Solved Paper of General Studies Paper-4 (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) for UPSC Civil Services Examination 2016
Q.1) a) Explain how ethics contributes to social and human well-being. (150 words) 10
b) Why should impartiality and non-partisanship be considered as foundational values in public services, especially in the present day socio-political context? Illustrate your answer with examples. (150 words) 10
Ethics is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. It is a moral philosophy that depends on the habit or the customs of the society.
Ethical behaviour means thinking of the interest of others before the self-interest. If every member of the society start thinking about the interest of others before their own, there would not be any conflicts and the society shall grow rapidly and each member of the society would feel happy and satisfied. When people trust each other and work for the betterment of the society, the social bonding improves which improves the well-being of each member of the society.
In an ethical society, people follow the legal and moral laws, which makes them happy, satisfied and peaceful. When people are happy, they achieve more success and contribute more to their family and the society leading to the enhancement of happiness and prosperity of each member of the society. (161 words)
Q.2) a) What do you understand by the terms ‘governance’, ‘good governance’ and ‘ethical governance’? (150 words) 10
Governance refers to structures and processes that are designed to ensure accountability, transparency, responsiveness, rule of law, stability, equity and inclusiveness, empowerment, and broad-based participation. It also represents the norms, values and rules of the game through which public affairs are managed. The machinery designed to provide governance is called ‘government’.
Good governance is when the government of a country perform its function efficiently, effectivity and for the good of the citizens. A good governance is transparent, participatory, inclusive and responsive. It involves participation of citizens for framing policies and the involvement of public representatives in the implementation of government schemes for public welfare.
Ethical governance refers to the government where the officials follow the professional code of conduct and ethical values like equality, justice and, compassion. Ethical governance is also a good governance since the ethics and goodness akin to each other and they complement each other. (148 words)
b) Discuss Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of seven sins. (150 words)
The seven sins stated by Mahatma Gandhi are as following:
1. Wealth without Work: People who get wealth without work become parasite as they contribute nothing to the society.
2. Pleasure without Conscience: Pleasure derived from illegal and immoral acts is harmful to the self and the society.
3. Knowledge without Character: Knowledge is power and power corrupts. People must have character to use their knowledge for the benefit of society.
4. Commerce without Morality: When profit is the only motive for business and commerce, it leads to exploitation. Business can become a service with morality.
5. Science without Humanity: Science must be for the betterment of the society else it tends to harm the society.
6. Religion without Sacrifice: The true purpose of religion is to serve people who are less privileged and it becomes just a ritual without the spirit of sacrifice.
7. Politics without Principle: Politics is about power which should be used to make a better society using the best principles. (165 words)
Q.3) a) Analyse John Rawls’s concept of social justice in the Indian Context. (150 word)
The concept of social justice given by John Rawls attempts to solve the problem of ‘distributive justice’ by utilizing a variant of the familiar device of the ‘social contract’. The term distributive justice means the socially just distribution of goods in a society. The resultant theory is known as "Justice as Fairness", from which Rawls derives his two principles of justice.
1. Society should be structured so that the greatest possible amount of liberty is given to its members, limited only by the notion that the liberty of any one member shall not infringe upon that of any other member.
2. Inequalities, either social or economic, are only to be allowed if the worst off will be better off than they might be under an equal distribution. If there is such a beneficial inequality, this inequality should not make it harder for those without resources to occupy positions of power including the positions in government and public offices. (162 words)
b) Discuss the Public Services Code as recommended by the 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission. (150 words) 10
The Second ARC Report has provided a comprehensive Public Service Code for the civil servants. The Government shall promote the Public Service Values and a standard of ethics in the Public Service operations, requiring and facilitating every Public Service employee:
i. to discharge official duties with competence and accountability; care and diligence; responsibility, honesty, objectivity and impartiality; without discrimination and in accordance with law
ii. to ensure effective management, professional growth and leadership development
iii. to avoid misuse of official position or information and using the public moneys with utmost care and autonomy
iv. function with the objective that Public Services and Public Servants are to serve as instruments of good governance and to provide services for the betterment of the public at large; foster socio-economic development, with due regard to the diversity of the nation but without discrimination on the ground of caste, community, religion, gender or class and duly protecting the interest of poor, underprivileged and weaker sections. (160 words)
Q.4) a) “Corruption causes misuse of government treasury, administrative inefficiency and obstruction in the path of national development.” Discuss Kautilya’s views. (150 words).
