03rd April, 2016 (MAINS)


Q1. Suppose one of your close friends, who is also aspiring for civil services, comes to you for discussing some of the issues related to ethical conduct in public service. He raises the following points:

(i) In the present times, when unethical environment is quite prevalent, individual attempts to stick to ethical principles may cause a lot of problems in one’s career. It may also cause hardship to the family members as well as risk to one’s life. Why should we not be pragmatic and follow the path of least resistance, and be happy with doing whatever good we can?

(ii) When so many people are adopting wrong means and are grossly harming the system, what difference would it make if only a small minority tries to be ethical? They are going to be rather ineffective and are bound to get frustrated.

(iii) If we become fussy about ethical considerations, will it not hamper the economic progress of our country? After all, in the present age of high competition, we cannot afford to be left behind in the race of development.

(iv) It is understandable that we should not get involved in grossly unethical practices, but giving and accepting small gratifications and doing small favours increases everybody’s motivation. It also makes the system more efficient. What is wrong in adopting such practices?

Critically analyze the above viewpoints. On the basis of this analysis, what will be your advice to your friend?

[20marks/2014/GS-4] 250 words.

Please write answer in the comments section.

  • Aniruddh Shrivastava

    “It takes many tiny bricks to build one large wall”. This is not merely an adage but a universal truth. Just because so many people,being unethical, are adopting wrong means, we should also follow their unwholesome path,this reason is not justifiable logically or ethically. It is one’s duty to do the right despite other people’s actions.

    Positive actions influence the people, the society optimistically. If one person is ethical despite multiple challenges, he can become source of inspiration for others to do the same. No doubt, it is an arduous task to be ethical and good in today’s world if we talk about hardships and risks associated with it. But A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.

    Ethical considerations do not hamper economic progress, but ensure that progress takes place in a fair and unbiased manner. In the long run, being ethical will work in our favor even if it seems otherwise in the short term. We may lose small battles in the race to development, but being ethical will ensure that we win the war.

    I remember one quote which says “don’t be too honest, straight trees are always cut first”. Now it does not make any sense saying he is 50% honest or he is 70% honest. It can’t be measured in fractions. If you are honest you will not ignore the sound of your conscience and let your dignity sold.

    My advise is to ignore such noxious thoughts. Ethics and morality is the fundamental elements required from a civil servant.

  • Neha Jha


    With the doubts in my friends mind, I will clarify his/her with both the views which he/she is struggling with. If possible I will explain
    these doubts with examples.

    Yes, unethical environment is quite prevalent in the society. If one lacks these principles certainly one would favour the corrupt practices existing in our societies. Suppose, if we let one of the female member to get her education by arranging the degree in
    name of her by corrupt means of our choice. Now she is educated but struggling to get a job but couldn’t contribute as human resource in the economy. We tried to get her educated which was good but the purpose itself was not fulfilled. The shortcut used by us lead her to nowhere good. But, it is the values, by few or small people whose small contributions
    makes a huge impact.

    Many of the people are presently forging their degrees for the jobs but unable to give their best because of the lack of knowledge. If the same girl teaches in any school, she will not be able to teach the students, who are the future of nation. It will decline the
    quality education in schools. If teached in the proper guidance some of the teachers can become the shadow for the children.

    It will not hamper the economic growth of the country. I agree, pace could be slow but eventually with the moral values and ethical
    concerns the outcome will be high compared to its corrupt counterparts.

    By giving and accepting gratifications we may get to know each other but within the moral limits increases the bond. But, choosing the corrupt practices can never motivate any one in positive manner.