Public Administration Syllabus UPSC Mains Exam

Public Administration Syllabus Paper – I → Administrative Theory 


  • Meaning, scope and significance of Public Administration;
  • Wilson’s vision of Public Administration; Evolution of the discipline and its present status;
  • New Public Administration; Public Choice approach; Challenges of liberalization, Privatisation, Globalisation;
  • Good Governance concept and application; New Public Management.


Administrative Thought

  • Scientific Management and Scientific Management movement; Classical Theory;
  • Weber’s bureaucratic model – its critique and post-Weberian Developments;
  • Dynamic Administration (Mary Parker Follett); Human Relations School (Elton Mayo and others); Functions of the Executive (C.I. Barnard);
  • Simon’s decision-making theory; Participative Management (R. Likert, C. Argyris, D. McGregor).


Administrative Behaviour

  • Process and techniques of decision-making; Communication; Morale;
  • Motivation Theories – content, process and contemporary;
  • Theories of Leadership → Traditional and Modern



  • Theories – systems, contingency; Structure and forms→ Ministries and Departments, Corporations, Companies, Boards and Commissions;
  • Ad hoc and advisory bodies; Headquarters and Field relationships;
  • Regulatory Authorities; Public – Private Partnerships


Accountability and control

  • Concepts of accountability and control; Legislative, Executive and Judicial control over administration;
  • Citizen and Administration; Role of media, interest groups, voluntary organizations;
  • Civil society; Citizen’s Charters; Right to Information; Social audit. 


Administrative Law

  • Meaning, scope and significance; Dicey on Administrative law;
  • Delegated legislation; Administrative Tribunals.


Comparative Public Administration

  • Historical and sociological factors affecting administrative systems;
  • Administration and politics in different countries; Current status of Comparative Public Administration;
  • Ecology and administration; Riggsian models and their critique.


Development Dynamics

  • Concept of development; Changing profile of development administration;
  • ‘Antidevelopment thesis’; Bureaucracy and development; Strong state versus the market debate;
  • Impact of liberalisation on administration in developing countries;
  • Women and development – the self-help group movement.


Personnel Administration

  • Importance of human resource development;
  • Recruitment, training, career advancement, position classification, discipline, performance appraisal, promotion, pay and service conditions;
  • Employer-employee relations, grievance redressal mechanism; Code of conduct; Administrative ethics


Public Policy

  • Models of policy-making and their critique;
  • Processes of conceptualisation, planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and review and their limitations;
  • State theories and public policy formulation.


Techniques of Administrative Improvement

  • Organisation and methods, Work study and work management;
  • e-governance and information technology;
  • Management aid tools like network analysis, MIS, PERT, CPM.


Financial Administration

  • Monetary and fiscal policies;
  • Public borrowings and public debt Budgets – types and forms;
  • Budgetary process; Financial accountability; Accounts and audit.


Click Here – Books For Public Administration Paper – 1


Public Administration Syllabus Paper – II → Indian Administration 

Evolution of Indian Administration

  • Kautilya’s Arthashastra; Mughal administration;
  • Legacy of British rule in politics and administration – Indianization of public services, revenue administration, district administration, local self-government.


Philosophical and Constitutional framework of government

  • Salient features and value premises; Constitutionalism; Political culture;
  • Bureaucracy and democracy; Bureaucracy and development.


Public Sector Undertakings

  • 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, Parliament, Judiciary – structure, functions, work processes; Recent trends;
  • Intra-governmental relations; Cabinet Secretariat; Prime Minister’s Office; Central Secretariat; Ministries and Departments;
  • Boards; Commissions; Attached offices; Field organizations


Plans and Priorities

  • Machinery of planning; Role, composition and functions of the Planning Commission and the National Development Council;
  • ‘Indicative’ planning; Process of plan formulation at Union and State levels;
  • Constitutional Amendments (1992) and decentralized planning for economic development and social justice


State Government and Administration

  • Union-State administrative, legislative and financial relations;
  • Role of the Finance Commission; Governor; Chief Minister; Council of Ministers; Chief Secretary; State Secretariat; Directorates.


District Administration since Independence

  • Changing role of the Collector; Unionstate-local relations;
  • Imperatives of development management and law and order administration;
  • District administration and democratic decentralization.


Civil Services

  • Constitutional position; Structure, recruitment, training and capacity-building;
  • Good governance initiatives; Code of conduct and discipline; Staff associations;
  • Political rights; Grievance redressal mechanism; Civil service neutrality; Civil service activism


Financial Management

  • Budget as a political instrument; Parliamentary control of public expenditure; Role of finance ministry in monetary and fiscal area;
  • Accounting techniques; Audit; Role of Controller General of Accounts and Comptroller and Auditor General of India.


Administrative Reforms since Independence

  • Major concerns; Important Committees and Commissions;
  • Reforms in financial management and human resource development; Problems of implementation.


Rural Development

  • Institutions and agencies since independence;
  • Rural development programmes → foci and strategies; Decentralization and Panchayati Raj; 73rd Constitutional amendment.


Urban Local Government

  • Municipal governance → main features, structures, finance and problem areas;
  • 74th Constitutional Amendment; Global local debate; New localism; Development dynamics, politics and administration with special reference to 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 and countering insurgency and terrorism;
  • Criminalisation of politics and administration; Police-public relations; Reforms in Police


Significant issues in Indian Administration

  • Values in public service; Regulatory Commissions; National Human Rights Commission;
  • Problems of administration in coalition regimes; Citizen-administration interface;
  • Corruption and administration; Disaster management


Click Here – Books For Public Administration Paper – 2

India Yearbook English India Yearbook Hindi Economic Survey 2017

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