Power

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Example:
  • Disproportionate and excessive use of lethal force against protesters outside the Sterlite Copper Plant.
“Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And lack of absolute power corrupts absolutely as well.” With suitable examples, critically comment on the statement. (150 Words)
We humans are power hungry by our own nature. So rulers, bureaucrats and lower functionaries in government demand for more power due to this nature. While greater power enables quick decision making and efficiency, there are dangers as well.
Corruption, nepotism are by-products of too much concentration of powers in one hand. However complete decentralisation or devolution of authority or collective decision making is not always panacea. To bring accountability some person has to be made accountable hence comes the concept of delegation of power with some authority that shall be accountable for his deeds. For example in police administration of a city while Superintendent of Police is head of police department however he is expected to be accountable to district magistrate for his deeds. Like if a law and order problem arises so with the advice and concurrence of DM he should use his power to use police force. If such an arrangement had not been made the SP would have been freed to rule at his will.  So a delicate balance should exist between delegation of power and accountability for smooth functioning of system.

Indian Values

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Role of Spiritual Leaders and Indian Values:
  • Spiritual leaders in the country could play a vital in removing corruption and promoting environmental protection.
  • We consider nature as mother not for carrying us but to serve her. There is a tradition of even giving up lives for the sake of trees in the country. Even before a bough is cut, prayers are offered. We are taught to be sensitive to life, living creatures and plants since childhood
  • But even this tradition had come under strain with passing times.
  • Hence, the community of spiritual leaders had to put in their efforts on environmental protection to meet the challenge of climate change.
  • They should also emphasise on cleanliness as their words would have more impact on the people, he said.
  • The Indian society believed that the whole world was a family (‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’).
  • It was in this belief that the solution to the problem of fundamentalism lay.
  • At the root of terror was the feeling that one’s way or path was right. But India believed in equality of all creeds

Teacher-Student relation

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Issue:
  • A rise in the number of cases of sexual assault and misbehaviour with girl students.
  • Many teachers have been suspended from service.
  • The Education Department was chalking out a plan to hold special sessions for teachers to curb the trend.

Work Culture

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What do you understand by “work culture? How does work culture in India differs from that of West’s? Examine. (150 Words)

Work Culture or Organization Culture is set of collective beliefs, values, rules and behaviour which organisation as whole conforms to. In a layman approach it is culture that a group as an organisation follows. Culture varies with family, region, social class and hence in work environment.
India started late in the Organisational ethics and setup. Indian pioneer Udai Pareek has done extensive research on this. As per him, because of Indian mindset of Guru Shishya and strict hierarchical structure in society, it is visible in work culture also. Some differences between India‘s and West work cultures are:
  1. Indians focus on quantity of time spent in work rather than quality of work, this is because of impression of work by time as no innovative/creative work was done during colonial period. Hence, the image of hardworking by time. Working hours in India is 10 hours while in West it is maximum 6-8 hours.
  2. West focusses individuality and hence relation between superior and sub-ordinates are very formal. Calling by their first name, only work related tasks, lesser interpersonal skills and bonding are prevalent in West unlike India.
  3. West takes work place as place of recreation, fun, innovation and creativity. Hence they focus more on aesthetic and facilities like gym, clubs, lounges etc. This is unlike Indian counterpart, who focuses majorly on productivity.
India has started study and research on Work ethics and culture lately and has made much progress with influx of MNCs and their culture adopted in India very fast. There are many good things to learn while some points to alter as per Indian work culture.
22/04/2016
How can government ensure that public servants stay happy in their workplace? If you are posted as District Collector, what measures will you take to ensure workers are happy? (200 Words)
Happiness is a state of mind. We have expectations and aspirations related to our lives. If these expectations are fulfilled then we are happy. For public servants to be happy in their work place it is necessary that their good work is respected, valued and appreciated. The current exercise of CIVIL SERVICES DAY where the government is going to reward best performing district in various schemes is a great beginning to ensure happiness of public servants.
A happy worker is a vital asset to an organization. He not only works efficiently he also motivates and therefore get the best of his colleagues. If I am posted district collector I will take following measures to ensure workers are happy-
  1. I will make it a habit of commending the efforts of most performing workers.
  2. I will try to make them realize their worth to the organization by recognizing their contribution.
  3. I will be approachable to my workers for work and personal problems and would genuinely try to solve them
  4. Get together with families of workers can be organized to improve TRUST AND COOPERATION.
  5. I will make sure that the newer workers, women, handicapped and lower caste workers are able to work with complete DIGNITY .

