For those totally newcomers, wanting to prepare Public Administration in Just 2-3 months.
- Why Public Administration is Popular?
- Challenges/Obstacles/Problems in Preparation
- Essential Books and Study Plan for Public Administration
- Core Study Material For
- Not Recommend Books!
- Public Administration is a very popular optional subject both in UPSC and state public service exams because
- The syllabus is relatively short, requires less mugging (compared to geography or history)
- Syllabus has a lot of overlapping with topics of general studies and Essay (polity, budget, empowerment, good Governance, disaster Management etc)
- Books, material and question papers of public administration are very easy to find in both English and Hindi medium.
- The subject is easy to understand, any graduate from any stream: medical, engineering, science, commerce or arts can get a good grip over it after to 2-3 months of diligent preparation.
- This optional subject is taken in huge number by both English and non-English medium aspirants, so when they get selected for the interview, the “success-rate” looks huge compared to Botany and Medicinal science.
- Public Administration is an “easy” subject hence any Tom, Dick or Harry can read the books once and (can manage to) attempt the questions. So it takes much effort to shine out from the Mains-crowd in terms of answer quality.
- Lately UPSC has started asking unconventional question, thus making the life a little more difficult. More about it under Back-breaking Move sub-topic below
- Keep in mind, selecting Public Administration as optional doesn’t automatically make you an IAS- hard work and good luck are essential.
“Before a science can develop principles, it must possess concepts” – Herbert A. Simon
So let us possess some concepts before developing the Principles of Public Administration Preparation Strategy. (PAPS!)
There are two types of questions in Public Administration (Mains) Exam
- They are on the expected lines, directly lifted from the books.
- They don’t require brain application, in the answer sheet you just have to jot down whatever points you’ve prepared (or mugged up.)
- For example: Functions of Cabinet Secretary or Functions of O& M office.
- Problem: even a 7th standard kid can read the book once and understand what it is all about.
- But when you actually answering in 150 words, you have to write down the specific points, you cannot beat around the bush, like you did in the board and university exams by filling up answersheets by garbage and repeated lines.
- And You cannot waste 10-15 minutes in “brainstorming or framing” an answer for this. You just have to mechanically reproduce the information from your mind on the piece of paper.
- The advantage of a static question is, you write down the points and get full marks (unlike Dynamic questions, where the examiner may be expecting for a different angle of answer or opinion altogether)
- Static questions give competitive advantage to rot-learners. For example if total functions of Cabinet Secretary are ten and you write down only 6, while others write 9 or 10, you are a gone case.
- That’s why always have a crispy “key-words” note ready for static questions . For example
- functions of cabinet secretary:
- 1. Agenda 4 cabinet
- 2. Advice PM
- 3. Newspaper case
- 4. Conscience keep
- 5. Chief coordinate
- 6. Select Jt.secy
- 7. Conference of C/S
—etc.etc.And so on.
^or in the book itself, write down the keywords in the margin of the same page . You can quickly do revision of it. Whenever you pick up the book for the first-time, just finish the notes making simultaneously.
“baad mein kar loonga” (I’ll do it later) approach is dangerous. You’ll have to re-read the entire topic again.
Dynamic questions are “not directly from the book”. You’ve to pause, brainstorm, think and structure an answer before putting it on paper.
Kautilya’s Arthashatra bears considerable similarity with features of Weber’s ideal bureaucratic model. -2009 Mains
Here, First you’ve to brainstorm the ideas, e.g.
- What was Kautilya talking about?
- What was weber talking about?
- How are their ideas related?
And then you structure a good answer out of it.
same way another question
Explain how McGregor took forward Follet’s ideas in the context of complex organizations -2011
Again If you’ve done proper revision, you can brainstorm the ideas very quickly else you’ll end up wasting 10-15 minutes in just trying to ‘recall’ what was Weber’s idea?
IF you start writing the answer immediately without thinking, you’ll end up beating around the bush and then 150 words limit will be over before you can even touch the ‘actual’ question.
