Recently UPSC has brought out some changes in civil services (Mains) examination and a new paper on ethics, integrity and aptitude has been introduced. Following is the core area on which emphasis has been made.
• Aptitude for the Civil Services.
• Emotional intelligence.
• Contribution of thinkers.
• Public Service/Civil Service values and intergrity.
• Honesty and Probity in Public Life.
It has also been suggested that case study approach may be adopted on the above points.
Importance and significance of ethics - The Rig Veda states "Atmano Mokshartham jagat hitayacha" i.e. private good of self promotion should be subservient to the greatest good of all.
Kautilya's Arthshastra says -
"Praja sukhe sukham rajyaha
prajanam cha Hitehitam,
Natma priyam hitam rajanaha
Prajanam cha hitam priyam"
(In the happiness of his public rests the king's happiness, in their welfare his welfare..)
Bhishma Pitamaha, who had mastered the art of governance says "the foundation of good governance is righteousness in public affairs".
Mahatma Gandhi emphasized the importance of means stating that the means are as much or even more important than the end.
In 'Gita' Lord Krishna advises officials:
"By understanding what ought to be done, and what not, what is to be feared and what not, and what is obligatory and what is simply permitted, a ruler leads the moral and righteous nation".
Similarly Confucius (551-479 B.C.) believed that a well ordered society required a government based on superior morality rather than on superior authority.
In the Islamic world, letters written to governors by Imam Hazrat Omer and Imam Hazrat Ali are the shining examples of governing through ethics and morality.
These examples from various religions illustrate that one should not shy away from tapping religious assets.
'Ethics' is a system of accepted beliefs and values which influence human behaviour. The family systems and educational systems are influential instruments of socialization and training of the mind in its initial years. If the values inculcated through the family and the school have underscored honesty and ethics, the impact on the mindset of citizens is likely to be highly positive and powerful.
The gist of wisdom on administrative ethics is that the public administrators are the "guardians" of the Administrative state. Hence they are expected to honour public trust and not violate it.
Relation between Ethics and Civil Services-
Following are the principles on which Civil Servants are supposed to discharge their duties and responsibilities.
• Legal and rational action: Civil Servants must follow the law and rules to govern and guide.
• Responsibility and accountability: An administrator should hold himself morally responsible for his actions and should be willing to be held accountable.
• Commitment for work: According to Swami Vivekananda "Every duty is holy and devot-ion to duty is the highest form of worship.
• Ensuring excellence in work: An administrator would ensure the highest standard of quality in administrative decisions and action.
• Responsiveness and resilience: He should adopt to environmental transformation and yet sustain the ethical norms of conduct.
• Principle of utilitarianism: An administrator should ensure that his decisions should lead to the greatest good of the greatest number.
• Maxim of Compassion: A civil servant without violating the prescribed law and rules would demonstrate compassion for the poor, the disabled and the weak.
• National interest: A civil servant should keep in view the impact of his action on his nation's strength and prestige.
• Principle of justice: Administrators must observe principles of equality, equity, fairness, impartiality and objectivity.
• Transparency: Civil Servants will make decisions in a transparent manner.
• Maxim of integrity: An administrator would undertake an administrative action on the basis of honesty and not use his power, position and discretion to serve his personal interest.
The Nolan Committee constituted for setting standards in public life in United Kingdom has recommended seven principles of public life:
1. Selflessness 2. Integrity 3. Objectivity 4. Accountability 5. Openness 6. Honesty 7. Leadership.
These principles of public life are of general applicability in every democracy. Arising out of such ethical principles a set of guidelines of public behavior in nature of code of conduct becomes essential for public functionaries.
United Nations has formulated a 'Code of Conduct' for public officials by its resolution 58/4 of 31st Oct. 2003. The code of conduct states that "Each State party shall promote, interalia, integrity, honesty, and responsibility among its public officials in accordance with the fundamental principles of its legal system."
In the corporate world, governance has become an important factor for success and excellence. The Cadbury Committee defines the concept of corporate governance "the system by which companies are directed and controlled, thus placing the board of directors of a company at the centre of governance system. Maximising the shareholders value in a legal and ethical manner is the symbol of good corporate governance.
Government of India has formulated some codes, laws, rules and regulations to help achieve ethics, values, and probity in public life. Besides, some good practices have also been introduced to bring probity in public servants.
An illustrated list is as follows.
1. Official Secrets Act.
2. Right to Information Act.
3. Prevention of Corruption Act.
4. Benami (Properties) Transaction Act.
5. Central Civil Services (conduct) Rules.
6. All India Services (conduct) Rules.
7. Citizen's Charters.
8. Code of Conduct for political parties.
9. Model code of conduct (during elections).
Candidates appearing for civil services will be supposed to be familiar with these Acts, rules and regulations. Cases studies could be asked based on the above.
After this based on the aforesaid, we come to a case study based on the hotly debated and ever evolving domain of RTI also exclusively made by Mr S K Mishra. It also has an informed way of looking at the question pattern in the mains exam.
About Writer: S. K. Misra, IAS (Retd.) is Academic Head, Chronicle IAS Academy (CIA)
For case study Paper IV visit www.chronicleias.com