Public Administration for CSE

Disclaimer: Let me start off by posting a disclaimer!! The preparation strategy and methods for Public administration varies from person to person. This is my experience with Pubad which gave me 337 in my first attempt without coaching. <Disclaimer ends>

Public Administration is one of the most popular optionals in the civil services exam. It has a very short syllabus and it overlaps with the syllabus for general studies. Also, a good understanding of the topics in paper 2 can help you in essay and interview also.

The preparation strategy and books varies between people, but from what I understood, the focus should be on understanding the basics, supplementing it with recent developments and reports and presenting it properly. Answer writing is a very important part of Pubad preps. Sufficient time should be devoted to this before you go for the mains. Even if you manage to attempt all questions, the quality of answers can stretch the range of your marks between around 280 to 360.

It’s advisable to use as less standard books as possible. Questions in paper 2 and in section B of paper 1 will be general in nature. Make notes on all the topics mentioned in the syllabus and be ready to answer any question that may come from that topic. For eg, The syllabus says ‘Citizen Charter’. The questions on that topics may be ‘How does citizen charter help in reducing corruption’, ‘Has Citizen charter empowered the ordinary citizen vis-a-vis the govt. employee’ etc. Your notes on citizen charter should give you the basic idea to tackle this question while your answer should be spot-on. It should not be a short note on citizen chapter, but a crisp, direct answer to the question.

Book List

Paper 1

  • Public Administration : Theory and Practice By Sharma & Sadhana
  • Administrative Thinkers By Prasad & Prasad
  • New Horizons of Public Administration by Mohit Bhatacharya
Paper 2
  • Indian Public Administration by Ramesh Arora & Rajani Goyal
  • Indian Adminstration by S R Maheswari
  • Reports of 2nd ARC
  • Other recent reports of administrative reforms committees

I read a few topics which are missing in these books from the BPA material of IGNOU. Check out previous years’ papers to see how questions are asked in every sections.


As the questions asked are mostly general in nature, I thought of using as less text books as possible and write general answers quoting from current affairs and recent reports. The problem with PubAd is that most of the aspirants would have read these books already and thus writing good answers can be a difficult proposition. So try to improve as much as possible.

1. Studying:

Paper 1 : Sharma & Sadhana is a fat book that contains almost all the topics of PubAd. There are other fat books like Fadia & Fadia. Please stick to one of these fat books. Read topic wise from these books rather than going cover to cover. Add on to that by reading the relevant sections from Mohit Bhatacharya and IGNOU material. IGNOU material will have good diagrams also. All the chapters of Administrative thinkers have to be studied except for the one on Karl Marx.

Paper 2: A good understanding about the constitution is needed for this paper. This would be already covered if you have read DD Basu. Use Goyal & Arora for studying about Chanakya, Mughul administration and evolution of Indian Administration. For the other topics, read from Goyal & Arora and read the relevant section of 2nd ARC. ARC has given constructive solutions to the major administrative problems that we face. For eg, under the topic, ‘District Administration’, Goyal & Arora will give you an idea about district administration in India and will highlight the major issues. The report of the ARC will give you the solutions for these problems. Hence the report can be a major add-on.

2. Answer writing

  • Write crisp introductions. Finish it off in 2-3 sentences for 20 markers. Write a small paragraph for 30 marker and a fairly large paragraph for 60 marker.
  • I started off in a paragraph. Then wrote under various sub-headings and then concluded in a paragraph.
  • In the body, be precise and to the point. DONT BEAT AROUND THE BUSH.
  • Draw some diagram for every question. Even basic block diagrams is fine. After all there is no harm in adding a diagram. You can prepare some diagrams under some topics before hand. Use your imagination and believe me, Google image search will also help.
  • Conclude by putting forth your view again to the question asked.
  • Use your GS knowledge extensively while writing. Write from an Indian perspective. Quote examples from recent happenings as much as possible.

That is pretty much all that i did. I spent more time on Physics. I did self-evaluation for my answers after K.Biju (IAS, 2006) gave a broad idea about answer writing. I could see my answers improving. You can take professional help at this stage or if confident, go for self-evaluation. All the best!!

Posted on June 22, 2011, in Civil services, from my life, just my thoughts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 110 Comments.

  1. kristo francis

    cool one bro thanks…

  2. thanks sir, for sharing in such an efficient manner…….I hv also started my civil’s prep. ……….ur blog keeps me motivated and gives needed guidance

  3. Thanks sir, for sharing in such an efficient manner…….I hv also started my civil’s prep. ……….ur blog keeps me motivated and gives needed guidance. . . .keep blogging 🙂

  4. Sir ,
    I am sunil studying final year .After reading your posts i could of thinking of preparing cs in my college days itself…..thank you..