Corruption is the greatest hindrance in the national development. This quote explains the effect of corruption on three important ways.
1: Government Treasury
If the tax officers are corrupt, government would not be able to collect the rightful taxes and the treasury would suffer. In the same way, if the expenditure departments are corrupt, the huge amount of siphoning of money that would be pocketed by the corrupt officials leading.
When a government system becomes corrupt, the corrupt officers would expect illegal gratification for doing everything and they shall not allow the honest people to get their job done in a government set up without paying bribe. The honest officers and citizens would lose the motivation to work hard for their nation which would hamper the development of the country.
3: National Development
If the government organizations are corrupt and inefficient, it would impact all other institutions including the private business and commerce which would hinder the national development badly. (161 words)
b) How could social influence and persuasion contribute to the success of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan? (150 word).
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA) is a campaign in India that aims to clean up the streets, roads and infrastructure of India's cities, smaller towns, and rural areas, particularly eliminating open defecation through the construction of self-owned and community-owned toilets and establishing an accountable mechanism of monitoring toilet use.
The success of SBA depends on the active participation of the common people in India, which is possible through persuasion since SBA is for the benefit of the people only. Social influence operates when the people imitate the national leaders and popular personalities as the role model of cleanliness. Therefore, even the Prime Minister, Chief Ministers and celebrities from film and sports have been the role model for the SBA campaign.
Government is also giving messages to clean up our house and neighborhood using all types of mediums like newspapers, television and social media. People are now more conscience about cleanliness and don’t spread garbage in the public places. Consistent persuasion has motivated Indians to value cleanliness and keep their surrounding clean. (170 words)
Q.5) Law and ethics are considered to be the two tools for controlling human conduct so as to make it conducive to civilized social existence.
(a) Discuss how they achieve this objective.
(b) Giving examples, show how the two differ in their approaches. (150 words)
Laws are made by the State and its violation invites punishment. People follow law to avoid punishment which reduces the wrong behaviour and thus indirectly promote good behaviour.
Ethics evolves in society over time and depends on factors like culture, traditions and religion. Their ambits are much wider. People voluntarily prefer to do the good things to win the approval of the society and avoid the bad things to avoid its social disapproval.
When we are speaking truth or keeping promises, we are following ethical behaviour for which we are benefited as people trust us and respect us. Lying may not be always illegal. A written affidavit may be needed to ensure promise keeping in accordance to law and you have to go to the Court to enforce it. This is not practical in day to day life. Hence, ethics plays more important role than law in creating a better society. (151 words)
Q.6) Our attitudes towards life, work, other people and society are generally shaped unconsciously by the family and the social surroundings in which we grow up. Some of these unconsciously acquired attitudes and values are often undesirable in the citizens of a modern democratic and egalitarian society.
b) Discuss such undesirable values prevalent in today’s educated Indians.
c) How can such undesirable attitudes be changed and socio-ethical values considered necessary in public services be cultivated in the aspiring and serving civil servants? (150 words)
There are many undesirable values in India like casteism, communalism, unnecessary rituals, selfishness, indifference to underprivileged members of the society, distrust for other communities and region. These values are passed from one generation to other though the family and the social surroundings. Many people are inspired to make illegal money through corruption because their family or society never condemns such activities. The gender based discrimination is also an undesirable trait which most people develop from their family.
Aspiring civil servant must learn public service from the great social, bureaucratic and political leaders. They must draw inspiration from our freedom fighters who gave their life for the sake of our country. Parents and teachers have great responsibility to impart high values to the children at the younger age so that they imbibe ethical values at young age and remain so when they grow up. There should be regular training of the civil servants to provide them the right attitude and socio-ethical values. There should also be incentives to follow the ethical path and punishment for behaving unethically. (176 words)
Q.7) Anger is a harmful negative emotion. It is injurious to both personal life and work life.
a) Discuss how it leads to negative emotions and undesirable behaviors.
b) How can it be managed and controlled?
Anger is an extremely powerful emotion. When we are gripped by anger, we develop extreme hatred against people and wish to harm them. We can’t think rationally when we are angry and often do something for which we have to repent for life. Many relationships are shattered because people lose temper and say something to do something in their fit of anger that causes immense physical and emotional harm to their loved ones.
Anger management is extremely important for civil servants. They must not make any important decisions when they are angry. They must control their temper in public places against even the greatest provocation.
