Civil Services 2021

UPSC Mains GS-IV Model Answer Pointers

    Q1. a) Identify five ethical traits on which one can plot the performance of a civil servant. Justify their inclusion in the matrix. (Answer in 150 words)

    • An ethical civil servant should have holistic competence which itself consist of 3 types of competencies: Ethical competency , Emotional competence and Analytic Competence.
    • However,  we need to focus on ethical traits or competencies as demanded by the question.
    • Though there are as much as 14 ethical traits but question is demanding only 5
    • These are :
    1. Serve the public interest – civil servants are the frontline and foot soldiers of democracy whose sole objective is to serve public interest
    2. Guard against the conflict of interest and even its even appearance and thereby refusing to do something unethical : It is necessary to uphold public trust. In fact there is complementary relation between good / ethical governance and public trust. Hence civil servant need to inculcate and display ethical behaviour
    3. Recognise and promote constitutional principles of equality , fairness and representativeness : Ultimately constitutional values need to be put into action and thereby realising supreme ideals of Preamble
    4. Be responsible for one’s behaviour : It resolves the issues of conflicting & blurred accountabilities
    5. Ethical reasoning : It is an important tool not only to make an ethical decision but also to tackle ethical dilemmas. It involves defining a problem and assess in a systematic manner alternative course of actions which is ethically competent. At the same time it tends to avoid haste and impulsive decision.

    Ethical reasoning also removes the problem of –

    • Leadership myopia : failing to recognise the importance of ethics in the government functions and processes
    • Ethical illiteracy : failure to distinguish between ethical issue and legal / management issue
    1. b) Identify ten essential values that are needed to be an effective public servant. Describe the ways and means to prevent non-ethical behaviour in public servants. (Answer in 150 words)
    • Inculcation of values is the basis of the ethical governance. It functions as a powerful imperative into actions , it is a standard yardstick to guide actions
    • Public service values : to serve public interest , professional values like serving with competence , efficiency , objectivity and impartiality ; ethical values to uphold public trust ; people’s and democratic values to serve public interest and upholding fairness
    • Ten foundational values are :
    1. Selflessness – working like a karmayogi – spirit of service and sacrifice
    2. Integrity – encompassing 3 main facets : trust , consistency and moral compass ( set of values guiding decisions)
    3. Moral courage– willingness to act for moral ends even in the face of potential harmful consequences
    4. Honesty : building public trust
    5. Objectivity – free from biasness and conflict of interest
    6. Responsibility – objective  & subjective responsibility – key aspects for the ethical governance
    7. Leadership – walk the talk – visionary and pace setting leadership
    8. Openness – transparency
    9. Emotional competency – upholding values of empathy
    10. Dedication –  working with mission and vision

    Ways and means to prevent non-ethical behaviour in public servants :

    • Fusion model – compliance model + integrity model
    • Exemplary leadership , ethics training and workshops , code of ethics , ethics audits , personnel selection process based on the ethical standards
    • Enhancing effectiveness of existing laws , transparency and accountability through RTI and IT enabled services
    • A very significant aspect of ethical governance is the inculcation of values. In this regard Psycho – Philosophical doctrines could play a significant role. Through these various exercises and doctrines values are imbibed , as a result ethical actions become voluntary and self motivated.
    • Attitudinal changes

    Q.9. Case Study ( Section B )

    An elevated corridor is being constructed to reduce traffic congestion in the capital of a particular state. You have been selected as project manager of this prestigious project on your professional competence and experience. The deadline is to complete the project in the next two years by 30 June 2021, since the project is to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister before the elections are announced in the second week of July 2021. While carrying out the surprise inspection by the inspecting team, a minor crack was noticed in one of the piers of the elevated corridor possibly due to poor material used. You immediately informed the chief engineer and stopped further work. It was assessed by you that a minimum of three piers of the elevated corridor have to be demolished and reconstructed. But this process will delay the project minimum by four to six months. But the chief engineer overruled the observation of the inspecting team on the ground that it was a minor crack that will not in any way impact the strength and durability of the bridge. He ordered you to overlook the observation of the inspecting team and continue working with the same speed and tempo. He informed you that the minister does not want any delay as he wants the Chief Minister to inaugurate the elevated corridor before the elections are declared. Also informed you that the contractor is a far relative of the minister and he wants him to finish the project. He also gave you a hint that your further promotion as an additional chief engineer is under consideration by the ministry. However, you strongly felt that the minor crack in the pier in the elevated corridor will adversely affect the health and life of the bridge and therefore it will be very dangerous not to repair the elevated corridor.

    1. a) Under the given conditions, what are the options available to you as a project manager?
    2. b) What are the ethical dilemmas being faced by the project manager and his response to overcome such challenges?
    3. c) What are the professional challenges likely to be faced by the project manager and his response to overcome such challenges?
    4. d) What can be the consequences of overlooking the observation raised by the inspecting team? (Answer in 250 words)

    A. Case study vis-à-vis syllabus

    • Case study seeks to check candidates’

    – ethical traits / competencies required for civil servants such as :

      1. refusal to do unethical act
      2. serve the public interest ; avoidance of conflict of interest
      3. responsible for ones’ behaviour
      4. objective and impartial discharge of duties

    – emotional intelligence : tackling the tense situation , personal stress and upholding the value of empathy

    – aptitude of civil services

    • it presents an opportunity to display leadership quality and moral courage

    • a case for whistle blowing

    • ethical issues at stake

        • public trust
        • organisational integrity
        • professional integrity and competence
        • work culture of “ work is worship”
        • quality of service delivery

    B. Options available to the project manager

     Based on ethical reasoning various options are : 

    1. Follow the instructions of the chief engineer
    2. Withhold approval to resume work until repair is done
    3. Case for whistle blowing
    4. Seeking transfer
    5. Trying to convince superiors about the potential dangerous outcomes

    C. Ethical dilemmas

    1. Public interest v/s personal interest
    2. Public safety v/s personal career progression
    3. Seniors direction v/s personal & professional values
    4. Public trust
    5. Upholding foundational values of civil service in the face of political pressure

    D. Professional challenges

    • Serious damage to his career and his professional integrity

        • In case of any casualty
        • Exposure of such issues by media
        • Even appearance of conflict of interest and corruption matters which might dent his image. Even though he is not involved but he might be seen in bad light.

    • Work performance may be negatively evaluated by superior officers.

    • Strained relation with political leaders and his seniors may exclude him from future prestigious projects.

    • His colleagues who agree to ignore such faults in the structure might be promoted over him.

    • Unsuccessful completion of the project on time may put dent to his professional competence image.

    E. Overcoming such challenges by the project manager –

    • Acting from the highest level of moral development i.e. acting from the internal set of values and not buckling under any pressure

        • Displaying leadership quality and moral courage
        • His act of uprightness will set an example for others. Great things happens only by taking small steps.
        • Even if he is transferred there will be personal satisfaction

    • Going for whistle blowing. However it is suitable only when all facts are verified , all organization channels are exhausted and finally soul is searched – you are aware what you are doing and that is in the public interest.

    F. The consequences of overlooking the observations of the inspecting team

    • It might endanger public safety and security , many human lives will be at stake
    • Wrong precedence
    • Loss of public trust which might adversely affect good governance
    • The officer will get his due promotion on successful completion of the project.
    • In case of failure of the project, the professional competency & integrity of project manager and also organizational integrity may be spotted in bad light.
    • Quality of public service delivery is negatively affected.
    • Promotion of corruption
    • Antithetical to responsible government and good governance.


    Other Model Answers of GS-IV will be uploaded here very soon

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