- Dynamic questions are generally derived from some random sentences given in the standard reference books. (SRB)
- Readymade guidebook and Printed material from coaching class= only copy paste the chief ideas from SRB but cannot do the gem-stone mining.
- So whenever you read a book containing some analytical or philosophical idea about the topic, try to dig gemstones from it, and note it down. Suppose you read 10 books in the span of four months, it is impossible to do another in-depth reading of the same books before 2 weeks of the mains exam. Besides have to prepare general studies and other optional subject. That’s why whenever you are reading any book of public administration, after every paragraph,Try to summarise the idea for any key “gemstone” in one or two sentences, wherever applicable. Consider this example
Indicate the milestones in the story of development from Nehruvian model to the Liberalisation Model.
(asked in 2011’s Pub Ad.Mains Paper 1)
On the first hand it looks like a static question, just list down changing approaches of five-year plans over the years, then LPG etc. But (in my opinion) This question is lifted from
Mohit Bhattacharya’s New Horizones of Public Administration ,Chapter 10 :Development Administration. I’m copy-pasting the sentence from his book:
…In the Fifties, when development set out on its journey, The search was on for goods and things. Roads, buildings, dams, fertilizer, wheat, rice, these are the targets; development meant to direct it planned activities to produce or construct these things.
(journey=>milestones…is it clicking your brain? this is indirectly ‘lifted’ question by UPSC)
(Milestones hinted by Mohit in the same chapter)
- 1950s: Aeroplane perspective
- 1970s: Helicopter vision
- 1980s: Steamroller approach
- 1990s: Panchayati Raj.
Then you dress it up with Changing approaches in Five years plans etc. and The Impact on examiner, will be totally different.
Incrementalist paradigm posits a conservative tendency in public policy making.15m (2011 Mains Paper 1)
It is Directly lifted sentence from Nicholas Henry’s book: Public Administration and Public Affairs
Chapter 10 : Understanding and improving public Policy.
Note: Some Online question papers have typing mistake : “Instrumentalist” paradigm. Actually UPSC asked about “Incrementalist” paradigm, download the question papers from original site www.UPSC.gov.in only!
- A trademark move of UPSC to break the backs of coaching factories and senior players.
- UPSC Chairman has an affinity for ‘first timers’, as said in an interview. :(
- Now what does this mean? If UPSC asks a very routine static question from Taylor, Fayol or Weber, the senior player who has been in this business (with or without coaching) for 2-3 or more years, has lot of competitive advantage over a newcomer / first timer.
- The strategy adopted by coaching factories of Delhi is something like this:
- Heavy emphasis on Static topics of syllabus (Thinkers, Theories, personnel, Financial administration et al) combined with tonnes of mock-test answer writing preparation. Their preparation is very ‘professional’ : Ignore Public Policy and Development administration, you can take it out in ‘options’ and concentrate heavy on personnel , thinkers etc. Besides their ‘assumption’ : examiners don’t give enough marks from public policy / DA questions.
- For a seasoned veteran out of these factories, routine static question paper= walk in the park, easy 150+/300 marks.
- So lately UPSC has stopped giving importance to the static topics or “HOT” current affairs and started heavy on Development administration, Public Policy etc. And even from the core topics they are asking very unusual questions.
- 2009, 2010, 2011 UPSC has increased the intensity of back-breaking move, for both public administration and general studies paper.
- Those small town candidates who themselves don’t goto Delhi for coaching but follow their printed postal material and method of preparation, which they learned from some xyz friend who went to Delhi earlier.
- What happens to Innocent Bystander in Action movies? They get killed during the car chase of hero and villain.
- Whether it is Public Administration, or general studies, prelims or mains, innocent bystanders always suffer the most. Some of you might have first-hand experience of this.
