When it comes to preparing for the UPSC Civil Services Mains examination, choosing the right optional subject can play a crucial role in determining your success. Public administration has long been a popular choice among aspirants due to its relevance and significance in the field of governance and administration. To excel in this subject, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the previous year’s question papers. In this blog series, we’ll delve into the specific topic of Financial Administration and explore a decade’s worth of questions (2013-2023) from the UPSC Mains to help you gain insights, identify recurring themes, and develop a strategic approach to tackle this critical aspect of the public administration syllabus.
Financial Administration is a pivotal component of the public administration syllabus that encompasses various aspects of fiscal management, budgeting, accounting, and financial control within the context of government operations. It’s a subject that demands not only a theoretical grasp of concepts but also practical application, making it a vital topic for aspirants to master. By dissecting the previous year’s questions in this domain, we aim to provide a comprehensive roadmap for UPSC aspirants, helping them navigate the intricacies of Financial Administration and enabling them to formulate well-informed answers in the Mains examination. So, let’s embark on this journey together, as we unravel the past decade’s questions and equip you with the knowledge and strategies needed to conquer the Public Administration optional paper in UPSC Mains.
Financial Administration – Public Administration – Previous Year Questions (UPSC CSE Mains Psychology Optional)
Monetary & Fiscal Policies
1. “Fiscal policy should address the issues of inequity, intricacy and obscurantism.” Explain. (2020)
2. Discuss the major areas of change in the Tax-Reforms of the post liberalisation era. How do you justify the importance of the direct tax reform in this context? (2019)
3. Monetary policy of a country can help or hinder its development process.” Discuss. (2018)
4. “Fiscal policy and monetary policy are the two tools used by the State to achieve its macroeconomic objectives.” Examine the statement and point out the differences between the tools. (2016)
5. “Economic reforms are a work in progress with the state reluctant to fully relinquish its reins.” Discuss the statement with regard to implementation of economic reforms in India. (2013)
6. Critically examine the monetary and fiscal policies of Government of India in the decade 1991 to
7. Do you think world financial institutions had a role to play in opening Indian economy to global forces? Give reasons to substantiate your argument. (2001)
8. “Time-honoured and yet often not sufficiently appreciated are the fiscal techniques for securing responsible conduct of administrative business.” Discuss. (1997)
Public Borrowings and Public Debt
1. “A large public debt forces the adoption of tax and spending policies that result into higher taxes and reduced services.” Analyse. (2017)
2. “Public borrowings produces different effects on the economy”. Examine. (2016)
Budgets – types and forms
1. A sound budgeting system is one which engenders trust among citizens that the government is listening to their concerns. Elaborate this in the context of budgetary governance. (2022)
2. ‘Outcome budgeting addresses the weaknesses of performance budgeting.’ Elaborate. (2022)
3. Zero-based budgeting was intended to get away from incrementalism, but ended up being the most incremental of any budgetary approach. Discuss. (2021)
4. “Objectives of performance budgeting include improving expenditure prioritization, effectiveness and efficiency.” Has performance budgeting worked effectively in governmental system? Argue. (2020)
5. Is William Niskanen’s “Budget Maximising Model” relevant today? Argue. (2019)
6. “Sound Performance Auditing is impossible without systematic Performance or Outcome Budgeting.” Explain the relationship between the two. (2018)
7. “The key to understanding performance-based budgeting lies beneath the word ‘result’.” In the light of the statement, examine the elements of performance-based budgeting. (2016)
8. “Instead of reforms to budgetary process Wildavsky proposes to redefine the role of political institutions and rules by which politics leads to agreement on budget.” Explain. (2014)
9. Identify the main elements of program budgeting, output budgeting and new performance budgeting. What do they have in common with PPBS? (2014)
10. What new models of budgetary capacity and incapacity have emerged after the decline of Planning Programming Budgeting and Zero-based Budgeting? (2013)
11. An administrator uses the budget as a framework for communication and co-ordination, as well as for exercising administrative discipline throughout the administrative structure. Explain. (2011)
12. ‘Budget is a series of goals with price-tags attached.’ Explain. (2011)
13. Distinguish between PPBS and performance budgeting. (2010)
14. What is performance budgeting? Bring out its merits, limitations and difficulties. (2007)
15. “Successfully implementing budgeting approach requires favourable incentive structures.” Discuss. (2006)
16. Why does the issue of budgeting as politics versus budgeting as analysis remain important in the budgeting process? Do you agree that some synthesis of the two positions seems possible? Illustrate. (2005)
17. “The budget is an instrument of coordination.” Explain. (2005)
18. Examine the government budget as an instrument of public policy and a tool of legislative control. (2002)
19. Burekehead says: ‘Budget in Government is a vehicle of fiscal policy and a tool of management.’ Examine this statement. (2001)
20. Give reasons for the failure of Government of India to introduce the performance programme budgetary technique in Union Ministries. What type of budgetary system is being currently practiced in India and why? (2000)
21. Write short note on Budget as an instrument of socio-economic transformation. (2000)
22. “Budget is a tool which serves many purposes.” Comment. (1998)
