1. E3/P1: Video Lecture by Kavan Limbasiya (Rank-198/UPSC-2014)
  2. Attitude vs Aptitude: What’s the difference?
    1. Aptitude vs skill, ability & Interest
    2. Baswan committee
  3. Civil service values
    1. Why do we need foundational values?
    2. Nolan committee (UK-1996)
    3. 2nd ARC: “Ethics in Governance”
  4. Value#1: Integrity vs. honesty and probity
    1. Integrity @Intellectual, Professional and Org. Level
    2. How to inculcate integrity?
  5. Value#2: Objectivity
    1. How to inculcate objectivity?
  6. Value#3: Dedication to public service

UPSC Mains GS4 paper has eight topics, out of them two we’ve finished (E1): Human interface and (E2) Attitude. Now moving on to the third pillar-

E3/P1: Video Lecture by Kavan Limbasiya (Rank-198/UPSC-2014)

UPSC Topper Kavan Limbasiya lecture on ethics
Youtube Link: youtu.be/Tvtj8RSZjOs

Attitude vs Aptitude: What’s the difference?

Attitude Aptitude
  • It is your positive/negative feeling towards a person, object, event, idea, environment.
  • Latin Word “Aptus” meaning fitness or adeptness
  • Innate, inborn potential. But not cast in stone. It can be from nature, it can be nurtured.
Associated with character Associated with competence.
  • Attitude determines How people arrive at correct judgment, how they’ll perform a given task?
  • e.g. If an officer has negative attitude towards minorities, he may delay passing their scholarship files.
  • It determines whether Person will develop the skills to perform a particular task?
Examples of attitudes

  • Confidence
  • Cautious
  • tolerant
  • pessimism
  • responsible
Examples of aptitude

  • Quantitative aptitude
  • Verbal aptitude
  • Reasoning aptitude
  • Finger dexterity
  • Visual memory
  • Only mental.
  • Surviving terminal disease depends on your attitude towards life rather than ‘aptitude’ in physical training.
Both physical and mental. E.g.

  • To become an officer in defense or police services, you need to have both physical and mental aptitude.
  • Aptitude of hand and eye coordination : Good cricketer.
  • In India, most people pickup profession without seeing whether they’ve the ‘aptitude’ for it or not?
  • They choose a profession by change and not choice.
  • So, they make a living from their career, but don’t derive job-satisfaction e.g. Most Engineers,  pharmacist and IT graduates.
A Civil servant must have 3 aptitudes

  1. Intellectual aptitude.
  2. Emotional aptitude.
  3. Moral aptitude.

Aptitude vs skill, ability & Interest

aptitude, attitutude, skill, interest, ability difference explained


  • Things you can do. e.g. “I can do addition, subtraction, division and multiplication”.
  • Ability + Practice = Skill.
  • All of us can drive. But we’re not skilled drivers like Michael Schumacher.
  • Same way you’ve basic “ability” to do 4 fundamental operations of mathematics- if you practice long enough you’ll be skilled at Maths and Data interpretation portion of the CAT exam.
  • Later, if you teach multiple batches, you’ll become a “skilled trainer/faculty” for CAT coaching classes.
  • Thus, skill is the proficiency you gained with repeated activity.
  • Things you can do in future, if you were trained.
  • Clearing UPSC with high rank certifies that you’ve “aptitude” to be an IAS.
  • Later you’re trained at LBSNAA and at District so you gain new skills and abilities to perform the duties as an assistant collector.
  • Time + Effort = Learning => Learning helps gaining aptitude for new things.
Intelligence Aptitude is not same as intelligence. Two people with same intelligence quotation (IQ),  may have different aptitudes e.g. one to become scientist and another novelist.
Interest Things you’ll do without your skill/aptitude. E.g. every teenager is interested to become Sachin, Shahrukh or Shaan the singer. (sometimes simultaneously all three.)