  5. Ganesh Baskaran

    hi iam from nitc
    could you give the blog address or contact of person who has taken Commerce has his main optional???
    is commerce a easy subject ?? please guide me… iam planning to take other optional as Public administration… will this combination work???

    • Any combination will work if you can put in the right effort….I dont know anyone who has taken commerce. I can help you after i get to mussoorie

  6. Congrates & thnx for your strategy sharing about PA.

    No doubt your suggestion are up to the mark & practically true.
    could you suggest me that,should we mug the quotes ,books by thinkers ?

  7. sir what is the exact book name of goyal arora?
    “indian administration” or “indian public administration” ???????

  8. thnx for replying !
    would you suggest any coaching material for PA or appropriate books are more than enough ?
    i have started with Fadia n Fadia,Prasad n Prasad, Rajni n Goyal, should i buy Mohit Bhattacharya as u said earlier ?

  9. thanks a lot for valuable info. it will surely help ppl.

  10. Sir,
    Are IIPA journals important to answer PA paper-2 or just newspaper reports sufficient enough to cater the needs?

  11. hi gokul,
    m giving my 1st attempt this year. i wrote answers for a few questions of mains 2010. if possible plz spare some time to read my answers and provide feedback. plz find below answer to one of the questions

    Q3. in an era of hung parliaments the power of the president expands, more so when the incumbent decides to be assertive. Comment on the statement with reference to the situation in India during the last two decades.

    The last 2 decades mark an era of coalation politics.The mushrooming of myriad regional parties and a reducing clout of national parties have lead to a situation where single party government is no more a possibility.
    For a party to stake claim to form government, it has to show its strength on floor of house. The party needs to have a support of more than half of the member of lok sabha. In the present scenario, hung parliaments are going to be frequent. In case of a hung parliament, it is left ot the discretion of president to dissolve the house or find an alternative arrangement that can lead to formation of government. If no possible alternative is feasible, president can dissolve the house. This leads to a growing importance of president in the political arena.
    In this era of coalation politics, the pushes and pulls of coalation partners may lead to a situation where regional and sectarian interest may gain precedence over national interests. Such tendency can be checked by the veto power of president. President Kalam exercised his veto on office of profit bill which catered to the interests of certain sections of ruling alliance.Growing powers of president may lead to case of presidential dictatorship especially in the context of reducing power of prime minister due to pushes and pulls of coalation allies.
    The solution lies in setting up a national government as recommended by the law commission. The national government will have a PM who is elected by Loksabha MPs from amongst themselves. Once a PM is selected, no confidence motion can’t be raised against him/her for first 2 years. This is to ensure a stable administration. When a no confidence motion is rpesented, it should also suggest an alternative PM to ensure continuity of governance. Such a step would lead to a stable ggovernment and prevent the possibility of presidential dictatorship

    • HI bharath
      The answer is too off the mark. You dont have to say about presidential dictatorship as its neither asked nor feasible under our consti. Its about the president being assertive when the govt is weak. The examples you have mentioned: president dissolving L.S and kalam returning bill are a presidents legal powers and hence does not amount to assertiveness. But again returning too many bills can be termed as assertiveness.

      The solution for a national govt. seems unnecessary. I would have suggested that presidents be more sensitive towards their constitutional position and limitations.

      • thanks for reply. plz find below one more answer.

        Public administration can be portrayed as wheel of relationship focused on the formulation & implementation of public policy. Explain 20 marks

        Ideally public administration deals with implementation of policy. But in reality administrators also play a key rôle in policy formulation through policy advice and delegated legislation
        Public policy comprises of activities that government choses to or not to do. Its formulation requires inputs in form of needs and demands of people . this information is available with administrators at cutting edge level. Hence, field level administrators are in a better position to identify requirements of a policy.
        Policy implementation is not only about implementing policy but also about making people aware of it and ensure that benefits reach them. Therefore, although policy formulation is conventionally done by the political executive, public administration does play a rôle in formulation as well as implementation.

      • The answer is ok but you will have to write more (around 200 words) for a 20 marker. You should say about how policy formulation and implementation are inter-related as in a cycle ( you can draw a small diagram also here). expand more on your points.

  12. Hi Gokul,

    Congrats on your success! I am also an engineer and you have given me inspiration to study Pub Ad without coaching 🙂

    In your blog post, you have not mentioned the use of the book by S R Maheswari in your strategy. Can you please highlight how you used the book?

