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Changing orientation of the Public Administration Optional in UPSC CSE

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    18th Apr, 2023

Though an old hat on the examination scene, Public Administration Optional remained the preferred flavour over the years, in spite of the ever-changing nature of the examination. But within this constancy, there are perennial undercurrents of change which have shaped the discipline as well as the way its asked in the form of the questions in the examination.

The subject has been enriched by multiple developments in society, polity, and at the global levels; the examination has become far more challenging over the years. So it's not just the conventional areas of the syllabus that are asked in the examination in a straightforward manner. The examination has taken a turn towards the subaltern view, applied and contemporary orientation to test the candidates and their ability to go beyond the books.

The core aspects though remain the same, it's the manifestation of those core areas of the discipline that has gone for a toss in the examination.

For example, "Wilson" is a popular character in the field of public administration and so is his critique, however, the exam may not allude to him/it directly. They might refer to a more contemporary scholar "Bennis". So while the thought continues to hover around Wilson (A traditional Area), the question seems twisted. So, how to deal with such a situation?

Remember the Themes and Concepts and then fit the scholars. As themes remain the same, just phraseology differs from thinker to thinker.

The second aspect that is visible and stark is that the examination is asking more and more contemporary questions, that too in an abstract form. So a key challenge becomes deciphering the demand of the question. Once done, another challenge that stares a candidate in the face, is What to write? and How to Write?

I suggest a cocktail of ingredients to put in an answer if the question is lopsidedly tilted towards contemporary and abstract.

1. Decipher the demand of the Question.
2. Identify the concept(s), from the syllabus- Now you have your periphery decided.
3. If its Paper1, give a dash/glimpse of Paper 2 interlinkage, and vice versa for Paper-2
4. Add a contemporary dimension.

(Ex. The emphasis of Neo Humanists like Likert, McGregor, and Argyris on skill and training: Link it with Personnel Management Questions Regarding Civil Servants in Paper-2, Provide an example of Mission Karmyogi to add contemporary touch)

The above serves well to score marks in the exam, as it displays the candidate's ingenuity and beyond-the-book acumen.

So, it's not just the analysis of the subject but also the changing nature of the examination, besides hard work and rigorous preparation that's the key to success in the UPSC CSE. For any further doubt join our Public Administration Group and get all your query resolved by faculties. - Click here

All the best !!!

Abhishiekh Saxena
(Faculty of Public Administration Optional: GS SCORE)

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