Complete Syllabus of Public Administration for UPSC Mains

Optional Paper Public Admin.
Written by Dr. SS

Here, in this post, you will find ‘Public Administration Syllabus‘, which is one optional subject of IAS Mains Examination. To appear in UPSC Civil Services Mains exam, you need to have complete awareness about CSE Mains Syllabus and exam pattern.  To get complete information, you can check the given links.


Scroll down to download syllabus of Public Administration for UPSC Mains.

public administration syllabus

 Public Administration-PAPER – I-Syllabus

For Books List and Strategy on How to Prepare this paper- Click here

In the first paper of Public Administration, a candidate is supposed to get awareness of theoretical aspects of the subject. Public administration in its syllabus provides an opportunity to make a good mix of theoretical and practical knowledge.

Administrative Theory


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

Administrative Thought:

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

Administrative Behaviour:

The process of decision-making and techniques used; Communication; Morale and  Motivation Theories – process, Organizations content and contemporary; Theories of Leadership both Traditional and modern.

Organisations Theories

The concept of systems, contingency theories; Structure and forms: Ministries and Departments, Companies, Corporations, Boards, and Commissions; Ad hoc and advisory bodies; Regulatory Authorities, Headquarters, and Field relationships; Public-Private Partnerships.

Accountability and Control:

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

Administrative Law:

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

Comparative Public Administration: Sociological and Historical factors affecting administrative systems; Administration and politics in different countries of the world; status of Comparative Public Administration; Riggsian models and their critique, Ecology, and administration.

Development Dynamics:

The concept of development; ‘ Antidevelopment thesis’, Changing profile of development administration;  Bureaucracy and development; Strong state vs the market debate; Women and development – the self-help group movement, Impact of liberalization on administration in developing countries.

Personnel Administration:

Importance of HRD; Recruitment, career advancement, training, position classification, discipline, performance appraisal, pay and service conditions, promotion; employer-employee relations, Code of conduct, grievance redressal machinery, Administrative ethics.

Public Policy:

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

Techniques of Administrative Improvement:

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

Financial Administration:

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

Here, the syllabus of first paper of Public Administration comes to its end. Now move towards the second paper.

Check this link for UPSC syllabus for common papers

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Indian Administration

Evolution of Indian Administration:

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

Philosophical and Constitutional framework of government:

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

Public Sector Undertakings:

Public sector and modern India; Types of Public Sector Undertakings; Problems of accountability, autonomy, and control; Impact of liberalization and privatization.

Union Government and Administration:

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

Plans and Priorities:

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

State Government and Administration:

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

District Administration since 1947 :

Changing role of the Collector; Union state- local relations; Imperatives of development management , law and order administration; Democratic decentralization and District administration.

Civil Services:

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

Financial Management:

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

Administrative Reforms since Independence:

Major concerns; Important Committees and Commissions; Reforms in financial management and HRD , Problems of implementation.

Rural Development:

Agencies and Institutions since independence; Rural development programmes: strategies;  73rd Constitutional amendment, Decentralization and Panchayati Raj.

Urban Local Government:

Municipal governance: structures, main features, finance and problem areas; 74th Constitutional Amendment; Global local debate; New localism; politics and administration with special reference to city management,  Development dynamics.

Law and Order Administration:

British legacy; Investigative agencies; National Police Commission; Role of state and central  agencies including paramilitary forces in maintenance of law and order and countering insurgency and terrorism; Police-public relations; Reforms in Police, Criminalization of politics and administration;

Significant issues in Indian Administration:

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

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Download pdf format of Public Administration by clicking on upsc syllabus

In the public administration syllabus, the first paper is about basics and theories of administration. Second paper covers the Indian administration.

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Dr. SS

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