 

 

Work Ethics

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It is often reported in news that honest officers who expose scams or who go after the corrupt are frequently transferred to ‘not so good’ posts. This causes a sort of mental harassment to the officer and to his family too.

Will you be ready to face such frequent transfers to uphold law and impart your duty as
per rulebook? What values are needed to endure these harassments? Assuming your family suggests you to ‘compromise’ with the ruling class and stay in a place for long time so as to live a peaceful life and provide good education to your children, what will you do? Discuss. (300 Words)
It is rightly said that ‘honesty has to pay the price’. The honest officers who expose scams or who go after the corrupt are frequently transferred or face harassment from the top echelons. As a public servant I should be ready to face such frequent transfers to uphold the rule of law.
However this persistence and commitment needs a mental preparation to endure harassments. It is possible when:-
  • An individual places highest regard for service i.e. “Service before self”. Something like a soldier feels on war-front or doctor feels in operation theatre. Similarly a public servant should feel while administering.
  • An individual needs very high personal morals and needs to internalise principles of honesty and Integrity. These weapons will always immunise one from surrendering to a wrong doing and face repercussions boldly.
  • A sense of purpose, commitment to service and serving others, dedication for job and respect for law are some general values which needs to be imbibed along with patience and perseverance.
If my family suggests me to ‘compromise’ with the ruling class and stay in a place for long time so as to live a peaceful life and provide good education to my children .I will not give away to the demand. It is my duty to serve and protect the interest of my country and as well my family, but I cannot compromise one over the other.
I will talk to my family and tell them the relevance of the sacrifice they are making for a good and genuine cause. Further I will tell me family that when the children will grow up and need stable education, either I will try some stable position without making compromises or they can live separately till their education gets over. For now we need to make small compromises for a bigger cause.
[2]
Indian Civil Services is for Indians willing to serve Civilians and hence, the transfer is a part of the job. But, unrequired, displeasing and unjustified transfers shouldn’t be encouraged and reported soon, so that it comes to attention of super-ordinates and DoPT. Hence, I will be ready to face such transfer but I will at the same time I will do following:
(1.)  Ask for justifications and reasons of transfer, whether explanation provided or not.
(2.)  I will clearly present my case, my proceedings, my progress of assignments so that, the next person taking my position in charge will benefit from my effort made in area and willing to continue.
(3.)  Clear documentation of my work before leaving.
Values needed are:
(1.)  Integrity and Honesty: Never bending away from taking easier path which leads to compromising with morality.
(2.)  Patience: Having patience to wait and watch the progress of work done.
(3.)  Faith in System
(4.)  Goodwill to work for society as it gives motivation to move on for new pastures and do good service there.
India Civil Service is more than a career choice; it’s actually a way of life and paid service to society. So, if someone joins this elite workforce then he has responsibility to deliver the duty, justice and honest implementation of all policies meant for welfare of society. For personal benefit, if a Civil servant chose to bend toward compromising with integrity then he is only an Indian but not Civil and neither doing service. He shouldn’t join Indian Civil Service.
Hence, I will ask my family that, I will only make sure that I will not be eliminated while eliminating corruption. If situation will become so grave then I will report to judicial system and exit the system. For any situation other than that I will not bend to favour ruling class in an illicit manner.

 

 

Work Life Balance

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You are working as district collector. Your wife, who is a housewife,  is angry that you spend more time with the public and in office doing government work rather than spending time with her. She is also not happy with the fact that you are not even talking to children these days because of your busy work schedule. She is sometimes supportive of you. But sometimes she keeps asking you why you married her when all you wanted was serving the public 24×7. Her parents are worried too. Even though you want to spend time with your family, work pressure is not allowing you to do this. Recently she even told you that she would divorce you rather than living such a lonely life.

