Solved Paper of General Studies Paper-4 (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) for UPSC Civil Services Examination 2015
1 (a) What is meant by ‘environmental ethics’? Why is it important to study? Discuss any one environmental issue from the viewpoint of environmental ethics. (150 words)
Environmental ethics is the discipline in philosophy that studies the moral relationship of human beings to, and also the value and moral status of, the environment and its nonhuman contents. It exerts influence on a large range of disciplines including law, sociology, theology, economics, ecology and geography.
It is important to study environment ethics because human beings are a part of the environment and so are the other living beings, including plants and animals. When we damage the environment, we suffer due to the misbalance of ecosystem that sustains harmonious living on this planet.
Environmental pollution is one major issue because it is affecting the health of the people. Huge constructions of roads and buildings, deforestation and mining activities are causing damage to the environment which is increasing many types of respiratory diseases and causing many deaths every year. There is an urgent need to develop technologies that can reduce pollution. Waste management is another areas that should be given adequate attention to protect environment. (162 words)
(b) Differentiate between the following (10 marks) (200 Words)
(i) Law and ethics
(ii) Ethical management and management of ethics
(iii) Discrimination and preferential treatment
(iv) Personal Ethics and Professional Ethics
(i) Law and ethics both tells us what is right and what is wrong. Laws are passed by the Parliaments and they are enforced upon everyone by punishing its noncompliance. Ethics are the creation of the society based on the culture, traditions, religion and philosophy. They guide us to follow the right path according to the norms.
(ii) Ethical management refers to corporate management that not only fulfills economic goals and legal responsibilities, but also meets the ethical expectations imposed by social and legal norms in conducting business. Management of ethics is a set of principles and rules dictated by upper management that define what is right and what is wrong in an organization.
(iii) Discrimination means being biased against a person or a group or a social class based on its race, caste, religion, gender etc. Preferential treatment is given when a person is selected based on race, caste, religion and offered a position in preference to others.
(iv) Personal ethics are applicable in the personal life of a person. Professional ethics are related to following a code of conduct in the profession. For example, the professional ethics of a lawyers forbears him to disclose his communication with the client while the personal ethics forbears a person not to disclose an information given by a friend on the condition of anonymity. (222 words)
2) Given are two quotations of moral thinkers/philosophers. For each of these bring out what it means to you in the present context.
(a) “The weak can never forgive; forgiveness is the attribute of strong.” (10) (150 words)
(b) “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light” (10 marks) (150 words)
(a) It is a human nature to retaliate and harm the person who has harmed him. Men wish to take revenge whenever their interests are affected by harming the person in equal promotion. Only when a person has complete control over the self, he can shun the feeling of hatred and avoid retaliation. It is easy to win others, but difficult to win the self. Only a person who has won the self can go against his natural instinct and think of forgiving other people.
Forgiving people is considered to be a great virtue in religions as well as in humanism. When you forgive people, you stop the chain reaction of hatred, violence and counter-violence which can ultimately destroy the society. Gandhi ji as wisely said that ‘eye for eye policy would make the world blind’.
However, forgiveness is a virtue only of the strong because a weak person anyway can’t retaliate the strong. When you are in a position to take the revenge and harm the person and yet you choose to forgive, you show your magnanimity and greatness. (179 words)
(b) Ignorance is often compared as darkness or Tamas. We are all born ignorant and our mind is like a clean slate at the time of our birth. As we grow in life, we learn valuable lessons from others and we become knowledgeable.
A child is afraid of darkness because a child fears the unknown. His fear is due to his ignorance and knowledge helps his mind develop. However, an adult is expected to be knowledgeable by virtue of his age and experience. Hence, if an adult refuses to see light of knowledge, it is a matter of concern.