- As I said earlier any Tom, Dick or Harry around can attempt 300/300 marks in the question paper, even after reading the books for only single time. Truckload of Juntaa from the coaching factories of Delhi, mug up the notes of Vajiram, Mohanti, Bhavani Singh, Sunil Gupta et al and paste everything verbatim from those notes, in the answersheets.
- The examiners check dozens of answersheets in few hours, gives below-average marks to these routine so your answers should be sparkling, unique, must stand out in the crowd, or you will also get average marks= no interview call.
- There won’t be any MCQs in the mains exam, your marks will depend on the content, quality, width and depth of your descriptive answers.
- Your vocabulary, command over language, way of expressing your idea, your handwriting- everything matters.
Ofcourse Coaching ‘sirs’ will tell everything that a “Customer” wants to hear:
Oh you attempted only 10 marks worth questions in CSAT Prelims out of 200 questions?
Don’t worry Betaa, cut off will be less than 5 marks! So come join my optional subject coaching!
Your handwriting is bad? No problem! it doesn’t matter.
Command over language doesn’t matter, you don’t need to maintain notes, you don’t need to remember the thinker-quotes, just read from my printed material.etc. etc. etc.
- But think for a moment: a rough estimate (not looking for statistical debates here)
- 12,000 candidates clear preliminary exam, 5000 would have opted for Public Administration, 2000 of them would be Senior players who’re already dead tired giving attempt after attempt, really hungry for success and have learned from their past mistakes.
- They don’t make such excuses, they never shy away from hard work. They keep making and updating their notes from every possible current affairs source or reference book possible. They keep revising it, they keep practicing mock-answer-writing at home at regular intervals. They hang charts of quotes, thinkers, factual data in their study table and room. They maintain separate pocket-diaries for revision of “easy to forget points” topics such as NPM, PCA etc.
- I’m talking about “THE” professionals. If you don’t work hard, someone else will and he’ll become the topper while you fill the application form for the next year’s preliminary exam.
- When you maintain your own handwritten notes, you are improving your handwriting passively and automatically. Besides in Mains you’ve to write for 6 hours each day. (each descriptive paper is of 3hours, and 2 papers per day). The speed and elegance in handwriting can only come through practice. Ofcourse you don’t need to become a calligrapher, but the totally negative attitude towards improvement that “Although I’ve really pathetic handwriting but I won’t do anything to even slightly improve it, Yeh Muj se Nahi Hogaa!” = know that there is always someone with better handwriting and better knowledge than yours.
For more in this regard, read my earlier post: 5 Levels of Preparation.
Donot waste your money in postal courses. Each and everyone of them is mere rephrasing and copy pasting the sentences from IGNOU’s booklets and some random data from internet articles here and there- ofcourse they too have a family to feed, I understand but they demand 7 to 12 thousand rupees and even more, for such “postal courses” – I’m against that robbing in broad day light. I suggest you Better consult the original source itself.
Some of these ‘readymade’ postal courses and printed class notes, intentionally skip the difficult sounding concepts
for example in Max Weber/ bureaucracy topic, they start directly from The Types of Authority (Traditional, Charismatic, Legal ), 10 characters of bureaucracy in “bulleted” points and fancy looking tables. The no0b amateur player thinks
Yes I got full command over this topic!! Public Administration is so Easy because of ***** Sirs’s notes! I’ve learned EVERYTHING!!
No you haven’t. The Real Max Weber starts way before the types of authority: Development of money economy, emergency of mass-democracy, protestant ethics and the spirit of capitalism. This is the reason why you’ve to read the standard reference books from well known authors, and not some chopshop coaching class. This is not a board or university exam, You don’t have to get a ‘First class’, You’ve to get in the merit list. Answers require depth.
To finish the syllabus and preparation of Public Administration in a limited time period of 2 or 3 months, you will have to do a very systematic and parallel Topicwise study. First, get the tools ready, because plan requires Simultaneous parallel study and notesmaking.
Move in this way: (similar approach for Paper II)
- Always keep Question papers and Syllabus in front of you.
