Friday, February 20, 2015

Civil Services General Studies Paper Four Ethics Answer Writing

Question 1. Given below are the quotations and for each of these bring out what it means to you in present context in about 150 words

(a) When a man assumes a public trust he should consider himself as public property – Thomas Jefferson.
(b) “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.

Solution 1.(a) In a democratic system of governance the political representatives are directly elected by the people and people bring in power those in which they have trust. So for the elected man it becomes mandatory that he maintains this trust and this applies for the leader of any group. The moment a person gets this trust he has to shed his own ideology completely and has to get rid of all personal biases and prejudices so that no favouritism or nepotism remains. Now each and every action of his should be directed towards benefiting the society and the masses whom he governs. His very existence is dependent on the will of the masses, be it a democratic or an autocratic set up. His bad image can throw him out. He being a public properly means that even his personal life is not personal and he is equally accountable for professional and personal actions.

(b) Every society has good and bad people. Good people are good but bad people have their badness due to one of these two –

(1) By Choice (2) By Circumstances.

Every civilized society has adopted a code of conduct that is a rule book of laws and these laws have to be abided by everyone so that everyone lives in peace and harmony. But still we can see that crime and corruption persists to some extent even in the most efficient governance systems, the reason being the varying mindset of different individuals. People who are used to doing bad things specially those who have an disturbed frame of mind can not stop doing bad unless they are punished or counselled. Bad persons who are intelligent will persistently try to find a way to bypass the laws. For Example We can see in the case of flouting DTAA (Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement) to save or avoid paying taxes. Bad people can not see the boundary between right and wrong. Whereas person who are good need not be told what is good. Their upbringing and moral ethics given them an inbuilt sensibility which regularly reminds them of their responsibilities towards the society. A good person exercises social controls in his actions and takes due notice of the fact that his actions should not harm anyone.

So goodness and badness depends on the mindset of any individual and it is largely influenced by the grooming of the individual from childhood to adulthood.

Question 2. Max Weber lauded “impersonality” and “dehumanization” as the special virtues of bureaucracy. But, this has resulted in bureaucracy becoming by word for red tape, lack of initiative and innovation and poor public service delivery. Suggest how improved emotional intelligence help fight these deficiencies?

Solution 2. Max Weber mentioned “impersonality and “dehumanization” as special virtues of bureaucracy because he wanted an administrator to be as impartial as possible with the ultimate objective of reducing nepotism and Red Tapism. Impersonality and Dehumanization never means that we should not help the poor. The biggest task of bureaucracy in public administration is to make things easy for people. Red tapism is done to avoid responsibility and lack of initiative is done to avoid accountability. But responsibility and accountability are the biggest virtues of bureaucracy in a democratic system.

This means that either the bureaucracy is corrupt or there are some functional deficiencies in the system and in most of the democracies both of them are present.

One potent step to solve this problem to some extent is the inculcation of emotional intelligence in a public servant. Emotional intelligence is the ability of identifying the emotions of people around us and comparing them with our emotions and the use of this emotional thinking comparison to guide our actions. By doing this a bureaucrat will be able to understand the problem of the people coming to him for help. He will get a sense of human suffering and his inner self will compel him to think in the right direction and act righteously within the domain of his duties and responsibilities.

By using his emotional intelligence we will be able to read the mindset of individuals he has to deal with and with this knowledge he can develop innovative techniques of making things easy for him and his clients, public in case of a public servant.

Question 3. Many see Whistleblowers as a snitch or a low life who betray a sacred trust largely for personal gains. How far do you agree with the statements ? Substantiate with suitable examples.

Solution 3. The concept of Whistle Blower to bring out corruption now a days is widely talked about in public domain where it has brought out cases of corruption and malpractices of the organs of the state. The names of Satyendra Nath Dubey, Shanmughan Manju Nath and many other tell us the extent of honesty and integrity of Whistle Blowers towards their work and duty.

But if we look at certain cases we will look at the bad aspect of the Whistleblowers. Sometimes influential persons use a proxy individual to act as a Whistle Blower to malign the image of his rival which is often seen in the cases of corporate rivalry. The cause may not be illegal always but bad image is detrimental for any individual’s interest.

Also Many a times, corrupt individuals in order to gain money or cheap publicity open a secret.

So in view of these happenings it can be said that Whistleblowers are very important for democratic and civilized societies and appropriate safeguards should be placed in time to protect them. For eg. Whistleblower Protection Act 2011 and the recent consideration shown by Supreme Court to not reveal name of the person who misplaced the meeting register of CBI director Ranjit Sinha.

But at the same time it is also important to look that the honesty of a Whistleblower is not promoting the vested interests of his own or any other person or group.

Question 4. “Being ethical may not be the same as following the laws.” Discuss. Give examples from your real life when there was a conflict between being ethical and being legal. How did you resolve the dilemma ?

Solution 4. Ethics are important in life and so is the need to abide by the laws. But many times law comes in our way of following ethics. The example of Ms. Savita Halappanavar who was denied abortion in Ireland inspite of knowing that the baby cannot be delivered which ultimately claimed her life. If ethics would have been followed her life would have been saved but the laws were followed.

This conflict between ethics and law occurs because when laws are formulated all possible future exigencies cannot be considered whereas ethical behavior/response is more dependent on contextual conditions which surface at that very time and no laws have been codified for those conditions.

When we talk about despotic/totalitarian regimes then all of their laws are unethical so no need to talk about them.

Question 5. Kautilya said, "One should not be too straightforward. Go and see the forest. The straight trees are cut down, the crooked ones are left standing." What do you understand by this statement ? Discuss it in the context of public service. Also throw light on the ethicality of the statement.

Solution 5. Saying truth is a good quality and making things clear without confusing others is better but being too outspoken and least assertive is not a very good quality. It can give us an expression of being adamant and unyielding.

The statement means that if in our daily life we are too much straightforward with people around us then notwithstanding how honest we are, we would have to face the wrath of persons around us as according to them our attitude is offensive and uncompromising.

In public service, officials have to interact with a lot of persons simultaneously as they have myriad responsibilities on their shoulders. They very often have to face shortage of resources. So in these circumstances they have to be very much assertive. Since they are in a position of responsibility, they have to convince people that there needs and wants would be fulfilled. At the same time they have to convince their boss that efforts are being done at ground level. In a hospital a patient needs to be attended with appropriate concern no matter what problem he has. So in public services straightforwardness has to be thrown away.

As far as ethicality of the statement is concerned being too straight forward is never ethical and wise. It is important to show some emotions in our dealings wherever necessary.

Question 6. Morality does not play a role in international relations and whatever the mighty countries do is considered right. Do you agree with this assessment. Give examples to support your stance.

Solution 6. It would be wrong to say that morality is non existent in international relations. Declarations made in the UNO are widely respected by almost all member states irrespective of the fact that whether they are binding or not. For example Universal Declaration on Human Rights is non binding in nature but still its provisions are respected  by all member states barring few exceptions. The 1992 UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) is one more such example. Agenda 21 for sustainable environmental growth is also of a non binding nature but in its spirit it is being pursued to some extent by member countries.

So looking at these instances we can say that in present day globalized World no country wants to take steps which will tarnish its image on the global platform and they exercise morality in their actions.

At the same time it is also important to note that 100% morality is not there and mighty countries especially those having a strong economy seldom take actions that favour them specifically but such instances are limited and they will remain as no system can be 100% efficient.

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