Given the time constraint, a
well-thought out strategy makes the difference between success and failure.
Intensive and focused approach built on analysis needs to be scrupulously
adhered to. Some ingredients of a 'smart strategy' are:
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Building a general overview
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Perusal of question papers
of previous years
Identification of 'thrust
areas' for concentrated pursuit
Adequate writing practice
for time management and evolving right content
Continuous review of
performance and appropriate corrections
At least two weeks before
the examination, writing exercises should be stopped and the entire
attention should be on revision.
Every candidate appearing for
the mains examination should be conversant with the fundamentals of the
structure, process, behaviour and environment of the administrative system. It's
equally important that the student should be conversant with the contemporary
and the current developments of socio-political and economic nature that have a
close bearing on the functioning of the administration. For example, changing
governors; direct grants to panchayats; economic reforms with a human face;
globalisation and administration; second generation reforms and the social
infrastructure; right to information and participative development.
Amassing information is a big 'don't'. Candidates should be able to identify
'core areas' which cannot be avoided in the context of the mains examination and
consolidate. Most importantly, study and writing practice should reinforce each
other. Writing practice holds the key to success. It ensures legibility, time
management and adherence to word limit. Effective introduction, logical build up
and balanced conclusion send the right signals to the evaluator. Every question
needs to be studied carefully to understand the exact requirements. For
instance, some years ago, in the mains examination, the office of the Prime
Minister was given and some took it for Prime Minister's Office. Several times,
the questions are general in nature and not direct. For example, criminalisation
of politics and politicisation of crime; public sector enterprises are neither
public nor enterprises; recruitment of recruiters needs to be streamlined and
planning in India needs to be depoliticised.
For short questions, answers should be direct and precise. In a long essay,
introduction should be appealing and effective. Elaboration of the theme should
be properly prioritised. Sequencing should be done in such a manner that one
paragraph logically follows from another. Depending upon the paper I or II, apt
illustrations add value. While answering a question on welfare administration,
the concept of welfare needs to be supplemented with the initiatives undertaken
by the government highlighting the different types of programmes, the coverage
and the resource profile. Unlike general studies, public administration requires
interpretative skills, ability to correlate theory and practice; and synchronise
conventional with the current. For example, presidential activism in India;
budget as an instrument of socio-economic transformation; citizen-administration
interface and e-governance; regulation and development; development and delivery
Administrative theory : Section - A
Theories of Administration:
Scientific Management, Human Relations' School, Bureaucratic Theory and Systems
Approach - These are all essential theories and students need to focus on
critical aspects, which is not there in General Studies (GS). Students need to
be exhaustive with their preparation, which should be based on 3Cs -
comprehensive, clarity and critical approach.
Structure of Public Organisations: In GS, a general approach to public
sector is required whereas in Public Administration, the approach to this is
actually amplification of government policy. Few years ago, a question in the
main stage in the Public Administration paper was, `Welfare obligation of public
sector has been abandoned in the era of liberalisation''.This question will
never come in GS.The nature of this question is provocative and you need to
respond with a positive attitude. Your reply could begin with:''Public sector
still fulfil nation's goal of welfare....'' Or, there might be a question which
says, ''Since 1967, position of governor has been politicised''.
Administrative Behaviour: This topic is a real challenge and students
need to be thorough with a concept like motivation. They need to be thorough
with atleast three thinkers which include Maslow, Herzberg and Macgregor. They
need to make a comparative account of all three of them. The year preceding, a
quotation from Macgregor's original book of quotation was given.
Accountability and Control: We are in a parliamentary system and students
need to be clear about Parliament and its functions. They should read books on
governance by Arun Shourie and Bimal Jalan. They also must be conversant on how
Parliament functions in all aspects.
This is a dynamic area as the emphasis is on technology. Students need to be
thorough with legislations like Right to Information, rendering administration
through people-centric institutions like panchayats and nagar palikas. Concepts
like social auditing and participatory governance need to be studied in detail.
