Solved Paper of General Studies Paper-4 (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) for UPSC Civil Services Examination (2014)
1. (a) All human beings aspire for happiness. Do you agree? What does happiness mean to you? Explain with examples. (150 words)
Happiness comes to us in different forms like love, respect, service, success, wealth, power or fame. Happiness is thus a result of the outcome of our actions. All human beings aspire for happiness, though the means and goals of happiness may be different for each person. There are many people who wish to become a politician and gain power so that they can transform the world and become famous. However, for some people wealth or service to the society may be a source of happiness. Some people derive happiness in writing, painting, playing or by becoming an artist. Happiness to me is to realize my full potential and serve the society by using my best abilities. In the ultimate analysis, we are happy when we are contented within and seeking happiness in our work itself rather than using our work as a means to achieve happiness. (146 words)
(b) What does ethics seek to promote in human life? Why is it all the more important in public administration? (150 words)
Ethics is often called the moral philosophy and it represents the values and customs of the society. It is a social creation which educate its members to know the right and wrong from the society’s perspective. If all members of a society becomes ethical, the society would progress and everyone would reap the benefits of its development. An ethical society ensures peace, love and compassion in all its members because the personal values of the people are aligned with the social values.
Ethics is extremely important in public administration because the actions of the public servants are constantly under watch that they are treated as the role model by most citizens. If they commit unethical deeds, the common people are bound to follow their path. If public servants are ethical, they create an atmosphere of trust, justice and discipline in the society through inspiration without any use of force or authority. (151 words)
2. (a) In the context of defence services, 'patriotism' demands readiness to even lay down one's life in protecting the nation. According to you, what does patriotism imply in everyday civil life? Explain with illustrations and justify your answer. (150 words)
Patriotism is the feeling of loving your country more than any others and being proud of it. A person is patriotic if he places the interest of his country above his own. Just like our defense personnel don’t hesitate to sacrifice their lives for protection of the integrity of the country, a civil servants should also be willing to lay down their lives for the sake of their country. For example, Mr S Manjunath, a sales officer for the Indian Oil Corporation, was murdered for sealing a corrupt petrol station in Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh. His sacrifice inspired thousands of youth to sacrifice their life for the sake of duty. In the same way, when a tax officer works hard and collect taxes from the tax-evaders even at the risk of his life, he is a patriot. Civil servants doing their duty with honesty and integrity are patriotic because they place the interest of the nation above their own. (159 words)
(b) What do you understand by 'probity' in public life? What are the difficulties in practicing it in the present times? How can these difficulties be overcome? (150 words)
Probity means having strong moral principles and following honesty and integrity in the public life. Corruption exists in public life because of the social, cultural and administrative environment of government organizations. The government system is designed in such a way that it provides time-bound or seniority based salary and promotion. There is hardly any incentive for outstanding performance or punishment for poor performance. Such system does not promote excellence in public service. Moreover, removing the corrupt government officer is quite difficult task due to complex procedures.
Corruption can be reduced by developing a performance linked pay and promotion policy in government organizations. The use of information technology must be increased and the discretionary powers of officers should be minimized. The inefficient and corrupt officers must be weeded out after 20 years of service and the process of removing government officers must be simplified. In order to check corruption in politics, State funding of elections may be considered. (157 words)
3. (a) "Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, but knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful." What do you understand by this statement? Explain your stand with illustrations from the modern context. (150 words)
Knowledge is power and it is well known that all types of power tend to corrupt. If a person has knowledge, but no integrity, he is likely to misuse his knowledge to achieve selfish end at the cost of the society. Therefore, it is right to say knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful for the society.
However, if one is merely honest without adequate knowledge and skill required for his job, it is useless. It is like writing an examination without copying or using unfair means, but without having knowledge of the subject. You may score poor marks due to lack of knowledge even if you are honest. The officers who are honest but lack knowledge often avoid taking decisions due to lack of confidence or often take wrong decisions that causes harm to the society. They fail to deliver results despite their honesty. The ideal situation, therefore, is to have knowledge as well as honesty. (157 words)
(b) "Human beings should always be treated as 'ends' in themselves and never as merely `means'." Explain the meaning and significance of this statement, giving its implications in the modern techno-economic society. (150 words)
The statement reflects the core philosophy of Immanuel Kant who stated that the rational human beings should be treated as an end in themselves and not as a means to something else. Often people consider human beings as a means to promote the interest of an organization or a country. Stalin, Mao or Hitler caused death of millions of people in their attempt to achieve a society according to their ideals. In the business and industry today, human beings are considered to be a ‘human-resource’ like machine, money or technology, who are replaceable if a better substitute is available.
