Solved Paper of General Studies Paper-4 (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) for UPSC Civil Services Examination 2017

Q1. Conflict of interest in the public sector arises when (a) official duties, (b) public interest, and (c) personal interest are taking priority one above the other.
How can this conflict in administration be resolved? Describe with an example. (150 Words, 10)
The government officials are guided by the laws, rules and procedures to discharge their duties. They can’t take the decisions arbitrarily based on their personal views. For example, it is necessary to go for tendering procedures to procure goods or services and one has to accept the lowest bid of the tender from among the eligible bidders.
Sometimes, they may be a conflict of interest. For example, you may be heading a selection board, which is going to appoint some people for the organization and your relative may have applied for the job. It may be better to recluse yourself and request your superior to appoint someone else in your place so that you can avoid the conflict of interest.
If you have to implement a project like constructing a bridge or a road, you must avoid the award of tender to your friends or relative. If they bid for it, it would be better to recluse yourself from the selection panel. (162 words)
Q2. Examine the relevance of the following in the context of civil service: (150 Words, 10)
(a) Transparency
(b) Accountability
(c) Fairness and justice
(d) Courage of conviction
(e) Spirit of service
(a) Transparency: The decisions of a civil servant should be transparent, giving reasons and accessible to the people so that they know the reasons for taking the decision.
(b) Accountability: Civil servants must be accountable to their department, people, judiciary and the public representatives. If their decisions are wrong, arbitrary or malafide, they must be held accountable for it.
(c) Fairness and Justice: Civil servants must be fair and just to everyone. They should not differentiate people on the basis of caste, religion, gender, political or ideological affiliations.
(d) Courage of Conviction: They must have the courage to take the right decision according to their conviction even if there is no popular support and high risk of failure.
(e) Spirit of Service: Civil servants should never forget that they are public servants and not their masters. They must perform their duties with the spirit of service towards the common people. (150 words)
Q3. Young people with ethical conduct are not willing to come forward to join active politics. Suggest steps to motivate them to come forward. (150 Words, 10)
Indian politics is perceived to be ridden with corruption, dynasty and favouritism. Politics can’t provide a steady source of income to the young people. Young people can’t survive and live respectfully if they choose politics as a career. Huge amount of money and years of struggles are needed to succeed in politics, which often deters the young people joining politics. The following steps may be suggested to motivate the young people joining politics.
• State funding of political parties may be done by the government to reduce the use of black money in elections.
• Universities may provide practical course on politics at graduation and PG level.
• The youngsters may join existing political parties as an intern on stipend paid by the government to learn the practical aspect of politics.
• Government can provide financial grants to political parties when they employ young people.
• A certain number of seats may be reserved for the young politicians in elections by every party.
• Government may promote ‘startup’ parties and provide them financial support and office. (170 words)
Q4. (a) One of the tests of integrity is complete refusal to be compromised. Explain with reference to a real life example. (150 Words, 10)
Integrity and honesty of a civil servant can’t be partial. You are either honest or dishonest. The government officers has provided the same punishment irrespective of the amount of corruption money unlike the tax laws where the punishment varies based on the quantum of tax evasion.
A civil servant must completely refuse to compromise on integrity because small corruption gradually increases the greed and leads to major corruption. A civil servant may initially takes vehicle or ask the company to pay for the hotel, but soon they develop courage to seek more and become notorious for corruption
Suppose your relative is looking for a job in a company which falls under your charge. Your words to the top management may help your relative to get the job. However, once you have taken a favour from the company, you can’t take action against the company if any irregularity is found by your department. It would affect impartial discharge of your duties in future. (162 words)
(b) Corporate social responsibility makes companies more profitable and sustainable. Analyse. (150 Words, 10)
According to the Companies Act, certain class of companies have to spend 2% of their profits for fulfillment of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. This may reduce their profit in the short term, but in the long run it makes the company more profitable and sustainable due to following reasons.
• CSR spending on education creates better human resources for the company in future as neighbouring population are better educated.
• The brand image of the company in enhanced when it does humanitarian work under CSR.
• CSR spending on the healthcare improves the health of the employees and other people improving the efficiency of the organization.
