For a UPSC CSE aspirant, the optional subject is also an important subject. In the UPSC mains exam, optional marks have two papers, Paper 1 and Paper 2. Each paper is of 250 marks which makes a total of 500 marks. The UPSC optional subject list contains 48 subjects in total, one of which is Public Administration.





  1. Introduction:
  • Meaning, scope, and significance of Public Administration
  • Evolution of the discipline and its present status
  • Wilson’s vision of Public Administration
  • New Public Management
  • New Public Administration
  • Public Choice approach
  • Challenges of liberalization, Privatisation, Globalisation
  • Good Governance: application and concept
  1. Administrative Thought:
  • Scientific Management and Scientific Management movement
  • Weber’s bureaucratic model its critique and post-Weberian Developments
  • Classical Theory
  • Human Relations School (Elton Mayo and others)
  • Dynamic Administration (Mary Parker Follett)
  • Functions of the Executive (C.I. Barnard)
  • Participative Management (R. Likert, C. Argyris, D. McGregor)
  • Simon’s decision-making theory
  1. Administrative Behaviour:
  • Process and techniques of decision-making
  • Theories of Leadership: Traditional and Modem
  • Motivation Theories content
  • Communication
  • Morale
  • process and contemporary 
  1. Organisations:
  • Theories systems, contingency
  • Structure and forms: 
    • Ministries and Departments
    • Ad hoc, and advisory bodies
    • Corporations, Companies
    • Boards and Commissions
    • Headquarters and Field relationships
    • Public-Private Partnerships
    • Regulatory Authorities; 
  1. Accountability and Control:
  • Legislative, Executive and Judicial control over the administration
  • Concepts of accountability and control
  • Citizen and Administration
  • Role of media, voluntary organizations, interest groups
  • Citizen’s Charters
  • Civil society
  • Right to Information
  • Social audit
  1. Administrative Law:
  • Meaning, scope, and significance
  • Delegated legislation
  • Dicey on Administrative law
  • Administrative Tribunals
  1. Comparative Public Administration:
  • Historical and sociological factors affecting administrative systems
  • Administration and politics in different countries
  • Riggsian models and their critique
  • Ecology and administration
  • Current status of Comparative Public Administration
  1. Development Dynamics:
  • ‘Anti-development thesis’
  • Concept of development
  • Bureaucracy and development
  • Strong state versus the market debate
  • Impact of liberalization on administration in developing countries
  • Changing profile of development administration
  • Women and development of the self-help group movement
  1. Personnel Administration:
  • Importance of human resource development
  • Recruitment, training, position classification, career advancement, discipline, promotion, performance appraisal, pray and service conditions
  • Code of conduct
  • employer-employee relations, 
  • grievance redressal mechanism
  • Administrative ethics
  1. Public Policy:
  • Models of policy-making and their critique
  • State theories and public policy formulation
  • Processes of conceptualization, implementation, monitoring, planning, evaluation, and review, and their limitations
  1. Techniques of Administrative Improvement:
  • Organization and methods
  • e-governance and information technology
  • Management aid tools like network analysis
  • Work-study and work management
  1. Financial Administration:
  • Monetary and fiscal policies: 
    • Public borrowings and public debt Budgets types and forms
  • Budgetary process
  • Accounts and audit
  • Financial accountability


  1. Evolution of Indian Administration:
  • Mughal administration 
  • Kautilya Arthashastra
  • Legacy of British rule in politics and administration
  • Indianization of Public services, district administration, revenue administration, local self Government.
  1. Philosophical and Constitutional framework of Government:
  • Salient features and value premises
  • Political culture
  • Constitutionalism
  • Bureaucracy and development
  • Bureaucracy and democracy
  1. Public Sector Undertakings:
  • The public sector in modern India
  • Problems of accountability, autonomy, and control
  • Forms of Public Sector Undertakings
  • Impact of liberalization and privatization
  1. Union Government and Administration:
  • Executive, Judiciary-structure, Parliament, functions, work processes
  • Intra-governmental relations
  • Recent trends
  • Cabinet Secretariat
  • Central Secretariat
  • Prime Minister’s Office
  • Ministries and Departments
  • Boards
  • Attached offices
  • Commissions
  • Field organizations
  1. Plans and Priorities:
  • The machinery of planning
  • The role, functions, and composition of the Planning Commission and the National Development Council
  • ‘Indicative’ planning
  • Constitutional Amendments (1992) and decentralized planning for economic development and social justice
  • Process of plan formulation at Union and State levels
  1. State Government and Administration:
  • Union-State administrative, legislative, and financial relations
  • Role of the Finance Commission
  • Chief Minister
  • Governor
  • Council of Ministers
  • State Secretariat
  • Chief Secretary
  • Directorates
  1. District Administration since Independence:
  • Changing role of the Collector
  •  Imperatives of development management and law and order administration
  • Union-State-local relations
  • Democratic decentralization, and district administration
  1. Civil Services:
  • Constitutional position
  • Structure, training, recruitment, and capacity building
  • Good governance initiatives
  • Political rights
  • Staff associations
  • Grievance redressal mechanism
  • Civil service activism
  • Civil service neutrality
  1. Financial Management:
  • Budget as a political instrument
  • Role of finance ministry in the monetary and fiscal area
  • Accounting techniques
  • Parliamentary control of public expenditure
  • Role of Controller General of Accounts and Comptroller and Auditor General of India
  • Audit
  1. Administrative Reforms since Independence:
  • Major concerns
  • Reforms in financial management and human resource development
  • Important Committees and Commissions
  • Problems of implementation
  1. Rural Development:
  • 73rd Constitutional amendment
  • Decentralization and Panchayati Raj
  • Institutions and agencies since Independence
  • Rural development programmes: foci and strategies
  1. Urban Local Government:
  • 74th Constitutional Amendment
  • Municipal governance: main features, finance, structures, and problem areas
  • Global-local debate
  • Development dynamics, politics, and administration with special reference to city management
  • New localism
  1. Law and Order Administration:
  • British legacy
  • Investigative agencies
  • National Police Commission
  • Role of Central and State Agencies including paramilitary forces in maintenance of law and order and countering insurgency and terrorism
  • Police-public relations
  • Criminalization of politics and administration
  • Reforms in Police
  1. Significant issues in Indian Administration:
  • Values in public service
  • Regulatory Commissions
  • Problems of administration in coalition regimes
  • National Human Rights Commission
  • Citizen administration interface
  • Disaster management
  • Corruption and administration

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