Every human being is unique with his own place in the world. It is important to value each person as they are because they are invaluable to the society and the world would be incomplete without them. Each human life should be treated as sacred and invaluable, which should not sacrificed for any other person or for any other purpose. (159 words)
4. (a) Which eminent personality has inspired you the most in the context of ethical conduct in life? Give the gist of his/her teachings. Giving specific examples, describe how you have been able to apply these teachings for your own ethical development. (150 words)
I have been greatly inspired by the life of Swami Vivekananda. He was not only a great scholar and saint in the modern time, but also a loving and compassionate human being. He put the interest of humanity above everything else and served the people as service to God. He taught us to be strong and never be weak. He inspired the people with the call, “Arise, awake and don’t stop until the goal is reached”.
Swami ji asked people to respect their values and develop by the self. He once said, “You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.”
I have learned a lot from Shri Vivekananda. I follow his teachings by serving the people as best as I can. I learned about Indian values and culture from him which make me proud of my country. He have given me confidence to achieve great things in life through hard work and by following ethical means. (174 words)
(b) There is a heavy ethical responsibility on the public servants because they occupy positions of power, handle huge amounts of public funds, and their decisions have wide-ranging impact on society and environment. What steps have you taken to improve your ethical competence to handle such responsibility? (150 words)
The public servants bears a heavy responsibility to guide the society on the ethical path. They must take the following steps to improve their ethical competence:
• Live a simple life that can be easily managed within the government salary.
• Know your job well so that you can use the law to serve the people in the best possible manner.
• Always be fair and just in exercise of your power and authority.
• Be a just person and treat everyone equally before the law.
• Maintain distance from the people with whom you are having official dealing to avoid conflict of interest and seen to be fair.
• Maintain an image of impeccable honesty by taking quick, fair and lawful decision.
• Do not take any favour from politicians, businessmen or from the senior officers so that you can work without any pressure.
• Always be good and compassionate to people, subordinates and the public representatives in their interactions. (153 words)
5. (a) The current society is plagued with widespread trust-deficit. What are the consequences of this situation for personal well-being and for societal well-being? What can you do at the personal level to make yourself trustworthy? (150 words)
It is true that the current society is suffering from trust deficit since most people are selfish and care only about their own interest. When people don’t trust each other, they find it difficult to work as a team, work for a common goal and produce great results. When people don’t trust government organizations and public authorities, they don’t follow the law voluntarily or pay their taxes honestly. When people don’t trust the corporates, they don’t invest their money in the businesses and development of the country suffers. A society devoid of trust suffers from internal conflicts and fail to achieve peace and development.
The process of creating a society of trust starts from the self. We can make ourselves trustworthy by always speaking the truth, keeping our promises and always be the change which we want to bring in the world. We should maintain a reputation of honesty and live with it always. (154 words)
(b) It is often said that poverty leads to corruption. However, there is no dearth of instances where affluent and powerful people indulge in corruption in a big way. What are the basic causes of corruption among people? Support your answer with examples. (150 words)
It is rightly said that necessity is the mother of invention. When a person does not have his basic necessities fulfilled, he can do anything to survive in this world. It is for this reason that poverty is often associated with corruption. Poverty leads to corruption and corruption leads to poverty and the poor nations are often trapped in this vicious cycle. However, being rich does not mean that the person would not engage in corruption because there is no end to greed.
Corruption is a result of complex government procedures, use of black money in elections, lack of transparency, discretionary powers to officers and ministers, lengthy and complex process for removal of government officers and lack of fear of law. Many top politicians and many senior civil servants of India were arrested and jalied for corruption in recent years. These people were not poor, but they still followed corruption due to their greed of money. (156 words)
6. What factors affect the formation of a person's attitude towards social problems? In our society, contrasting attitudes are prevalent about many social problems. What contrasting attitudes do you notice about the caste system in our society? How do you explain the existence of these contrasting attitudes? (150 words)
The attitude of a person depends on several factors like age, gender, family background, economic status, caste, religion, nationality, profession, region or education background. Attitude also depends on the nature of the person and the ideologies’ followed by him. India is a land of diversity and hence there are various types of attitudes found in people and many of these contradicts each other.
