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SYNOPSIS [16th April,2021] Day 83: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 1): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)
1. How does probity lead to good governance? Illustrate.
Since the question is asking you to illustrate it mean you have to ‘explain’ whereby you are asked to show the workings of something, making use of definite examples and statistics if appropriate to add weight to your explanation.
Probity is a high standard of correct moral behaviour. It literally means a complete and confirmed integrity; having strong moral principles. It is the presence of procedural integrity with high standards of ethical behaviour. It is vital for executing the governance system and socio-economic development. It lead to good governance by adhering to ethical and moral values like honesty, Integrity, rectitude, uprightness etc.
PROBITY LED TO GOOD GOVERNANCE IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS:
- Probity is usually regarded as being incorruptible. It preserves public confidence in government processes.
- Probity is a crucial feature of governance which endows government to act ethically and perform its duty as per the norms only.
- It is significant for the government to follow the rules and regulations as well as adopt policies of impartiality, to gain confidence from the public.
- When government becomes its system streamline as well as transparent, then the public and government employees concerned to it follow the same criterion. Hence, no corruption, fraud, and irresponsibility will happen.
- Probity goes further than the avoidance of being dishonest because it is determined by intangibles like personal and societal values.
- It ensures accountability in governance and integrity in public services
- It includes sharing information to the public by putting information in the public domain thus bringing in good governance.
- The dictionary meaning of probity refers to integrity, trust, character, justice, honesty, rectitude and uprightness.
- it helps build up the legitimacy of the system, i.e., the state. It builds trusts in the institutions of the state and a belief that the actions of the state will be for welfare of the beneficiaries.
- It helps in checking the abuse and misuse of power by various organs of government such as magistracy, police and all other providers of public service
Probity in governance is an essential and vital requirement for an efficient and effective system of governance and for socio-economic development. An important requisite for ensuring probity in governance is absence of corruption. The other requirements are effective laws, rules and regulations governing every aspect of public life and, more important, an effective and fair implementation of those laws, etc. Indeed, a proper, fair and effective enforcement of law and probity is a facet of good governance.
2. What are the foundational principles of an efficient and ethical public service? Explain with the help of suitable examples.
Approach- Question is straight forward, candidate can explain the principles necessary for public service and then with the help of suitable examples and quotes, answer can be concluded.
Principles which guide the judgement and help civil servant take decision in public life. These are essential to work in public life. A civil service with strong service values cannot be pressurized easily. She/ He is incorruptible and dutiful. Strong value system helps in transparent functioning, equitable resource distribution, respect for diversity.
Foundational principles of public service Nolan committee was set up in Britain which enquired into the standards of public life and government functioning in Britain. It suggested 7 principles as essential for bureaucracy. 1) Honesty 2)Accountability 3) Leadership 4) Openness/Transparency 5) Objectivity 6) Integrity 7) Selflessness.
- Honesty-An act of being truthful in one’s conduct and speech can be called honesty. Civil servant should provide her unbiased and rational views to political executives. She must not indulge in ‘intellectual dishonesty’ for personal gains like promotion of plum posting. Civil servant should not be a ‘yes man’. Sardar Patel expected complete honesty from all India services.
- Accountability refers to the process as well as norms that make decision makers answerable to ones for whom decisions are taken i.e., the decision maker and the beneficiary.
- A leadership based on power-sharing and participatory decision making can be more engaging and democratic. Power-sharing not only builds trust between the leader and the community but it also effectively grooms the next line of leadership. With participatory decision making the leadership can develop and strengthen mutual respect among the diverse perspectives found in a community.
- Transparency in administration are sine qua non of participatory democracy. Government secrecy fosters disbelief of government on the part of the citizens and transparency eliminates the wall of secrecy built against the common people by those holding power.
- Objectivity-Ability to take decision based on facts and evidence and not perceptions, imagination or emotions. This is one of the most important trait for ethical and efficient public service.
- Integrity-It reflects quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. It reflects adherence to ethical code with incorruptible virtues, uprightness and honesty.
- As per Ministry of Personnel, Integrity is defined as ‘Consistently behaves in an open, fair and transparent manner, honours one’s commitments and works to uphold public service values.
- Selflessness-The basis of one’s action or decisions is not self-interest rather public interest. Motive of duty should be driving factor and not motive of reward. Principle of Nishkama Karma must be followed. Civil servant will have to work under different governments and therefore this quality is highly important and essential to solve ethical dilemmas.
What are the essential principles in Indian context?
- Courage of Conviction- It is courage to take right action and to stand by its consequences. Civil servant should not only have courage to speak truth but also to take right action. This quality is especially tested when others are taking an easy path and one feels isolated. For example Abolition of privy purse was a bold decision by Indira Gandhi which sought to bring equality in society. It demonstrates this quality of her.
