UPSC Mains Public Administration Syllabus. Earlier we’ve provided UPSC Mains Exam Pattern & Structure for 2018 & 2019 exams .

Read : UPSC Civil Services Public Administration Syllabus 2019

Step 2 : Select the Best Reference Books for Public Administration Paper

Books for Public Administration Optional

  1. Administrative Thinkers – R. Prasad and Prasad
  2. New Horizons of Public Administration – Mohit Bhattacharya.
  3. Indian Administration – Ramesh K. Arora & Rajni Goyal

4.Public Administration – Laxmikant

  1. Second ARC Reports

Step 3 : Prepare Important Topics

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The preparation for Mains must be over before you start with Preliminary preparation, as the Main exam syllabus covers nearly 75% of the requirements of the Preliminary examination.

If a student has not done graduation with Public Administration, the suggested strategy would be as follows.

(1) Surveying the syllabus of Public Administration carefully and identifying the completely unfamiliar areas.

(2)  Doing a careful survey of the past 5 years’ Main Examination Question Papers and identifying the areas of significance.

(3)  Identifying the most fruitful areas:

(4)  If we see the Main Examination paper of last few years, then it is obvious that the UPSC can ask even a short note on a topic which is otherwise quite long in coverage.

How to Study Public Administration for IAS Mains

Study approach for Public Administration

This optional is meant for Patience and Calmness. We need to make different strategies for both paper.

Strategy for Paper-1

For clear concepts, you need to refer books that deal with the subject in the simplest manner possible. Avoid poorly edited books or coaching material that may seem to cover the entire syllabus because they will not add much to your conceptual clarity.

Before referring any book, go through previous year papers of 20 years for that topic to become acquainted with the demand of the subject.

  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Organisations: Refer Sharma and Sadana for all topics except PPP. For PPP refer Fadia and Fadia. Please do not refer Fadia for other topics because this book, in my view, is poorly edited; very repetitive; lacks coherence and clarity. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  1. Personnel Administration: Sharma and Sadana should be referred. And as Prince Dhawan (AIR-3, CSE 2011) rightly pointed out this topic should be covered alongwith Civil Services of Paper-2.
  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. So read it selectively. You can analyse present Indian policy decisions with respect to the various models given here.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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After reading all these books once, go through Mohit Bhattacharya which is often called as the “Gita” of Public Administration. After finishing this book, you will begin to see the entire subject much more clearly and seamlessly connected. A lot of questions come directly from this book. Also, this covers the “new horizons” of Public Administration like Network Governance; Feminism in Administration etc. which may not be found in other traditionally rooted books.

Now, go through previous year papers again. Try answering questions. If you cannot, you will need a few more readings.

Start making notes from all these books in the second or third reading. Revise your notes as frequently as possible and as many times as possible. Understand the subject in and out. When you write, this understanding should reflect on paper.

Strategy for Paper-2

We need not pinpoint different books for different topics here because you only need to refer three sources:

  1. 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
  2. Second ARC reportscover 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)
  1. 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.

Answer writing

  1. For Long answers-Introduction can be either indirect through some lines or quotes or direct with general explanation followed by exact definition.
  2. Thereafter topic need to be explained in short followed by establishing links with other chapters and focusing on the question again. Here give a pause,read the question again & think again. Diagrams can be used effectively.
  3. Ending of the answers should always be visionary/positive and solution based with example if needed or with some lines.
  4. There should be mixed use of paras and points. Examples should be quoted wherever possible but refrain from using one enterprise again & again.
  5. For short answers, write the basic definition and then directly hit the core.
  6. Ending should be solution based. For merit/demerit/feature use diagram or points.
  7. Test series can be joined for practice.

Step 4 : Prepare Previous Question papers

How much time it takes to prepare?

4-5 months, if you study Public Administration 12-15 hours per week. This should be enough. Also, it depends on how much can you recall your graduation concepts.

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