- Read M.Laxmikanth > IGNOU->Prasad->Mohit ,Nicholas, Stephen etc, in that order.
- Note down the current affairs related to Administration, Government Policy, (the ‘Yearbook’ stuff)
- in paper one (theory): add the examples of paper 2 (Indian Administration)+ current affairs
- in paper two (Indian Administration): add the principles of paper one (theory) + current affairs.
- For Public Administration Syllabus Click Me
- All questions of last 33 years Click Me
- To download the Public Administration Notes of previous years’ Topper Mr.Om Kasera, Click ME
Let me Elaborate about the Books now
(For Hindi Medium) Lok Prashasan by M.Laxmikanth (TataMcGrawhill)
|Yes, it is the same legendary M.Laxmikanth who wrote that book on Indian Polity
- They can be downloaded in PDF format, fromfor free after registering a free account using your email id. (Nothing piracy or scamgame, everything is legit)
- Note: IGNOU’s Egyankosh.ac.in server is sometimes under maintenance, so I’ve compiled the material and uploaded in a separate article: click me
- But Why am I recommending IGNOU?
IGNOU= Indira Gandhi National Open University
update July-09-2012: If you want to buy hardcopy (paper booklets instead of PDF files) then read instructions by clicking me
- UPSC’s syllabus of Public Administration, political science, History etc all lifted fully or partially from IGNOU’s respective BA, MA courses.
- Their Distance Learning program coursebooklets, help tremendously in doing self-study at home because
- They’ve written it after going through various well known national and international authors by themselves. Thus saving your time from having to manually go through OG Glen Stahl, Nigro n Nigro, M.J.K. Thavaray, Rumki Basu, RK Sapru etc.
- At the end of each topic, demo questions are given and model-answerkey is provided.
- You don’t need to consult seperate books for public policy, e-governance or disaster Management because all covered under IGNOU’s MA module.
- Same way Personnel, Development administration, Indian Administration etc in BA Module.
- Besides all these so called famous and expensive ‘postal-courses’ or printed notes of Mohanty, Sunil Gupta etc are mere rephrasing of IGNOU coursebooklets. Better use the original source for free.
- IGNOU itself provides Gemstone mining for example Question in Mains paper-I, 2009
“Taylor’s contribution was not a set of general principles but a set of operating procedures that could be employed in each concrete situation to secure their application.” -2009 Mains Paper -I
Now where is the ‘set of operating procedure in concrete situation?’
IGNOU MPA_012 Unit#4, has the concrete situation specific procedures advocated by Taylor:
- A worker Suite to handle pig iron as a regular occupation, should be so stupid and phlegmatic that he’s mental make-up resembles that of an ox.[Selection of Workers]
- Influence of group makes a person produce less, the female workers are prone to such personal pressures and they should be separated from each other in such a way that verbal interaction impossible.[Work must be individual activity, not group activity.]
In Hindi, same book under title Prashasnik Chintak by Prasad and Prasad प्रशासनिक चिंतक: प्रसाद एंड प्रसाद.
For every thinker You should make a personal note out of it, preferably in following order
Do not confine the ideas of these thinkers to paper-I only.
Make sure to read even the “Notes and References” Given at the end of each chapter in Prasad and Prasad.
same book in Hindi, under title Lok Prashasan Ke Naye Aayam by Mohit Bhattacharya
लोकप्रशासन के नए आयाम.
|In terms of size, it is the smallest of all Public Administration books but otherwise considered to be the toughest and most important book for public administration.Mohit for Public Administration, is what D.D.Basu is for Indian Constitution.What will be your expression if you started reading Gita without knowing the back-story of Mahabharat?
Same is the case with Bhattacharya’s book. To appreciate the finesse and depth of his ideas, one must be totally aware (and well versed) in the routine topics of Public Administration syllabus.That’s why always start with M.Laxmikanth’s book on Public Administration, then read IGNOU BA booklet, then MA booklets and finally in the end read the sacred book of Mohit Bhattacharya.