Some people find ignorance a bliss since truth is quite bitter to them. They like to close their eyes and believe that it has become night. However, the reality does not change due to our ignorance and we have to face the truth in the same way as a knowledgeable person. However, an ignorant person is not ready for to face the reality and suffer unexpected failures and sufferings. (167 words)
3) (a) “A mere compliance with law is not enough, the public servant also have to have a well developed sensibility to ethical issues for effective discharge of duties” Do you agree? Explain with the help of two examples where
(i) an act is ethically right, but not legally and
(ii) an act is legally right, but not ethically. (10 Marks) (150 words)
A public servant should not act mechanically while implementing the laws or performing his duties as a public servant. He must be as sensitive while discharging his duties as he is sensitive in doing his personal work. He must use discretion to use the law for the public good.
If a police officer catches a poor and hungry man stealing a bread, he may legitimately arrest that person according to the law as every act of theft is a crime. However, if he chooses to ignore the act and allow the poor man to go with warning, such an act may be ethically right but legally wrong as sending a man to jail for such a petty crime would have been a gross injustice.
In the same example, if the police officer arrest the poor man send him to jail, it may be legally right, but not ethically correct. (150 words)
(b) How do the virtues of trustworthiness and fortitude get manifested in public service? Explain with examples (10) (150 words)
Trust is one of the most important qualities for not only a civil servants, but also of every human being. When you are trustworthy, people believe your words and act on them. When a senior officer has trust, subordinates follow his orders faithfully. They know that the officer has no vested interest in the matter and they need not fear of any pressure from the top. When a junior officer has trust, the senior officers value his advice and trust his conduct. When people trust each other in a government department, they work even on the oral orders and the things are done more efficiently.
It is important for the senior officers to own up their oral directions even when the things go wrong. You need courage of conviction to accept the failures. For example, if a tax officer orders a raid and no result is achieved, he must still back his officer if they have acted honestly. (159 words)
4) (a) Social values are more important than economic values. Discuss the above statement with examples in the context of inclusive growth of a nation. (150 words) (10 Marks)
Man is a social animal and he derives his happiness only with the association and cooperation with the members of the society. Even his desire for more wealth is driven by the fact that society give importance to wealth. A country may become rich without following his ethical standards or by plundering others, but that can’t give happiness to the people because there would be no social harmony in such society.
If people don’t grow together, they grow apart. When only a section of the society corners all the benefits of the development, the society becomes more unstable and people become unhappy. The right approach is to plan for development of all. Government has, therefore, initiated many schemes like MGREGA, Jan Dhan Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana which seek to ensure growth of all the citizens of India. Inclusive growth is also beneficial for the businesses and industrial development since it creates more demands by much wider sections of the society. (161 words)
(b) Some recent developments such as introduction of RTI Act, media and judicial activism, etc. are proving helpful in bringing about greater transparency and accountability in the functioning of the government. However, it is also being observed that at times the mechanisms are misused. Another negative effect is that the officers are now afraid to take prompt decisions. Analyse the situation in detail and suggest how the dichotomy can be resolved. Suggest how these negative impacts can be minimized. (150 words) (10 Marks)
RTI is a great innovation in India for improving the transparency and accountability in the public servants. RTI has empowered citizens to seek information from the government departments and make them accountable for their decisions.
However, like every powerful weapon, RTI has also been misused by some people for their person gains. Many RTI Activists seek unnecessary information from the department against the honest officers who take actions against corrupt and inefficient people. These activists often publicize selected portion of the information and defame the officers.
There is a need to protect honest officers under RTI Act. It must allow the information that pertain to the person who is seeking it unless public interest is involved. In such cases, justification or the public interest for the same must be revealed, which can be considered before imparting the information.
The cost of getting information under RTI should be rationalized and the actual cost should be charged from the applicant. The mischievous RTI applicants must be penalised for misusing the information for maligning officers. (172 words)
5) Two different kinds of attitudes exhibited by public servants towards their work have been identified as bureaucratic attitude and the democratic attitude. (10 Marks) (150 words)
(a) Distinguish between these two terms and write their merits and demerits.
(b) Is it possible to balance the two to create a better administration for the faster development of our country?
