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PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION STRATEGY: Devayani Rank 576, Marks – 245 (2015) and 241 (2014)

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION STRATEGY: Devayani Rank 576, Marks – 245 (2015) and 241 (2014)

Dear All,

I have secured 576 rank with Public Administration as optional. I am from engineering background. After completing BE in Computer Science I worked in Infosys as a software engineer. Then I left job for civil services preparation. I had no background of public administration. I selected public administration as optional because of genuine interest in pubad, its utility in actual administration after joining services and because of its usefulness in GS2 and GS4.

In last 3-4 years performance in public administration is not much good comparing with other optionals. Difficulty level of paper is increasing, questions come from unknown areas not mentioned in the syllabus and above all marking pattern is also not encouraging. However more conceptual clarity, interlinking and understanding contemporary relevance can help in scoring good marks.

I got 245 marks (135+110) in public administration which are said to be good considering recent trend. Here are some tips which will help you to fetch good marks in public administration.

First of all public administration is not the subject where reading multiple books will fetch you good marks. It is futile to read multiple books if you are not able to link the concepts with current events and contemporary administrative practices not just in India but at the level of global governance. For example while studying Taylor what people do is they mug up principles like scientific management, time study, motion study, mental revolution etc. But upsc never ask straightforward questions. They ask questions like relevance of Taylor’s ideas in contemporary era. So here you need to understand that when Taylor said scientific management i.e. application of technology to improve administrative efficiency, that technology today is information and communication technology (ICT) and that’s why we have e-governance. When Taylor said “Time study” and “motion study” i.e. there should be standard procedure and time to complete any task, the same principle is applied in citizen charter. What Taylor wanted to say through “mental revolution” is today’s “networking model of governance”. In this way while studying public administration you need to keep your brain open and interlink various things. There is no need to read multiple books.

Here is my booklist which gave me 245(135+110) marks this year and 241(123+118) marks last year.


  1. Public Administration by Laxmikant
  2. New Horizons of Public Administration by Mohit Bhattacharya
  3. Restructuring Public Administration by Mohit Bhattacharya
  4. Indian Administration by Fadia
  5. 2nd ARC reports
  6. Various committee reports like Punchi commission, National Police Commission etc
  7. IIPA journals, Yojana, Kurukhetra

Some tips

  1. Mug up complete syllabus, every bit in it. This will help you in interlinking paper I with paper II and vice versa. Always keep previous years question paper set with you and practice answers writing when you finish any concept.
  1. Relate various thinkers with each other. Find similarities and differences in their thoughts and causes behind put forwarding any particular theory. For example you can relate Taylor’s mental revolution with Barnard’s zone indifference etc.
  1. Relate administrative theories with administrative practices. In Paper I, add example from paper II and in paper II add theories of paper I. For example Simon’s decision making model can be related with public policy. Maslow-Herzberg’s motivation theories can be related with personnel management. Riggs’s concepts of “heterogeneity, overlapping, formalism” can be related with problems in bureaucracy etc.
  1. Add examples from current affairs in your answers. For example while talking about citizen participation in administration we can give example of While talking about municipal governance we can add SMART cities, AMRUT etc.
  1. Practice answer writing continuously. Draw diagrams and include keywords like mental revolution, circular response, job enlargement, job enrichment, fact, value, networking model of governance, good governance, neo weberian state, sheltered bureaucracy etc. Make a list of keywords and quotes of thinkers to enrich your answers. Try to answer same questions again and again and you will find that every time you have some more dimensions in the answers and your interlinking ability is improving.
  1. Recently, difficulty level of paper is increasing especially paper I. Questions are not straight forward and sometimes the terms mentioned in question are totally new. People get less marks in pubad because they fail to understand correct direction of the question. So before solving paper, first read whole paper and select such questions with which you are more comfortable. While writing answers read each question 2-3 times. Break question into smaller parts. Try to understand main theme of the question even if you don’t understand some terms. Prepare a broad structure in your mind and then write answer addressing various dimensions.
  1. Last and the most important thing while studying public administration is, you need to understand that public administration is very dynamic subject. Public administration both as a subject and as practice is constantly “restructuring” itself with changing internal and external context. Globalization and technological developments are leading to both opportunities and challenges like climate change, terrorism, achieving SDG (sustainable development goals) etc and changing the way administration is carried out at national and global level. Organizational theories of 20th century are not applicable to 21st century’s big, multicoated, interlinked and virtual organizations.

So, while studying any concept in public administration try to find its contemporary relevance/irrelevance.

Some of the phenomena in contemporary public administration are

  1. Global Governance
  2. Networking Model of Governance
  3. New Public Management
  4. Good Governance
  5. E-governance/digital governance
  6. Neo Weberian State
  7. Ethics in Public administration
  8. Gender perspective in public administration
  9. Comparative Public Administration
  10. Ecological/Environmental concern
  11. Citizen centric administration etc.

Finally, the key to score good marks in pubad is, not being bookish and giving more emphasis on interlinking and contemporary relevance.

I hope this article will be useful in preparation.

I would like to thank insights for providing aspirants an amazing platform for preparation that too free of cost and boosting their morale. Really commendable job. Keep it up.

All the best!!!