SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2018: UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [12th January 2018]- Day 35

  • IASbaba
  • January 16, 2018
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TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2018: UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [12th January 2018]- Day 35


1. What do you understand by the term ‘probity’? Examine its significance in civil services.


  • Introduction: Mention what you mean by probity.
  • Body: Mention the significance of Probity in civil service. Include examples atleast two is needed without examples Ethics answer will not be complete.
  • Conclusion: 2-3 line conclusion.


Probity in real sense refer to having the quality of strong moral principles, honest and decency. Probity also means strict adherence to code of ethics in public life. In civil services it is very much needed since you are the face of government to the general public.


Significance of Probity in Civil services:

  • Transparency and accountability.
  • Integrity & righteousness.
  • Honesty
  • Leadership
  • Public welfare before self.
  • Objectivity

Note: A line or two explanation is needed for each point.


  • Durga Shakti Nagpal: When she was SDM of Noida, she successfully carried out her duties without giving up to the threats of local mafia in bringing down encroachments.
  • Satyendra Dubey: At the cost of his life he brought out corruption and mafia links in Golden quadrilateral project.
  • Ashok Khemka: He stood for his honesty and integrity and never got sold out even after frequent transfers which is causing disturbance in his professional and personal life.
  • Chandrakala: Known for her efforts to bring out corruption in local contracts.
  • Vinod Rai: Who brought out various Scams like Coal gate,2G spectrum.
  • Narender Kumar: IPS officer who gave up his life to stop mining mafia in MP.

Note: Examples are very important in ethics, you also club examples with each significance point.

150 words is the limit in Ethics so choose significance and examples accordingly.


Probity in governance is basic requirement for successful operation of governance and for socio-economic growth and development of country. So, ensuring it is a part of every civil servant’s duty and he should strive to inculcate them at every step of his professional and personal life only then he can be successful.

Connecting the dots:

  • Probity in corporate sector and Public sector companies.

Best Answer: maximus.


2. Explain detail, the concept of public service in the Indian context. Has there been a decline in the spirit of ‘service’? Examine.


Public service is service provided by the government to people within its jurisdiction either directly or via supporting private agencies. These can be education. Public health, transportation, infrastructure, law and order etc.

Public Service: Context of India

In India, the principle of public service can be traced from the Vedas which said “Seva Parmo Dharma”. During the reins of Asoka to Guptas, special officers were appointed tasked with duty to serve the needy. In modern times, Swami Vivekananda emphasized on “service to humanity as service to God”. For Mahatma Gandhi, public service meant “Sarvodaya” – development for all.

The Indian Constitution enshrined these principles right from the Preamble itself. Through the instrument of fundamental rights and DPSP, it provides for a welfare state responsible for providing public services which are equitable, affordable and accessible to all.

Reasons for Declining Spirit of Service

Majority of the population heavily dependent on public services such as health and education are the poor, illiterate and marginalized. Therefore, the public servants are expected to carry out their duties with empathy and compassion in addition to honesty and integrity. However, the 2nd ARC finds that the spirit of service has been on the decline in India. Its possible reasons are as follows:

  • Colonial legacy combined with an over-centralized bureaucratic structure that allocates great powers in the hands of public servants
  • Immunity to civil servants leading to poor performance on the job and an attitude of indifference towards public service
  • Low salary of public servants compared to private sector resulting in propensity to indulge in corruption while controlling public purse
  • Criminalization of politics and its increasing interference in the day-to-day functioning of public administration
  • Lack of transparency and accountability in public service delivery due to a complex multi-layered bureaucratic structure


As a result, poor standards of public service have become a ‘way of life’ for the citizenry. In this regard, the 2nd ARC recommends measures like mandatory ethical training of public servants, inducting a code of ethics, use of transparency instruments like RTI and social auditing to improve the standards of public service in India.

Best Answer: Ali




Kautilya, also known as Chanakya, is India’s most illustrious political economist of all time. He regarded economic activity as the driving force behind the functioning of any political dispensation. In fact, he went to the extent of saying that revenue should take priority over the army because sustaining the army was possible out of a well-managed revenue system, which is key for good governance.

Kautilya’s philosophical basis of governance:

Good governance in Kautilya’s literature ARTHASASTRA is aimed at fulfilling the welfare of the people. “In the happiness of the King’s subjects lies his happiness, in their welfare, his welfare. Whatever pleases him personally, he shall not consider as good, but whatever makes his subjects happy, he shall consider good.”

The jargon related to Human Resource Management was not prevalent then, but its essence was widely practised in Kautilya’s times. “The King should look to the bodily comforts of his servants by providing such emoluments as can infuse in them the spirit of enthusiasm to work. He should not violate the course of righteousness and wealth. Thus, he shall not only maintain his servants, but also increase their subsistence and wages in consideration of their learning and work.”

Kautilya said that good governance and stability go hand in hand. According to him, there is stability if rulers are responsive, responsible, accountable, removable, and recallable, otherwise there would be instability.

Principles of Economic Administration:

The cardinal principle of economic administration was laid down in Kautilya’s Arthshastra in the following words – “The root of wealth is economic activity and lack of it brings material distress. In the absence of fruitful economic activity, both current prosperity and future growth are in danger of destruction. The King shall populate the countryside by creating new villages on virgin lands or reviving abandoned village sites.”

