Are you an aspiring civil servant preparing for the prestigious UPSC Mains examination? If so, then you’re no stranger to the importance of selecting the right optional subject to ace the exam. Public Administration has been a popular choice among candidates, and one of its crucial topics is “Accountability and Control.” In this blog series, we’ll dive into the treasure trove of previous year questions from 2013 to 2023, specifically focusing on this vital subject. Understanding accountability and control is essential for any future civil servant, as it forms the bedrock of efficient and transparent governance. By analyzing past questions, you’ll gain valuable insights into the kind of knowledge and skills the UPSC is looking for, which can help you excel in this optional subject and overall in the Mains examination.
In the following paragraphs, we will explore the evolution of questions related to accountability and control over the past decade, highlighting the changing trends and the core concepts that have remained constant. This journey through previous year questions will not only serve as a comprehensive guide for your Public Administration preparation but also help you develop a holistic understanding of how these topics are relevant in the real-world context. So, let’s embark on this enlightening journey to unravel the intricacies of Public Administration and master the art of accountability and control, a cornerstone of responsible governance.
Accountability and Control Public Administration – Previous Year Questions (UPSC CSE Mains Psychology Optional)
Concepts of Accountability and Control
1. Public administration in the neo-liberal era is governed less by instruments of internal accountability and more by those of external accountability. Elaborate. (2013)
2. “Autonomy and accountability in Public Enterprises cannot walk together”. Explain. (2006)
3. “The weakest aspect of Indian Administrative System is utter disregard of accountability.” Examine the current mechanism for enforcing accountability. What steps are necessary to make it more effective? (2000)
4. It would be fatal for administration if the public functionaries indulge in procrastination, betray inaction, or more in circles simply because the demand for accountability has overawed and benumbed them.’ Comment. (1992)
Legislative, Executive and Judicial Control over administration
1. Edward Gibbon, the author of Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire remarked: “Corruption, the most infallible symptom of Constitutional liberty.” Critically examine this statement. (2018)
2. “The legislative control over administration is not as effective as it ought to be.” Comment. (2016)
3. “Legislative action is not subject to the rules of natural justice.” Explain the exceptions to the rule of natural justice. (2015)
4. What is judicial activism? How far has it been successful in exercising a check over administration? (2005)
5. Write short note on Judicial control over administration in India and concept of judicial activism. (2000)
6. “Public Interest Litigation is an effective innovation in realizing social justice.” Comment. (1999)
7. “Executive control over administration is much more real.” Comment. (1998)
8. “The controls exercised over administration by legislature are, in sum, of greater theoretical than practical efficiency. Comment. (1997)
9. At one extreme, the vigour of judicial control may paralyse effective administration, at the other the result may be offensive bureaucratic tyranny, exactly where the balance may be best struck is a major problem of judicial administration relationship. Comment. (1996)
10. ‘The Judicial Control over administration operates through a system of writs.’ Comment. (1987)
Citizen and Administration
1. Thrust on the citizen centricity and Right based approaches, aim to empower the citizens. In the light of the above, has the administrative accountability improved ? Justify your argument. (2020)
2. “The political approach to Public Administration stresses on the values of representativeness, political responsiveness and accountability through elected officials to the citizenry” (David H. Rosenbloom). Comment. (2018)
3. “For those who use the euphemism of ‘shared power’ for participation, the appro-priate literature for guidance is practical politics, not organization and management.” “Strong state and strong civil society are the need to develop both participatory democracy and responsive government as mutually reinforcing and supportive. (2013)
Bring out the myths and realities associated with public participation.
