1. Download GS & PubAd notes
  2. Public Administration Strategy

Download GS & PubAd notes

  • Mr.Anshul Kumar has secured rank 293 in UPSC Civil services exam 2015. His full length interview can be read here (Click me).
  • Mr. Kumar is sharing his General Studies (Mains Paper-1) notes and Public Administration optional notes for the benefit of future aspirants.
  • Click me to download them (Total 70MB PDFs)

Public Administration Strategy

Q. What’s your optional subject and why did you chose it and not something else?
My optional is Public Admin (PA) .  In 2012 ,there were lot of selections from PA . There was a wave of  PA  success , accentuated by Sir Prince Dhawan’s exceptional marks in PA. I decided  this was the optimal optional to clear CSE as easy to get marks, relevance of PA in GS and its practical implementation by an IAS officer (if I become ) . A decision UPSC made me regret later by  the step motherly treatment shown to this optional back to back in 2013,2014 and not so good performance even in 2015.
But I continued with this optional  because

  1. I found it very interesting. Learning about the thinkers ,their novel ideas  , new theories on administrative behavior .I never felt tired or bored of reading it .
  2. Problem of Sunk cost-à I invested so much in PA , that I found it difficult to let go.
  3. In 2013 and 2014 my public admin marks were relatively good .

Q. If a new player wants to pick this subject, would you advice for it or against it? (e.g. every senior player in Public Administration seems to be advising against pub.ad)
Only if you are die hard fan of public administration theories and thinkers , only than you take it . (“Khoon ke aanson rulata hai ye optional ”).
I would suggest , go for a technical subject like Maths ,Engineering  . Just look at stats , in 2015 the highest is 267 while average about 210 while in maths it may be more average of selected candidates is more than 250 .  Other ‘hot’ optionals today are  anthropology , agriculture (less syllabus , relatively better score ) . So decide accordingly.
Q. First the essential book/resource list. (Also mention which one is the “Base book” for covering the theory? + Whatever comments you’ve for a particular book e.g. “my seniors said read xyz book but I found that ABC book was better”.  “xyz topic not given properly in this book, so prepare from xyz website or book…” OR and so on.)
My base in Paper 1 was Mohanty sir’s class notes . Whenever he covered a topic I left 3 pages after it . Here I added my personal notes added from different sources .
My Booklist :

  • Prasad and Prasad – Read the Critical analysis part especially on every thinker.
  • Nicholas Henry –Evolution
  • Ramesh Arora –CPA
  • Lukmaan class notes- These are good addition to mohanty sir’s notes (“ jahan Mohanty sir khatam karte hain , wahan se Ansari sir shuru karte hain “)
  • Mohit Bhattacharya –some topics like Introduction , feminism , CPM etc


  • Arora and Goyal –most of the topics like union govt. ,CAG etc.
  • Newspaper and Current Affairs ,Yojana
  • Second ARC- read it one time and made notes
  • Puri Sir class notes.
  • Vajiram Polity Notes .

Q. How much of internet-research / current affairs is necessary for this optional? OR can one simply rely on the books and be done with this subject?
In paper 1, there was limited use of web .I used it particularly to bring clarity on new topics like post modernism ,  new theories .
In paper 2 , I relied extensively on Current Affairs . I used to update my notes with current affairs on every topic . For eg –When reading Governor , I will search what were important news related to Governors office in last year, its possible questions.
Q. How many months did it take to finish the core optional syllabus?
It takes around 4 months to finish the core syllabus of Public Admin .To score in Public admin however ,  you require an edge because competition is more and questions are tough .So you need to broaden and deepen your understanding of the subject and this may take time . First you should learn by heart the basic ideas or theories and only than go deeper .For eg. For 3 times I wrote mains , I added some new things in my notes in each attempt .This is to enrich your answer. But this requires time and maturity in the subject . So be patient ,strengthen basics first and if time is there work on enriching it.
visit Mrunal.org/DOWNLOAD for more Toppers notes and study material.