Civil servants must develop better understanding of the people, situation and work. Even when they are feeling angry, they must postpone its display and soon they would find anger subsiding. They should identify the situation and people who makes them angry and be mentally prepared for it in advance. Regular meditation and yoga also help in controlling our temper. (164 words)
Q.8) “Max Webar said that it is not wise to apply to public administration the sort of moral and ethical norms we apply to matters of personal conscience. It is important to realize that the state bureaucracy might possess its own independent bureaucratic morality.” Critically analyse this statement. (150 words)
The moral and ethical standards of people are often decided based on their family, economic and social background. These values are useful when we dealing with small group of people like family, relatives and friends. However, these principles can’t hold good in the professional discharge of our duties. For example, when someone in our family commits an error, we may forgive him due to our love and affection. However, if any person in our office or a citizen commits an irregularity, we have to take actions according to the law and we should not forgive them based on our personal convictions.
Individuals are entitled to their own values like human rights, nonviolence, forgiveness, compassion or animal rights. However, when we are part of the organization, we have to follow the values of our organization. We can’t follow nonviolence when we are in police or in army. We have to follow the rule of law and follow the ethics of our organization to achieve its goals. (165 words)
Q.9) A fresh engineering graduate gets a job in a prestigious chemical industry. She likes the work. The salary is also good. However, after a few months she accidentally discovers that a highly toxic waste is being secretly discharged into a river nearby. This is causing health problems to the villagers downstream who depend on the river for their water needs. She is perturbed and mentions her concern to her colleagues who have been with the company for longer periods. They advise her to keep quite as anyone who mentions the topic is summarily dismissed. She cannot risk losing her job as she is the sole bread-winner for her family and has to support her ailing parents and siblings. At first, she thinks that if her seniors are keeping quiet, why she should stick out her neck. But her conscience pricks her to do something to save the river and the people who depend upon it. At heart she feels that the advice of silence given by her friends is not correct though she cannot give reasons for it. She thinks you are a wise person and seeks your advice.
a) What arguments can you advance to show her that keeping quiet is not morally right?
b) What course of action would you advise her to adopt and why? (250 words)
(a) We can provide following arguments to drive her to action, instead of keeping quite.
(i) Once you are aware that the toxic waste dumped in the river by your company is causing health hazards to the people of village, it is your moral duty to do everything possible to save the life of the villagers who are ignorant of the health hazards.
(ii) You are part of the company which is doing this illegal act of dumping waste in the river. Once you are aware of an illegality, it is your legal and moral duty to report the matter to the concerned government department. In case, it is proven that you have deliberately suppressed the information, actions may be taken against you.
(b) She must act quite tactfully so that she can achieve her goal without directly coming into the picture. We can provide the following suggestions to her.
(i) Discuss the matter with the senior management and convince them of starting waste management to comply with laws.
(ii) Inform the villagers or their representatives indirectly through a friend or NGO about the activity of the dumping of waste and ask them to take up the matter with the local politician or government department.
(iii) Write anonymously or through a friend a letter to the concerned government departments with all the documentary evidences in this regard. This can start the legal action against the company.
(iv) Discretely leak the news to the local media or the newspaper so that public at large becomes aware of the mischief of the company and force the company to stop this practice. (268 words)
Q.10) Land needed for mining, dams and other large-scale projects is acquired mostly from Adivasis, hill dwellers and rural communities. The displaced persons are paid monetary compensation as per the legal provisions. However, the payment is often tardy. In any case, it cannot sustain the displaced families for long. These people do not possess marketable skills to engage in some other occupation. They end up as low paid migrant laborers. Moreover, the benefit of development go to industries, industrialists and urban communities whereas the costs are passed on to these poor helpless people. This unjust distribution of costs and benefits is unethical.
Suppose you have been entrusted with the task of drafting a better compensation-cum-rehabilitation policy for such displaced persons, how would you approach the problem and what would be the main elements of your suggested policy? (250 words)
The activities of mining, dams or the other large scale projects are important for the development of economy and creation of employment. However, it is also a fact that the local people suffer a lot as they have to be displaced from their native place where they were living since generations. They are often given small compensations, which is not enough for leading a decent life after displacement.
Development can become a win-win situation if a better compensation-cum-rehabilitation policy keeping the interest of the local inhabitants is made. The policy should have the following components:
• Locals should be provided means to develop their own traditional art and culture in every way.
