[Download] UPSC Mains General Studies Paper-4 (GSM4) Topicwise Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude – All Papers (2013-2020)

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  1. Strategy for Ethics
  2. GSM4: Topicwise Ethics Papers since Syllabus Change (2013-20)
  3. [Block#1] Basic, Thinkers, EQ
    1. Ethics- Basic Theory
    2. Emotional intelligence & Allied Topics
    3. Thinkers and Reformers
  4. [Block#2] Surroundings
    1. Attitude
    2. Family, Society, Education, Internet
    3. Case-Study: Promoting Girl education while ensuring their safety (2015)
    4. Case-Study: Wife-beater Boss: To do something or not? (2016)
    5. Social influence
  5. [Block#3] Job
    1. Sarkaari Job Values
    2. Work Culture @Office
    3. Compassion for others while on job
  6. [Block#4A] Public organizations
    1. Public Org- Theory
    2. Public Org- Dilemma
    3. Case study: public org dilemma- Housing vs SEZ allocation (2020, 20m)
    4. Public org- Code of conduct / ethics
    5. Public Org-Charter
    6. Public Org-Corruption
    7. Case Study: corruption in municipal construction (2020, 20m)
    8. Case-Study: Obliging to minister’s wishes for land-deal (2018)
    9. Case-Study: illegal building collapse? (2017)
    10. Case-Study: Opinion as honest officer (2017)
    11. Case-Study: “Shivaji-the Boss”: Movie plot (2016)
    12. Public Org-RTI / Transparency
    13. Case-Study: Snowden’s whistleblowing: right / wrong? (2018)
    14. Case-Study: PIO should do RTI stonewalling™ (2017)
    15. Case-Study: RTI: To hide or not to hide (2013)
    16. Case-Study: 5: Leaking information (2013)
  7. [Block#4B] International Relations (IR)
    1. Case Study: IR-defends export to friendly countries (2020, 20m)
  8. [Block#5] Private organizations / CSR
    1. Case Study: CSR Funding in Amaria (2020, 20m)
    2. Case Study: Sexual Harassment in Pvt Company (2019) 20marks
    3. Case-Study: Give compensation to dead drunkard worker’s family (2017)
    4. Case-Study: Fake testimony to save manager? (2017)
    5. Case-Study: give bribe or end career (2014)
    6. Case-Study: Trade union issue (2015)
    7. Case-Study: To do Drug Research on non-profitable disease or not? (2015)
    8. Case-Study: To Whistle-blow against Polluting industry or not? (2016)
    9. Case-Study: New Project hurting lifestyle of locals? (2016)

Strategy for Ethics

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GSM4: Topicwise Ethics Papers since Syllabus Change (2013-20)

  • In 2013, UPSC in its full wisdom (and haste), had changed mains syllabus. Fourth general studies paper is “ethics, integrity, aptitude”.
  • Just like Demonetization, the GS4 Syllabus is noble in its objective but hastily thought and illplanned. Too many topics, verbose, repeating. Hence difficult to do any ‘trend’ analysis against previous years, if we follow the syllabus sequence given by UPSC.
  • Therefore, I’ve combined and bifurcated syllabus topics; and I’m combining ‘case study’ marks within theory topics. The resultant classification is as following:
Block Topic 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Basic Basic Theory 20 10 20 20 20 20 0 0
Basic EQ & Allied 30 10 0 10 10 20 10 10
Basic Thinkers 30 10 20 40 10 0 30 50
Family Family 0 30 35 30 0 0 0 0
Family Social Influence 0 0 0 10 0 0 0 30
Family Attitude 10 10 0 0 10 0 0 10
Job Neutrality 25 30 40 10 30 30 30 0
Job Work Culture 60 60 25 0 10 0 20 0
Job Compassion 25 0 20 20 20 40 0 40
Pub.Org Theory & Dilemma 10 60 20 30 0 70 40 30
Pub.Org Code of Conduct 0 0 0 10 0 10 40 0
Pub.Org Charter 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 0
Pub.Org Corruption 0 10 0 25 50 30 40 20
Pub.Org RTI 40 0 20 0 20 30 0 0
Pub.Org IR/Funding 0 0 10 0 10 0 10 40
private org. Corporate 0 20 40 45 60 0 20 20
TOTAL 250 250 250 250 250 250 250 250

[Block#1] Basic, Thinkers, EQ

[Download] Topicwise UPSC Mains General Studies Paper with Mrunal's Analysis Basic, Thinkers

Ethics- Basic Theory

GSM4 Syllabus Topic: Ethics and Human Interface (essence, determinants, consequences of ethics in human actions); Dimensions of ethics; Ethics in public & private relationships

