SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2018: UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [5th January 2018]- Day 30

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  • January 8, 2018
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TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2018: UPSC Mains General

Studies Questions [5th January 2018]- Day 30


Q1. Can accountability ensure ethical governance? Substantiate with the help of suitable examples.


  • First define what ethical governance is?
  • Then, briefly give the definition of accountability and how it ensures ethical governance.
  • Since the keyword is ‘substantiate’, examples are a must.


Governance means the process of policy making, implementation and its continuous monitoring. It further includes resource mobilization, inclusive planning and budgetary allocation. Ethical governance is when the outcomes of governance are acceptable to all the stakeholders in an ethically correct manner.

Accountability is one of the most vital enabler of ethical governance by ensuring:

  1. Answerability – by the public officer for his actions. For e.g. the Railway Minister resigned in light of frequent rail accidents
  2. Responsibility – towards the demands of the public. E.g. government opening new AIIMS colleges in tier II towns to improve the public health infrastructure
  3. Enforcement – of rules, policies, laws etc to ensure social justice. E.g. banning of fire crackers in Delhi to prevent air pollution

Accountability, further makes governance more inclusive and participative. For e.g. with the introduction of mandatory social audits, corruption and leakages in MGNREGA have reduced considerably. Continuous monitoring of the PDS system by civil society in Chhattisgarh have improved its performance manifolds.

Accountability through instruments like RTI exposes government inefficiency and forces lawmakers to make better policies.


However, only external accountability cannot ensure ethical governance. It should be combined with internal accountability (individual morality and integrity). As Plato said, “good men don’t need laws to act ethically”.

Extra: IASbaba Mindmap

Best Answer: JD95



Q.2) In public life, conscience and not laws, rules or regulations inspire ethical behaviour. Do you agree? Critically examine.


Conscience can be defined as something within each of us that tells us what is right and what is wrong. In Latin: Con= with and Science= knowledge. Therefore we should surely use our conscience when we are making decisions as we should be being told what is the right thing to do and what is wrong.

Conscience and its influence:

Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act. In all that he says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right.

Conscience role in ethical behavior in public life:

  • The most important moral development occurs through social interactions.
  • From on the other hand had two approaches and didn’t think there was stages in moral development but saw that all humans are influenced by external authorities like parents, teachers and church leaders.
  • He thought that a guilty conscience is a result of displeasing these authorities.
  • The example of the Nazi government in Germany in the 1930’s was very successful about manipulating the consciences of its people to encourage them not to help the Jews.
  • But that was his authoritarian approach and he had a humanistic approach. This was that our conscience is our real self and leads us to realise our full potential using our experiences not slavish obedience.
  • It appears the conscience should take a large role in how we make moral decisions.
  • However for both Secular and Religious views on the conscience we have seen that mistakes can be made.
  • These mistakes are the products of wrong principles or bad nurturing as a child growing up or manipulations and bad influences.
  • Our conscience will continuously change in different circumstances not making it a reliable source to make a decision on.

Therefore conscience should take a big role in making moral decisions in public life, but one should also consider the fact that they may be wrong and should compare the choice they want to make to another to see if one is greater.

3. Code of ethics can play only a limited role in ensuring ethical and moral values in governance. Discuss.


  • Introduction- What is code of ethics?
  • How code of ethics plays a limited role.
  • Relevance of code of ethics- Limited yet relevant.
  • Way forward
  • Conclusion


A code of ethics document may outline the mission and values of the business or organization, how professionals are supposed to approach problems, the ethical principles based on the organization’s core values and the standards to which the professional is held.

Limited role of code of ethics:

  • The one who has to ensure that the code isn’t violated, may be corrupt or unethical.
  • A code of ethics may be defined exhaustively but its implementation may not be that effective.
  • Loopholes- Not everything can be defined by a code.
  • Code of ethics may not be updated as per the needs of the present society.
  • A code of ethics can tackle corrupt mind but not corrupt heart.
  • It is not binding. This reduces its effectiveness.

Relevance of code of ethics:

Despite its limited effectiveness, the code of ethics is very relevant.

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

Way forward:

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


Overall, it can be said that code of ethics is desired, it acts a guiding beacon. But given its limited effectiveness we need to ensure that the one’s who are meant to use the code are themselves righteous because any code can only discipline someone but not transform him/her into an ethical person.

Best answer: Maximus


4. Do States have unconditional sovereignty over their affairs? Does the international community have the right to intervene in a country for humanitarian purposes? Give your opinion.


Many commentators, mostly coming from the developed world, contend that the last decades have confirmed and even expanded the reach of that statement, especially in the definition of the legitimacy of the practice of humanitarian intervention. Traditional sovereignty, incorporated in the Charter of the United Nations, is characterized by the norms of non-interference and state equality. Humanitarian intervention challenges this notion, creating a tension between the norms of state sovereignty and the protection of human rights.


  • Write about sovereignty you can define it or write about the larger issue
  • Write about international intervention, need and other side of international intervention to holistically cover the issue.


Do States have unconditional sovereignty over their affairs?