• It increases the social and economic growth of society that increases the demands of the product
• When corporates spend money on skill development of the nearby people, they can get better trained manpower for their company
• They develop harmonious relationship with society at large which generate trust and create a win-win situation to the company and the society. (163 words)
Q5. (a) “Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte.
Stating examples mention the rulers (i) who have harmed society and country, (ii) who worked for the development of society and country. (150 Words, 10)
In order to achieve anything great in our lives, we need ambition and passion. Our ambition sets a high goal for us while our passion give us the energy to move ahead and work tirelessly to achieve our goals. However, character is something that decides the means to be adopted for achieving the goals.
Adolf Hitler had the ambition to make Germany the most powerful nation of the world and he had the passion to work very hard for it. However, his actions led to start of the Second World War that led to the death of millions of people worldwide. He got killed several million Jews in the concertation camps which lead to the destruction of the human values of love and compassion.
Lee Kuan Yew was another great leader full of passion and ambition to make Singapore a great country. He was the first prime minister of Singapore from 1959 to 1990 and under his leadership Singapore became one of the most developed countries in the world. (169 words)
(b) “If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. they are father, the mother and the teacher.” – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. Analyse. (150 Words, 10)
This beautiful quote of Dr Kalam highlights the importance of the parents and teachers in framing the moral values of the people. Children are under the constant supervision of their parents when they are young. They closely observe the behaviour of their parents and imbibe their values at a very tender age. These values get deeply engraved in their mind for their life. If the parents inculcate right values, children would grow up to become ideal citizens who are honest and ethical.
The role of teachers are also very important for the young children. They learn not only different subjects in their classes, but they also imbibe the values from their teachers. If teachers are compassionate, children would learn compassion from them. If teachers and disciplined, children shall learn discipline from them. When children are educated in the right environment, they become the best citizen with the right set of values who take their country on the path of development and happiness. (162 words)
Q6. (a) How will you apply emotional intelligence in administrative practices? (150 Words, 10)
Emotional intelligence is the ability to monitor one's own and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. The five aspects of emotional intelligence according to Goleman are self-awareness, self-regulation, social skills, empathy and motivation.
Emotional intelligence can be applied in administration in the following manner:
• Connect with the officials of your department emotionally to bonding within the organization.
• Develop the spirit of service while discharging your duties.
• Develop positive attitude in the organization to motive the officials to perform better.
• Develop self-discipline and inculcate punctuality and time bound delivery of services.
• Empathize with weaker sections of the society and provide them security and togetherness.
• Avoid anger and bad behaviour at your workplace.
• Adopt a democratic approach within the organization to build team spirit.
• Make all officials the owner of the important decisions taken by the top management. (152 words)
(b) Strength, peace and security are considered to be the pillars of international relations. Elucidate. (150 Words, 10)
The world has seen two World Wars in last century that lead to the immeasurable destruction of properties and death of millions of people across the world. The World Wars were followed by the Cold War between the America and Russia for almost half a century. There had been many other small level wars between many neighbouring countries across the world.
In the modern world, each nation is independent and sovereign. Each nation decides what is in its best interest. The United Nations has played significant role in bringing peace in the world, but it hardly has the power to stop the wars when powerful nations are the aggressor.
It is, therefore, important that each nation takes care of its own security and protect its own interest individually or jointly with other nations. A single war can destroy the social, economic and political environment of the nation. Hence, nation must focus on building strength to provide peace, security and development. (160 words)
Q7. (a) The crisis of ethical values in modern times is traced to a narrow perception of the good life. Discuss. (150 Words, 10)
The meaning of good life to many is ‘eat, drink and merry’. They connect pleasure, comfort and sensual gratification with good life. However, pleasure has no limit and it becomes the greatest hindrance in the path of intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth.
Pleasure is related to body and sense organs. You need money to enjoy physical comfort and sensual gratification. Hence, people often engage in illegal and immoral activities to earn more money to enjoy more pleasure. This leads to the crisis of the ethical values in a society.
