In the wake of significant changes brought in the syllabus of UPSC examination with much greater emphasis on decision making, environmental dynamism, polity and governance, administrative ethics,integrity,policy considerations, national and global issues pertain to governance (to mention a few), the relevance of the subject from examination point of view need not be emphasized.
In technical terms, the syllabus of Public Administration directly and tangentially covers almost 40 % of the Syllabus of General studies. It is to be noted that the two full papers (out of four main GS papers) viz. (a) Polity & Governance and (b) Administrative ethics and integrity directly falls under the academic jurisdiction of Public administration. Secondly, Public administration is so vibrantly connected with current affairs that many topics of other papers also falls within its realm because every national or international issue has an administrative dimension.
Thirdly, given the dynamic nature of subject and its all pervasive scope of subject matters, the essay paper becomes quite general for the students of Public administration. The subject by its very nature nurtures the candidates in the art of decision making with a multi dimensional approach.
Further, Public Administration has an unmatched instrumental relevance to deal with the challenges of interview. The students of Public administration are found to be much better placed contra posed to others because they readily come with practical, holistic and substantive view point on any question related to administration or governance.
Besides, even after selection the subject imparts a competitive edge to the officers in while dealing with the challenges of implementation at the level of field agencies.
Therefore, given the new syllabus of General studies, you can not think of clearing examination without studying administration and the associated issues. It no doubt, makes sense to adopt it as an optional subject.
It includes relevant components of law, management, finance, history, philosophy, sociology, behavioral sciences and many more areas of study to impart a totalistic view of things.