It is quite a dilemma, especially for students of the science stream/ bio background, to choose optional subjects as they are entirely shifting to a new area, “The Humanities”.
Since optional subjects are meant to give the UPSC candidates the required edge, it is very important to make the right decision. A question then arises, is public administration a good subject to be taken in civils for a bio graduate?
Here is the Answer
The answer lies in the approach that the candidate decides to pursue to tackle the subject. No doubt that the humanity student has a bit more of an edge over a bio graduate in choosing public administration as a subject, as the basics are already covered in a wide range of humanities subjects they have already studied.
Overall, public administration is considered a really good option and is quite popular among the UPSC aspirants seeking the subject as an optional one. It is also reported that in 2012, about 50 per cent of the candidates who cleared UPSC Prelims and Mains had public administration as their optional subject. That is a very strong statistic to support the earlier statement.
There are a lot of pros and cons to opting for public administration. Since this decision is important and a difficult one to make, the candidate must weigh the pros and cons. And make the right decision that is beneficial and gives them an edge in the competition.
Advantages of Public Administration as your Optional Subject
Public Administration has Enough Study Material to Prepare You for the Subject
That’s right. There are so many wonderful books out there that serve as the perfect study material and prepare you for the same. Some Public Administration books for UPSC are Administrative Thinkers by Prasad and Prasad, New Horizons of Public Administration by Mohit Bhattacharya, and many more.
- The Subject is Considered Easy
Public administration is a subject that is regarded as very simple to understand. If the aspirant approaches the subject with proper analysis and the right strategy, this subject is sure to add shine to their final marks.
- On a Broader Aspect, It is a Very Important Subject
Public administration is an interlinking subject that deals with governance and administration. As a future administrator, you need to have the best knowledge about the working mechanism of the country.
- A Lot is Covered in General Studies
A lot of topics covered in the general studies paper overlaps with the public administration syllabus. This is a big advantage for IAS aspirants who generally have to mug up a lot of content. (The overlapped topics are explained in the latter part of the article).
- Straightforward Questions
The questions presented in the Public administration question paper are quite straightforward. Some examples are: 1) Explain the Liability of the media in a democracy. 2) Politics, Business, and Bureaucracy – a fatal triangle.
Disadvantages of Public Administration as your Optional Paper
The Subject is too Theoretical
For candidates especially from a Science background, this subject may seem too theoretical. These candidates are used to practical content and experiments, which makes concentrating while studying the paper difficult.
Since there are a wide number of advantages, maximum candidates opt for Public administration, making the subject highly competitive.
Some People Consider it as Vast
As most of the subjects in UPSC, Public administration optional is considered way too vast. This subject covers a lot of important topics that are vital for a candidate to perform well not only in the written papers but also in the interview.
The right strategy can overturn all these disadvantages into advantages if the aspirant makes his/her mind to do so.
Some of the GS II Subjects that Overlap Public Administration UPSC
- Parliament and State Legislatures
- Ministries and Departments of the Government
- Issues related to hunger and poverty
- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections
- Dispute Redressal Mechanism and institutions
- Indian constitution – evolution, features, amendments, etc.
- Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States
- Separation of powers between various organs
Some of the GS III Subjects that Overlap Public Administration
- Inclusive growth
- Role of media and social networking sites in internal security
- Disaster Management
- Disaster Management, Planning, and Budgeting
- Planning issues
One of the GS IV subjects that overlap Public Administration is Ethics and Human Interface. An essay topic like ‘Polity, Governance, and Democracy.’
In the end, every subject/paper requires a lot of perseverance, patience, and devotion on the part of the aspirant. You need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages to turn this paper into the best optional for UPSC.
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