Baswan committee

another Committee whose recommendations will not be implemented

Another Committee whose recommendations will be mostly ignored just like its predecessors

Over the years, government has setup many committees to reform UPSC examination process so that candidates with right ‘aptitude‘ can be selected.
Latest is, DoPT’s committee under B S Baswan (Ex-IAS) to revisit patten of UPSC civil service examination. It’ll look into following:

  1. For IAS, IPS and other jobs, each requires separate set of skills,  so…
    1. Whether to make changes in the present exam pattern?
    2. Whether to have separate papers for IAS/IPS candidates?
    3. How to ensure inclusiveness in the selection process I.e. candidates from different academic disciplines and different walks of life are selected?
  2. How to use ICT technology to reduce the time for completing one cycle of UPSC exam?
  3. Update the eligibility criteria for UPSC candidates- age and attempt limit?
  4. Review the eligibility of toppers re-appearing in the exam to improve their rank (I.e. IAS/IFS can’t re-appear without resigning from job, should same rule be applied to toppers allotted in other jobs?)

Sidenote: Earlier, same Baswan chaired a Committee to look at the requirement of IAS officers over a longer timeframe- mostly pertaining to the vacancies in various state-cadres.

Civil service values

  • Values are the standards on which, we evaluate things.
  • For every situation we don’t have time to ‘test’ the case on ethics theories such as utilitarianism.
  • Values provide time saving short-cut in such situation.
  • For example, “political neutrality” is one value of civil service.
  • Question: Should an IAS officer participate in a political rally?
  • To answer this question, we need not waste time in testing the premise on utilitarianism or refined egoism theory.
  • we know that political neutrality is desirable value, therefore it’ll be wrong for an IAS to participate in a political rally. End of discussion.
  • Thus, Value means a set of standards, on basis of which, we’ll judge things.
  • Values have hierarchy. For Gandhi highest value was truth >> then non-violence.
  • For a judge, value hierarchy should be Justice >> then mercy.
Value orientation examples
End (goal) oriented socio-economic-political justice.
Means (process) oriented Empathy, impartiality, integrity, discipline etc.

Why do we need foundational values?

  • Under New public management (NPM), the concept of public services is fast changing.
  • Bureaucrat has become directly accountable to citizen-customer. He has to respond to moral universe of the citizens.
  • He has discretionary powers, therefore he must be provided with guiding principles to prevent abuse of power.
  • The foundational values provide these guiding principles. (remember otherwise, he’ll have to test every primse on ethics theories- time consuming process. Values will help him take shortcut to arrive at right decision)
  • Various committees have recommended foundational values for civil services. The two big names are (1) Nolan committee (2) second ARC: “ethics in governance” report.

Nolan committee (UK-1996)

Listed seven foundational values

  1. Leadership
  2. Honesty
  3. selflessness
  4. Openness
  5. accountability
  6. Integrity
  7. objectivity
  • We’ll not go into details of Nolan because they’re self-explanatory.
  • We didn’t we copy Nolan report recommendations for India and instead setup our own administrative reform commissions. WHY?
  • Because Weberian model considered bureaucracy uniform. But in ethics, the value system is culture specific. Hence it’ll be unwise to adopt western model directly.
  • Selflessness: we hardly require this, because we’re a collective society.

Let’s focus on 2nd ARC report.

2nd ARC: “Ethics in Governance”

Their ‘bottom line’ is- prepare code of ethics and code of conduct for various departments. We’ll discuss that during the lecture on probity and corruption.
2nd ARC reports can be downloaded free of cost from (http://arc.gov.in).
For the moment let’s only focus on list of values that mentioned in the UPSC  GS4 Syllabus topic number 4 viz.

UPSC foundation values for civil services

  1. Integrity, objectivity
  2. Dedication to public service.
  3. Empathy, tolerance, Compassion towards the weaker section
  4. Impartiality, non-partisanship

Value#1: Integrity vs. honesty and probity

In terms of broadness: Probity << Honesty << Integrity (highest and most comprehensive.)

