Public administration is one of the most popular optional subjects candidates opt for in the UPSC
civil services exam. For instance, in 2012 almost 50% of the successful candidates had public
administration as their optional subject. That is indeed a high number. Choosing an optional is a
tough decision and candidates break their head on this. There is no best or worst optional, only the
best fit for an individual.
Why choose public administration optional?
The subject basically gives you an idea about government mechanism. As future administrators, you should have this knowledge.
The subject is generally regarded as easy and simple to understand.
The questions are generally straightforward.
There is a lot of overlap with the general studies papers.
Studying this subject will help you even in the essay paper and in your IAS interview also.
Public administration overlap with General Studies:
Public administration covers almost 60% of the GS papers.
General studies paper II – topics overlap with public administration:
Indian constitution: evolution, features, amendments, etc.
Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States
Separation of powers between various organs
Dispute Redressal Mechanisms and institutions
Parliament and State Legislatures
Structure, organisation and functioning of the Executive and Judiciary
Ministries and Departments of the Government
Constitutional, statutory, regulatory and quasi-judicial bodies
Government policies and interventions for development in different sectors
Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections
Issues relating to poverty and hunger
Aspects of governance, transparency and accountability
Role of civil services in a democracy
General studies paper III – topics overlap with public administration:
Disaster Management, Planning and Budgeting
Challenges to internal security through communication networks
Role of media and social networking sites in internal security
Security forces and agencies and their mandate.
General studies paper IV (Ethics) – topics related to public administration:
Ethics and Human Interface (foundational concept of Administrative values & ethics of Public Administration)
Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
Public administration and Essay Paper:
There will mostly be an essay topic from ‘Polity, Governance and Democracy’.