Public Administration Strategy & Studyplan


Dear Aspirants,
PA is divided into two papers. While Paper-I has contents related to the discipline of PA itself, Paper-II is more about Indian Administration. To begin with, students must first understand what PA is all about. Read the syllabus thoroughly and go through old question papers. This way, you will get a feel of the subject and you will be able to decide whether to take this subject or not.Rahul Pandey (rank-52) who scored 230 in year 2014 has written on his blog: – “The secret of success for writing good answers in Public Administration lies in understanding the questions. Most of the students fail to write good answers simply because of their failure to understand the questions. In the last two years, UPSC has deliberately increased the difficulty levels of question paper as they are more interested in those students who have conceptual clarity and ability to write those concepts in a simple manner.”
In PA answer writing is very important and this is a skill that can be mastered only with practice. The more you write answers, the more confidence you will gain of handling new questions in the exam. Handwriting does not matter as long as it is legible. Initially, you need not worry about time limit but later on you must practice writing test-papers within the allotted time. Once you have given the tests, come home and sit down with your answer sheet and question paper. Think calmly as to what points you missed in the questions you attempted. How you could have improved a particular answer. Think as to what is unique in your answer that may not be found in others’ answer scripts. It is always a good idea to underline basic points of your answer especially in short answer questions. Do not forget to think over questions that you did not attempt in the practice test.


Thing to remember in pub ad

  • The most important thing in pud-ad is conceptual clarity. Unfortunately most of us rely completely on coaching notes and end up having only superficial knowledge which is very dangerous in present setup of UPSC exam and especially in pub-ad.
  • Untill n unless you have conceptual clarity you won’t be able to understand the question in the first place.
  • All of us write answers in pub-ad and feel that we have written it well but the problem is most of us interpret questions differently and end up writing different answers. The correct interpretation of question will only happen if ur concepts are clear.
  • Eventhough you have xyz coaching notes, you need to study some basic books so that you develop good understanding of the subject. Books can vary from person to person.. there are many books on pub-ad, all of them are equally good but whichever book you are studying ,study it well and study it multiple times.
  • Answer writing is very important in pub-ad. You must write some answers before mains and show it your pub-ad trainer or your fellow aspirant. It would be great if you share it with someone scoring good marks .
  • Use as simple language as possible. Strict no to flowery language without any content. This is not semester exam of B.Tech/ MBA. They will punish you if you start faking answers by using flowery language.
  • One of the very important thing which we must follow while writing answers is our ability to interlink Paper-1 and Paper-2. For this u must remember syllabus completely. Read the syllabus everyday for 5 minutes. Close your eyes and try to interlink them.

Standard sources and booklist for pub ad

In pub ad, there is no dearth of information. Aspirants will have access to all kinds of coaching notes, books and other publications. One must be careful not to waste time in covering everything from all sources. Be very choosy about what sources you refer to and then stick to them even if your friends refer different sources. Revise your material again and again.

Some standard books for Public Administration are-

There is no need to read all the books from cover to cover. Prepare topic wise in a comprehensive manner. Use examples, contemporary relevance, case studies etc. Read case studies from The Hindu, Frontline, Kurukshetra and Yojana. Following is the more elaborate discussion on books to be referred for each section of the syllabus.



The information from this topic can be used in answering questions of other units as well. This is a very scoring area. Paradigms of Public Administration by Nicholas Henry(only few pages), New Horizons in Public Administration by Mohit Bhattacharya . Restructuring Public Administration A New Look by Mohit Bhattacharya.

  1. Administrative Thought:

You must know the theories of various scholars very well. Try to go in as much detail as you can but do not go into unnecessary details. Writing some details (but not all details) gives a unique touch to your answers. Read from Prasad and Prasad. This is also a very scoring area.

  1. Administrative Behaviour:

For this chapter, read from Sharma and Sadana. It is a very good source of information. Other books like Prasad & Prasad, New Horizons of Public Administration by Mohit Bhattacharya . Organization Behaviour by Stephen robbins are also helpful.

  1. Organisations:

This is a relatively small chapter which can be studied from any standard book.

  1. Accountability and Control:

New Horizons of Public Administration by Mohit Bhattacharya, 2nd ARC report. Fadia & Fadia Paper-1 .There is a lot of scope of innovation in this topic in the sense that you will often be able to correlate it to news items/editorials in the news papers and you will also find many case studies. If questions come from this area there is ample scope for you to give some unique points that may not be found in most of the answer scripts.

