SYNOPSIS: PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION OPTIONAL – Paper 1- TLP UPSC Mains Answer Writing [26th August, 2020] – Day 16

  • IASbaba
  • August 27, 2020
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TLP Public Administration Optional
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1. Women have been neglected from the top to bottom and length to breadth of administration. Comment critically.                          20 marks (300 words)


The question asks to explain, how we have neglected women in every part of the administration. However, in the critical part we have to mention that there is an ongoing change and women are becoming a part and parcel o0f administration nowadays.

From Paper 2

Here, it is easy to bring the examples from the second paper. However, it is necessary to provide examples from the private organizations and other nations of the world in-order to maintain paper specificity.


Shirley Chisholm the first African-American women who got elected to the US congress had given a clarion call for women to participate in administration saying “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, you bring the folding chair”. However her words show the intensity of male preference and patriarchy in our administration system. 


It is true that from the top to bottom, to the length to breadth of administration women have been neglected.

  • The upper echelons of administration are always treated as bastion of gents. And ladies have to break the proverbial glass ceiling in-order to rise up to the highest level. 

Ex: The USA is yet to see a female president. In India we had only one female president and one prime minister, and only one women secretary to PM, Sarla Greval. 

Further, just 2 to 3% of private organizations have women as the CEOs or the CMDs. 

  • Even the intermediate levels of administration are not devoid of women aversion. Because such posts are considered as very crucial to run the administration and any cases of absence or mismanagement, can halt the whole organization. Added to it, the employers feel that the women lack behind men in the managerial skills, and they will not be in a position to provide an all time presence in the job.

Ex: World Bank in its latest report on ‘Analyzing Female Employment Trends in South Asia’  says that,  the real problem behind the low female labour participation rate in India is; the exclusion of women from white-collar clerical and retail sales jobs, which is among the major employment sectors for moderately educated workers.

  • The lower echelons of administration are, however, not accessible to women to a larger extent. Some of the departments provide the day-night duty, field work, and lack of facilities to accommodate women as the alibis for sidelining women.

Ex: Women are not recruited as fighter battalions in most of the militaries of the world. Also, some of the inspector, sub-inspector and constable level jobs in police services are not in the reach of women.

In private organizations, women are least allowed to the Group C and D technical jobs, and are only confined to the front line administration (Pink color jobs).

“Structural organization of the work has proved more inflexible than women ovaries” Rene Almeling, et, al.

Not only in the top-bottom, even in the lengths and breadths of administration, negligence of women visible;

  • Some sectors of administration like the defense, intelligence, law and order, etc, try to prefer male workers over the female counterparts. 

Ex: Indian army, until recent changes, allowed only Short Service Commissions for the women.

  • Forget about other Ministries; even the Ministry of Women and child Development is having a majority of men working in it all around the world. More surprising is that, the Counsil of Ministers are appointed such a way that only one women is selected to the council, and that too for the sake of occupying the Ministry of Women.

Not only in the government departments, but also in the private organizations the women are being sidelined. Private organizations are reluctant to recruit women because some of the stereotypes like, lengthy maternity leaves, not being available for night shifts and others.

However, there are changes being taking place and the women are being treated equal to men in some of the places; 

  • With the advent of gender budgeting; separate women cells have been opened in every government offices. And separate funds have been allocated for their official and the accommodative facilities.
  • Some of the nations like Algeria, Eritrea, etc recruit women soldiers in equivalent basis compared to their men counterparts. And there are women who have also reached up to the highest positions in the militaries of these nations.
  • Today feminist administration is being growing day by day, this not only preaches of participation of women in administration, but also that even men should cultivate some of the feminine attitudes like caring, compassion, etc, in-order become the best administrators. This, along with feminism is giving a major push for women in administration.
  • Lastly, rise of some of the women leaders like Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, Angels Merkel, Jacinda Arden, etc, has resulted in them not only emphasizing on role of women in administration, but also that these leaders being the role models, are inspiring other women to take active part in the administration. 

“I am not the women president of Harvard, I am the president of Harvard”- Drew Gilpin Faust.