Your friend is suggesting that you should divorce your wife and marry a girl who is also into civil services.
How will you manage this situation? If a situation arises where you have to give more importance to public service and not to family, what will you choose and why? In the light of this case study, justify. (200 Words)
The situation presents a very real ethical dilemma faced by many hard working and dedicated civil servants. The core issue in situation is WORK-LIFE BALANCE and handling situations where Private and Professional life are seemingly in conflict. Few points worth considering are-
  • work-life balance is sine qua non for sustainable performance of duties by any professional.
  • a good administrator is one who not only manages well the public relations but more importantly personal relations too.
  • personal and professional lives are intrinsically linked. Disturbance in one has potential to create disequilibrium in another. So an administrator should focus on creatively integrating both.
Now let’s examine possible options to me in light of above points-
  1. divorce the wife and marry other civil servant girl – worst option – unbecoming to a good administrator-shirking responsibility of being a husband and parent-moreover marrying other civil servant doesn’t mean that she will not require care, affection and proper time sharing.
  1. leave public work it will never end, manage your personal life- again extreme action-why join public services if so oriented toward personal life pleasures? – will show weaknesses like immaturity to handle conflicting problems -not expected from a good administrator.
  1. Middle path- balance both-creative integration- perhaps best way to handle such situations. How? –
# will talk, listen and discuss the issue immediately with wife and her parents.. To reach core points of problem
# will try to limit my official work atleast on holidays and spend the leisure time with my family like going for tour, movie, shopping etc
# take my wife along when going for some professional works like Gram Sabha meetings or Grievance redressal avenues-will give her a sense of pride and satisfaction about what her husband is doing by exposing her to the nature of a civil servant’s job.
# if possible will take a leave for some days to make her believe that she and children still matters a lot for me.. Once managed will return to my work with a refreshed mood and new vigour and sense of satisfaction and attend my professional work in more better, more zealous manner!!
Created with Microsoft OneNote 2016.

 

 

Whistleblower Protection

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Critically examine why the presence of functioning whistleblower  protection regime is important in public administration in India. (200 Words)
Whistle Blower is anyone providing undisclosed information to expose wrongdoings and corruption. As emphasis on transparency and accountability increases acts of whistle-blowing too need to be encouraged and a protection regime needs to be institutionalized .
Significance of such mechanism is visible in several avenues
  1. The protection regime can safeguard the person’s identity providing safety through anonymity
  2. Increasing cases of violence, murder and intimidation of whistle blowers which has a chilling effect on such acts of public interest disclosure can be addressed effectively. Manjunath , Satyendra Dubey had to pay with their lives for exposing the corruption in their departments.
  3. An institutional mechanism ensures people know which agencies to report these acts of indiscretion and can demand protection for themselves and family.
  4. It encourages people to go for public disclosure knowing that they will be safe and won’t be harassed by administration or office seniors.
The protection regime should also include provisions for automatic protection mechanism kicking in place -with strength and duration of protection provided adequately factoring in threat perception .
While a Whistleblower bill has been passed by parliament its rules haven’t been notified preventing any effective implementation at the grassroot. Financial constraints and lack of manpower plagues bodies like Central Vigilance Commission. These excuses forwarded to express helplessness in implementing the provisions will result in an opaque, inefficient public administration .

 

A principal charge levelled against civil servants who reveal wrongdoing by their political bosses, post-retirement, is that they speak up too late. Do you think civil servants while still serving should blow the whistle against their colleagues or political bosses even if the latter is powerful? Critically comment on the issue. (200 Words)

The long existing and recently heightened trend of post-retirement disclosure about the wrongdoing of their political bosses need to be seen in the context of existing environment for whistle blowers. Yet the result, relevance and intent of such disclosure are varied and complex.
The outcome of such revelation are often modest or many a time a lost opportunity. The intent of this practice might have varied such as an unfavourable environment, lack of concrete proof, lack of fighting spirit, awakening of subconscious post retirement, tendency to play safe. Many a time politically ambitious civil servants brings in such revelation, to prepare a political ground for their future prospect. The timing and content, of such disclosure is opportune, highlighted by media or often the catch line of their autobiography. Also the news come at a time when the politician or bureaucrat is undergoing proceeding or in the days of waning glory and power.
The working civil servant can take a practical approach based on the ground situation.
Case A
If the they have the concrete proof of wrongdoing in documentary proof, audio, video or text which shall prove it worthy for inquiring agency or judiciary to bring required seriousness, he shall move ahead. But as he is raising the voicing against much powerful official, he shall be prepared well. First he shall discuss the case with few of his most trustworthy and capable friends or colleague. All the angles and outcome based on rules, regulation may be detailed analysed so as to strengthen his standing. Also he shall prepare himself and his family mentally, to face the worst of time ahead.
Case B
Even if he knows the case but evidence are not concrete or verbal and with missing link, he shall avoid and wait for the appropriate evidence. An immature decision to go with vague evidence might bring undue stress on him and his case which is already weak might bring sub-optimal result.
A civil servant shall perform his duty to the nation with utmost integrity and righteous manner, bus at the same time shall practice it with prudence and in practical manner.