  1. Administrative Law:

For this Chapter, you can refer to Sharma and Sadana or Fadia & Fadia Paper-1 and newspapers. It is a very scoring area. Information may also be pooled in from Awasthi and Maheshwari and GS Polity notes. Just like for the previous Unit, if questions come from this area there is ample scope for you to give some unique points that may not be found in most of the answer scripts.

  1. Comparative Public Administration:

Prasad and Prasad (Riggs) ,CPA by Ramesh K Arora, Fadia & Fadia Paper-1

  1. Development Dynamics:

This is a very important Chapter even though questions may not be asked every year but material from this chapter can be used in other topics too. Social Theory and Development Administration by Mohit Bhattacharya, Fadia &Fadia Paper-1.

  1. Personnel Administration:

New Horizons of Public Administration by Mohit Bhattacharya, 2nd ARC. Make sure to quote ARC recommendations and reports of other relevant committees as and when appropriate.

  1. Public Policy:

For this chapter, IGNOU notes are a very good source apart from class notes. Questions are not asked regularly but students must focus on Policy Implementation and Policy Evaluation. Also keep an eye out in news papers and magazines for latest information in this topic.

  1. Techniques of Administrative Improvement:

This is a small chapter and may be studied from printed material and Internet. There is a lot of scope of giving unique points in this chapter. Fadia & Fadia, Mohit Bhattacharya can be referred for this.

  1. Financial Administration:

This is a very important chapter and students must study it thoroughly. Study this chapter along with Financial Management of Paper-II comprehensively as a single unit. Contained in Sharma and Sadana, 2nd ARC.

Paper- II

While answering Indian Administration questions, answer with respect to Constitution, Preamble, etc and how the issue is in conformity with basic structure. For this paper 2nd ARC is the most important study source. Aaprt from that Economic survey is also very good for collection of datas. And news related to administrative problems and reforms are also very very useful.

  1. Evolution of Indian Administration:

This is a scoring area although there is little scope of uniqueness in this topic. It is given very well in Rajini Goyal and Arora.

  1. Philosophical and Constitutional framework of government:

Rajini Goyal and Arora, class notes and D.D. Basu. Remember to always correlate answer in this topic with Constitution and current Parliamentary enactments.

  1. Public Sector Undertakings:

This is a topic that is best covered from IJPA articles and also from Laxmikant.

  1. Union Government and Administration:

GS Polity notes, Rajini Goyal and Arora and newspapers. There is a lot of scope to innovate in this topic by quoting current practices of our Parliamentary system and comparing them with practices in other nations especially USA and UK.

  1. Plans and Priorities:

Indian Administration by Rajni Goyal and Ramesh K Arora. 12th plan approach paper of Planning Commission since planning commission is sacked stay glued to newspaper for updation on this topics.

  1. State Government and Administration:

Same sources and approach as Chapter-4.

  1. District Administration since Independence:

Refer to Rajini Goyal and Arora, IJPA articles and the book by Avasthi and Avasthi.

  1. Civil Services:

Same sources and approach as Chapter-9 of Paper-I.

  1. Financial Management:

Same sources and approach as Chapter-12 of Paper-I.

  1. Administrative Reforms since Independence:

For this chapter read the reports of various committees. If you are not able to read entire reports then read their summaries. Lay emphasis on understanding the overall picture of administrative reforms in our nation since Independence. Also, you must use information from this topic extensively in answers to other topics’ questions as well.

  1. Rural Development:

Indian Administration by Rajni Goyal and Ramesh K Arora, 2nd ARC Report.

  1. Urban Local Government:

Indian Administration by Rajni Goyal and Ramesh K Arora. 2nd ARC Report. In answers for these units, first always correlate with Constitutional articles, then give basic points and then cite case studies.

  1. Law and Order Administration:

For this Unit, read Avasthi and Avasthi also 2nd ARC and Punchi Commission report.. I also used information from newspapers and Frontline articles. There is a lot of room of innovation in this Chapter and students can give many unique points in their answers.

  1. Significant issues in Indian Administration:

Answers in this chapter, if written well can fetch a lot of marks and there is a lot of scope of giving unique points by going into details of the setup of relevant institutions in India. For example, in Disaster Management, you can discuss the entire machinery at Central, State and District levels and details of relevant Acts.

Good Luck!

Feel free to post your questions below.

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