SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2018: UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [24th November 2017]- Day 5

  • IASbaba
  • November 25, 2017
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TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2018: UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [24th November 2017]- Day 5


1. Should a person be concerned about the consequences if his actions are ethical? Critically comment.


The question deals with a very old question between which approach is correct – means or end.

You need to explain what an ethical action is and then analyse whether one should think about the consequences or the action.


There are two approaches that deals with this question.

Utilitarian School of thought – According to this approach result is more important than the action. Benefits should be maximized. So even if you take an unethical step but if the net result is positive, the action will be seen as good.

For example, killing your neighbour who you were finding very irritating, is an unethical action. But if that person turned out to be a foreign spy, living under disguise, the net result will be good. According to utilitarian theory your action will be justified.

Deontological school of thought – According to this ideology, means are more important than the result. This is generally the philosophy of most of the organized religions. Bhagwad Geeta says that your duty is important rather than the consequences.

According to Mahatma Gandhi also, wrong means cannot lead to a right end.

Now, in the answers, some of you have mentioned both the approaches and some of you have framed your answer with one approach.

Note: You need to understand that in GS paper IV, no approach is incorrect if you are able to back it up by good examples.

But you also need to remember, that this is an ethics paper. You cannot give ethics a back seat and straight away right is off.

Ethical Action:

In order to come under the ambit of ethical action, two conditions are required –

Voluntariness and Knowledge

i.e. You should take an action voluntarily. If a person is making you do something with a gun at your head, that action cannot be judged under the ambit of ethical or unethical.

Similarly, you should have knowledge of what you are doing. If you are signing a document which is being forged incorrectly by your junior, and you have no knowledge about it, your action can not be considered as unethical.

Note: Do read best answers for good Examples

Best Answer: Abhishek Ranjan



Best Answer2 : Chandrasekhar Das


Q.2 A person who is unethical in public life can’t be honest in his private life. Do you agree? Substantiate.


  • Start with a thinker, philosopher or a leader quote
  • Define what is unethical in public and private life
  • Substantiate your answer with suitable examples
  • Conclude with a stand or argument.


“The simplest and shortest ethical precept is to be served as little as possible, and to serve others as much as possible” as Tolstoy said. A person who lacks moral principles can be called as an unethical person. In an unethical situation, individuals refuse to adhere to the proper conduct or the accepted behavioral pattern of the society. Unethical behaviors may lead the society to anarchic situations as well.


Both Personal Ethics and Professional ethics gives success to a man in both his personal and professional lives. A person with personal code of Ethics can inculcate good values and in turn be professionally ethical. Both are like two sides of a same coin and both are required to give value to a person.

Ethics in PERSONAL life include personal values and moral qualities like:

  • Being Compassionate.
  • Following Self-discipline and be trustworthy
  • Treating the parents with respect etc.,

Ethics in PROFESSIONAL life are the values and principles which the person develop and adhere to while working in an organisation. These may include:

  • Being honest and maintain integrity, confidentiality.
  • Upholding democratic values, work ethics, and service motive.

Relation between Personal and Professional Ethics:

Personal ethics depend largely on a person’s background and life relationships and concern, for example, what your parents, teachers and religion taught you. They are also influenced by the experiences you had growing up with dilemmas such as lying, cheating or even violence. While your personal ethics may change as you learn and experience more, they often retain much of this early influence.

Professional ethics, however, are based heavily on the requirements or principles of your profession. You may even be legally required to obey some ethical principles, such as confidentiality, in the case of doctors or lawyers.

This can be best explained through an example, if a person who believes activities like gambling or drinking are immoral, or a worker who holds strong views on religion and the role it should play in society. These views are highly personal and may need to be set aside if the person works with a diverse group of people.

A person having strong conviction on Honesty and trust in personal life, will also carry that ethical value in his Professional life and be corrupt free. Similarly, a person having compassion and empathy towards his family, will definitely see another person and their family with Compassion while executing professional duties.


Definitely, upholding of the Personal Ethics and good conduct is necessary, because the violations would affect the professional life. Unethical person’s actions usually lead to bad consequences and affect both Personal as well as private life. There are so many examples are there, who are not only ethical in public but also private life which acts as a Role Models for others like Vajpayee, APJ Abdul Kalam, R J D Tata etc. So, it’s really important to be honest because then you don’t worry about the consequences and are ready to face it.