Conceptualising Good Governance:

The Arthashastra equates political governance with economic governance. The end is economic governance while political governance is the means. But as economic objectives are not realised in the absence of political ones, then political governance becomes an end and economic governance the means. ‘The end justifies the means’, this is supposed to be the basis of Kautilyan and Machiavellian philosophy. Political power and material wealth according to Kautilya are the means and ends of governance. And good governance – political or economic – depends upon justifying the ends and means as the socio, economic and political conditions.

The three constituents of power are: intellectual power, military might, and enthusiasm and morale.


Kautilya was a true statesman who bridged the gap between experience and vision. For Kautilya, good governance was paramount. He suggested built-in checks and balances in systems and procedures for the containment of malpractices. Many postulates of Kautilya’s philosophy of political economy are applicable to contemporary times.

Best Answer: Abhishek Naik


4. Information sharing and transparency in government form the fulcrum of good governance. Elucidate.


  • Introduction- definition of good governance.
  • Importance of information sharing for good governance
  • Importance of transparency for good governance
  • Way forward: What needs to be done to ensure that transparency and good governance is maintained.
  • Conclusion


Governance is the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a country’s affairs at all levels. The concept of Governance is broader than Government. The notion of Governance focuses on institutions and processes.

Importance of information sharing for good governance:

Sharing of information means most decisions of officials, and important rules and regulations are in the public domain

  • RTI is key to good governance.
  • It makes consumers of public services aware about their rights and entitlements. With this awareness responsibility of bureaucracy and the government increases for delivering the same.
  • An information-driven society leads to transparency and accountability. This provides drive to programmes aimed to enhance the processes and systems of public bodies thereby improving service delivery.
  • Lack of information about the functioning of government agencies can make it easy for corrupt officials to cover their tracks. On the other hand, when officials recognize that their decisions will be out in the open, then they will be less motivated to act randomly or with self-interest.
  • Ability to seek, receive and circulate information is crucial to secure human rights
  • Availability of information enhances lives because it assists to make wise decisions in life.

Thus, the flow of information has benefits like increased transparency, accountability, public participation and empowerment

Importance of transparency for good governance:

Transparency is widely recognized as core principle of good governance. Transparency means sharing information and acting in an open manner. Free access to information is a key element in promoting transparency. Information must be timely, relevant, accurate and complete for it to be used effectively.

  • It thoroughly reduces chances of corruption, nepotism, favouritism. It can be said that the least transparent Governments exist in the most corrupt countries.
  • Transparency and accountability in Government are mutually reinforcing.
  • Transparency in governance also has constructive impact on the efficiency of Government functioning.
  • Likewise, transparency increases accountability of the Government officials. It makes it easy to fix responsibility in case of any offense.

Way forward:

  • Building an information-driven society which has access to all services and facilities with minimum bureaucratic and procedural formalities. Digital India campaign aims for the same.
  • Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public. PRAGATI and mygov.in are initiatives taken in this direction.
  • Transparency in itself is not enough to eradicate corruption. This is because, while transparency implies availability of information, it also requires an educated and intellectual population to find out the real meaning of the available information and act on it.
  • Additionally, in Indian scenario with a large population of uneducated and poor people, information has not only to be made available, but the availability of information itself has to be advertised.


To summarize, Information sharing and transparency are vital components for any government to enhance the living of society. Information is valuable for every citizen to participate in the life and governance of society. The greater the access of the citizen to information, the greater would be the responsiveness of government to community needs.

Best answer: swati mittal



5. Should Codes of Ethics for civil servants and politicians be made legally enforceable? Critically examine.


  • 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 and civil servants counted as unethical in democratic discourse. You need to provide clear examples for better presentation.
  • 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 civil servants and politicians do not adhere to required moral values.

  1. There is opportunism and playing of games to fulfil their personal gains.
  2. Political promises, action agendas remain just statement of intent after coming to power. They remain among poor people only before elections, and forget their concerns later.
  3. Misuse of political, official positions and power is often seen. e.g. abusive behaviour by an MLA with flight attendants or Senior officers making junior officials cleaning their shoes.
  4. Many corruption scandals unearthed such as in giving accreditation to educational institutes, coal-scam, visit to foreign countries on public funds etc show a nexus between civil servants and politicians.
  5. Horse trading, defections often show lack of integrity and organizational ethics. Officials taking prejudiced decisions or favouring a ideology while discharging official duties.
  6. Internal democracy lacking in parties, Criminalization of politics, black money being used in elections, official being caught taking bribes and amassing huge properties.

Relevance of code of ethics:

  1. It helps one in situations of dilemma. One may follow the code and function ethically.
  2. Sets benchmark for appropriate behavior. Provides a framework for reference in case discretionary powers are to be used.
  3. The relevance is more in present society where values and ethics are on decline either seemingly because of greater awareness or in reality

Limited role of code of ethics:

  1. The one who has to ensure that the code isn’t violated, may be corrupt or unethical.
  2. A code of ethics may be defined exhaustively but its implementation may not be that effective.
  3. Loopholes- Not everything can be defined by a code.
  4. Code of ethics may not be updated as per the needs of the present society.
  5. A code of ethics can tackle corrupt mind but not corrupt heart.

Way forward:

  • Right ethical training
  • Value based education at school level.
  • Inducting righteous people in the system

Conclusion: 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.

Best Answer: Swati Mittal




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