Same way to understand D.D. Basu, one should first go through M.Laxmikanth’s book on Polity.
Mohit’s book must be read multiple times after an interval of few weeks, Because everytime you read it, same lines will give you a totally new viewpoint and gemstone.
In the Pre-CSAT era, it was GS+ Optional Subject paper (120 questions worth 300 marks).
And out of those 120 questions, 8-12 used to come out from Mohit’s book.
In older mains, UPSC would lift statements directly from his book and ask you to comment on it. It was a sacred book then, it is a sacred book now.
Any JBPS/No0b/Lord Curzon picks up Public Administration as an optional subject after hearing that it is a ‘scoring subject’.
^A grave Mistake that will lead you to your grave. Mohit Must not be ignored.
|Public Administration And Public Affairs by Nicholas Henry Not available in Hindi Medium but should be read by Hindi aspirants as well.
|Essentials of organisational behaviour by Stephen Robbins .Not Available in Hindi.
Apart from this, 2nd ARC report. Reading of Yojana, Kurukshetra Magazines etc.
Can purchase these books online safely with Flipkart by clicking links below, no Credit card needed, pay cash on Delivery only. Deliery in 2-3 businessdays.
- Administrative Thinkers by Prasad and Prasad
- Essentials Of Organizational Behavior by Stephen Robbins
- Public Administration And Public Affairs by Nicholas Henry
- Public Administration : For the UPSC by M.Laxmikanth (TataMcGrawhill)
- Indian Polity by M.Laxmikanth (TataMacgrawhill)
- IGNOU’s B.A. Booklets in English (Free Download)
- IGNOU’s M.A. Booklets in English (FREE Download)
- Reports of 2nd Administration Reforms Commission in English (Free Download)
- Yojana Magazines in English (free download)
- Newspaper (Indian Express/Hindu) for Current affairs related to Public Administration.
- Lok Prashasan Ke Naye Aayam (Hindi) by Mohit Bhattacharya
- Prashasnik Chintak (Administrative Thinkers) by Prasad and Prasad
- Buy Lok Prashasan by M.Laxmikanth (TataMcgrawhill)
- IGNOU’s B.A. Booklets in Hindi (free download)
- IGNOU’s M.A. Booklets in Hindi (free download)
- Reports of 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission in Hindi
- Yojana Magazines in Hindi (free download)
- Newspaper (Indian Express/Hindu) for Current affairs related to Public Administration
- Following books not available in in the Hindi medium, but should be read and notes made in Hindi language
- Public Administration And Public Affairs by Nicholas Henry
- Essentials Of Organizational Behavior by Stephen Robbins
(Gujarati, Punjabi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu..)
You can download Yojana Magazine in your mother-tounge for free
First You need to build the vocabulary and sentence formation to write formal answers in your language.
For example you can’t write “Public Administration naa principles” in Gujarati fonts in your answersheet. You’ve to be specific in your choice of words, it is “Jaaher Vahivat naa siddhanto” (જાહેર વહીવટ ના સિધ્ધાંતો)
- To get the vocabulary, first get some cheap (bogus) readymade guidebooks/ coaching material for State PSC exams for Public Administration. Read them, understand the language formation and vocabulary. Then read the standard reference books (Prasad, Mohit etc) in Hindi /English language, and note down the gem stones in your notes, in your mothertounge.
- Some Small town candidates studying in isolation- make a mistake. They don’t touch the Standard Reference books (SRB) at all , thinking that they’re only competing with their own Gujarati / Marathi fellows only so they rely only on readymade State PSC guidebooks and printed material of local coaching classes.
- But you must not forget that there are always some ‘senior-players’ in your own medium and state, who have made notes out of SRB and writing better answers than yours.
- Never underestimate the competition.
- Besides your papers will be checked by a university professor who himself would have gone through the SRBs, not some jholaa-chaap study-material and guidebooks that passes around in State PSC exams hence he’d be expecting a certain level and depth in your answers for IAS exam.