4. What are the various institutional devices available for the redressal of citizen’s grievances against the excesses and malfunctioning of administration? How successful have they been? (2003)
Role of media, interest groups, voluntary organizations
1. “Media, the fourth estate is in chains.” Examine the statement in the context of governmental accountability. (2019)
2. When the media is controlled by vested interests, how can it control the vested interests in the government? How can the media become more responsible and impartial? (2017)
3. How far do you agree with the view that the growing influence of media comes in the way of agenda-setting by the Government? (2015)
4. “Voluntary organizations nave become tools of sensitization of governmental agencies.” Comment. (2014)
5. Should media exposure be included in rules for administrative accountability in India? State your views. (2012)
6. ‘Media is a Parliament of citizens’. Explain. (2011)
7. “Instruments of public accountability can be truly effective only if the people and their associations, backed by a responsible media, are assertively pro-active.” Comment. (2008)
8. “Voluntarism is not anti-thesis of state-centricism.” Comment. (1999)
1. Interaction between the State and Civil society has hitherto been largely neglected, especially in developing countries. Examine. (2022)
2. In theory, the ‘civil society organizations’ promote cooperation between people and public service organizations, but in practice, their activities restrict the promotion of government programmes. Analyze. (2021)
3. Civil Society supplements and complements the State. However, its capacity and role depend upon the will of the State. Comment. (2017)
4. “Civil society performs a key role in defending people against the State and market and in asserting the democratic will to influence the State.” Analyze the statement with suitable examples. (2016)
5. Comment on the role of Civil Society in facilitating administrative accountability with special reference to the ‘Janlokpal’ issue in India. (2012)
6. Define the term ‘civil society’. How does civil society influence the public policy? (2006)
7. “Civil society exists to ensure that government does provide good governance.” Discuss. (2002)
1. “Right from the days of the ‘peoples’ Charter’ to the new concept of ‘Precariat Charter’, the concept of Citizen’s Charter and its scope is constantly evolving.” Comment. (2015)
2. Explain the basic principles underlying Citizen’s Charter with special reference to (2010)
(a) Its administrative philosophy.
(b) Promoting public accountability.
(c) Ensuring standards of public service.
3. “’Citizens’ charter’ is the most important innovation in the context of promotion of customerorientation of administration.” Discuss. (2003)
Right to Information
1. “The right to information is not all about citizens empowerment, it essentially redefines the concept of accountability.” Discuss. (2014)
2. ‘Open access to government records is … the hallmark of a democratic government’, but ‘governments are not hesitant about destroying records – very deliberately – in order to prevent investigations, as well as to generally weaken accountability’. Do you think that in this situation right to information can go to the extent of demanding complete declassification and ‘bearchivization’ of government records? Argue. (2012)
3. “Right to information promotes transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority.” Explain. (2007)
4. Discuss the legal and political implications of Right to information. Is it a feasible concept in the developing countries? (2004)
1. Social auditing is not just saving the money, it creates positive impact on governance. Comment. (2022)
2. Can we say that statutory audit and social audit are two sides of the same coin? Or, are they two separate coins with varying values? Discuss. (2017)
3. “In spite of certain advantages, Social Audit arrangements have mostly been ineffective because there is no legal provision for punitive action.” Comment. (2016)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What is accountability in public administration?
A: Accountability in public administration refers to the obligation of government officials and organizations to be answerable for their actions, decisions, and use of resources. It ensures transparency, responsible governance, and that public servants are answerable to the citizens and other oversight bodies for their actions.
Q: What are the key mechanisms of accountability in public administration?
A: Key mechanisms of accountability include electoral accountability (where citizens can vote for their representatives), administrative accountability (oversight within government agencies), judicial accountability (legal recourse), and social accountability (involving civil society and the media to hold the government accountable). These mechanisms work together to maintain a system of checks and balances.
Q: How does control relate to accountability in public administration?
A: Control mechanisms are processes and systems put in place to ensure that government actions are in line with established policies and regulations. Control is closely linked to accountability, as it helps prevent misuse of power and resources, making it easier to hold public officials accountable for their actions.
Q: What is the role of the legislature in ensuring accountability and control in public administration?
A: The legislature plays a crucial role in accountability and control by passing laws, scrutinizing government actions, and approving budgets. Through oversight functions, the legislature ensures that the executive branch remains transparent and accountable to the public. It is the legislative branch that often holds public officials accountable for their actions.
Q: How can citizens actively participate in ensuring accountability in public administration?
A: Citizens can participate in ensuring accountability by staying informed, engaging in civic activities, attending public meetings, and using their voting rights. They can also support non-governmental organizations and advocacy groups that work towards accountability and transparency in government. Engaged and informed citizens are a powerful force in holding public officials accountable.
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