Q10. Suppose one of your close friends, who is also aspiring for civil services, comes to you for discussing some of the issues related to ethical conduct in public service. He raises the following points:
1. In present times, when unethical atmosphere is quite prevalent, individual attempts to stick to ethical principles may cause a lot of problems in one’s career. It may also cause hardship to the family members as well as risk to one’s life. Why should we not be pragmatic and follow the path of least resistance, and be happy with doing whatever good we can?
2. When so many people are adopting wrong means and are grossly harming the system, what difference would it make if only a small minority tries to be ethical? They are going to be rather ineffective and are bound to get frustrated.
3. If we become fussy about ethical considerations, will it not hamper the economic progress of our country? After all, in the present age of high competition, we cannot afford to be left behind in the race for development.
4. It is understandable that we should not get involved in grossly unethical practices, but giving and accepting small gratifications and doing small favours increases everybody’s motivation. It also makes the system more efficient. What is wrong in adopting such practices?
Critically analyse the above viewpoints. On the basis of this analysis, what will be your advice to your friend? (250 words)
1. All officials in government department are not corrupt. Good officers are always respected in any government organisation because of their character and integrity. A dishonest officer’s life is not free of problems as he often faces vigilance cases due to corruption, and even gets arrested by agencies like the CBI. The risk is more when a government officer is corrupt.
2. Even if many people are doing wrong deeds, it does not make a wrong act right. If everyone in an organisation becomes corrupt, it can’t survive for long. An honest officer may expose big scandals of top public servants. Honest people are usually happy and satisfied while corrupt people are unhappy because they are always living under the fear of being caught and losing all their privileges.
3. Ethics does not hamper economic growth but actually accelerates it. World’s richest countries are also the world’s most honest countries. Great institutions can’t be built on the edifice of corruption and dishonesty.
4. Most officials in the government start corruption in a small way and soon commit major frauds. Corruption is a one-way traffic and once a person becomes corrupt, he can’t become honest again. It is better to not be corrupt in the first place, even in the smallest way.
We must, therefore, advise our friend to be honest. Government salaries are quite decent for living a good life. Corruption is immoral and unethical, and it leads to suffering and infamy for the government officer. Honesty is still the best policy in government jobs. (255 words)
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