Connecting dots:

Try to include real time examples and also leader’s or philosophers quotes as it is important in ethics paper and be more connecting with the examples while explaining a concept or a word, please focus on key words.

Best answer: Vivek


Q.3 What are the various dimensions of ethics? If everything has been spelt out by law, why

should an administrator be ethical? Explain. 


The answer should have following parts:

  • Definition of ethics.
  • Various dimensions of ethics.
  • Need of ethical administrators despite existence lof law.

Dimensions of ethics:

  • Fairness or justice approach- Ethical actions are those that ensure fairness and justice for all, be it rich or poor, rural or urban dweller.
  • Utilitarian approach- It calls for actions that result into greatest good for greatest number. Example- Checking on greenhouse gases is ethical as it will save maximum people from ill-effects of climate change.
  • Rights approach: what is right for oneself, is also right for others. e.g. Defending our fundamental rights, we also ought to respect others’ rights as well.
  • Virtues or values approach i.e. evaluating actions based upon virtues of honesty, truth, prudence, non-violence etc. e.g. Gandhiji believed in non-violence in physical as well as mental actions.

An administrator should be ethical despite existence of laws:

  • A law may be comprehensive, but its effective implementation can only be ensured when an administrator is ethical enough to implement it in true spirit etc.
  • A law no matter how comprehensive cannot cover every dimension. Example- A law may require an administrator to demolish illegally constructed slums, she must follow the rules but while doing so she should be ethical enough to do so with empathy, giving the poor enough time to move out and suggesting them possible alternatives.
  • Not everything and not every situation can be written in laws. Based on different situations, laws need interpretation that can be ethically as well as legally right.
  • It is said that ethics come when laws are silent. This means that where law cannot determine an action, it needs to be judged on the basis of ethical values.


Thus, what law does is a framework and guidelines to be followed in a particular scenario, but what step is taken by the administrator within that framework will be decided by the ethical values she holds.

Best answer: LIGO



4. Do Indian politicians follow and adhere to a code of ethics? Should code of ethics be enforced legally? Examine.

Background:  Mahatma Gandhi recommended that politics should be a branch of ethics. While there has been considerable progress on the economic front, there has been regression of the democratic values in the politics and devaluation of the political institutions.

Approach:  Such questions require clear understanding of the underlying issue; you should be well versed with Code of ethics, Start by defining code of ethics in introduction itself.

You need to examine the given issues, first write the act of politicians counted as unethical in democratic discourse. You need to provide clear examples for better presentation. You should avoid taking one side as situation is not only dark; there are brighter sides as well, mention ethical practice of few select politicians as well.

Second part of question asks for your opinion on legally enforced code of ethics.You should present a balanced argument mentioning indispensability of legally enforced code of ethics along with associated issues to be taken care of.

While answering such question do refer to Second ARC, Law commission, any committee report or any judgement in this regard.

Introduction:  Code of ethics represents certain values and norms that standardise one’s behaviour in different aspects of life. It leads to morality in actions and thus ensures fairness and justice to all. It is often seen that politicians do not adhere to required moral values.

There is opportunism and playing of games to fulfil their political vendetta.

  1. Political promises, action agendas remain just statement of intent after coming to power.
  2. They remain among poor people only before elections, and forget their concerns later.
  3. Misuse of political position and power is often seen. e.g. abusive behaviour by an MLA with flight attendants.
  4. Many corruption scandals unearthed such as in giving accreditation to educational institutes, coal-scam, visit to foreign countries on public funds etc
  5. Horse trading, defections often show lack of integrity and organizational ethics.
  6. Internal democracy lacking in parties.
  7. Criminalization of politics, black money being used in elections

But this is not the case as if all the politicians’ doesn’t follow the code of ethics. This country have seen leaders like Lal Bahadur Shastri who always adhered to ethical values even in adverse circumstance such as Tashkent agreement, Food crisis, War with Pakistan etc. Leaders like Sardar Patel, Abul Kalam Azad, Jai Praksah Narayan , Atal Bihari bajpayee have set a very high standards for politicians.

Indian politicians need to follow certain code of ethics like

  1. National interest above party or regional interest.
  2. Comply with constitutional values
  3. Ensure good governance to foster socio-economic development.
  4. Set high ethical standards of their behavior.
  5. Create leaders instead of gulping leadership.