People must realize that a good life mean a life that is good for the society and the nation. A good life has a noble purpose. People must engage themselves in the activities that are necessary for intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth. We grow intellectually by learning from the great masters, develop emotional by helping other people. Our spiritual growth comes when we serve the people who are poor and needy. These activities strengthens our soul and makes us ethical. (166 words)
(b) Increased national wealth did not result in equitable distribution of its benefits. It has created only some “enclaves of modernity and prosperity for a small minority at the cost of the majority.” Justify. (150 Words, 10)
The market based economies often result into creation of inequality in the society since a better placed person is in better position to use the system for their advantage while the disadvantage class fail to compete with them. For example, rich people can send their children to good schools and provide them better coaching facilities. Hence, they have better chances of getting success in competitive examinations and get better jobs. In the same way, the rich people may set up business and make huge money.
The market economy thus leads to the increase of the national wealth, but fails to distribute them in the equitable manner. It leads to creation of more inequality and gradually the wealth get concentrated in the hands of a few. According to an estimate, 1% of the richest people in the world controls almost 99% of the wealth of the world and such privileged people are truly the enclave of modernity and prosperity at the cost of the vast majority. (165 words)
Q8. (a) Discipline generally implies following the order and subordination. However, it may be counter-productive for the organization. Discuss. (150 Words, 10)
Disciple is extremely important for organizations like police and army. Discipline is based on hierarchy where the subordinates obey the orders of the superiors without questioning. It helps organization produce quick results as there is no dissent, counter-opinion or discussion in the organization.
However, most organization requires creativity and innovation to understand the need of the citizens, customers and organization. In such matters, two heads are always better than one. If there is strict discipline, the subordinates would fear airing their views. Hence, new ideas would not be generated in the organization.
A good organization must maintain a fine balance between discipline and freedom of thoughts and expression. When the issues are discussed, everyone should be encouraged to give their honest opinion, which can help the management taking better decisions. However, once the decision is taken, everyone must obey the decision in a disciplined manner to make it a success. (150 words)
(b) “Without commonly shared and widely entrenched moral values and obligations, neither the law, nor democratic government, nor even the market economy will function properly.”
What do you understand by this statement? Explain with illustration in the contemporary times. (150 Words, 10)
Morality is the sense of right and wrong which comes from within and it represents the character of a person. A good society means a moral society. It means that the people have high character, hence they right good things in their life even when no one is watching. When people do good things, society benefits and the growth of the society become self-sustainable.
If people are not moral, then coercive methods have to be taken by the governments to force the people to follow the law. This creates resistance, retaliation, misuse of power and corruption.
A good democracy requires honest and moral people because they have the power to elect their leaders. If people are immoral, they shall elect immoral leaders who shall then use their power to sideline the honest people in government and protect the corrupt.
The market economy also can’t function without moral people because the immoral businessmen can manipulate the markets, cheat their customers and provide inferior goods and services to people in the garb of quality product. (173 words)

Q9. You are an honest and responsible civil servant. You often observe the following:
a) There is a general perception that adhering to ethical conduct one may face difficulties to oneself and cause problems for the family, whereas unfair practices may help to reach the career goals.
b) When the number of people adopting unfair means is large, a small minority having a penchant towards ethical means makes no difference.
c) Sticking to ethical means is detrimental to the larger developmental goals.
d) While one may not involve oneself in large unethical practices, but giving and accepting small gifts makes the system more efficient.
Examine the above statements with their merits and demerits. (250 Words, 20)
(a) The general perception that adhering to ethical conduct may cause trouble in government service and the corrupt people have all the advantages is false and often created by corrupt people to justify their corrupt deeds. Corruption may give you money, but can’t give you respect, honour and peace of mind. Every year, thousands of government officers are arrested under Prevention of Corruption Act and their career and social prestige is destroyed forever. A large number of corrupt officials lose their jobs, promotion and even the retirement benefits once caught.
(b) This is also a fallacious argument. If a large number of people are doing wrong things, it can’t make it right. The need of honesty is more when many people are corrupt. One honest person can shake the whole organization and make a great difference for the nation.
(c) Corruption can’t take either an individual or a country too far. All developed countries are also the most honest countries. The most successful individuals in life are also those who follow ethical practices. Corruption may provide short term benefits, but in the long run it hurts because everyone start expecting bribe and the person loses reputation.
