Candidates are given the choice to choose an optional subject from 48 different subjects for their IAS exam.  Students can choose Public Administration as an optional subject.  This subject will also play a role if you become an IAS officer.

This subject is chosen by students who aim to be IAS officers as it helps them understand the job well. As every other optional subject, there will be 2 papers for Public Administration, each of 250 marks. Making it a total of 500 marks.

Public Administration Optional Subject Syllabus

The Public Administration optional subject syllabus for paper 1 is:

  • Meaning, scope and significance of Public Administration
  • Wilson’s Vision of the subject and current status
  • New Public Administration
  • Public Choice Approach
  • Challenges faced
  • New Public Management
Administrative thought
  • Scientific management and movement
  • Classical theory
  • Dynamic theory
  • Human relations school
  • Functions of the executive
  • Simon’s decision-making theory
  • Participative management
Administrative behaviour
  • Process and techniques of decision making
  • Communication
  • Motivation theories
  • Theories of leadership
  • Theories
  • Structure and forms
  • Ad hoc and advisory bodies
  • Headquarters and field
  • Regulatory authorities
  • Private-Public Partnerships (PPP)
Accountability and Control
  • Concepts of accountability and control
  • legislative, executive and Judicial control
  • Citizen of administration
  • Role of media and civil society
  • Right to information
Administrative Law
  • Meaning, scope and significance
  • Views on Administrative law
  • Delegated legislation
  • Administrative tribunals
Comparative Public Administration
  • Historical and sociological factors
  • Politics and administration in other countries
  • Current status of comparative public administration
  • Ecology and administration
Development Dynamics
  • Concept of development, changing world of development administration
  • Anti development thesis
  • Bureaucracy and development
  • Impact of liberalisation
  • Woman and development
Personnel Administration
  • Importance of HR development
  • recruitment, training, career advancements, discipline, promotion, service conditions
  • Code of conduct
  • Administrative ethics
Public Policy
  • Models of policymaking
  • Process of planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and review
  • Public policy formulation and state theories
Techniques of Administrative Improvement
  • Organisation and methods
  • Work-study and work management
  • Management aid tools
Financial Administration
  • Monetary and fiscal policies
  • Public borrowings and public debt
  • Budgetary process
  • Accounts and audit

Also Read : How to Make Notes from NCERT for UPSC? Use NCERTs Efficiently to Train For UPSC

Public Administration Optional Subject Syllabus Paper 2

The Public Administration optional subject syllabus for paper 2 is

Evolution of Indian Administration
  • Kautilya’s administration
  • Mughal administration
  • Legacy of British Rule in politics and administration
  • Indianization of public services, revenue administration, district administration, local self- government
The philosophical and constitutional framework of government
  • Salient features and clue
  • Constitutionalism
  • Bureaucracy and democracy
  • Bureaucracy and development
Public Sector Undertaking (PSU)
  • Public Sector in modern India
  • Forms of Public Sector Undertakings
  • Problems of autonomy, accountability and control
  • Impact of liberalization and privatization
Union Government and Administration
  • Executive, parliamentary, judiciary structure, functions and work processes
  • Recent trends
  • Cabinet Secretariat, PMO, Central Secretariat, Ministries and Departments
Plans and Priorities
  • Machinery of planning
  • Role, composition and functions of the planning commission
  • The national development council
  • Process of plan formulation at Union and state levels
  • Constitutional amendments
State government and Administration
  • Union- state government, administrative, legislative and financial relations
  • Role of the finance commission, Governor, Chief Minister, Council of Ministers, Chief Secretary, State Secretariat and Directorates
District Administration since Independence
  • Changing role of the collector
  • Union state-local relations
  • Imperatives of development
  • Management and law and order administration
  • District administration and democratic decentralization
Civil Services
  • Constitutional position
  • Good governance initiatives
  • Staff associations
  • Civil service neutrality
  • Civil service activism
Financial Management
  • Budget as a political instrument
  • Parliamentary control of public expenditure
  • Role of finance ministry in the monetary and fiscal area
  • Accounting techniques
  • Auditor General of India
Administrative Reforms since Independence
  • Major concerns
  • Reforms in financial management
  • Human resource development
  • Problems of implementation
Rural Development
  • Institution and agencies since independence
  • Rural development programmes
  • Decentralization of Panchayati raj
  • 73rd constitutional amendment
Urban Local Government
  • Municipal governance- features, structure and finance
  • Global local debate
  • Development dynamics
  • Politics and administration in city management
Law and Order Administration
  • British legacy
  • National Police Commission
  • Investigative agencies
  • Role of central and state agencies including paramilitary forces in maintenance of law and order
  • The criminalisation of politics and administration
  • Public and police relations
  • Reforms in police
  issues in Indian Administration
  • Value in public service
  • Regulatory commissions
  • National Human Rights Commission
  • Problems of administration in coalition government regimes
  • Citizen-administration interface
  • Corruption and administration
  • Disaster management

Public Administration Optional Books

When you are preparing for UPSC prelims or mains, reading is your best friend! What that means is that you have to read content throughout and learn. Relying on videos alone won’t do you any good. You have to read about your subjects and also current affairs.

For that, it is recommended that candidates use books for public administration optional subjects. Like already mentioned, your optional paper has a total weightage of 500 marks. So, if you qualify the preliminary round, you will have to strap up and be ready to get the most out of the 500 marks.

Books for Public Administration Optional UPSC

To boost your grades, a list of recommended books is given. They will help you to get a better understanding of the content and also have challenging questions.

  1. New Horizons of Public Administration by Mohit Bhattacharya
  2. Public Administration and Public Affairs by Nicholas Henry
  3. Public Administration by M. Laxmikant
  4. Public Administration by Fadia and Fadia
  5. Indian Public Administration by Arora and Goyal

Also Read: In-Depth Analysis of Public Administration Syllabus


Your IAS preparations are very tough, but to make it easier, a list of books that will help you understand the content easily is provided.

Books are your friend, and reading is your best friend. The more you read, the more you will learn. Public administration is quite popular among candidates and especially among those that dream of being an IAS officer. The subject may have comparatively less syllabus, but that does not make it any easier. Your hard work should never stop. So, keep working hard and await your results. All the best!

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