As recommended by 2nd ARC report, there must be a code of ethics for politicians as well. It should be enforceable to ensure that all politicians, irrespective of parties to which they belong, adhere to these values and indulge in greater public good. This will reduce corruption, money and muscle power being used in politics. This will also ensure fair functioning of all the parties at parity with each other.

Though legal enforcement has potential to resolve the crisis but fear of law is not a sustainable solution. The values should be inculcated in the persons to have a long term effect. Simultaneously there is urgent need to take complementing electoral reforms empowering election commission, providing legal backing to Model code of Conduct and providing more teeth to ethics committee in each house of legislature.

Connecting the dots: This question can be asked from Polity perspective as well. You can be asked on related reforms necessary to decriminalize politics. This year UPSC asked similar question in Ethics paper on how to make politics attractive for Youths of our nation.

Best Answer: Cool Monk

Code of ethics are general framework which guides person/organization to follow moral values, adhere to vision and mission, values, actions based on situations etc. Code of ethics for politicians can be derived from various laws, constitutional provisions and parliamentary conventions.

Indian politics is infamous for criminalization & corruption , nexus between criminals , corporates & politicians. 14th loksabha includes 31% of the MPs facing criminal charges. Recent example where a politician hit an airlines employee over flight delay issue. Thus on the one hand politicians frame laws which are supposed to be followed by citizens with full respect On the other hand framers of the law indulge in violation of law & lack ethical values.

But this is not the case as if all the politicians doesnt follow the code of ethics. This country have seen leaders like Lal Bahadur Shastri who always adhered to ethical values even in adverse circumstance such as Tashkent agreement, Food crisis, War with pakistan etc. Leaders like Sardar Patel , Abul Kalam Azad, Jai Praksah Narayan , Atal Bihari bajpayee have set a very high standards for politicians.

Hence depleting ethical behavior of politicans raise a question if we should enforce the code legally. Though legal enforcement have potential to resolve the crisis but fear of law is not a sustainable solution. The values should be inculcated in the persons to have a long term effect. For example even after Rape laws, crime against women still on rise. Thus ethical & moral education since the childhood, parents role & societal values can not be neglected. These can be complemented with legal enforcement

5. What do you understand by ‘conflict of interest’? How do India’s public institutions get affected by it? Is judiciary untouched by it? Examine. 


In introduction mention what is conflict of interest. Then move to body part. Here in 1st part mention what do you mean by public institution then mention how they are affected with example. Most of the people here go wrong in examples. Then mention how judiciary is affected by it.


Conflict of Interest has shaken the today’s world in issue of governance and ethical practices. It refers to a situation in which a person while performing his official duties tries to derive personal benefits through his decision or actions.

Usually this issue arises in public and political offices but in present day conditions due to more interactions between public and private enterprises, even private are not untouched.


Public institutions are those which are backed through public funds, controlled by state and is established for public usage.

How are they affected by conflict of interest:

  • Appointments: Appointment of personnel’s in public offices that are related to officials.
  • Nepotism: Favoring relatives and friends over others especially in terms of appointments, faster clearances of files etc.
  • Contracts: Awarding of contracts to known person in exchange for personal favors. Ex: Government contracts to politician son’s company or companies owned by his Benami.
  • Policies formulations: Ministers or representatives involved in policy making in those areas where they have substantial interests. Ex: Person owning tobacco manufacturing company takes part in policy making related to tobacco consumption.
  • Information: Leaking of information to other persons which might be of personal advantage to him later. Ex: Employee in board meeting leaks information about new contracts to purchase more shares of company for quick gains.

Judicial offices are known for their independence but even they are not untouched.

  • Nepotism: Person appointed as Judge whose father or relative is part of collegium.
  • Scams: Passing of verdicts in cases where they have substantial dealings. Ex: Judge being partner of company which is involved in cheating.
  • NJAC: Passing of verdict on bills which are related to their accountability and conduct.
  • Post-retirement: In view of post retirement jobs, favoring a party or person in verdicts. Ex: Verdict favoring a particular political party in view of future political appointments post retirement.


In today’s world of interconnectedness, where everybody is connected to every other thing, there will be conflict of interest. But it is the duty of individual to take the path of righteousness and function in manner which is both moral and ethical. Also transparency should be maintained for scrutiny to ensure accountability.

Connecting the dots:

  • Nepotism in public offices.
  • Collegium system and its dark side.
  • Public and private interests of politicians.

Best Answer: No best answer.  

Since there were mistakes, we have not selected a best answer for this question.


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