23. “Budgeting and fiscal administration require the public administrator to resolve a variety of operational, managerial and strategic issues.” Examine. (1996)
24. Program budgeting is often considered interchangeable with performance budgeting, but there is a significant difference, at least in theory. Comment. (1995)
25. Examine the view that during the last two decades Programming, Planning and Budgeting system and even Zero Base Budgeting have been driven out by political dissensions. (1994)
26. Explain the principle involved in the preparation of budget. Assess the scope of budgetary techniques in financial management. (1993)
27. What is performance budgeting? Do you agree with the statement that it is a tool of business management? (1992)
28. ‘Financial administration is a vital institution for economic and social in a poor country.’ Comment. (1992)
29. ‘…….. budget office needs accountants, statisticians and procedure analysis; it must provide a working climate in which these specialist skills are applied in a general context.’ Comment. (1990)
30. “In so far as budgeting is successful or otherwise, if depends not only on its internal workings but upon the environment in which it operates.” Explain. (1988)
31. Explain Performance Budgeting and illustrate its need and utility in development administration. (1987)
1. Budgeting is a political process” – (Aaron Wildavsky). Examine. (2017)
2. “No significant change can be made in the budgetary process without affecting the political process.” (Wildavsky). Analyse. (2015)
3. Budget allocation involves series of tensions between actors with different backgrounds, orientations and interests and between short-term goals and long-term institutional requirements. Discuss. (2013)
4. ‘Those who budget, deal with their overwhelming burdens by adopting heuristic aids to calculation’ (Wildavsky). Explain. (2012)
5. “Good economics and bad politics cannot coexist a sound budgetary process.” Discuss this statement in the context of the developmental challenges in countries experiencing competitive politics. (2008)
6. Give reasons for the failures on the part of bureaucracy and the legislature to supervise the enactment of the budgetary provisions. (1989)
1. The audit function has always been viewed as an integral part of government financial management. Discuss the significance of internal audit in improving the performance of the government sector. (2022)
2. “There can be no performance auditing without performance budgeting.” Elucidate. (2017)
3. “The fact that we call something performance auditing means that we imply salient features which can distinguish it from other forms of enquiry.” Discuss with reference to the main measures or indicators of performance measurement. (2014)
4. Whereas ‘value for money’ audit aims at economy and ‘performance’ audit seeks efficiency, ‘social’ audit goes beyond both, to examine the effectiveness of a programme or activity. Examine this statement with suitable illustrations. (2011)
5. “Audit continues to be considered as something alien, something extraneous and something of the nature of an impediment.” Explain. (2006)
6. “Auditing in Government is an exercise in post-mortem.” – Examine. (2002)
7. ‘Statutory External auditing is one of the protectors of democracy in the parliamentary form of Government.’ Comment. (2001)
8. “Government has numerous ideal objectives, and three of these are closely linked to accounting and finance: efficiency, effectiveness and equality.” Comment. (1993)
9. ‘It (Audit) is the process of ascertaining whether the administer has spent or is spending its fund in accordance with the terms of legislature which appropriated money.’ Comment. (1991)
10. ‘What the auditors know is auditing……. Which is not administration.’ Comment on the nature, importance and role of audit in administration. (1990)
11. “Public bureaucracies have not grown yet to adopt their accounting and auditing mechanisms to the ever-growing automation within them.” Comment. (1989)
12. ‘The financial administration in modern times needs updating administrative cybernetics and Audit reforms.’ Comment. (1987)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What is Financial Administration in the context of public governance?
A: Financial Administration in public governance refers to the management and control of financial resources within government organizations. It involves budgeting, accounting, revenue generation, and the efficient allocation of funds to ensure the smooth functioning of public services.
Q: What are the key principles of Financial Administration in government?
A: The key principles of Financial Administration in government include fiscal responsibility, transparency, accountability, efficiency, and equity. These principles ensure that public funds are used judiciously and for the benefit of the citizens.
Q: Why is the study of Financial Administration important for civil services aspirants?
A: Financial Administration is a crucial topic for civil services aspirants because it forms the backbone of government operations. Understanding fiscal management, budgetary processes, and financial control is essential for effective decision-making in public administration and governance.
Q: What are the challenges in Financial Administration faced by governments today?
A: Modern governments face challenges such as budget deficits, public debt management, the need for increased transparency, and the efficient allocation of resources to address complex issues like healthcare, education, and infrastructure development.
Q: How can I prepare effectively for the Financial Administration section in the UPSC exam?
A: To prepare effectively for Financial Administration in the UPSC exam, start by studying the relevant syllabus and previous year’s question papers. Understand the core concepts, principles, and government financial systems. Practice solving numerical problems related to budgeting and financial control. Additionally, refer to standard textbooks and stay updated on contemporary financial issues in the public sector.
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