(a) Bureaucratic attitude means performing the job strictly according to the rules. It means following the hierarchy, convention and procedures prescribed by the government. It is a top-down approach where everything is decided on the top and rest follows the directions. Democratic attitude is bottom-up approach when you take the decision based on the popular demand of the people. This approach is more humanistic and flexible.
(b) The development of a country depends on the harmonious balancing of democratic and bureaucratic attitude. A good administrator is flexible and his eyes and ears are with the people. He listens to their concerns, take their advices and then implement the law and various schemes according in best public interest. He uses all his discretionary powers to ensure that the actions are according to the will of the people and yet not illegal. When you listen to the people and also follow the law, you provide the best administration in for the development of your country. (163 words)
6) Today we find that in-spite of various measures of prescribing codes of conduct, setting up vigilance cells/commissions, RTI, active media and strengthening of legal mechanism, corrupt practices are not coming under control. (10 Marks) (150 words)
(a) Evaluate the effectiveness of these measures with justifications
(b) Suggest more effective strategies to tackle this menace
(a) It is true that corrupt practices continues in India despite all the measures taken by the government. The code of conduct has substantially improved the behaviour of the officers and the possibility of misuse of power. RTI has ensured that the government officers take the responsibility of their decisions and be accountable to the public. The vigilance cell and the anti-corruption agencies have created substantial fear in the mind of corrupt. The legal mechanisms may be slow, but finally it manages to convict number of officers leading to their dismissal and imprisonment. However, the process is too slow and very few corrupt people are punished.
(b) The government can adopt the following strategies for reducing the corruption effectively.
a. Stricter punishment for corruption within a time frame
b. Simplifying the procedure for punishing or dismissing a corrupt officer
c. State funding of election to check electoral malpractice
d. Setting up more courts to expedite delivery of justice
e. Empowering the citizens to report corruption easily.
f. Rewards for informers who help catch the corrupt officers (176 words)
7) At the international level, bilateral relations between most nations are governed on the policy of promoting one’s own national interest without any regard for the interest of other nations. This lead to conflicts and tension between the nations. How can ethical consideration help resolve such tensions? Discuss with specific examples. (10 Marks) (150 words)
Our world can be considered to be a society of nations. Just like in a society, there are nations who are independent and sovereign. Like individuals, nations too try to serve their interest first. This often leades to conflicts between different nations. If people of a nations are ethical, they can’t be selfish with other nation. John Rawls' suggested ‘The Law of Peoples’, where nations are treated as people and the human ethical laws can be used for building strong international relations. The important principles are:
1. The freedom and independence of nations should be respected by other nations.
2. Nations are equal and parties to their own agreements.
3. Nations have the right of self-defense but no right to war.
4. Nations must observe a duty of non-intervention
5. Nations should observe treaties and undertakings."
6. Nations should observe certain restrictions on the conduct of war.
7. Nations should honor human rights.
8. Nations must assist each other. (159 words)
8) Public servants are likely to confront with the issues of “Conflict of Interest”. What do you understand by the term “Conflict of Interest” and how does it manifest in the decision making by public servants? If faced with the conflict of interest situation how would you resolve it? Explain with the help of examples. (10 Marks) (150 words)
A conflict of interest is a situation in which a person or organization is involved in multiple interests and serving one interest could involve working against another. Usually, it relates to situations in which the personal interest of an individual or organization might adversely affect a duty owed to make decisions for the benefit of a third party. When the public servant has to award a contract or appoint a person for the job and his close relatives or friends apply for the same, he faces a conflict of interest because on one side, he represent the government and on the other side, he is a friend or a relative.
A government officer should, therefore, recluse himself from such a role and place an independent person to take the decision. A public servant should also maintain a good distance from the people who may have official dealing with him so that he can avoid the conflict of interest in future. (160 words)
Section – B
9) A private company is known for its efficiency, transparency and employee welfare. The company though owned by a private individual has a cooperative character where employees feel a sense of ownership. The company employs nearly 700 personnel and they have voluntarily decided not to form union.
