If you’re an aspiring civil servant in India, preparing for the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) Mains examination is a crucial step in your journey to become a part of the country’s administrative elite. One of the optional subjects that candidates can choose is Public Administration, a field that delves deep into the functioning of government and administrative systems. In this blog series, we’ll be exploring the topic of “Techniques of Administrative Improvement” and taking a close look at the previous year’s questions from 2013 to 2023. Understanding these questions and their patterns can be a valuable asset in your preparation, as it allows you to anticipate the kind of concepts and knowledge areas that UPSC might test you on. So, if you’re keen on mastering the Public Administration optional subject, or even if you’re just curious about the intricacies of administrative improvement, join us as we dissect these questions, provide insights, and equip you with the tools you need to excel in this area.
The “Techniques of Administrative Improvement” is a critical domain in public administration, encompassing a wide range of methods and strategies aimed at enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of governmental operations. Over the past decade, UPSC has asked numerous questions related to this topic, and as a UPSC aspirant, it’s crucial to not only have a deep understanding of these techniques but also be able to apply them in real-world scenarios. Through this blog series, we’ll break down the questions year by year, analyze the key concepts and ideas, and provide you with the knowledge required to tackle such questions with confidence. So, whether you’re a Public Administration enthusiast or simply someone interested in the dynamics of administrative systems, this blog series will be your guiding light in navigating the world of administrative improvement as it pertains to the UPSC Mains examination.
Techniques of Administrative Improvement – Public Administration – Previous Year Questions (UPSC CSE Mains Psychology Optional)
Organization and methods (Management by Objectives)
1. Is Peter Drucker justified in saying, “Management principles should not tell us what to do, but only tell us what not to do”? Comment. (2014)
2. What are the main functions of an O and M office? (2011)
3. Bring out the various techniques of O&M adopt in India to improve efficiency in administration. (2007)
4. Examine the needs and facets of administrative reforms in the fast changing scenario of the 21st century. What are the obstacles to administrative reforms? Give suggestions to overcome them. (2003)
5. Bring out the importance of Organization and Methods (O&M). Do you think that there should be a separate O & M organization? (1997)
6. “Administrative reforms are induced changes in the machinery of government undertaken in order to bridge the gap between reality and desirability.” Comment. (1997)
7. “Whatever is purpose it is true that reform always takes place against ‘resistance’ and that failure to recognise the various sources of opposition, and to plan and to neutralise them, is a major reason for the widespread failure of reform efforts.” Examine. (1996)
8. “The entire process of development and nation building hinges on the effectiveness of administrative reforms.” Comment. (1994)
9. “Administrative reforms represent efforts, intended to enhance and/or expand the administrative and managerial capacity of Public administration to achieve national objectives or goals.” Elucidate. (1993)
10. ‘Administrative reform, by its very definition, seeks to apply new ideas to administration and thus entails new values. Comment. (1992)
11. ‘There are widely different views not only about the context of O and M, but also concerning its relationship with other techniques concerned with improving effectiveness and efficiency. Discuss. (1991)
Work study and work management
1. In the era of increasing stress on productivity work study provides the road ahead for the administrators. Identify the positive attributes of work study in the light of the statement. (2019)
2. “The term ‘work study’ may be used in narrower and wider senses.” Elucidate. (2016)
3. Write short note on Work study and work-measurement in Indian Administration. (2000)
4. “Work study succeeds because it is systematic in investigating a problem and also in developing a solution for it.” Explain. Also discuss the components of Work Study and their usefulness. (1998)
5. Work study comprises all ‘systematic activities concerned with the investigation, recording, measurement and improvement of work.’ Comment. (1990)
e-governance and information technology
1. ICT has immense potential to transform governance and empower citizens. Examine. (2021)
2. “Disruptive nature of developments in Information Technology has changed the contours of e-governance in the last one decade.” Analyse. (2020)
3. Has e-governance led to debureau-cratization and decentralization? Assess its impact on bureaucratic inertia. (2019)
4. To what extent has e-governance made the administrative system more citizen-oriented? Can it (e-governance) be made more participative. (2018)
5. “Digitalisation provides great impetus to E-governance”. Discuss. (2017)
