The preparation for IAS examination requires the candidates to choose one optional subject which may be history, geography, political science, psychology, public administration, etc. The decision regarding an optional subject is a crucial decision because it accounts for 500 marks in overall scheme of examination of Civil Services. It can make or break one’s chances in the civil service examination.
Although every subject has its pros and cons, yet public administration enjoys many strategic advantages over other subjects in preparation for Civil Services.
Public administration is basically government’s administration and like other disciplines public administration too has two dimensions –
Under the scheme of IAS Examination the syllabus for public administration incorporates both of theoretical and applied portions. Therefore, paper 1 of public administration largely deals with theoretical dimension and paper 2 demands application of theoretical understanding to appreciate and reflect on problems and challenges related to Indian administration.
In simple words in paper 1 we study meaning, scope and significance of public administration, it’s course of revolution, basic principles of organization, intellectual contributions made by scholars like Taylor, Fayol, Gullick and Urwick, Weber, Simon, Barnard, etc. It also includes understanding of financial administration, public policy, development, and others.
The second paper of public administration largely deals with Indian conditions. Therefore it includes evolution of Indian administration, it’s constitutional settings the functioning of union government, state government and local government, accountability and control and current issues like good governance, sustainable development, role of civil society and media, anti-development thesis, etc.
No doubt, public administration syllabus brings within its purview the relevant portions of history, economy, polity, behavioral sciences, IT, etc.
No doubt, public administration is one of the most powerful subjects in the scheme of IAS examination. It accounts for large chunk of current affairs (almost 30-40%) which is strategically very efficacious because it effectively contracts the size of general studies in the preparation for civil services examination.
It is because of this reason that most of the toppers prefer public administration as their optional subject.