Comparative Public Administration: You need to read thinkers like Riggs.
Earlier, public administration was centred around Western concepts whereas the
focus is now on third world countries like India. Students are expected to be
familiar with issues like governance, rural development, privatisation and human
rights in Brazil, China and South Africa.
Development Administration: Students need to approach this topic with an
open mind and with some amount of reading. They need to follow international
trends on how technology is impacting administration across third world and
elsewhere. This is relevant for India as there is a political dimension to the
whole concept as it deals in issues like federalism and decentralisation. It has
a dimension of administration where you deal with various aspects like poverty
alleviation, empowerment, retraining and administration machinery.
Public Policy: It's a challenging topic and students need to be aware
about Dror who spoke maximum on issues related to public policy. Students need
to be aware of how the country is developing particularly on issues related to
disinvestments. Students need to be aware of anti-poverty programmes and how
employment-generation schemes have evolved all these years.
Financial Administration: This topic is routed in Indian practices. You
have issues like Parliament and Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG)
and how do they function but students have to be absolutely clear on these
issues.There is premium on latest knowledge like the PM's and finance minister's
recent speeches as well.
Indian Administration : Section - A
Evolution of Indian
Administration: Areas which are crucial include criminalisation of politics
and politicisation of crime, President's rule, Federal system in context of
coalition government, fiscal and monetary policy.
Constitutional framework: President, Parliament and judiciary: These are
important but students should not follow the conventional mode while preparing
for main paper. Questions are generally twisted and they need to muster facts
while giving right interpretation. Like in GS, the questions will deal with
discretionary power of Governor (Article 116) whereas for public Administration,
they might ask, ''Governor is an agent of centre''. Similarly in GS, the
question might be based on Panchayati Raj System based on 73rd amendment. In
Public Administration, they might ask, ''Panchayats are not development delivery
vehicle, they are an independent tier of governance in true Gandhian spirit''.
Students need to read national dailies to prepare for these kind of topics.
Union Government and Administration: The focus is on Prime Minister's
Office (PMO) and Cabinet Secretariat. The PMO has acquired enormous importance
during the last three to four decade. Students should focus on how the
relationship between PMO and Cabinet Secretariat has evolved under these c i rc
u m s t a n ce s. Newspapers and journals should be good source of information
on this issue.
State Government and Administration: Students need to be thorough with
the Sarkaria Commission's report on Centre-State relations and National
Commission to Review the Working of Constitution report which was submitted in
District Administration and Local Government: The changing role of
collector vis-a-vis technology, District Rural Development Authority, District
Development Authority, structure of panchayats and nagar palikas. There should
focus on on issues like Right to Information, Cyber Governance.
Public Services: There
should be focus on UPSC, State Public Service Commissions and how ''recruiters
should be properly recruited''. The constitutional aspect and functions of these
institutions need to be studied.
Control of Public Expenditure: Sections like Parliament and CAG have
already been dealt in paper I. They need to further focus on Public Interest
Litigation, judicial activism which includes extra ordinary intervention by
Supreme Court and High Courts in order to restore dwindling public faith in
system because of declining public morality at highest level.
Administrative Reforms: Queries on Right to Information, social audit,
panchayati raj, Voluntary R e t i re m e n t Schemes are part of the
Machinery for Planning: Student need to focus on Planning Commission and
how the role has changed during all these years. They need to find out that
whether Planning Commission should be merged with Finance Commission in the
context of liberalisation. Students can gather information from national
newspapers, periodical and journals.
Administration of Law and Order: The role of central and state agencies
in the maintenance of law and order and articles published on these issues
should be given top priority
Welfare Administration: This is an evolving area and there is no specific
reading material available on this issue. Students need to go through annual
report of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Writing: Application is the key while writing this paper. Avoid jargon
and abbreviation, be precise. Premium is on accuracy, insightfulness and