    Sashi Kanth

    • Hi sashi
      The questions in paper 2 will be highly generic in nature.. please check out last years papers. Reading too many books wont help, So get a basic idea on the topics and then use your GS knowledge to write answers. IGNOU material helps in certain contemporary topics like disaster management

  13. thanks a lot sir for such a grt insight into the preparation n strategy.. sir can u please throw some light regarding 2nd arc report..? is it available on net and what are the other reports of administrative reforms committee that you followed?

      also read Y.K. Alag commitee on civil service reforms, Hota committee on civil service reforms and some initial committees like paul appleby, santhanam etc

  14. Hi Gokul
    Congrats on ur wud be really helpful if you could provide ans that you wrote in mains for the following question…
    “in an era of hung parliaments the power of parliament extends…”


    • Hi sonal
      I didnt attempt that question. Besides I dont remember what all i wrote. And the asnwers that i write now wont be as good as what i would have written for my mains as i stopped intense preps with the mains.

  15. Hi Gokul!

    What is your take on IGNOU material of PubAd for BA and MA? I read a few pages and found them crisp and to the point. The language and approach is NCERT like. Which part of the IGNOU is a must?

  16. thanks gokul sir 🙂

  17. yeah…i understand that..
    But it wud be very useful if you cud provide broad framework for any of the answers you wrote especially in paper 2…


  18. 1. From where budget and public policy making is to be studied?
    From Nicholas Henry or some other book?
    From where did u prepare these?

    2. Are u recommending Sharma and Sadhana only after seeing Fadia & Fadia? Did u choose the former after seeing the latter? Is the former sufficient to learn the basics?

    • Use IGNOU for public policy (BPA material). Budget will be dealt in any books on Indian administration. The 2nd ARC also talks about it.

      I have never seen Fadia& fadia…I got sharma & sadhana and was satisfied with that

  19. Hello Gokul,

    Replying to every comment!!. Cool man. I admire your patience.

    Hope you are enjoying these leisurely days.



  20. hello sir,
    congratulations on your great success. Really it’s a big thing to achieve.
    i just hav entered in the 4th year (BE).
    my optionals r also PA n Physics.
    it will be a gr88 help if u wud plzz elaborate about managing PA n GS together.
    i will b thankful if u will reply by mail.

  21. basically i m having time constraints. so what to study while studying PA (which in any way can help me in gs) so that i can finish both together..
    and how did you study Prasad n Prasad?? cover to cover?? or how much to mug up in that??
    i have a general idea of PA so for paper 1 what should be d order of d books to follow?? which one 1st (among u mentioned)?

    • U need to do all the chapters in prasad & prasad other than the one on Karl marx. Its a good book and the approach is good. you dont have to mug up. Understand and study.

      Regarding the order of books, i have mentioned the approach the post

  22. sir will u please suggest me coaching centres and book for csat preparation

  23. ok sir. thanks a ton.

  24. Hello sir,
    1.i want to know whether you referd any class notes or printed meterial of any institue for pub ad.
    2.while preping frm frm books like sharma and sadna… notemaking is essential or not,if so suggest approch..
    3.whether laximikant can be used for mains or not.
    Plz give ur email id as i am frm remote village nobody is here to guide me.

    • 1. No
      2.Note making is essential for revising….we will have to revise over and over again…you can do that without notes.
      3. I found laxmikant useless ( junk of info without the context)

  25. Hi Gokul,

    What are the relevant sections of Mohit bhattacharya ? For which all topics should mohit bhattacharya be reffered ?

    Also please mention the topics for which you referred IGNOU material. .

  26. Hi Gokul, gratz on your success! I myself have now started to formulate a plan for my attempt at cracking this competitive exam. I am currently studying Electrical/Electronics abroad but want to pursue a career in IAS. To be honest right now I prefer to take up Optionals of PubAd and either Sociology/Geography/Psychology (with Psych being the most likely choice) as they offer me new subjects to learn. Since I have 2 more years to go before graduation I am taking this 1step at a time – going through the syllabus for the 2nd optionals etc.

    Living outside India has 1 big con, that I can’t interact freely with future IAS aspirants as much as I’d like to, I plan to study for this exam on my own but was wondering if I could have personal correspondence with you through email as I have some general queries about the CS exams.


  27. aditya ritesh

    hello sir
    i m student of nit calicut itself from ece dept. completed my 2nd yrs…first of all congrats for your achievements
    i also have interest in civil services but really tensed about optionals….. i m interested in mathematics but i have often heard some candidates that maths papers are very low scoring……Being student of electronics what should best other optional (one i have decieded it to be public admin)…also thanks for ur blog about pub admin.