One day suddenly in the morning, about 40 men belonging to political party gate crashed into the factory demanding jobs in the factory. They threatened the management and employees, and also used foul language. The employees feel demoralized. It was clear that those people who gate crashed wanted to be on the payroll of the company as well as continue as the volunteers/members of the party.
The company maintains high standards in integrity and does not extend favours to civil administration that also includes law enforcement agency. Such incident occur in public sector also. (20 Marks) (250 Words)
(a) Assume you are the CEO of the company. What would you do to diffuse the volatile situation on the date of gate crashing with the violent mob sitting inside the company premises?
(b) What can be the long term solution to the issue discussed in the case?
(c) Every solution/action that you suggest will have a negative and a positive impact on you as (CEO), the employees and the performance of the employees. Analyse the consequences of each of your suggested actions.
The first important task as CEO should be to contain the situation and not allow it to get out of control. It is not easy to keep cool when 40 politically motivated people gate crash and start using foul language.
I would identify their leaders and engage them in discussions. It is evident that they have two sets of demands. The first is to get a job and the second is to continue to be associated with the political party. You can’t have any objections in giving them job if there is a vacancy in the organization and they are suitable for the job. Hence, they can be asked to apply for the job and we can promise them job, if they qualify. Once we offer them some immediate benefit, we can negotiate on aspects of resigning from the party as a precondition.
We must also provide long term solution for such type of problems. We can provide better security for the company by installing multiple CCTV cameras at all important places and also increase the strengths of security guards in future. We can also provide them better training to tackle such situation in future. We should also maintain a cordial relationship with the local police, administration and the politicians, who can help us resolve such problems in case of emergency.
You need investment in installing CCTV camera and appointment of more security guards, which would increase the expenses. In the same way if you develop liaison with local administration and politicians, you have to do some protocol for them and also listen to their recommendations on various matters. (269 words)
10) You are the Sarpanch of a Panchayat. There is a primary school run by the government in your area. Midday meals are provided to children attending the school. The headmaster has now appointed a new cook in the school to prepare the meals. However, when it is found that cook is from Dalit community, almost half of the children belonging to higher castes are not allowed to take meals by their parents. Consequently the attendance in the schools falls sharply. This could result in the possibility of discontinuation of midday meal scheme, thereafter of teaching staff and subsequent closing down the school. (20 Marks) (250 Words)
(a) Discuss some feasible strategies to overcome the conflict and to create right ambiance.
(b) What should be the responsibilities of different social segments and agencies to create positive social ambiance for accepting such changes?
It is unfortunate that caste feeling is still so prevalent in India. If the upper caste children refuse to take meal cooked by a Dalit cook, it is they who are at fault and not the Dalit cook. Hence, we must try to persuade the upper caste parents to send their children to school and allow their children to have meal in school. They must be informed that caste-based discrimination would bring disrepute to the whole village and indeed to the District and the State. This can adversely affect the development of the village.
A discussion with the representatives of the upper caste parents must be held and their biases against the Dalits must be assuaged. For this purpose the senior district officers, local politicians and the religious leaders must be roped in to educate them of the modern values and the need to discard their caste biases.
They may also be informed about the consequences if the school has to be closed because of their non-cooperation, which may affect their children’s future because they would miss the opportunity to be educated.
It is the responsibility of the leaders like Sarpanch to create a cordial atmosphere in the society. They can do so by organizing social functions on the occasion of important festivals where people can meet and know each other better. They must organize award functions where the best teachers and students of all castes and creeds may be awarded. This shall build social bonding between different communities and reduce social tensions. Once people start understanding each other, such types of discrimination would reduce naturally. (266 words)
11) One of the scientists working in the R&D laboratory of a major pharmaceutical company discovers that one of the company’s bestselling veterinary drugs has the potential to cure a currently incurable liver disease which is prevalent in tribal areas. However, developing a variant of the drug suitable for human being entailed a lot of research and development having a huge expenditure to the extent of Rs. 50 crores. It was unlikely that company would recover the cost as the disease was rampant only in poverty stricken areas having very little market otherwise.