What does this quotations mean to you in the present context:  “Falsehood takes the place of truth when it results in unblemished common good.”- Tirukkural. (150 words) 2018
With regard to the morality of actions, one view is that means is of paramount importance and the other view is that the ends justify the means. Which view do you think is more appropriate? Justify your answer. (150 words) 2018
The crisis of ethical values in modern times is traced to a narrow perception of the good life. Discuss. 2017
Without commonly shared and widely entrenched moral values and obligations, neither the law, nor democratic government, nor even the market economy will function properly. What do you understand by this statement? Explain with illustration in the contemporary times. 2017
Explain how ethics contributes to social and human well-being. 2016
Law and ethics are considered to be the two tools for controlling human conduct so as to make it conducive to civilized social existence. (a) Discuss how they achieve this objective. (b) Giving examples, show how the two differ in their approaches. 2016
What is meant by ‘environmental ethics’? Why is it important to study? Discuss any one environmental issue from the viewpoint of environmental ethics. 2015
Differentiate between the following (200 words); a) Law and Ethics; b) Ethical management and Management of ethics; c) Discrimination and Preferential treatment; d) Personal ethics and Professional ethics 2015
Human beings should always be treated as ‘ends’ in themselves and never as merely `means’. Explain the meaning and significance of this statement, giving its implications in the modern techno-economic society. 2014
What do you understand by ‘values’ and ‘ethics’? In what way is it important to be ethical along with being professionally competent? 2013
Some people feel that values keep changing with time and situation, while others strongly believe that there are certain universal and eternal human values. Give your perception in this regard with due justification. 2013

Emotional intelligence & Allied Topics

GSM4 Syllabus Topic: Emotional Intelligence (concepts, utility & application in administration & governance)

What are the main components of emotional intelligence (EI) ? Can they be learned? discuss. (150 words) 2020
“Emotional Intelligence is the ability to make your emotions work for you instead of against you.” Do you agree with this view? Discuss. (150 words, 10m) 2019
What does this quotations mean to you in the present context:  Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding. “ _ Mahatma Gandhi. (150 words) 2018
“In doing a good thing, everything is permitted which is not prohibited expressly or by clear implication”. Examine the statement with suitable examples in the context of a public servant discharging his/her duties. (150 words) 2018
How will you apply emotional intelligence in administrative practices? 2017
Anger is a harmful negative emotion. It is injurious to both personal life and work life. (a) Discuss how it leads to negative emotions and undesirable behaviours. (b) How can it be managed and controlled? 2016
All human beings aspire for happiness. Do you agree? What does happiness mean to you? Explain with examples. 2014
What is ’emotional intelligence’ and how can it be developed in people? How does it help an individual in taking ethical decisions? 2013
What do you understand by the term ‘voice of conscience’? How do you prepare yourself to heed to the voice of conscience? 2013
What is meant by ‘crisis of conscience’? Narrate one incident in your life when you were faced with such a crisis and how you resolved the same. 2013

Thinkers and Reformers

GSM4 Syllabus Topic: Contributions of Moral Thinkers & Philosophers from India and world; human value lessons from great leaders, reformers & administrators

What teachings of Buddha are most relevant today and why? Discuss. (150 words) 2020
What are the main factors responsible for gender responsibility in India ? Discuss the contribution of Savitribai Phule in this regard. (150 words). 2020
”Condemn none: if you can stretch out a helping hand do so. If not fold your hands, bless your brothers and let them go their own way.” – Swami Vivekanand (150 words). 2020
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service of others .” Mahatma Gandhi (150 words). 2020
”A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true.” – Socrates. (150 words). 2020
“An unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates (150 words, 10m) 2019
“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.” – M.K.Gandhi (150 words, 10m) 2019
“Where there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in the character. When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, there is order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world.” – A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (150 words, 10m) 2019
“Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte. Stating examples mention the rulers (i) who have harmed society and country, (ii) who worked for the development of society and country. 2017
Discuss Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of seven sins. 2016
Analyse John Rawls’s concept of social justice in the Indian context. 2016
Corruption causes misuse of government treasury, Administrative inefficiency and obstruction in the path of national Development. Discuss Kautilya’s views. 2016
Max Weber said that it is not wise to apply to public administration the sort of moral and ethical norms we apply to matters of personal conscience. It is important to realise that the State bureaucracy might possess its own independent bureaucratic morality. Critically analyse this statement. 2016
“The weak can never forgive; forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” 2015
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. 2015
Which eminent personality has inspired you the most in the context of ethical conduct in life? Give the gist of his/her teachings giving specific examples, describe how you have been able to apply these teachings for your own ethical development. 2014
There is enough on this earth for every one’s need but for no one’s greed. Mahatma Gandhi. 2013
Nearly all men can withstand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.—Abraham Lincoln 2013
I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who overcomes his enemies.—Aristotle 2013

[Block#2] Surroundings

Attitude

GSM4 Syllabus Topic: Attitude (content, structure, function, influence & relation with thought & behaviour); Moral and Political Attitudes

A positive attitude is considered to be an essential characteristic of a civil servant who is often required to function under extreme stress. What contributes a positive attitude in person.? (150 words). 2020
Young people with ethical conduct are not willing to come forward to join active politics. Suggest steps to motivate them to come forward. 2017
In the context of defense services, ‘patriotism’ demands readiness to even lay down one’s life in protecting the nation. According to you, what does patriotism imply in everyday civil life? Explain with illustrations and justify your answer. 2014
It is often said that ‘politics’ and ‘ethics’ do not go together. What is your opinion in this regard? Justify your answer with illustrations. 2013