6. “Information Technology brings efficiency and transparency to Public Administration.“ Examine the statement with suitable examples. (2016)
7. “E-Governance creates a direct relationship between the Citizen and the State.” In this context, explain the changing role of the elected representatives. (2015)
8. “The bottom line for governance outcome rather than the outputs of government.” Analyse in context of e-government and e-governance. (2014)
9. “The technical and multidisciplinary nature of e-government has created an interdependent relationship within government between policymakers, program administrators and technical specialists.” Analyse in context of generalist – specialist relationship. (2014)
10. The success rate of e-government projects in most developing countries is stated to be rather low. Assess the reason. (2013)
11. ‘The apparent demise of e-Government and e-Business as the main organizing principles of society has created the conditions for the rise of e-Governance from the ashes’ – In the In the context of the above statement show the distinctions between e-Government and e-Governance. (2012)
12. A system of Information ties planning and control by managers to the operational system of implementation. Elaborate. (2011)
13. E-governance is the final arrival of Max Weber’s ‘iron cage of rationality’. Discuss. (2011)
14. Do you think that is a sort of paradox between e-Governance and good governance? Explain fully. (2010)
15. “e-governance has the potentiality to emerge as the most effective instrument of efficiency, transparency and accountability.” Comment. (2008)
16. “The rise of information technology is an opportunity to overcome historical disabilities”. Explain. (2006)
17 .In what ways and how can information technology play a crucial role in effective government-citizen interaction in the context of good governance? (2005)
18. What is Information Technology? Describe its impact on Public Administration. (2004)
19. “Organisations today seem to information systems, but their investments often do not seem to make sense.” Comment. (2003)
20. Do you think that sudden eruption of ‘Information society’ has adapted and accelerated administrative development? (1989)
Management aid tools like networking analysis, MIS
1. MIS has evolved and gone far beyond its traditional advantages due to technological advancements. Comment. (2021)
2. A narrow view of information comes in the way of successful implementation of MIS in organizations. Analyse. (2019)
3. “The field of MIS is not necessarily an extension of computer science, but of management and organisation theory.” Elucidate. (2014)
4. ‘Relations are the building blocks of network analysis’ – In the light of this statement summarize the form and content of relations in ‘network analysis’. (2012)
5. There is a need for intimate relation between Generalists, Specialists and the Management Information System (MIS). Comment. (1988)
1. “Comparative Performance Measurement (CPM) bridges everyday work experience with the broader horizons of comparativism.” Explain. (2015)
2. “MIS, PERT and CPM have accelerated the process of reinventing O & M.” In the context of the above statement, explain the recent developments in managerial techniques. (2015)
3. Trace the background and development of PERT and enumerate the steps involved in the application of PERT. (2012)
4. Draw a simple PERT chart for a seminar planning project. (2012)
5. “Techniques like PERT and CPM help in effective office management.” Elaborate. (2009)
6. Time may be regained as an alternative to reform, as by ‘efflux of time’ remarkable powers may be acquired to resolve conflict. Comment. (1988)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What are the key techniques of administrative improvement?
A: Administrative improvement techniques include measures like reengineering, total quality management, e-governance, performance appraisal systems, and process optimization, aimed at enhancing the efficiency, transparency, and effectiveness of government operations.
Q: How do performance appraisal systems contribute to administrative improvement?
A: Performance appraisal systems help identify and reward high-performing employees, thereby promoting motivation and productivity within the administrative framework, ultimately leading to improved outcomes.
Q: Can you provide an example of the application of e-governance in administrative improvement?
A: E-governance facilitates online service delivery, reducing bureaucratic red tape and enhancing accessibility for citizens. For example, online tax filing systems have streamlined the revenue collection process, making it more efficient and citizen-friendly.
Q: What is the role of reengineering in administrative improvement?
A: Reengineering involves a radical overhaul of existing administrative processes to eliminate redundancies and improve productivity. It aims to streamline workflows, reduce costs, and enhance the quality of services offered.
Q: How can public-private partnerships (PPPs) be used for administrative improvement?
A: PPPs can bring in private sector expertise and resources to improve public services. For instance, in infrastructure projects, PPPs can expedite construction, reduce costs, and enhance the quality of services like roads, bridges, and public transportation.
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