- Impartial behaviour- India is a diverse country. It is a multicultural society. There should not be any discrimination on the basis of caste, colour, creed, religion, sex etc. Law is above everyone. There should not be any bias against rich or poor.
Voltaire said, ‘’with greater power comes greater responsibility’’. Whether it is a civil servant or public representative, both are entitled with power in their hands to execute the responsibility of public service. Principles stated above are essential for effective and ethical delivery of public services and to ensure that redistributive justice happens with the sense of fairness.
3. Should a public servant follow the philosophy of utilitarianism? Critically comment.
The candidate needs to critically comment on the aspect of a public servant following the philosophy of utilitarianism, along with proper substantiation.
John Stuart Mill defines utilitarianism as a philosophy in ethics which means that an action is right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. Happiness is intended pleasure and absence of pain. For a civil servant, the philosophy calls for an action that bring greatest happiness to greatest number of people.
Proponents like Jeremy Bentham have argued that utilitarianism ensures objectivity, quick decision making and brings welfare to maximum number of people. In this light, many consider that public servants should follow the philosophy of Utilitarianism due to the following factors –
- Following principle of greatest happiness for the greatest number of people help civil servants stick to policy implementation in true spirit as most of the policies are made based on utilitarianism principle.
- Most of the policies are done in the spirit of bringing greatest happiness to the greatest number of public. E.g. Aadhar is made mandatory in public distribution system in spite of it having error up to 1% and some may suffer due to this.
- It is right as far as upholding public order. E.g. A district collector ordering preventive arrests ahead of possible communal clashes is for the greater good though it affects negatively some of the sections of the society.
- To safeguard the security, unity and national integrity. E.g. the restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir though it affects some of the fundamental rights of the citizens.
- It sets a precedent and a standard in decision making which can be used to take timely decisions. E.g. imposition of sec.144 in larger public interest.
However, utilitarianism philosophy is not suitable in the action of a civil servant in every instance. A civil servant serves every section – majority and minority which might be compromised if the utilitarianism philosophy is followed in every situation.
- E.g. Bringing down of illegal shops run mostly by poor on road sides is in line with policy and also is good for maximum of people. However, keeping in mind, the livelihood needs of the poor, the demolition process should be such that enough time is provided to the poor so as to shift and if possible, be provided with an alternative.
- Further, Human rights are usually said to be inalienable and universal, and some even believe that they are absolute. A civil servant has to uphold individual rights along with welfare of the public though it goes against utilitarian concept.
- E.g. Homosexuality was a criminal offence until recently who may form a minority and considering the views of majority which is against homosexuality, it is ethical. However, for a civil servant it is not because he/she is responsible for every individual right.
- Greatest number of people may lead to ignorance of minority people. For safeguarding the rights of the minorities, it is necessary that the principle of deontology (doing one’s duty right) is followed. Utilitarianism tells us to promote happiness. Deontology tells us to do our duty.
- Similarly, views of the majority is immaterial for a civil servant while deciding ethical actions. E.g. silently supporting moral policing by a mob as was seen in many cases and so on.
A civil servant should adopt a flexible approach. The basic principles of constitution should be upheld and one should focus on one’s duty, course of actions along with the end result where though utilitarian concept is well applicable in majority of the civil servant’s decision, a sound moral justification is needed for achieving the end.
4. What can be the consequence of lack of probity in institutions of governance? Analyse.
Candidates are expected to write about the probity and then analyse the consequences of lack of probity in institutions of governance.
Probity in governance is basic requirement for successful operation of governance and for socio-economic growth of country. It is defined as a risk management approach ensuring procedural integrity. It is concerned with procedures, processes and systems rather than outcomes.
Probity in governance:
- Probity is the act of strict adherence to the highest principles and ideals (integrity, good character, honesty, decency) rather than avoiding corrupt or dishonest conduct. It balances service to the community against the self-interest of individuals.
- An important requisite for ensuring probity in governance is absence of corruption. The other requirements are effective laws, rules and regulations governing every aspect of public life and, more important, an effective and fair implementation of those laws, etc. Indeed, a proper, fair and effective enforcement of law is a facet of discipline.
There are several objectives of probity of governance that are mentioned below:
- To ensure accountability in governance;
- To maintain integrity in public services;
- To ensure compliance with processes;
- To preserve public confidence in Government processes;
- To avoid the potential for misconduct, fraud and corruption.
Consequence of lack probity in institutions of governance:
- The absence of integrity and probity in institutions is manifested in corruption which in turn increases the gap between the haves and the have nots and also helps promote counter violence by disadvantaged groups.
- Unfortunately, there is mounting documented evidence by credible organisations such as Transparency International that those in power in government institutions often tend to misuse their power for narrow partisan reasons and thereby inflict immense and at times, irreparable, damage to society and their systems. This trend necessitates the recourse to legislative and legal routes to prevent and punish such kind of dangerous trends.