    • Physics can be considered. or else you can choose some other popular humanities optional like sociology, geography etc…You have enough time before you need to decide…so go through books of those subjects and find which one is interesting

  28. could u share the block diagrams that u made or got from google?

  29. Hi,
    Just wanted to ask what was ur strategy dring preparation? did u little of both the optionals together alongwith gs or just concentrated on one optional at a time?
    Ideally how many months does the syllabus of PA take to complete?

    • I never did more than one topic at a time. I will complete one and move to the other. But those things are personal and depends upon the persons preferences. Study time depends entirely on you. Bt pubad will take the least time among the optional i think. but that doesnt guarantee good marks in the exams

  30. Hi Gokul,

    Will you please detail about your Physics Preparation and material referred as well .It would have been of great help.

    Thanks in advance in Kudos for your great blog !!

  31. hi,
    how did u divide your time between gs and optionals?
    did u prepare gs along with both the optionals simultaneously or just optional at a time? Also appox how many months did u take 2 finish the syllabus of PA?

    thanks in advance…

    • I used to do a single topic for 1-2 weeks and then change topic while devoting a fixed time for newspapers every day. Time taken to finish depends on the individual

  32. Hi Gokul, congrates, Highly impressed by your decision to say no to an interview by a coaching institute who will probably mention false things about you prep style , strategy etc. One question here. How you managed to read and remember 2nd ARC reports they are vast, lengthy(almost 200 pages each). I found it almost impossible to read fully. Can be done but will take lot of time.any comment….

    • I didnt read all the reports. There are certain chapters that need to be read in full…for others you can read the summary at the end of every section

  33. Hi Gokul ,

    I am facing problems in the introduction section . For eg : ” publicness of public administration in an ideal democratic govt remains the ultimate value in theory and practice . ” What should be an ideal intro to this and many other vague statement like questions . kindly help .Thanks.

    • If you find a question to be vague,skip that. But then again, there will always be a central idea in a question. Answer to that. In this case, its about the need of administration to be responsive to the people’s needs and aspirations

  34. Jai Karan Singh

    Hi Gokul..Thanls a lot for sharing with us all, ur strategy and guiding us on what needs to be focused upon.
    Gokul My problem is with answer writing. Like there were many GS type questions in Paper 2 mains last year. But there has to be a difference between a GS answer and a Pub AD answer. So my question is that what kind of technical language/Jargons etc need to be used here?
    One more request- Can u please share with us what u wrote in the citizen’s charter and privatization question in paper 1? Just an outline. I knw u might not remember everythng right now but just give us an outline like examples used?diagrams used? case studies used?technical language used in these two questions.

    Another thing i want to know SPECIFICALLY” is what u wrote in “philosophy of Citizen’s Charter?I am unable to understand why what I wrote in this section did not fetch me good marks. Ur answer to these questions will go a loooonggggggggg way in helping me out. And I will be thankful frm the core of my heart if u could answer these questions. I have been searching for answers to these questions frm a long time now but in vain. And I dont want to go into depression at this stage. Please help…

    • I dont remember using any jargon or anything like that. The difference between a gs qn and pub ad qn is that you need to write more complete answers in pubad (and also longer answers).

      Write from an Indian perspective and also in a pleasing manner. I used both paragraph style and to the point style. I dont remember what exactly i wrote in the paper.

  35. Do we get to buy the ARC reports in print ?
    Also ,do you have any idea about the difference between the books :
    Indian Administration by SR Maheshwari and Public Administration by Avasthi and Maheshwari and Indian Admin: by avasthi and Avasthi?

  36. chaitanya lakshmi

    i am very much confused.many say to prepare basics from ncert books.but some are sayng those are use less…..i dont lnow wat to do.please suggest me in dis regard….to start preparing from scratch ….frm whr should i start…..what should i study….my optionals are pub admin nd soc…im a btech computer scnce studnt….wat r d steps..lik wch to study first nd sooo
    kindly helip me in dis..pls…
    thanking u

    lakshmi kbc

  37. gokul sir
    iam a CS Aspirant i want to clear doubts regarding the coveted exam


    • 1. If you prepare from a mains point of view, you can easily qualify prelims. (that is the essence of the change in pattern )
      2. i used wikipedia for making notes on recent topics.
      3. cut off varies with the level of difficulty.

  38. did you read the 2nd ARC report entirely?

  39. hi gokul!
    how much time is sufficient for study every day and how much topic we should cover everyday so that we cover all the syllabus with in time period..can take one subject and newspaper everyday and other subject on next day+newspaper and next day second subject+newspaper nd so on…

  40. saurabh meena

    hi gokul,
    actually i was studying prasad n prasad for thinkers,but as i am studying i am not able to remember the things…one more thing i am reading it first time…can you please suggest how to study prasad n prasad efficiently…

  41. Hi gokul
    kindly let me know if prasad and prasda is sufficient for thinker.
    how can we correlate them with modern era (this approach can be find from where?)
    some thinkers are additional in this book. if we have to study all?

