Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Public Administration Strategy

I decided to take Public Administration as one of my optional right after my 10+2. Probably, that was the reason that I took Political Science as one of my subject in my graduation.

I took the classes for Public Administration at SYNERGY, taught by Mohanty Sir. I was very impressed by his way of teaching. In my very first attempt in 2007, I could revise only his class notes and few relevant chapters from his SYNERGY books. Since I joined the classes after prelims in June, I did not have the time to refer to even the basic books on the subject. But Sir’s way of teaching was so good that I still managed to score 322 that year.

At times, it happens that a question comes in the exam about which you don’t have any idea, but you have heard that particular topic in the class. If you have been very attentive in your classes, you will be able to recall the context in which that topic was discussed. It has happened with me that by merely recalling the context of the topic discussed in the class, I wrote the entire 60 marker and scored good marks.

My strategy for Public Administration has been no different from other candidates. And I am really happy that this subject has given me good marks in all the previous 3 attempts.. 322, 322 and 329 respectively.

The foremost thing required is the seriousness with which you study the subject. What I used to do was that I used to cover the topic being taught in the class comprehensively from one other source and used to prepare the notes in such a manner that I need not study anything other than my comprehensive notes during the exams. This practice I followed throughout the classes. I ensured that I am writing all the tests on Sundays that Sir used to take. Every day used to be a struggle for me. Because, my targets were such that I had to accomplish them everyday.

In the Pub Ad answers, if you follow very general practice of being simple, you will score well. Don’t go for any sophistication and complication. Be straightforward in your answer writing. Stick to the topic being asked in the question. Go for a good introduction giving a brief about what all you are going to discuss in the answer. But, its still not possible to give the brief about each n everything you are going to discuss in the introductory paragraph. Just touch upon some imp aspects and move on. Never ever write a general answer . Try to make your answer – public administration in nature. Use the name of the thinkers as and when required. Thinker’s perspectives give a good touch to your answers.

For e.g. If you are writing on administrative reforms, talk about their weaknesses in the Indian context with respect to the Classical Theory, which talk about lack of initiatives by the workers, only monetary rewards, top down communication etc etc.

In my second attempt, I referred some other sources as well, but still I didn’t see a single mark improvement in my marks. Later I realized, what blunder I committed. Instead of using the names of the Pub Ad Thinkers, I used names such as Swami sachhidanand, Henry Ford, etc. This should not have been done. Stick to your basics wherein I lacked in this attempt.

Magazines like Yojana and Kurukshetra are your trump cards in this subject. Study them keeping the Pub Ad topics in your mind. If some case study is there , make a note of it and use it in your answers. A Yojana issue on Disaster Management discussed a wonderful case study on Community Based Disaster Management (CBDM). It showed how an org. called SEEDS INDIA used CBDM and came out with some very good results bringing people’s participation and juxtaposing disaster management with the planning process. Detail it out in your answers.

Be innovative in the Paper II answers. Use as many case studies as you can, but always interlink them with the perspectives of the Administrative thinkers. Show the examiner that you have an aptitude for thinking. Don’t write conventional answers. Make a vibrant “KHICHDI” of the concepts you have learnt. Apply them to the day to day life. Interlink them with the case studies that you read from various sources.

All this I am telling from my 3rd attempt experience where in paper II, I scored 185. It was the result of the KHICHDI I prepared in the exam. Use the examples of Public Distribution System, NREGA, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), UIDAI etc.. Even if you prepare 4 to 5 such examples with reference to Indian Administration, you need not prepare other such things. Use these examples at your discretion where ever you want. You will see the results for yourself.

Sources I made use of :


  • Fadia and Fadia
  • Sharma and Sadana
  • Avasthi and Maheshwari
  • Prasad and Prasad (for thinkers)
  • Laxmikanth for Prelims (for few topics,,I found it very useful for mains)
  • IGNOU MA notes
  • SYNERGY class notes and reference material


  • Fadia and Fadia
  • Arora and Goyal
  • IGNOU MA notes
  • Laxmikanth for prelims (Public Administration)
  • Laxmikanth for Indian Polity
  • SYNERGY class Notes and reference material

  1. Yojana
  2. Kurukshetra
  3. The Hindu editorials

(I may be forgetting the names of a couple of books. I shall post them as and when I recall).

I wish all the very best to my blog readers and to all the Civil Services Aspirants going through this write-up.

Cheers ! 