This changing trend should continue further, as it gives a glimmer of hope that; the world is looking forward for a generation wherein women equal men in all respects. To put it in the words of Peter Mathieson, it must become culturally acceptable for men to tone down their career prospects to allow women to succeed.

2. A strong bureaucracy hinders development, but the development is impossible without bureaucracy. Discuss.                    10 marks (150 words) 


Here the questions put forth 2 demands. First one is to explain how a usurpative bureaucracy is detrimental to the development. On the other hand, in the second part we need to discuss how bureaucracy is indispensible for development.

From Paper 2

This question provides plenty of opportunities to bring in content from the second paper. Nevertheless, it provides equal space for the content from paper 1 also.


Hans Rosenberg observes that “for the good or evil, the administration and the governance of our society are thoroughly dependent on bureaucracy”. His words indicate that, bureaucracy has become a part and participle of this current world. Weber also stated the same when he said “if fully developed, bureaucracy would become the social structure hardest to destroy”.


But even Weber had an iota of skepticism that there is a great propensity of bureaucracy usurping the political power. And this tendency of bureaucracy can be a road block to the development and good governance. Alfred Daimont also spoke about the usurpative bureaucracy.

  • A strong bureaucracy can result in increased number of executive-framed laws. This can go against the aims and aspirations of the people, as bureaucracy is not an elected representative of them.

Ex: Some rules and policies framed in the secretariat, that straight away go the gazette, without being discussed in the parliament- like erstwhile Aadhaar scheme (before it became a law). 

  • Further, a powerful bureaucracy has a great tendency of maintaining secrecy, and being irresponsible and irresponsive to the problems of the public. Such an attitude of bureaucracy can badly hurt the development process.

Ex: In a case, a DC of Utter Pradesh hadn’t sanctioned old age pensions to nearly 8000 people in the district. On being asked he said that he was bored to put 8000 signatures, and he also dared the interrogators to complain to anyone on this earth.

  • Bureaucracy if not controlled can become a rent-seeking, self aggrandizing and budget maximizing organ of the government, as pointed out by William Niskanen. Such a bureaucracy is totally unfit for the development administration, which requires an agile, humble and an empathetic bureaucracy.

However, bureaucracy is indispensable for the development of a society, because of the following reasons;

  • Development requires a professional management of financial, material and human resource. And there can be no substitute for the bureaucracy which is well trained for these jobs. Hence, an instrumental bureaucracy (just an instrumental role) is a sine-qua-non for development.

Ex: the success of some of the developmental schemes like the Unnayan Banka scheme of Bihar, Bolsa Familia of Brazil, Sabooj sathi scheme of West Bengal, etc are owed to an efficient and able bureaucracy.

  • Further, the knowledge, experience and expertise of bureaucracy are very much essential at the secretarial level. As the secretaries are not only the friends, philosophers and guides of the ministers, but also the master brains behind the some of the game changing initiatives of the government.

Joseph Chamberlain a former parliamentarian of UK had said “I have a suspicion that you can live without us, but I have an absolute conviction that we can’t live without you”, while addressing to bureaucrats.  

Ex: P N. Haksar was the master brain behind the Garibi hatao. And the efforts of Amar Nath Verma and Rakesh Mohan behind the 1991 economic reforms;

  • Lastly, as a line agent, bureaucracy does a meticulous job in implementing various development schemes, thus ensuring that the fruits of development reach even the last man in the queue.

Ex: Parameshwaran Iyer former secretary of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation was conferred with the Civil Service Award 2019, for his efforts in the implementation of Swachh Bharat Mission, and making our nation an open defecation free.


Hence, from the above discussion we can deduce that, shunning bureaucracy for its usurpative attitude will be akin to throwing the baby with the bath water. That is why, as rightly said by Strauss [“the question is not about how to kill the bureaucracy, but how to tame it”], a balanced approach wherein bureaucracy is controlled and disciplined goes a long way in developing a nation state. 



Public Administration Synopsis Day 16 PDF

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