• They should be given the option of shifting out with their close friends and relatives to enable them to live a community based life.
• They may be given site plots or buildup houses commensurate with their land mass.
• They must be given fair compensation for their land and other properties.
• One adult member of each family may be given employment.
• Resettlement should be in the neighborhood of their own environment.
• If resettlement is not possible in the neighbor area, priority should be given to the development of the irrigation facilities and supply of basic inputs for agriculture, drinking water, wells, grazing ground for the cattle, schools for the children, primary healthcare units and other amenities in the new locality.
• They should be educated, through public meetings and convinced about the benefits of these projects for the nation and for themselves.
• The elderly people of the village should be involved in the discussion and decision making. (268 words)
Q.11) Suppose you are an officer in-charge of implementing a social service scheme to provide support to old and destitute women. An old and illiterate woman comes to you to avail the benefits of the scheme. However, she has no documents to show that she fulfils the eligibility criteria. But after meeting her and listening to her you feel that she certainly needs support. Your enquiries also show that she is really destitute and living in a pitiable condition. You are in a dilemma as to what to do. Putting her under the scheme without necessary documents would clearly be violation of rules. But denying her the support would be cruel and inhuman.
a) Can you think of a rational way to resolve this dilemma?
b) Give your reasons for it. (250 words)
An officer’s job is to provide support to old and destitute women in a legal and proper manner. However, the procedures prescribed by the government should also be followed. In this case, it is evident that the old women fulfills all the criterion for getting the government help, except that she does not have the documents like Aadhar Cards, BPL cards etc., which may be prescribed in the law.
The officers in government have discretion to accept secondary documents, if the main documents are not available. If no documents are available, often an affidavit can be taken from her and the people who knows her. The officer can also help her in getting the prescribed documents by deputing an officer who can coordinate with other departments and get all the papers quickly.
The officers must always act and use their discretionary powers in the public interest. If they follow only the letter of the law and violate the spirit of the law, they may be doing a great disservice to the nation. While the departments may be different in government, but they are part of the same setup and they can help others by using their knowledge of the government functioning and their contacts with other agencies. They can easily get things done for the common people. If there are some lacuna in the procedures, they must also write a letter to the Ministry and ask them to provide flexibility in the procedures so that the deserving people are not denied the benefits due to technical reasons. (257 words)
Q.12) You are a young, aspiring and sincere employee in a Government office working as an assistant to the director of your department. Since you have joined recently, you need to lean and progress. Luckily your superior is very kind and ready to train you for your job. He is a very intelligent and well-informed person having knowledge of various departments. In short, you respect your boss and are looking forward to lean a lot from him.
Since you have good tuning with the boss, he started depending on you. One day due to ill health he invited you at his place for finishing some urgent work.
You reached his house and before you could ring the bell you heard shouting noises. You waited for a while. After entering the house the boss greeted you and explained the work. But you were constantly disturbed by the crying of a woman. At last, you inquired with the boss but his answer did not satisfy you.
Next day, you were compelled to inquire further in the office and found out that his behavior is very bad at home with his wife. He also beats up bit wife. His wife is not well educated and is a simple woman in comparison to her husband. you see that though your boss is a nice person in the office, he is engaged in domestic violence at home.
In such a situation, you are left with the following options.
Analyse each option with its consequences.
a) Just ignore thinking about it because it is their personal matter.
b) Report the case to the appropriate authority.
c) Your own innovative approach towards the situation. (250 words)
(a) It is not advisable to interfere in the family matters of other people, except in exceptional situations. There is no family where there is no conflict. However, family members sort out their conflicts themselves most of the time and they don’t want anyone else to interfere in their personal affairs. Hence, it would be better to ignore the matter unless the issue is repeated again or the wife of the officer expresses her grievance to you.
(b) If you wish to report the matter to the appropriate authority, there has to be a complainant and evidence. In this case, the wife has not complained and you too have not seen your boss beating his wife. You have only heard the cry of his wife, which could be due to verbal disputes followed by emotional outburst of the wife. If you approach the police or other authority, they are unlikely to accept your complaint in absence of any complaint from the victim.