Caste is one of the most important identification of the identity of a person in India. Hence, it affects the attitude of people to a very large extent. The people of the upper caste feel superior due to their better economic and social status in the society as compared to the so called lower castes. The caste based attitude are wide prevent in the rural India which practices orthodox believes. It becomes less relevant in urban societies where a person is known more due to his education, job description and financial status. (155 words)
7. What does 'accountability' mean in the context of public service? What measures can be adopted to ensure individual and collective accountability of public servants? (150 words)
Accountability means the obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner. It also includes the responsibility for money or other entrusted property. The public servants should be accountable while performing their functions. A civil servant is accountable to his superior officers, other government agencies like internal auditors or the different institutions like CAG. The officers are also accountable to the Courts and the people for legality of their actions. The ministers are similarly accountable to the Chief Ministers or Prime Ministers and to the public.
In order to enhance accountability, the government officers must follow the rules and procedures and allow their actions are subjected to the scrutiny by the public, judiciary or other government agencies. RTI Act, PIL and independent media has also made the government official individually and collectively responsible to the people. (151 words)
8. We are witnessing increasing instances of sexual violence against women in the country. Despite existing legal provisions against it, the number of such incidences is on the rise. Suggest some innovative measures to tackle this menace. (150 words)
It is a fact that the violence against women are rising in our country. One of the major reasons for increase in the number of cases is that now women are empowered and they report these instances more frequently than earlier. They are also working in government and corporates in large numbers while earlier they were confined to their homes, which increases the possibility of violence against them. Following measures can be used to tackle this menace.
1. The boys must be inculcated the right values since childhood and taught to respect women.
2. There must be more women officers in police stations for investigating crimes against women.
3. The laws against sexual valance should be made more stringent
4. More courts must be set to deal with such cases to expedite trial and ensure expedious punishment
5. Woman must be given training in self-defense
6. FIR may be permitted from mobile apps without going to police stations.
7. The eve-teasers must be rounded up regularly by the police in civil dress. (172 words)
9. Now-a-days, there is an increasing thrust on economic development all around the globe. At the same time, there is also an increasing concern about environmental degradation caused by development. Many a time, we face a direct conflict between developmental activity and environmental quality. It is neither feasible to stop or curtail the developmental process, nor it is advisable to keep degrading the environment, as it threatens our very survival.
Discuss some feasible strategies which could be adopted to eliminate this conflict and which could lead to sustainable development. (250 words)
It is important for us to develop an ethical relationship between human beings and the natural environment. Human beings are a part of the environment and so are the other living beings, including plants and animals. They cannot be denied their right to live. They need to be considered as entities with the right to co-exist with human beings.
However, the development of human civilization also needs optimum exploitation of natural resources without causing any permanent damage to the environment. We can adopt the following strategies for sustainable development of man and environment together.
1. Develop appropriate waste management policy by employing more people for collection of garbage from different places and segregating them appropriately.
2. Create social awareness for cleaning the environment and its benefit to their own health and happiness through media compaign.
3. Use part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan cess for funding the environmental NGOs and enable them to act as citizen’s representatives and watchdogs.
4. Prescribe strict emission norms for vehicles and other populating industries.
5. Stricter penalties should be imposed for the violation of the environmental norms.
6. Make the process of complaining simpler and easy and reward them appropriately.
7. Create detailed environmental databases and make it accessible to all citizens.
8. The pollution control boards should be adequately funded, staffed and empowered.
9. Indian universities must include environmental studies in all the courses to sensitize the future citizens of India about their role and responsibility of the environment.
10. Higher rates of GST should be imposed on the vehicles and other goods that increases pollution during its manufacture of operations. (268 words)
10. 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 the present times, when unethical environment 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 of 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 analyze the above viewpoints. On the basis of this analysis, what will be your advice to your friend? (250 words)
1. It is wrong to brand all officials in government department as corrupt. Good officers are always respected in any government organization because of their character and integrity. A dishonest officer’s life is also not free of problems as he often faces vigilance cases due to corrupt cases and even arrested by the agencies like CBI. The risk is more when a government officer is corrupt. Honesty is still the best policy in government.