(d) Corruption always start small. One may first accept a small gift and then start accepting big bribes. It is better to shun the path of accepting any benefit that is not legal. If you take even a small favour, you have to give special treatment to the person and you would develop a natural tendency to give low preference to those who don’t offer you gifts. (263 words)
Q10. You are aspiring to become an IAS officer and you have cleared various stages and now you have been selected for the personal interview. On the day of the interview, on the way to the venue you saw an accident where a mother and child who happen to be your relatives were badly injured. They needed immediate help.
What would you have done in such a situation? Justify your action. (250 Words, 20)
This is really an exceptional and unfortunate situation. You have prepared for several years for the civil services and cleared various stages and now you are on the final stage of your selection process. You can’t afford to miss this opportunity nor can you become unkind and unethical by discarding your relative in such critical condition.
The first priority should be to provide immediate help to the relative. Since the candidates generally start early for interview, they may have extra time at their disposal. You can immediately hire a taxi and take your relatives to the nearest hospital. You can simultaneously call your parents, friends or other relatives to rush to the hospital so that further treatment can be taken care of.
Once all the arrangement is made, you can immediately rush to the venue of the UPSC interview. It would be better to take some photographs on your mobile phone of the event which can be shown to the concerned UPSC official to explain the reasons of your delay. Since there are several interviews scheduled in a day by the UPSC, it should be possible for them to reschedule your interview in the second half or at a later date.
The real challenge in such condition is not to lose your patience and keep your emotions under control. You may keep in touch with the family members on phone and find out the latest conditions of the injured relatives. You must keep your cool during the interview and give your best. (252 words)
Q11. You are the head of the Human Resources department of an organisation. One day one of the workers died on duty. His family was demanding compensation. However, the company denied compensation because it was revealed in investigation that he was drunk at the time of the accident. The workers of the company went to strike demanding compensation for the family of the deceased. The Chairman of the management board has asked for your recommendation.
What recommendation would you provide the management?
Discuss the merits and demerits of each of the recommendations. (250 Words, 20)
Death of a person during accident within the premises of the company is a very serious matter. It may be due to the negligence of the staff or due to the improper functioning of the machines or due to the lack of safety measures by the company. If it is provided in the rules that no compensation is to be given to workers who are drunk, it should also be the responsibility of the management to ensure that a drunk person does not operate the machines. A drunk worker may cause accident that may harm not on himself, but also endanger the life of other employees. Hence, a drunken staff working inside a factory is also a failure of the management.
The second important aspect is to find out if the fault lies with the worker who met with an accident, due to drinking, or for any other reasons. If the accident is due to the fault of the management, worker must be recommended compensation even if he was drunk.
Finally, even if the mistake was that of the worker, the issue must be dealt in a humane and compassionate manner. The management should show large heartedness and grant liberal compassion to help the family. You must thus propose compensation.
The Demerit of granting compassion are:-
• Financial cost to the company due to the payout of compensation
• Breaking its own norm would reduce credibility of management
• Workers would strike again to force management illegal benefits
• Workers may come office drunk again and cause greater accidents in future. (257 words)
Q12. You are the manager of a spare parts company A and you have to negotiate a deal with the manager of a large manufacturing company B. The deal is highly competitive and sealing the deal is critical for your company. The deal is being worked out over a dinner. After dinner the manager of manufacturing company B offered to drop you to the hotel in his car. On the way to hotel he happens to hit motorcycle injuring the motorcyclist badly. You know the manager was driving fast and thus lost control. The law enforcement officer comes to investigate the issue and you are the sole eyewitness to it. Knowing the strict laws pertaining to road accidents you are aware that your honest account of the incident would lead to the prosecution of the manager and as a consequence the deal is likely to be jeopardised, which is of immense importance to your company.
What are the dilemmas you face? What will be your response to the situation? (250 Words, 20)
In this case you are interested in getting the deal from the company B and you met the manager on dinner to work out the deal. It is, however, not clear if deal has already been made and it was only expected to be made. It can, however, be said that there may be a good possibility of getting a deal, if you give a favourable statement in favour of manager of company B.