If you were the CEO, then (20 Marks) (250 Words)
(a) Identify the various actions that you could take
(b) Evaluate the pros and cons of each of your actions
The primary purpose of a company is to business and make profit without which no company can survive. It can afford to do social services only if it has sufficient profit generated from other activities. In this case, it appears that the company has to spend Rs 50 cores to develop the drug while the company can’t hope to recover its cost because the disease is prevalent only in the poverty stricken area.
The first alternative is to drop the plan for developing the drug. This may help company reduce its loss, but not good for the society. If the company develops this drug, despite suffering loss, it can boost its image in a big way and develop the trust of the people. Hence, in the long run, the company can make much more profit due to its better brand image. This may not be a good option.
They may invest 2% of their profit for the Corporate Social Responsibility (CST) activities under the Companies Act, if they have enough profits. Alternatively, they can collaborate with other big companies and develop this drug jointly. This would boost their image of a soically responsible company that can help them generate more business and higher profit later.
They can also approach the government departments and NGOs for providing financial assistance to develop this drugs. They can go to the media and appeal to the people to contribute to their efforts by donating small amounts for the noble cause. They can thus get a substantial funding from other sources and they can develop drugs for the benefit of the tribal. (267 words)
12) There is a disaster prone state having frequent landslides, forest fires, cloudbursts, flash floods and earthquakes, etc. Some of these are seasonal and often unpredictable. The magnitude of the disaster is always unanticipated. During one of the seasons a cloudburst caused a devastating floods and landslides leading to high casualties. There was major damage to infrastructure like roads, bridges and power generating units. This led to more than 100000 pilgrims, tourist and other locals trapped across different routes and locations. The people trapped in your area of responsibility includes senior citizens, patients in hospitals, women and children, hiker, tourist, ruling parties, regional presidents along with his family, additional chief secretary of the neighboring state and prisoners in jail.
As a civil services officer of the state, what would be the order in which you would rescue these people and why? Give Justifications (20 Marks) (200 Words)
We must have some basic rules for evacuation in such conditions. The first principle is that all lives are equally valuable. Hence, we must first help those who are at the most critical state and they won’t be able to survive if the help is not given to them immediately. We should therefore follow the following sequence for rescue people.
• Senior citizens and patients must be evacuated first since they have the weakest resistance for such adverse climatic conditions.
• Women and children should be the next since they are the most vulnerable in difficult situations. We may start with older women and younger children.
• We must then rescue the tourists who are unfamiliar with the terrains and find it difficult to survive in unknown place without the support of local administration.
• The political leaders and bureaucrats’ family (including the family of the Additional Chief Secretary) can be helped by the local district administration and they may be evacuated later. They are usually familiar to tackle such situation as part of their job.
• Hikers are usually strong and adventurous people. They are trained to handle difficult situations. They can be placed in the last.
• The prisoners in jail may be allowed to continue there after giving them basic first-aid facilities unless the prison has become inhabitable.
All efforts should be taken to help those who are weakest and most vulnerable so that there is no chaos and the people don’t feel discriminated due to the attitude of the officials. (248 words)
13) You are heading a district administration in a particular department. Your senior officer calls you from the State Headquarters and tells you that a plot in Rampur village is to have a building constructed on it for a school. A visit is scheduled during which he will visit the site along with the chief engineer and the senior architect. He wants you to check out all the papers relating to it and ensure that the visit is properly arranged. You examine the file which relates to the period before you joined the department. The land was acquired for the local panchayat at a nominal cost and the papers showed that clearance certificates are available for the two of the three authorities who have to certify the site’s suitability. There is no certification by the architect available on file. You decide to visit Rampur to ensure that all is in the order as stated on file. When you visit Rampur, you find that the plot under reference is a part of Thakurgarh fort and that the walls, ramparts, etc., are running across it. The fort is well away from the main village, therefore a school here will be a serious inconvenience for the children. However, the area near the village has potential to expand into a larger residential area. The development charges on the existing plot, at the fort, will be very high and question of heritage site has not been addressed. Moreover, the Sarpanch, at the time of acquisition of the land, was a relative of your predecessor. The whole transaction appears to have been done with some vested interest.
