Print Friendly, PDF & Email

TOPPER’S PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION STRATEGY: Abhinav Goel, Rank 36, Public Administration Marks – 254 (CSE 2015)

We are happy to post Public Administration strategy followed by Abhinav Goel, one of Insights‘ follower. He had practised Secure questions for his General Studies preparation. He has secured exceptional marks of 254 in Public Administration in 2015 UPSC civil services Mains and has secured Rank – 36. Shortly, he will be sharing his GS strategy as well.

Abhinav’s Marks
GS 1-106
GS 2-88
GS 3-112
GS 4 -90
PUB AD 1-114
PUB AD 2-140

Hello Friends,

In this post, I would like to outline the basic strategy which I tried to follow while preparing for public administration as my optional subject. During my three attempts, the scores have been as follows:

2013- 180 marks

2014-232 marks

2015-254 marks(114+140)

Strategy: Most aspirants opt for public administration as an optional because of its perceived benefits in the general studies papers. One does derive some help out of it  for our GS papers. Nevertheless, to score well in the subject requires one to go beyond the generic content and acquire specific domain knowledge. That needs to be complemented with the current issues, case studies or facts to make the content more relevant.



  1. Class notes(if one has attended coaching-Rajesh Gupta Sir’s notes and Pavan Sir’s class notes are helpful)
  2. Prasad and Prasad for thinkers
  3. R.B.Aribam(good for quick revision as well)
  4. Sharma And Sadana (for chapters like Personnel Administration,Financial Administration)
  5. Nicholas Henry(For paradigms in Public Admin, Budgetary Models, Public Policy)
  6. Mohit Bhattacharya-New Horizons
  7. Mohit Bhattacharya-Social Theory and Development Admin(some chapters like Anti development thesis,women empowerment,Capacity Building Approach of Amartya Sen,Bureaucracy and Development)

Focus should be on understanding the concepts and developing linkages. For eg while studying thinkers one must follow the broad approach like- basic theory of thinkers,critical appraisal of the theory,linkage with other theorists and practical application of the theory in public admin in general and Indian admin in particular.Also while studying,various aspects of indian admin must be incorporated in chapters like personnel,finance,development dynamics,public policy, admin reforms etc.


In recent times, UPSC has increased the difficulty levels of paper one. Scoring well in paper one has become unpredictable and any amount of preparation cannot guarantee safe score. One must concentrate more on Indian Administration to get good score in Public Administration. Indian Administration also helps us in our Polity & Governance Paper in General Studies. I focussed more on Indian Administration and it helped me a lot in overall score in Public Administration and GS Paper II.

  1. Arc Reports are a must( one can go for the summary given by Pawan Sir if there is paucity of time)
  2. Punchhi Commission Reports(esp for topics like Governor,Emergency,Financial relations between centre and states,Planning Commission ,Security issues)
  3. Rajni Goyal and Arora
  4. Magazines like Yojana and kurukshetra are helpful(special issues on panchayats,women,developmental issues must be read -for eg the yojana on panchayats had very good tables and facts on level of decentralization,best practices by various states and the impact of decentralization-case studies).
  5. Following experts for certain areas( urban Development-Isher Judge Ahluvalia’s articles)
  6. Other important government reports like Law commission report on electoral reforms.
  7. Reports like ADR (association for democratic reforms),SCOPE(Standing Conference of Public Enterprises).
  8. Economic Survey
  9. Newspapers-I used to follow The Hindu and The Indian Express
  10. Plan Document(For info on schemes,PPP,)

It is important that every aspect and every point is substantiated by a concrete example.This method was very well exemplified by Pawan Sir also when i attended his  test series module.For eg in a question of criminalization of politics,one needs to mention the percentage of MP’s with a criminal background ,the no of working hours wasted etc. I had maintained a separate notebook and made chapter wise repository of such information from daily newspapers and magazines.


The secret of success for writing good answers in Public Administration lies in understanding the questions. Most of the students fail to write good answers simply because of their failure to understand the questions. In the last three years, UPSC has deliberately increased the difficulty levels of question paper as they are more interested in those students who have conceptual clarity and ability to write those concepts in a simple manner.

I  attended the test series conducted by Pavan  Sir and  his simple,lucid approach towards the subject was very helpful.Some guidelines which can be followed and which were well articulated by Pavan Sir also are:

  1. It is better to write in point format.
  2. Try to write as many points as possible rather than explaining a single point.
  3. The question must be well understood and only relevant material must be written which justifies the context of the question.
  4. Writing answers in as simple manner as possible with a focus on basics.
  5. Another important aspect about answer writing is your ability to interlink the concepts,whether in paper 1 or paper 2.Do link the concepts liberally.For eg,In a question of district admin, while mentioning frequent transfers of administrators as a constraint, one can bring in Maslow’s theory to indicate that frequent transfers act as a demotivating force.Human resource Management in Indian Admin can be linked to Behavioural theorists etc
  6. Candidates are expected to give examples from Indian Administration while explaining the concepts in Paper – I.
  7. Since the number of questions to be answered are more (in the last two years UPSC has increased the number of questions), one must have good writing speed as you can get marks only when you write answers to questions.                                                                                                                       

I sincerely hope that the above information should help the candidates regarding preparation for Public Administration and am more than willing to help those candidates who have doubts regarding their preparation. They can write to me and I shall reply to their queries as soon as possible.

Wishing all of you best of luck.