(c) It is wrong to presume that the boss is guilty, because he has been a nice person in the office. If the wife of an honest person regularly demands things that he can’t provide within his limited salary, it too may lead to conflicts in family. Find out the truth first and then you can give him some advice, if required. You may try to convince your boss by help of some story that cruelty against wife may lead to undesirable consequences to his personal and professional life. (251 words)
Q.13) ABC Ltd. Is a large transnational company having diversified business activities with a huge shareholder base. The company is continuously expanding the generating employment. The company, in its expansion and diversification programme, decides to establish a new plant at Vikaspuri, an area which is underdeveloped. The new plant is designed to use energy efficient technology that will help the company to save production cost by 20%. The company’s decision goes well with the Government policy of attracting investment to develop such underdeveloped regions. The government has also announced tax holiday for five years for the companies that invest in underdeveloped areas. However, the new plant may bring chaos for the inhabitants of Vikaspuri region, which is otherwise tranquil. The new plant may result in increased cost of living, aliens migrating to the region, disturbing the social and economic order. The company sensing the possible protest tried to educate the people of Vikaspuri region and public in general that how its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy would help overcome the likely difficulties of the residents of Vikaspuri region. In spite of this the protests begin and some of the residents decided to approach the judiciary as their plea before the Government did not yield any result.
a) Identify the issues involved in the case
b) What can be suggested to satisfy the company’s goal and to address the residents’ concern? (250 words)
(a) The main issue in this case is that the villagers believe that setting up of this new company would bring chaos because people from different region and culture would be working in the factory which would disturb their own values and culture. They also believe that once better paid employees would inhabit the place, all things would become more expensive and affect their buying power. This may disturb the social order and make their life worse.
The company on the other hand intends to set up an industry using the latest technology so that can save their production cost by 20%. They also intend to avail the benefit of the five year tax holidays offered by the government.
Government is also interested in setting up industries as that would cause the development of the area and lead to creation of employment, increase of the taxes in future due to increase in the business activities in the region.
(b) The people of Vikaspuri should be taken into confidence. Even if they have approached the judiciary, the communication link with them should not be broken and negotiated settlement must be attempted. They must be assured that their interest shall be the top priority for the company. They may be assured of the following:
• Setting up a good school in the area to provide them free quality education.
• Setting up a hospital for free or for subsided rates for them.
• Construction of roads and provision of electricity from their captive power plant.
• High compensation for the lands acquired by the company.
• Employment to one member of each family whose lands are taken. (270 words)
Q.14) Saraswati was a successful IT professional in USA. Moved by the patriotic sense of doing something for the country she returned to India. Together with some other like-minded friends, she formed an NGO to build a school for a poor rural community.
The objective of the school was to provide the best quality modern education at a nominal cost. She soon discovered that she has to seek permission from a number of Government agencies. The rules and procedures were quite confusing and cumbersome. What frustrated her most was delays, callous attitude of officials and constant demand for bribes. Her experience and the experience of many others like her has deterred people from taking up social service projects.
A measure of Government control over voluntary social work is necessary. But it should not be exercised in a coercive a corrupt manner. What measures can you suggest to ensure that due control is exercised but well meaning, honest NGO efforts are not thwarted? (300 words).
The two activities that requires government approval in this case are the registration of the NGO and the recognition of the school. While it is true that many NGOs are working sincerely and selflessly for the welfare of the people, there are many which are created mainly to receive grants from the government organizations and other parties. It has also been found that many NGOs are engaged in the activities which are against the national interest. In the same way, schools have become a big business nowadays and often businessmen open school to make money rather than serving the society. They often don’t provide the adequate infrastructure or appoint competent teachers to educate the children to ensure quality education to the children.
The following measures are suggested to ensure compliance of law as well as to facilitate the process of approval,
(i) All procedures for registration of NGOs should be made online with the clause of deemed approved within a month unless serious infirmity is found in the application.
(ii) In respect of the schools, government can set the minimum standards. These standards may include provision of playgrounds, labs, teacher-student ratios etc.
(iii) If an organization fulfills these requirements, a time bound automatics approval may be done by the government and the claims made by the school administration must be made available in the public domain.
(iv) Schools may be asked to upload pictures and necessary information online on the government websites so that the compliance monitoring can be done by the officers from the office itself.
(v) There must be surprise inspections to check the functioning of the schools and severe punishment may be provided on the promotors if the given standards are not complied with.
(vi) Government can also provide a helpline or an SMS based grievance redressal system for registration of NGOs and recognition of the school, which must solve the problem of harassment and delay in the registration process. (324 words)