2. Even if many people are doing wrong deeds, it does not make a wrong act right. If everyone in an organization becomes corrupt, the organization can’t survive for long. One honest officer can often start a case which results into the exposer of scandals of top public servants. Honest people are usually happy and satisfied while corrupts are unhappy because they are always living under the fear of being caught and lose 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. Whenever you take any favours, you have to return it also. Most official in the government start corruption in a small way only. However, corruption is a one way traffic. Once a person becomes corrupt, he can’t become honest again. It is better to stop corruption in the beginning itself.
You must, therefore, advice your friend to be honest. The government salaries are nowadays extremely good and adequate for living a good life. Corruption is immoral and unethical which leads to suffering and infamy to the government officer. Honesty is still the best policy in government. (273 words)
11. You are a no-nonsense, honest officer. You have been transferred to a remote district to head a department that is notorious for its inefficiency and callousness. You find that the main cause of the poor state of affairs is the indiscipline of a section of employees. They do not work themselves and also disrupt the working of others. You first warned the troublemakers to mend their ways or else face disciplinary action. When the warning had little effect, you issued a show cause notice to the ringleaders. As a retaliatory measure, these troublemakers instigated a woman employee amongst them to file a complaint of sexual harassment against you with the Women's Commission. The Commission promptly seeks your explanation. The matter is also publicized in the' media to embarrass you further. Some of the options to handle this situation could be as follows:
1. Give your explanation to the Commission and go soft on the disciplinary action.
2. Ignore the Commission and proceed firmly with the disciplinary action.
3. Brief your higher-ups seek directions from them and act accordingly.
Suggest any other possible option(s). Evaluate all of them and suggest the best course of action, giving your reasons for it. (250 words)
The officer must give complete information to the Commission and explain them that the complaint is malafide and false. He must provide evidences in his support and deny all allegations. He must, however, never go slow on the disciplinary action to give the impression that he is scared of such false accusations.
The officer can’t ignore the Commission which is vested with the power to summon and investigate the cases. Non compliance of the summons can invite serious actions by the Commission. The members of the Commission are quite experienced and they can find out the truth once the full facts are known to them. Hence, the officer must have faith on the Commission and cooperate with them. He must to be firm in the matter of disciplinary action.
It is always a good idea to keep the senior officers of the departments informed. The senior officers can help the officer by their experienced advice and also by submitting their independent assessment report to the government.
There can be other ways to solve the problem. The officer can give clear message to the lady who has made false complaint against him to withdraw her complaint. She may be told that such an act would be against her own interest as she would lose trust of the department and other senior officer forever. Hence, in future even if she makes a genuine complaint, people would not trust her. If she withdraw her allegations and tender an apology, he may promise her to close the matter. (254 words)
12. Suppose you are the CEO of a company that manufactures specialized electronic equipment used by a government department. You have submitted your bid for the supply of this equipment to the department. Both the quality and cost of your offer are better than those of the competitors. Yet the concerned officer is demanding a hefty bribe for approving the tender. Getting the order is important both for you and for your company. Not getting the order would mean closing a production line. It may also affect your own career. However, as a value-conscious person, you do not want to give bribe.
Valid arguments can be advanced both for giving the bribe and getting the order, and for refusing to pay the bribe and risking the loss of the order. What those arguments could be? Could there be any better way to get out of this dilemma? If so, outline the main elements of this third way, pointing out its merits. (250 words)
If the CEO decides to pay the bribe, it may help the company getting the contract from the government which would keep the production line running. This would save jobs of many employees and make the company generate more profits. The CEO may be personally benefited from this also inform or incentives and bonuses.
However, the flip side of bribing is that the company and the CEO would lose reputation as such news spread like wildfire. In future, other government officers would expect bribe from this company before awarding any tender. There is also a possibility that the rival vendors losing the contract make a complaint against this company and the CEO, or get them trapped under Prevention of Corruption Act. This would lead to arrest of the CEO and the government officers engaged in corruption, which may harm the reputation of the company forever.