“Many see Whistle-blowers as a snitch or a low life who betray a sacred trust largely for personal gains. “ How far do you agree with the statement? Substantiate with suitable examples. (150 Words)

The statement cannot be agreed as it is well known that several whistle-blowers have lost their life after revealing the crimes and matters of public importance. Moreover, before whistle-blowing they would be well aware of the worst consequences they would be facing and are in fact boldly taking risks that would disrupt their peaceful life forever.
  • Corruption cases such as 2G spectrum could be proved only if whistle blowers are protected and motivated. A real life story of a young and honest engineering graduate‘s revelation of malpractices and his subsequent tragic death is a good example of whistle-blower’s sacrifice and determination of serving the country.
  • Satyendra Kumar Dubey was the Deputy Manager in NHAI on 2002. He found many wrong doings in the golden quadrilateral project in Bihar and so sent a letter to PMO addressing the PM about the loot of public money and poor implementation of the highway project.
  • Since letters of a common man are usually not treated with seriousness, he had revealed his identity and emphasized the need to probe into the project’s working.
  • Unfortunately, he was killed by some ‘unknown’ persons and it sparked wide protests across the country calling for a legislation to protect whistle-blowers who expose corruption.
  • Mr. Dubey did what he must in spite of the personal consequences, obstacles, dangers and pressures. Not only Dubey, some other informants like S. Manjunath, Amit Jethwa, Shehla Masood, etc were also killed dubiously after whistle-blowing.
Will a person consider popularity or any other selfish reason to take risk of his/her own life?
The laws around the world are being strengthened to encourage whistle-blowing of corruption at the highest levels and in India dishonesty by public officials would become
virtually undetectable if whistle-blowers are not encouraged.

 

Is it ethical to protect whistle-blowers? Justify. (150 Words)

Whistleblower is the one who exposes documents, activities or information which are proof of illegal and unethical practices taking place in an organisation whether it is private or public. It is done in PUBLIC INTEREST. E.g. Satyendra Dubey, Edward Snowden, Brad Birkenfeld, Vijay Pandhare
If we do not protect whistleblowers then their life may become miserable or they may be killed. In order to check CORRUPTION, FRAUD, UNETHICAL practices these people show COURAGE, if they are not protected then a time will come when nobody will dare to be a whistleblower. Their action’s imprint can be seen in 2 ways; 1st – people dare to stand against wrong and 2nd –organisations are trying to act with more TRANSPARENCY and ACCOUNTABILITY.
It is ETHICAL as well as DUTY of a government to provide protection to whistleblowers. By whistleblower’s protection act countries including India is doing so.

Facts/Quotes:

  • Citizens Whistleblowers Forum (CWF): A Forum created by a group of eminent persons which will hear complaints from Whistleblowers.

Withstanding Pressure

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For a civil servant what qualities are required to withstand pressure from various influential sections to stick to rule book and follow his/her conscience as sources of ethical guidance to do the right thing? With suitable examples, discuss these qualities. (200 Words)

Civil services hold honorable but responsible position in the society. So the very first concept of this position should be of a facilitator rather than being a powerful entity of the system. Some qualities should be deeply rooted in these facilitators to improve social and economic conditions of people on large scale. These can be counted as :
Honesty : in the infiltrated society honest officers are the dreams of the poor and destitute. Honesty in one’s duty makes a man bold and actions unquestionable. A honest person can go long way in his service without much compromise.
Objective: honesty without objective won’t lead to better results. a civil servant should have an objective to make people’s life more better by encouraging them and by interacting with them.
Emotional intelligence : pressure from influential groups and from situations have been common challenges for civil servants, this can be tackled by proper emotional intelligence.
Consistency and dedication : consistency and dedication towards service is also another important pillar.
Neutrality: without being biased to influential parties or individuals neutral stand on issues should be the base of decision making.
Rational thinking: being a administrator it is well deciphered that he is the role model for many in the society hence it is a responsibility to have rational thinking and direct the mass in rational light overcoming the social stigma and taboos.
Ajit Doval and Armstrong Pame are some of the most eminent example who have not just shown honesty and dedication but also immense courage in their work.
[ Uma Shankar, Tamil Nadu: Merely remaining in office has become a trial by fire for this senior Dalit bureaucrat. For, he has been hounded and humiliated by state governments headed by M. Karunanidhi as well as J. Jayalalithaa. But nothing has deterred Uma Shankar’s steely resolve to abide by his principles. He was dumped in an insignificant post for unearthing the cremation shed scam as additional collector of Madurai, which eventually led to Jayalalithaa’s poll defeat. The situation was no different under the DMK. For daring to take on the Marans and the DMK patriarch’s kin as joint vigilance commissioner, he faced suspension. ]

 

 

Women’s Right to Work

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Six poor women belonging to a community that strictly restricts women to kitchen decide to go to work in a nearby factory. They want to earn for their families and repay mounting debt. They want freedom from moneylenders. But the village panchayat warns these women against working in factory. It issues diktat to get money from moneylenders instead. These women are also ostracised and humiliated in the village by the powerful panchayat members.