Probity  lack of corruption- just financial propriety.
Honesty you should be truthful to your actions, thoughts and behavior. Doing your duty faithfully.
  • if you’re a person of integrity, you’ll not do the duties your conscience doesn’t agree with. E.g. Policeman ordered to fire on unarmed peaceful protestors. Honest policeman will obey the order. Policeman of integrity, will refuse to fire.
  • In integrity, you’re not blindly following duties. Only if your conscience permits, you’ll do it.
  1. Value system should match with your behavior. Your C-A-B component should be consistent. Often in India, we believe in one thing, but do something else e.g. Corruption- all believe that it’s bad, yet all indulge in it. All religions favor abstinence, yet we do them with guilt, yet we won’t change our behavior.
  2. Your value system should be internally consistent: you believe in capitalism and you’re supporting new land ordinance, then there is conflict. Because capitalism rests in free market, consent and private property. But in land ordinance the consent portion is diluted in land acquisition.
  3. Often people have 2 set of moralities: one for themselves, second set for the others. E.g. Hygiene- we’d keep our homes clean but not public places. All religions says women are to be respected. Youngsters would respect their mothers and sisters, yet indulge in eve-teasing. Such person is always in a state of guilt or cognitive dissonance.
  4. Value system in itself should be rational: There can be a value system that matches with your conduct, and it is internally consistent, but it may not be rational. E.g. Creationism.
  5. Example of rational value system: utilitarianism, middle-path.

Integrity @Intellectual, Professional and Org. Level

Intellectual Integrity
  • “False attribution error”:- if you succeed, you’d say you worked hard. If someone else succeeds, you’d attribute it to his good luck / external factors.
  • That shows lack of intellectual integrity, because you’re not evaluating everything on same parameter.
  • Same happens during prejudice.
Professional integrity for Doctors, pharmacists, chartered accountants etc. It is enforced by their regulatory bodies.
Organizational integrity e.g. Facebook’s value “connecting people.”

How to inculcate integrity?

  • Through Training.
  • Through Institutional structure: laws, rules, regulation- with carrots and sticks approach.
  • 2nd ARC recommends setting up code of ethics for all departments of the government.  It’ll have broad principle- that all participants have to follow and its reports will be given and evaluated by the HoD.
  • E.g. Speaker will monitor how many times parliament was disrupted,  a committee will moniter it and report will be published.
  • But it’ll not have any penal provision. It’s just to create public / social / peer pressure.
  • Integrity testing: select random sample (officer) and try to bribe him. This is not same as CBI/ACB raid, they want to flush out corrupt people. But integrity testing is done to establish honesty.   CBI raid is done once in a while, but integrity testing done more frequently. (as in New York police department. Hence deterrent value high because all officers afraid they’ll be subjected to it.)
  • If young recruit’s first posting is made under honest officer, then he’s more like to remain honest for the rest of his life because of mentoring by a good role model.

Value#2: Objectivity

  • It is the opposite of subjectivity. You must not make decision on your values, emotions.
  • Policy based / rule based decisions are examples of objective decision because you’re doing them as per the prescribed policy/rule.

Objectivity is most crucial in following process

  • Selection/recruitment/posting/transfer/promotion.
  • Selection of right agency for contract/tendering.
  • Selection for Bharat Ratna, Padma-awards etc.
  • Daily administrative work.

How to inculcate objectivity?

  • Again- Training
  • Critical thinking: 013: ASI began gold hunting in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh, on order of a union minister who believed a ‘baba’. They showed lack of critical thinking by blindly following dictates of higher authority.
  • Right to review decisions: within judicial / administrative procedure, there should be mechanism for appellate board e.g. in taxation, land acquisition etc.
  • Right to be heard: often officers don’t hear the complaint or opinion of people properly and just do the things that are in their mind.  Hence new schemes should have ‘social audit / public hearing’ components.
  • Information management: if you don’t have hardcore information /statistics, you can’t take objective decisions. e.g. sustainable development goals (SDG) have 17 goals and 169 targets. Previously in Millennium development goals (MDG),  we had 18 indicators, yet we lacked proper statistical databases to compare performance. Lack of data, prevents us from finding the faults and fixing them.
  • Transparency: e.g. right to information act. Bureaucrat will think twice before taking subjective/discretionary decisions, fearing that he’ll have to answer it if someone files an RTI.

Value#3: Dedication to public service

Mostly bol-bachchan topic, so not much point writing about this value

  • If you’re a judge, what is the main interest of public from your organization? Ans. Justice.
  • So “justice” has to be your primary interest and you must show perseverance in ensuring justice all the time.
  • You must then stop other things from interfering e.g. “Mercy.” if judge gives lenient punishment to a convict, because of his poor socio-economic background, then he has deviated from public service of delivering “justice”.

In the next part (E3/P2), we’ll look at second set of foundation values- empathy, compassion towards weaker section.
Visit Mrunal.org/Ethics for more study material on Ethics.