Code of Ethics – UPSC Prelims

You are a District Collector. You decide to create and enforce Code of Ethics for your office staff to follow. What will you include in this Code document and how will you enforce it effectively? Justify. (200 Words)

As a District collector my responsibility is to run the administrative services for people of that district fairly, transparently and smoothly without any biased and favours. So my code of ethics will be on the same lines.
Code of ethics is important pillar for people to believe in government systems.
  1. Honesty: There should be hundred percent honesty while processing and dealing with public welfare or any government services. Welfare schemes money and benefits should reach the end user and there should not be any leakages.
  2. Integrity: There is a requirement of maintaining total integrity in taking the decisions and while dealing with any finances.
  3. Unbiased: There should not be any bias while dealing with people and there should not be any favours done. I will ask my team to ensure that there is no case of conflict.
  4. Transparency: There should be transparency in all the processes so I will IT software so that everything is available online.
  5. Selflessness: I would like my team to work for public welfare and in the interest of people.
  6. Behaviour: Behaviour while dealing with people is also very important and hence I will ask my team to deal with people humbly and politely with soft language.
I will first call a meeting where I will in detail discuss all these points and will also tell them why each one of these are important.
I will show them the statistics that if work is done properly then how we can change things in our area which will motivate others as well.
Also, I will tell them any one not following the code of ethics will be dealt with stern action and the ones which will be performing well will be rewarded. I will keep a watch on all the things going on regularly and sometimes inspecting them randomly.
I will make them understand the importance of code of ethics in public servants life and if followed how it can change things.
As the head of the department it’s my responsibility to inculcate the values and ethics required of a public servant. This I shall entail in my code of ethics document:
  1. being compassionate towards humanity and serve with a purpose. Being humble and empathize with the poor.
  2. being responsive to the needs and grievances. This shall be entertained in a time bound manner.
  3. Follow the citizen charter as laid by the department. If not laid then expedite towards its fulfilment.
  4. Make whole environment as service deliverer and not some high handed office, that make people shy away from it.
  5. Act of selfless service. Keeping the office work above the rest and doing it with integrity.
  6. Merit preference on every issue. This shall be the motto, as it has the added advantage of keeping the staff motivated at all times.
  7. Making sure all the work is done in a transparent manner. It instils confidence of the public in the administration.
These above can be ensured in the following way:
  • increased usage of ICT. Making e-govt a symbol of office work. Above accomplishing above values it has more advantages like swiftness, ease, less corruption.
  • amending the citizen charter as and when required according to the conditions.
  • Officer grading, this can be done through labelling exceptional integrity officers. This will motivate other to follow suit.
  • tightening the vigilance cell in the departments.
  • make the department understand the code of ethics and conduct, so that they are efficient and effective.
  • devolving sufficient authority with the responsibility to make the officers feel attached towards the office.


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 ethicality of the statement. (200 Words)
I think Kautilya said the above statement in the context of attitude of human beings. I agree with his thought of being submissive and diplomatic rather than straight forward because in practical life no one can survive with this nature.
Assume straightforward a teacher telling a student that he is dumb & can’t do anything, a employee showing his disliking feeling to his boss, family showing their irritation towards a ill member, then what will happen , nothing but heart breaking, demoralization, depression and finally disaster.
Same is applicable in the context of public service also because serving the practical duty is not a test with the pen & desk but it is to deal with real people in real situation, public
servant has to serve different groups with different needs at the same time which can’t be done with straightforward attitude.
Diplomacy should be adopted just to ease the situation and to running the system smoothly, but if it adopted for wrong purposes i.e. fraud and undue benefits, then
definitely it is unethical.
In every aspect of life being it practical or professional, if our intentions are good then we should choose straightforwardness first because it shows things more clear & true but if it can cause pain & disturbance to someone then we should behave diplomatically.