You are District Collector of the district where this village is located. An official from panchayat complains you about this incident.
Identify ethical issues involved in this case and explain what course of action will you take? (200 Words)
Constitution of India provides Right to live with dignity under Article 21,Right to work without discrimination under Article 16 and Right to freedom under Article 19.In this perspective Panchayat banning women from working in factory seems to be against the constitutional principles in the first instance. However it needs to be investigated before taking a call on it.
Why women want to work:
  1. To support their family and to become financially independent.
  2. To pay debt and come out of the debt cycle engraved by high rate of interest charged by money lenders.
Why Panchayat have banned women from taking employment:-
  1. Patriarchal society: Giving freedom to women for work goes against this mindset who wants to bound women within the four walls of the house only.
  2. Money lenders don’t want to lose out on their profits from loans taken by people. So they put pressure on panchayat to stop women from taking employment and they continue being dependent on money lenders for finance.
Ethical issues involved:
  1. Protecting the dignity of women.
  2. Saving marginalized sections from the powerful persons in the village.
  3. Upholding constitutional values. Providing an environment so that people can enjoy their fundamental rights.
As a District Collector I will initially investigate the whole matter and in the mean time I will order the nearest police station to protect the women against the panchayat ill-conceived decision. Once the investigation is complete if panchayat members and all those involved in it found guilty then necessary required legal actions will be taken against them. Also women who denied the panchayat order needs to be praised and can be projected as role models for promoting women employment. A committee can be set up to look into similar matters (if exists) in other parts of the district.
Lastly the root cause of the problem was debt issue because of which all it started so awareness needs to be spread about the various employment schemes by the government like MGNREGA and other financial schemes. Also more awareness about Skill development related issues among the people will help those women who want to work. In order to provide women guarantee of their security a separate women police personnel can be designated in every police stations to look into such cases along with a helpline number who will be guiding the women required steps to get their grievances redressed.

 

 

Women

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a) In your opinion, in India, what barriers exist for women to showcase their talents in different fields? Critically discuss (150 Words)

b) One of your friends keep arguing that because he is used to seeing his mother doing all household works, he expects the same from his wife, or from his sister when she gets married to someone wealthy.
According to him, restricting women to kitchen has helped keep family united and peaceful. He keeps advising you to marry a beautiful, very young village girl who would ‘listen’ to you and be less ambitious in her life.
How will you react to your friend’s opinions and his advices? Justify. (150 Words)
(a.): In India, Women lack basic facilities on many areas which put them in disadvantageous position with invisible barriers to achieve their full potentials. Some barriers are:
Social Barriers:
In India Women are often stereotyped as lesser capable, physically weaker, honour of family and liability. Hence, they are often asked to be content with limited educations, exposure and opportunities. Hence, their participation in workforce is poor and skilled workforce even poorer.
Economic Barriers:
Lower priority to Girl’s education and nutrition during childhood. Lesser expenditure in Girls education leads to high dropout and lower health statistics. This led them dependent for whole life on males of the family.
Psychological Barriers:
Women in India are epitomized as ideal if they do all household work aptly and happily. If she is in job, then she should manage home also. Give birth to son(s). Such confusing expectation leads to poor work performance and imbalance in their work-life.
These are some barriers out of numerous unmentioned. But slowly with rising participation of women and awareness in all spheres are making female friendly environment.
(b): Alike mentality of my friends exist in huge numbers, even many mothers and sisters often suggests so. It explains a complex phenomenon wherein, Women internalize the idea about themselves that they will be valued, revered and respected more in society if they will bore more sons, remain docile, do all household work in time and remain content with whatever lesser facilities available to them. Such internalizations are inherent to Indian culture where we revere Goddess Sita who is ideal women.
My friend is saying so because he has seen in his upbringing since childhood. I will reply / advise him as:
Beauty, tender age is temporary things, slowly they wear off and what lasts is how well our thinking will match. As I am educated and liberal in thinking so I expect same characteristics in my wife. Beauty, wealth doesn’t attract me and shouldn’t to anyone who is looking for a life partner in wife.
Also, society is changing fast; educated and positive personality women can change the face of whole family. Lot has been changed since our mother ages when women literacy and exposure were very low.
Now, in fast changing world a women need to be educated and ambitious to do daily jobs deftly like online purchasing, ticket booking, travelling alone, taking in-laws to doctors, attending children’s school functions and representing our family in society etc.
Hence, my friend you need to revisit the impression of women again.