If you chose to speak the truth, the manager would be in trouble and he may even be arrested. This may lead to the cancellation of the deal. Again, this is merely an assumption since manager may not be the final authority to decide the deal and the top management may still decide the deal on merit.
If you choose to give false account of the incident and save the manage B, you may have a better chance of getting the deal. However, you may be doing an unethical and illegal activity by speaking untruth since you are required to speak truth before the police and also in the interest of justice of the family of the injured person. In case, the speed is recorded in a CCTV camera, you may even be punished for giving false statement before the police.
Hence, you should speak the truth and give the correct statement before the police. Even if you lose the deal, you still feel proud of your truthfulness and thus live honourably. You may still get the deal one merit if the company B is an ethical company. (262 words)
Q13. A building permitted for three floors, while being extended illegally to 6 floors by a builder, collapses. As a consequence, a number of innocent labourers including women and children died. These labourers are migrants of different places. The government immediately announced cash relief to the aggrieved families and arrested the builder.
Give reasons for such incidents taking place across the country. Suggest measures to prevent their occurrence. (250 Words, 20)
It is common for builders to make extra floors illegally with the active connivance of the local police and the municipalities. They don’t care for the safety since they don’t have to stay themselves in these houses.
Governments often comes with amnesty schemes and regularize such illegal constructions, which further encourages builders to make huge profits by adding extra floors to their building.
Buildings also collapse due to the use of inferior quality of materials like bricks, steel-bars or cement. Often the design of the building itself is unsafe.
Another disturbing aspect in this case is the employment of women and children in the construction activities, against the law. They are often the first to lose life as they are more vulnerable. Workers are also not provided with the safety gears and adequate training that often led to more accidents and more loss of life in the construction industry.
Government should make strict laws to curb such crimes in India. Some suggested measures are:
• Immediate arrest for the builder violating law.
• Deaths due to illegal constructions must be deemed to be murder and dealt accordingly.
• Government should upload the approved design on its website so the buyers are aware the illegality of the extra floors.
• Approval by qualified architect must be made mandatory in each multistoried construction.
• No amnesty scheme must be brought froth
• The officers involved in commission and omission must be arrested and punished quickly.
• Labour department must conduct regular survey of under construction building and take action against such builders at the earliest. (256 words)
Q14. You are a Public Information Officer (PIO) in a government department. You are aware that the RTI Act 2005 envisages transparency and accountability in administration. The act has functioned as a check on the supposedly arbitrarily administrative behaviour and actions. However, as a PIO you have observed that there are citizens who filed RTI applications not for themselves but on behalf of such stakeholders who purportedly want to have access to information to further their own interests. At the same time there are these RTI activists who routinely file RTI applications and attempt to extort money from the decision makers. This type of RTI activism has affected the functioning of the administration adversely and also possibly jeopardises the genuineness of the applications which are essentially aimed at getting justice.
What measures would you suggest to separate genuine and non-genuine applications? Give merits and demerits of your suggestions. (250 Words, 20)
RTI Act has been quite effective in curbing several types of mischiefs in government organisations. Once officers know that people can access the government files, they are careful while taking decisions and avoid arbitrary decisions.
However, RTI has also been misused by many people to harass the honest officers by seeking unnecessary information and finding faults to embarrass them. Moreover, it cost huge resources of the government to retrieve the information. This reduces the time available to the government officers to do their own official work.
The following measures are suggested to improve the RTI Act.
• Information asked should pertain to the person asking the information.
• If information does not pertain to the applicant, it can still be provided if any public interest in involved. However, the nature of public interest must be disclosed while seeking information and the PIO must take the decision based on the facts of each case.
• Government must identify the frivolous RTI applicants and impose heavy penalties on such people.
• The actual cost of providing information must be recovered from the applicant instead of a fixed nominal cost fixed by the government a decade ago.
• Information provided under RTI must have a caveat that it can’t be used for commercial or publicity purposes.
All these measures are likely to be opposed by the media and RTI Activist. The opposition parties may also make it a political issue. Hence, it may give negative publicity to the government. However, if the issues are properly explained, people can appreciate the reasons for the reforms and accept the changes. (260 words)