  42. sir, ve u read all the topic of paper 1 from s&s and then jumped to Mohit.B

    • I didnt read S&S cover to cover…..I read it topic wise….After reading a topics from S&S, i would read about it from Mohit Bhatacharya

  43. sir plz describe which topics to do from arora$ g and which from S.R mahes

  44. sir for geography u ve skiped atlas or not, as not writen in the gs part given by u.

  45. vikram singh

    sir, ve u read all the chap of s&s for paper 1 and the jumped to mohit person admin, amin law cpa are give completely but all others chap are not exactly maching syllabus………….plz guide

  46. Hi,
    From where did you arrange past 10 years papers of public admn mains…please give the source(internet or any book)?

  47. Hi Gokul, any idea where I can buy the Thinkers book online? I’ve been following flipkart for a while now and it’s been out of stock. Any other good reputable online book store from where I can order books?


  48. Hello Gokul sir
    Congratulations for accomplishing sucha marvellous feat and also thanks alot for your endavour to reach out and help the aspiring students. Sir i hav few questions if you can guide us it would be of great help
    1. Sir you started out preparing both the optionals and GS on may 23, 2009. How much time did it tuk of yours to complete pub ad syllabus?
    2. Sir you started answer writing after completing the syllabus?
    3. Sir i have joined coaching for pub ad and class notes are really oriented according to the exam requirement and i am supplementing them with basic books. Sir is it yet required to prepare my own notes? I know the answer to this question depends on the person itself but i would like to know your opinion.
    Thank you sir

    • 1. I cant answer that as i would switch between subjects every 1 week or so…besides i was studying along with my final year…It varies between people…

      2. Yes. You cant write good answers unless you have a good knowledge base…I recommend starting after a round of revision.

      3.I would recommend personal notes…It helps in revision and also gives a complete picture when revising

  49. Your Suggestions will be of immense use. Thank you for devoting your time for us.

  50. hello!!
    i was just keen to know as to how do we self evaluate in case we decide to go for preparation without any coaching assistance.

    • Some points i gave importance are:

      1. Sticking to the point..
      2. Short, crisp introduction.
      3. Pleasing presentation (points, figures)

  51. @ gokul sir
    thanks a lot sir for your reply

  52. ashish bhaskar

    hello sir,
    i am in my final year of engineering(ece) and i am bit confused about the second optional is maths and i am confused in between the and philosphy…
    please suggest me…

  53. ashish bhaskar

    hello sir,
    i am in my final year of engineering(ece) and i am bit confused about the second optional is maths and i am confused in between the and philosphy…
    please suggest me…

  54. hi Gokul, did you make notes for ALL TOPICS of pub ad?

  55. in public add, which topiv we should prepare focusing on figure?
    and how we can get figurew?

    organization part of paper 1 is sufficient to read from sadhana

  56. hi sir
    how we should prepare for figures?
    e.g. for administrative behaviour from where will get figures?

  57. sir i want to get idea 4 get good marks in geography.

  58. for science and technology, u hv mentioned emerging technology. except that how we can further explore the internet.

    secondly how we can use indian j of public administration?

  59. sir i want to know that have u learned atlas for geography

  60. sir,
    u plz reply.

  61. hii thanks 4 such informative posts ..i just wanted 2 know wen u say diagrams which diagrams u mean as ? some i know as i saw in ARC report 2..plz elaborate a lil wid eg..thank u again

  62. hi gokul!!

    congrats for your success:)))

    i ve also chosen pubad as one of my optional paper. kindly tell me, which book to start with? i ve decided to study myself and couldnt get right guidance. pls help me

  63. sir i am ansari am preparing for civil service in delhi for past 4 months . my determination is to become an youngest IPS OFFICER . by this dec my Gs and first optionel will be finished i would like to continue my second optional in kerala . . here a tough prepration is going on so kindly suggest me an weather i should join an good coaching centre or shall i continue self prepration . . . and which stratergy should i follows in my home

  64. sir congratulations , awsome blog which boost up inspiration and morale to all civil servants

  65. thanx sir for valuable suggestions

  66. Dear sir,,I am following fadia and faida..topic wise.I read a single topic from faida and then from ignou …after that i write my own notes on that topic…is this correct approach?or reading of that topic from faida will only do?

  67. it’s very nice writing.

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