Sovereignty has traditionally had two, intertwined, meanings. An internal one, of ‘supreme authority within a country’, and an ‘external’ one, regarding the right of being independent and not be subjected to any interference from other countries.

In this globalised world, fate of countries is greatly interlinked. Thus it is almost impossible for countries to have unconditional sovereignty over their internal affairs as,

  1. Few multinational companies have become larger in size than the GDP of many countries. As a result, they enjoy unquestionable monopoly in many countries of their operation, having scant regard for local rules and regulations.
  2. With the rise of multilateral organisations like World Bank, World Trade Organisation etc.; countries have to comply by the rules set by them. Defying these results in sanctions or penalties.
  3. There are cases of powerful countries dominating weaker countries with their military/ financial clout. Sri Lanka had to hand over Hambantota Port to China after it was unable to pay back its loans for the port.
  4. In case of humanitarian crisis in a country, where citizens face repression at the hands of their own government, foreign governments or the United Nations interfere by either providing humanitarian aid or finding a political solution to the crisis.

Does the international community have the right to intervene in a country?

The international community has right to interfere when humanitarian crisis arise due to the following reasons

  1. A poor country is struck by natural disaster or epidemic.
  2. The citizens are facing repression at the hands of an autocratic government.

But the following issues can arise in this regard,

  1. Sometimes countries use the excuse of repression of democracy to replace unfavourable governments.
  2. Powerful countries unilaterally interfere in other countries, ignoring the voice of rest of the international community. The decision of US and UK to go to war in Iraq was widely condemned as undemocratic as it didn’t have the approval of UNSC.
  3. International community only selectively intervenes in countries, ignoring countries which are not strategically important. The repression of East Timor by Indonesians was ignored by the world, whereas the apparent repression by the Assad regime in oil rich Syria resulted in multi country interference.


Hence even though the international community should come to the aid of countries facing humanitarian crisis, it is vital to put their interests above everything else. We need to develop a mechanism to ensure that humanitarian crisis(real or projected) don’t become an excuse for countries to further their strategic interests.

Best Answer 1: A J



5. What tools do administrators have in their hands to address ethical dilemmas in public life? Illustrate.


  • Introduction: Mention what do you mean by Ethical Dilemmas
  • Body: Give 2-3 examples of situation where you are in ethical dilemmas and what tool can be used in such situation. 150 words is the limit in GS-4 presently so stick to that.
  • Conclusion: 2-3 lines are must.


Ethical dilemmas, also known as a moral dilemmas, are situations in which there is a choice to be made between two options, neither of which resolves the situation in an ethically acceptable fashion.



  • In Kurukshetra war, Arjun was in ethical dilemma between killing his own Guru Dronacharya or to follow his Raj Dharma of establishing peace by killing evil forces.
  • A widow of veteran, who has given his life in kargil war, comes to collect her pension but doesn’t possess Aadhaar card as required by law.
  • Very poor tribal man comes to collect subsidized ratio in PDS shop but due to error his name doesn’t appear in BPL list. And government has instructed not to provide subsided ratio to anybody whose name doesn’t appear in BPL register.
  • Soldier returning to his hometown carrying army supplied liquor where overnight a rule was implemented to ban liquor consumption and possession.

Above are certain examples, now what tools are available to tackle these ethical dilemmas:

  • Administrative discretion.
  • Seniors and experienced colleagues advice.
  • Utilitarian approach.
  • Rule of law and code of ethics.
  • Conscience and philosophical guidance of great people.
  • Local culture, custom and humanitarian gestures.

Note: Examples should be used to answer this question. Minimum 2-3 examples should be used. You are required to take a stand here unlike other GS papers. Examples and administrative tools are given separate here for better understanding but you can also club and write one tool for each example.


Ethical dilemmas can arise at any given instances for civil servants; so they have to be guided by proper code of conduct and code of ethics to tackle these situations. They can also approach their seniors in the department who will have more experience in dealing with such circumstances and also can use their previous experiences to arrive at the solutions.

Connecting the dots:

  • Code of conduct and ethics in governance.
  • Conflict of interest.
  • Accountability and transparency in decision making.

Best Answer: Anand

Ethical dilemma is a situation in which a civil servant is in conflict in minds between 2 moral imperatives in which accepting one would lead to transgressing other. Civil servants do face ethical dilemmas like

1-administrative discreation 2-corruption 3-administrative secreacy 4- nepotism 5-policy dilemmas.

Ways in which civil servants should address their ethical dilemmas are

1-taking decisions based on rational evidence and according to established rules and regulations thus removing arbitrariness.

2-taking advice from seniors, collegues if in doubt regarding any decision and then deciding on best possible action based on own self-assessment.

3-giving out detailed information if there appears to be conflict of interest for eg DM auctioning mining area should inform in written note that friends or relatives of DM are also participating in auction process so allegation of corruption is not levelled.

4-ensuring proper transparency required and removing any veil of secrecy eg proactive dissemination of tender guidelines.

ethical dilemmas is big issue in governance and should be addressed by laying down proper laws, rules, regulation removing any unambiguous words along with training to administrators which focus on integrity, honesty and dedication to service to solve the problem of ethical dilemma.


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