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Public Administration Books for IAS

Last Updated on April 8 2014

Public Administration is by far the most popular optional for IAS Mains and, naturally, has the highest share of successful candidates among all optionals. One of the reasons for its popularity is the relatively limited and well defined syllabus. Correspondingly the books required are also quite limited, more so for paper 2. So which books should you refer for Pub Ad? Let’s find out.

Public Administration Paper 1 Books

If you’re new to Public Administration I highly recommend you first go through SP Naidu’s Public Administration. This book introduces the basic concepts and theories in a very simple and engaging manner. Many IAS aspirants directly jump to Mohit Bhattacharya’s New Horizons in Public Administration with the result they end up giving up the subject altogether or get the impression that Pub Ad is not their cup of tea.

Poli Naidu on other hand was written keeping in mind the aptitude of a first year undergraduate student and is highly recommended by coaching institutes like Synergy as well.

Note: Aspirants shouldn’t get confused between two books by the same author: 1. Public Administration Concepts and Theories 2. Public Administration. Both these books have been authored by S.P Naidu or S. Poli Naidu. I recommend Public Administration since it’s more elaborate than Concepts and Theories.

New Horizons by Mohit Bhattacharya

After going through Poly Naidu you should then dive into New Horizons of Public Administration, an indispensable book written by Mohit Bhattacharya, a renowned Public Administration scholar and writer.

This book covers the entire Paper 1 syllabus in different degrees. The chapters where it really shines are Bureaucratic Theory, Public Policies, Development Administration, and Decision Making. These are Bhattacharya’s forte and he has explained these topics really well in his own unique style.

Speaking of style the language in New Horizons might seem a little too difficult to grasp at first but when you have read and re-read the book 2 or 3 times (Yes you have to), you’ll actually enjoy its contents. A must read.

Public Administration and Public Affairs by Nicholas Henry

An American Public Administration scholar of repute Nicholas Henry shot to prominence with his paradigms of Public Administration theory (also written about by Golembiweiski). The opening chapter of this book tackles these six paradigms in a very lucid manner. In fact the entire book is very easy to grasp.

The chapters on Public Policy and Contingency Theory are also to be read and understood from this important book.

Administrative Thinkers by Prasad and Prasad

Nearly two long questions of 60 marks each are asked from the Administrative Theories chapter every year and the best book to refer for this all important topic is Administrative Thinkers by Prasad and Prasad.

It covers all the thinkers in the new syllabus including Kautilya for Paper 2. Although quite a  slim book it contains a wealth of information. This is again a must read book for Paper 1.

Administrative Behaviors: Managing organizational behavior

Not a must have book but some parts of this book on Organizational Behaviour are must read for tackling the Administrative Behaviour portion of the Pub Ad syllabus as well as the Leadership and Motivation theories. The good part about this book is that there are plenty of illustrations and case studies to make your understanding easier. Recommended book for Public Administration.

Personnel Administration Notes of IGNOU

I could’ve listed a book here but why read more when you can make do with less and more effective material? Personnel Administration is a very important chapter from Mains point of view and one question is always asked from it. The IGNOU Pub Ad notes cover this topic quite well. Don’t read all the four volumes, just get this chapter somehow and you’re done.

Development Administration by Mohit Bhattacharya

This is another important book by Bhattacharya that covers the Development Administration topic thoroughly and as some of you might be aware the focus has once more shifted on Development Administration in developing countries.

Vajiram Pub Ad Printed Notes

The reason I’m asking you to get these notes is because no amount of books can cover the entire syllabus in its entirety. So you have to supplement the text books with these notes. Remember both are not exclusive rather complementary.

Just get the printed notes, no need for the hand written class notes.

Public Administration Paper 2 Books

With other optionals it’s harder to score well in Paper 2, but it’s the opposite with Pub Ad. The paper 2 syllabus focuses on Indian Administration and overlaps considerably with Indian polity part of the GS paper making it easy to score off. And the books required are less as well.

Indian Administration by Arora and Goyal

If there’s one book I’ll recommend for Paper 2, it’s Indian Administration by Ramesh Arora and Rajni Goyal. An excellent book that covered almost 90 percent of old syllabus single-handedly, it still covers about 70-75 percent of the new Pub Ad paper 2 syllabus.

The book explains all chapters really well including the Indian polity part and British administration, Mughal era and Kautilya’s theory.

In fact, you should read this book at least three times to really score well in Paper 2. Such is its significance.

IIPA Notes

Indian Institute of Public Administration comes out with quarterly journals covering all the relevant articles on current Public Administration issues. In fact some questions in Paper 1 and 2 are directly asked from these journals. A must read to acquaint oneself with the latest developments in Public Administration theory and practice.

Notes and Newspapers

For the new topics that have been added you should refer to the coaching notes I mentioned above as well as read a good newspaper like Indian Express as it covers administrative news items on a regular basis and Pub Ad requires supporting real life instances, particularly Paper 2. Newspaper reading is thus indispensable.

Quite frankly the above mentioned books and notes are adequate to cover the Public Administration paper 1 and paper 2 syllabus but if there is any new book that opens a new dimension or explains some topics in a better manner, please feel to share them in the comments below.

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