Mrinalini Sarabhai opened an amphitheatre in Ahmedabad – “Nat-raani”(नटरानी) , saying
“Nat-raaj (नटराज) is everywhere, but I give you Nat-raani”.
Same way, On internet, ‘recommended booklist’ is everywhere, I’ll give you a *NOT* recommended booklist.
I mean *that* 15-20 books list, each book worth 600 pages, for each and every topic and by the time you’ve finished reading those books, your son or daughter is grown up and giving board exams or auditioning for Indian Idol Season #45.
this “Not recommended Booklist” includes
Indian Journals of Public Administration (IJPA) by IIPA.
I’ve already written a post about why these journals are not essential and waste of time. Click me to read it.
Other recommended books from internet search
Well these are not recommend by me, because of the limited time you’ve, to prepare Public Administration.
- Personnel Administration by OG Glen Stahl,
- Development Administration by RK Sapru
- Public Administration Theory and Practice by Sharma and Sadana
- Indian Administration by S.R. Maheshwari
- RK Arora, Rajni Goyal,
- Modern Public Administration – Nigro and Nigro.
- Public Administration :Theory and Concepts by Avasthi Maheshwari,
- Indian Administration Avasthi and Avasthi
- Fadia and Fadia
- District Administration SS Khera
- Public Administration Theory and concepts – Rumki Basu
- Financial administration of India – M.J.K. Thavaray
- Comparative administration : public administration a comparative perspective – Ferrel Heady
- State administration – J.D. Shukla
- District administration — S. S. Khera
- and so on.
Why these are *NOT* Recommended books by me?
- SS Khera wrote book on “District Administration” in the era of 1970s. So much has changed now. District administration isn’t the same!
- M.J.K. Thavaray: goes in too depth for finance including all mathametical stuff, suited for Economics course.
- Fadia, Avasthi and Sadana= all of three of them have almost one and same stuff, They contain part theory and part Indian administration. barely any difference. Still if you want to purchase one of them, I would suggest Indian Administration by Avasthi and Avasthi. However most of his ideas are covered in BA Indin Administration module.
- Fadia had good chapter on Administrative systems of US,UK,France but that topic was in prelims Pub ad.exam and now optionals are removed from prelims.
- I think Arora and Goyal (Indian Administration) is not updated after 1998 and Indian administration has changed thoroughly by now. Whatever good static topics it had, are already covered in IGNOU, besides nowadays rarely direct questions from static Indian Administration e.g. functions of PM or Powers of the President/ Governor.
- Nigro and Nigro, again lot of overlapping with Nicholas and almost covered under other books.
- Comparative Pub.Ad by Ferrel Heady- come on, we don’t have to do Ph.D here, besides in CPA UPSC doesn’t go in much depth beyond Fred Riggs – and he is already covered well in Laxmi, Mohit, Prasad and IGNOU.
- Ofcourse these are renowned authors and if you’ve 8-10 months in your hand, you could refer to even more books and note down the gemstones out of it. But if you only have 2,3 or 4 months before the mains and also second optional subject + infinite General studies preparation, it’ll be hard to do justice to all these standard reference books.
- I’m not saying UPSC will not ask any question out of these books.
- Remember what Herbert A. Simon said in bounded rationality, quoting from Administrative Thinkers by Prasad and Prasad
The administrative man cannot pursue all possible alternatives, cannot predict all possible consequences, he, instead of attempting to arrive at optimal solutions, makes a choice with with relatively simple rule of thumb that does not make impossible demands upon his capacity for thought.
Since he cannot maximise, he settles down with ‘Satisficing’ : the choice of a course of action which is satisfactory or good enough.
- Since you’re an Administrative man, you cannot ‘Maximize’, you’ve to settle by ‘satisficing’.
- Besides most of the gemstones given in them are covered in BA, MA booklets of IGNOU already. To be Continued