It would be better to stick to the principles and not pay bribe. It would also be advisable to put the best price during the tender process which can ensure that his company gets the contract on merit in accordance of the rules and no other vendor can compete with their company in quality and price.
The CEO can also approach the senior officers of the department and ask them to intervene in the matter in the public interest. It is also possible to record the conversation with the officer demanding bribe and complaint against him with evidence to the appropriate authority. This may lead to the arrest of the corrupt officer and posting of an honest person in his place. (266 words)
13. Rameshwar successfully cleared the prestigious civil services examination and was excited about the opportunity that he would get through the civil services to serve the country. However, soon after joining the services, he realized that things are not as rosy as he had imagined.
He found a number of malpractices prevailing in the department assigned to him. For example, funds under various schemes and grants were being misappropriated. The official facilities were frequently being used for personal needs by the officers and staff. After some time, he noticed that the process of recruiting the staff was also not up to the mark. Prospective candidates were required to write an examination in which a lot of cheating was going on. Some candidates were provided external help in the examination. Rameshwar brought these incidents to the notice of his seniors. However, he was advised to keep his eyes, ears and mouth shut and ignore all these things which were taking place with the connivance of the higher-ups. Rameshwar felt highly disillusioned and uncomfortable. He comes to you seeking your advice.
Indicate various options that you think are available in this situation. How would you help him to evaluate these options and choose the most appropriate path to be adopted? (250 words)
It is not a secret that there are many malpractices in almost every organization in India including the government departments. Hence, one must be ready to face such issues when he joins civil services. The senior civil servants are appointed by the government to actually check such malpractices.
The best way to stop any malpractice in a department is to strictly follow the rules, laws and procedure regarding the implementation of schemes and sanction of grants. Instead of relying upon the advices and written opinion of the junior officers, Rameshwar must carefully go through each file and decide every case based on merit. This shall automatically reduce corruption and malpractices cases drastically in his department. He should also advise the officers to stop misusing the official facilities and he must make a beginning with himself. If the officers don’t stop, he must take action against them according to rules and procedures.
It is also his duty to ensure that there is no cheating in the recruitment of the staff because the staff who are appointed through corrupt means are most likely to follow the corrupt practices in their career when they join the department. He must not keep his eyes, ears and mouth shut, but rather collect evidences in this regard. He can order installation of the CCTV in the examination hall and even record the cheating incidents on his mobile camera. Evidence must be collected and a written complaint must be launched against the candidates and the officials who are engaged in such nefarious activities. This can immediately stop cheating and ensure free and fair selection of the candidates for the job. (273 words)
14. In our country, the migration of rural people to towns and cities is increasing drastically. This is causing serious problems both in the rural as well as in the urban areas. In fact, things are becoming really unmanageable. Can you analyze this problem in detail and indicate not only the socio-economic but also the emotional and attitudinal factors responsible for this problem? Also, distinctly bring out why
1. Educated rural youth are trying to shift to urban areas;
2. Landless poor people are migrating to urban slums;
3. Even some farmers are selling off their land and trying to settle in urban areas taking up petty jobs.
What feasible steps can you suggest which will be effective in controlling this serious problem of our country? (250 words)
There are many reasons for the migration of rural people to town. Some important reasons are:
• Lack of educational and health facilities in villages
• Lack of good paying jobs in villages
• Low size of the agricultural land which is not profitable to the farmers
• High risk of failures of weather related crops
• Low profitability in the agriculture
• Social pressure to confirm to the norm of the society with little freedom to live life according to one’s own will
• Little business opportunities due to lack of prosperous people in villages
Most of the rural people are attracted towards the cities due to the better job opportunities, freedom to live life in one’s own way and better infrastructural facilities. Landless people are migrating because their employment opportunities are seasonal and they often don’t get even the minimum wages in villages.
Farmers are selling their lands because the cost of farming has gone up while the sale price of the agricultural produce have not increased in the same proportion. As a result, their profits have been considerably reduced. They find it better to get a petty job in cities than to live in villages with little profit in farming.
The following steps can be taken to stop the migration process.
• Develop better schools and hospitals in rural areas
• Ensure minimum wages to laborers in rural areas
• Fix higher minimum support price for agricultural products
• Connect the villages through internet and help outsourcing of jobs in rural areas
• Promote business and industries in the rural areas by providing tax concessions and government subsidies. (259 words)