  1. THANKS A LOT SIR.............BUT IT

  2. Hi MIR,,Even if i try my level best, i will not be able to detail out a chapter wise booklist for the subject. You need to be intelligent enough to pick and choose the relevant chapters from the sources given above. Getting to know the right sources in itself is a good step in the right direction.

    With best wishes..

  3. hello sir,
    I am in B.A. 1st year and i have opted for public administration as one of my subjects. Do i need to take any coaching at this time and how much time is sufficient to master the subject?

  4. Hi Anonymous,
    Its good to see that right after your 10+2, you have thought about the civil services. I also started my preparation from BA 1st yr..

    Pub admn. is the most popular subject. It all depends on ur comfort level with the subject which will determine whether u need coaching or not. Any type of coaching is advisable only after graduation. At this point of time, you can simply refer certain basic books and get acquainted with the subject fully. I guess, 6-7 months are sufficient enough to master this suibject.

    Good Luck..!!

  5. Hi
    Thanks for the public admin. analysis ...it will certainly help me in streamlining my preparation however i have a question do we can just study SYNERGY notes+ Yojana/Kurukshetra + India Today/Frontline +ToI/Hindu and can sit for the exam or do we need to study all standard books mentioned above.
    All the best for ur results 2011
    Good Day

  6. Hi Shashank,
    Studying the books will certainly help. You need not go through them from cover to cover. Refer only the chapters mentioned in the UPSC syllabus. Further, its alw good to refer 2-3 sources for a similar topic. You will alw find something new. That ways, you tend to cover the topics comprehensively. At best, you can minimize the no. of books to be referred.
    Good Luck and Thanks..!!

  7. hi sir,
    i am manoj kumar and i am very much interested in looking myself in uniformed dress. i want to be a IPS officer. please reply to my mail sir.

  8. very informative post indeed.. being enrolled in http://www.wiziq.com/course/7408-public-administration-pub-ad-for-ias-mains,I was looking for such articles online to assist me.. and your post helped me a lot :)

    1. SIR,
      PLEASE PLEASE TELL by giving more examples as to how to integrate topics from paper1 into paper2 and vice versa.As u have written clubbing them will generate a high quality answer ,sir pls elaborate on that

  9. sir,
    pls pls elaborate more on how to interlink knowledge of paper1 into paper2 and vice versa by giving more examples.How can we inculcate this habit of interlinking, meaning how can we start to think on this line.Sir pls give a reply it will be very kind of you

    1. Paper 1 comprises of Thinkers, Paper 2 comprises of Practical situations in the field. If any thinker say something about people's participation, then he/she should be quoted on a discussion on Panchayati Raj Institutions. Likewise, when you talk about administrative machinery wherein decisions are taken from top to bottom, people down below are not given importance, there you must quote Taylor. Hope your are able to grasp the point. Think, think, think....

      Put more of stress on your brain, you will come out with more examples.

      best regards,

  10. hello sir...is it necessary to quote each answer with thinkers because all time it is not possible to memorize thinkers statements...and one more thing that how should one proceed if question says analyse CRITICALLY or DISCUSS.. reply please

    1. Remembering thinker's statements wil not be easy all the time. What i suggest is to memorise the essence of the thoughts and quote it wherever required. You can prepare a separate note sheet for yourself with a summary of essence of thoughts of all the thinkers. And keep revising it from time to time.

      best regards,

  11. Hello Sir
    I want your advice in my preparation of Pub Admn as I studied it irregularly from different sources now I am confused about how to prepare it perfectly. Sir I have bought books such as: laxmikant, Bhattacharya, Nicholas Henry, Prasad & Prasad, Avast hi & Maheshwari, and my IGNOU MPA booklets. And I am planning to purchase Mohanty Sir's Notes this month. Sir Could you please Suggest me Ideal Planning about This Optional from right this month of January to the end of May2014 ? As I am also preparing For Mains GS up to May2014 after which I want to prepare fully for Prelimn. Sir suggest me also if I have to buy any new book as I am completely new to this subject. Sir I am eagerly waiting for ur Advice......

    1. Hi Avadhut, You are on the right path. Don't go for multiple sources. Sources referred above are good enough. Confine yourself to these. Getting hold of Mohanty Sir's notes will be a good idea. But why not attend his classes if possible ?

      best regards,

    2. Thanks a lot sir......I now have requested for Mohanty Sir's Notes from Synergy......

  12. sir i 've opted for pub ad but now a days pub ad is not much scoring as compared to other subjects..how should i prepare for this exam....and how to write answer?
    thanks in advance