(a) List the likely vested interest of the concerned parties.
(b) Some of the options for action available to you are listed below. Discuss the merits and demerits of each of the options:
(i) You can await the visit of the superior officer and let him take a decision.
(ii) You can seek his advice in writing or on phone.
(iii) You can consult your predecessor/ colleagues, etc, and then decide what to do.
(iv) You can find out if any alternate plot can be got in exchange and then send a comprehensive written report.
Can you suggest any other option with proper justifications? (25 Marks) (250 Words)
(a) The main problem in this issue is that the plot of land for school is far away from the village and it would be difficult for the children to attend this school. Another problem is that the plot of land is located within the heritage site and it would not be possible to construct school without damaging the site. It is possible that the predecessor officer was colluding with Sarpanch so that government develops the area near the village so that they can sell the land at much higher price later.
(i) It would be better to apprise the senior officer of the full development of the matter and let him take the decision after the visit.
(ii) It is a good idea to submit a factual report to the senior officer and his advice may be taken on record.
(iii) There is no harm in consulting your predecessor because he may have some better reason for purchase of the land near the fort which you are not aware off. However, if he was indeed colluded and deliberately did it for vested interest, he may be of no help. Yet, you may be in better position to take decision after knowing all sides of the story.
(iv) If you can find a good plot near the village in exchange of this plot, it would solve the problem of heritage site as well as it would help government construct school near the school. This possibility must be explored and followed up.
You can also consider other options by discussing the matter with the villagers to find some more alternatives. (270 words)
14) You are recently posted as district development officer of a district. Shortly thereafter you found that there is considerable tension in the rural areas of your district on the issue of sending girls to schools.
The elders of the village feel that many problems have come up because girls are being educated and they are stepping out of the safe environment of the household. They are the view that the girls should be quickly married off with minimum education. The girls are also competing for jobs after education, which have traditionally remained in boys’ exclusive domain, adding to unemployment amongst male population.
The younger generation feels that in the present era, girls should have equal opportunities for education and employment, and other means of livelihood. The entire locality is divided between sexes in both generations. You come to know that in Panchayat or in other local bodies or even in busy crosswords, the issue is being acrimoniously debated.
One day you are informed that an unpleasant incident has taken place. Some girls were molested, when they were en route to schools. The incident led to clashes between several groups and a law and order problem has arisen. The elder after heated discussion have taken a joint decision not to allow girls to go to school and to socially boycott all such families, which do not follow their dictate.
(a) What steps would you take to ensure girls’ safety without disrupting their education?
(b) How would you manage and mould patriarchic attitude of the village elders to ensure harmony in the inter-generational relations? (250 words) (25 Marks)
(a) It is the duty of the district administration to ensure safety and security of all citizens, particularly to the vulnerable section like the young girls. Hence, the people responsible for the molestation of the girls should be identified, arrested and booked under the relevant provision of the law. Government should also consider increasing police patrolling in the area to give the resident confidence and create fear in the mind of the anti-social elements. The girls may also be advised to move in group. Their family members may be requested to escort them for some time till the situation becomes normal.
(b) The education of girls was uncommon in the previous generation. Hence, the elder generation often feel that the earlier society was better and the education of girl child is leading to new problems. However, the younger generation is more aware of the latest development of the country and hence they want the girls to have the same rights and privileges as boys. However, the elders are not the enemies of the girls as they have the best interest of girls in their mind. They must be told about the benefits of educating girls and the opportunity that is available to the educated girls in the modern time. We can also convinced them that girls are not snatching the jobs of the boys, but actually becoming their partners by earning addition income for the family. They may also be informed that if girls are educated, the problem of dowry would be substantially reduced. Once the elders of the village are convinced of the benefit of girl’s education, they may themselves support and encourage their education. (276 words)