In what ways do codes increase the culture of ethics in an organization? Throw light on the efficacy of ethical codes that exist in India and suggest reforms, if needed. (200 Words)
Codes are some distinctive rules prepared on the basis of purpose and ways to fulfil that purpose of an organisation. The codes of an organization have multiple roles. It has to be conducive to the performance of purpose of an organization and on that process it has to be cautious that no other social tenets has been disturbed by those codes. So, the codes have to be able to minimize the gap between effectivity of an organisation as well as social features where organisation exist.
The priority of a doctor of a private hospital should be to treat an emergency patience regardless of his ability to deposit the required money. Though it might hamper the profit motive purpose of the private hospital but that matter can be solved through alternate ways by referring the patient to government hospital after providing him necessary primary treatment. Thus, an effective code will germinate the culture of ethics in an organization.
The ethical codes in India are perfect combination of social values; healthy environment for personality growth; ways to fulfil the desired purposes of the organisation etc.
Citizen charters are now another effective ethical code in India. Rewards in terms of promotion; allowance and remuneration coping up with situation; suspension and expel for breaking of rules; keeping secrecy in case of confidential department matters are highly obliged in India.
A judge of a court when gives death sentence to an accused completely ignores his personal emotions and detach himself from his personal occupation for the sake of observing the codes determined by his dignity of chair.
A subject teacher in a school can’t discriminate in giving marks in his class even though his son studies in the same class.
A police superintendent must put handcuff or a soldier of BSF must fire regardless of the relation to the perpetrator if he is a criminal or terrorist respectively.
So, a general and impartial ethical code is observed in India.
Despite strong ethical codes; corruption; insensitivity are rampant in India. It is reported some times that a school teacher dies without being sanctioned his pension. The FIR against a rape accused is not lodged because he is the son of a political leader. Still it is seen that a person spits on the wall of the departmental corridor in spite of strict rules not to spit after chewing tobacco. Despite information act; sometimes information are not revealed on unjustified ground.
So; a sensitivity training inculcating patriotism; dignity; consciousness; service oriented mind towards common people are necessary to sensitise the people in association with strong law. For the motivation of the workers; as Herzberg and Maslow points out; rewards and recognition are necessary. The fifth and sixth pay commission are such attempts of the government which are worthy to welcome.


As a senior public servant, what techniques would you adopt to influence and persuade your staff to maintain high ethical conduct in your organization? (150 Words)
Public Servant means one has to serve public. It doesn‘t mean always to follow orders and take directions but also to order the subordinates to streamline their action, moral and self-esteem to get timely delivery of their service.
Few of my techniques which I may adopt are:
  1. I will ensure Fairness in all my actions so that my staff will have no doubt, confusion in deriving my intention. I will ask same from them i.e. fairness and transparency.
  2. Making sure, I will be Available and Accessible to everyone of my staff and public in my office hour. And for urgent issues they can reach me on my personal number after office hours. It will instil sense of presence in them. By not being absentee staff.
  3. I will always be ready to take responsibility for any mistake under my wings. If any of my staff commits a mistake and I was part of that process, even partially. I will not hesitate to take responsibility publicly. But inside department I will analyse with them why the mistake happened and take steps for no future repetition.
  4. Respect for Constitution is utmost important for Public servant. Whenever in doubt I will always ask them to act legally and constitutionally.
  5. Excellence Striving in all actions of delivery.
  6. Timely delivery of assignment. For this I will set assignment specific deadlines and goals for everyone and myself.
  7. Honesty and Integrity will be key area for my adoption. Felicitating those who have shown this in their duty line at annual function. Organising functions inviting super ordinate and everyone‘s family will boost their morale and sense of duty.
  8. Caring for sub-ordinates so as to keep them at moral ease and fearless toward duty delivery.
  9. Applying Scientific and technical approach to manage work, evaluate performance and deadlines. Use of internet, smartphone, centralised system to report, internal appraisal system etc. are some steps.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top