- The continuing high levels of corruption and poverty plaguing many of the world’s societies amount to an ongoing humanitarian disaster and cannot be tolerated. Stemming corruption requires strong oversight through Parliament, law enforcement, independent media and a vibrant civil society. When these institutions are weak corruption spirals out of control with horrendous consequences for ordinary people and for justice.
- This is wherein the general public responsibility and private interests of a Board or staff member can be in conflict due to lack of probity which results in their personal interest unreliably influencing their duties and needs.
- Further, lack of probity in the Public Distribution System (PDS) and the welfare schemes for the poor including Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) affects the public service delivery.
- It is well-known that a substantial portion of grain, sugar and kerosene oil meant for PDS goes into black-market and that hardly 16% of the funds meant for STs and SCs reach them. This leads to growth of disenchantment with the system.
- Public procurement or government procurement is an important activity for all countries. In India, estimates of public procurement vary between 20% of GDP2 to 30% of GDP. While the existence of a strong legislation is a necessary means to ensure probity in public procurement, legislation alone cannot address the deviations that occur at a practical and grassroot level.
Lack of probity in governance has become one of the biggest menaces to society. To inculcate probity & adherence to ethical practices among them certain strides could be taken:
- A dedicated unit to oversee violations of Code of ethics & Code of conduct by government officials be set up both at state and centre level.
- Apart from laws and policies, the government should also focus on bringing behavioural change in government employees so that they can easily empathize with the problem of masses.
- Mandatory Social Audit of all government programs, for example: Meghalaya has passed a law for social audit of government programs.
Probity in Governance additionally elucidates that rather than the conventional civil service values of performance, integrity and patriotism, it’s vital for civil officials to adopt as well as undertake ethical and integrity values, which includes respect for human rights, morality in public life and compassion for the downtrodden and dedication to their welfare.
5. Explain the correlation between good governance and dedication to public service.
Approach- Candidate can define what is good governance and dedication to public service. With the help of suitable examples correlation between the same can be stated.
Governance is “the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented)”. Good governance is a way of measuring how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources in a preferred way.
What is dedication to public service?
- Dedication is the quality of being dedicated or committed to a task or purpose, thought or action. Dedication can also be said to be commitment with passion. It has emotion attached with it.
- ‘Dedication to public service’ refers to keeping public good above all and working for it even in adverse condition.
- Dedication implies a level of mastery. It is the point at which you no longer need to apply discipline because your creative work flows out of your own organic desire to do that work.
- In developing countries like India civil servants need not only perform maintenance but they also play an important role in socio economic development of the country.
- Dedication to public service involves integrating yourself with the idea of public good and public interest. Single minded relentless pursuit of public good is there. If a civil servant is dedicated his sense of duty is integrated with the responsibility which has been given to him. A dedicated person will remain motivated even if the task given to him is not exciting and unwanted.
Relation between good governance and dedication to public service
- Once Dr. Sam Pitroda, said that “Biggest tragedy of our nation is that the best minds of this country are busy solving problems of the rich who in reality don’t have any problem, while the poor, vulnerable and needy are left uncared for!”
- Dedication ensures that the sense of duty becomes an end in itself. It is not dependent upon the nature of assignment given to a civil servant.
- A true civil servant ensures that no policy or action is taken at the cost of the welfare of public at large. Devoted to public service is what ensures an officer to oversee a credible and efficient policy formulation and implementation.
- Since governments carry out with goals like the provision of public goods to its citizens, there is no better way to think about good governance other than through deliverables, which are precisely the one demanded by citizens, with someone dedicated to public service will effectively carry out the goals of good governance.
- Similarly, good governance might be approximated with provision of public services in an efficient manner, higher participation given to certain groups in the population like the poor and the minorities, the guarantee that citizens have the opportunity of checks and balances on the government, the establishment and enforcement of norms for the protection of the citizens and their property and the existence of independent judiciary systems.
- A person with integrity and dedication will carry out even the menial task with perfection and effectiveness reflecting service delivery to citizens and good governance.
- For example, safai karmachari’s carry out their task daily, without any halt with dedication. Because of them we are able to live hygienic life, even though menial, every task is important when it comes to delivery of public goods and services.
- Dedication to public service is means to achieve the goal of god governance. Like many other qualities of civil servant, dedication is one of the most important because it is the constant source of motivation.
- Good governance is ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law; strengthening democracy; promoting transparency and capacity in public administration. Only a dedicated public servant, a judge, a police officer will feel motivated to promote these ideals.
Civil servants are agents of good governance. Good governance is not just service delivery but a right of common citizen. To create integrated officers, we have to focus on value education and character building of citizens as any civil servant is part of society and manifestation of what we are as a nation.