Family, Society, Education, Internet

GSM4 Syllabus Topic: Role of family, society, educational institutions in inculcating values;

“Education is not an injunction, it is an effective and pervasive tool for all-round development of an individual and social transformation”.Examine the New Education Policy,2020(NEP,2020)in light of the above statement. (150 words) 2020
‘Hatred is destructive of a person‘s wisdom and conscience that can poison a nation’s spirit. Do you agree with this view? Justify your answer. (150 words) 2020
The current internet expansion has instilled a different set of cultural values which are in conflict with traditional values. Discuss. (150 words). 2020
Our attitudes towards life, work, other people and society are generally shaped unconsciously by the family and social surroundings in which we grow up. Some of these unconsciously acquired attitudes and values are often undesirable in the citizens of modern democratic and egalitarian society.  (a) Discuss such undesirable values prevalent in today’s educated Indians. (b) How can such undesirable attitudes be changed and socio-ethical values be cultivated in the aspiring and serving civil servants? 2016
Social values are more important than economic values. Discuss the above statement with examples in the context of inclusive growth of a nation. 2015
The current society is plagued with widespread trust-deficit. What are the consequences of this situation for personal well-being and for societal well-being? What can you do at the personal level to make yourself trustworthy? 2014
What factors affect the formation of a person’s attitude towards social problems? In our society, contrasting attitudes are prevalent about many social problems. What contrasting attitudes do you notice about the caste system in our society? How do you explain the existence of these contrasting attitudes? 2014
We are witnessing increasing instances of sexual violence against women in the country. Despite existing legal provisions against it, the number of such incidences is on the rise. Suggest some innovative measures to tackle this menace. 2014

Case-Study: Promoting Girl education while ensuring their safety (2015)

You are recently posted as district development officer of a district. Shortly thereafter you found that there is considerable tension in the rural areas of your district on the issue of sending girls to schools.

The elders of the village feel that many problems have come up because girls are being educated and they are stepping out of the safe environment of the household. They are of the view that the girls should be quickly married off with minimum education. The girls are also competing for jobs after education, which have traditionally remained in boys’ exclusive domain, adding to unemployment amongst male population.

The younger generation feels that in the present era, girls should have equal opportunities for education and employment, and other means of livelihood. The entire locality is divided between the elders and the younger lot and further sub-divided between sexes in both generations. You come to know that in Panchayat or in other local bodies or even in busy crossroads, the issue is being acrimoniously debated.

One day you are informed that an unpleasant incident has taken place. Some girls were molested, when they were en route to schools. The incident led to clashes between several groups and a law and order problem has arisen. The elders after heated discussion have taken a joint decision not to allow girls to go to school and to socially boycott all such families, which do not follow their dictate.

  1. What steps would you take to ensure girls’ safety without disrupting their education?
  2. How would you manage and mould matriarchic attitude of the village elders to ensure harmony in the inter-generational relations? (250 words)  (25 Marks)

Case-Study: Wife-beater Boss: To do something or not? (2016)

You are a young, aspiring and sincere employee in a Government office working as an assistant, to the director of your deportment. Since you’ve joined recently, you need to learn and progress. Luckily your superior is very kind and ready to train you for your job. He is a very intelligent and well-informed person having knowledge of various departments. In short, you respect your book and are looking forward to learn a lot from him.

Since you’ve good tuning with the boss, he started depending on you. One day due to ill health he invited you at his place for finishing some urgent work. You reached his house and you heard shouting noises before you could ring the bell. You waited for a while. After entering, boss greeted you and explained the work. But you were constantly disturbed by the crying of a woman. At last, you inquired with the boss but his answer did not satisfy you. Next day, you were compelled to inquire further in the office and found out that his behavior is very had at home with his wife. He also beat up his wife.

His wife is not well educated and is a simple woman in comparison to her husband. You see that though your boss is a nice person in the office, he is engaged in domestic violence at home. In such a situation, you are left with the following options. Analyse each option with its consequences.

  1. Just ignore thinking about it because it is their personal matter.
  2. Report the case to the appropriate authority.
  3. Your own innovative approach towards the situation. (250 words)

Social influence

GSM4 Syllabus Topic: Social Influence and Persuasion

How could social influence and persuasion contribute to the success of Swatchh Bharat Abhiyan? 2016

[Block#3] Job

[Download] Topicwise UPSC Mains General Studies Paper with Mrunal's Analysis

Sarkaari Job Values

GSM4 Syllabus Topic: Civil Service aptitude & foundational values (integrity, impartiality, non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service:

What do you understand by the term ‘public servant’? Reflect on the expected role of a public servant.(150 words, 10m) 2019
“In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And if they do not have the first, the other two will kill you.” – Warren Buffett. What do you understand by this statement in the present-day scenario? Explain. (150 words) 2018
What is mean by public interest? What are the principles and procedures to be followed by the civil servants in public interest? (150 words) 2018
State the three basic values, universal in nature, in the context of civil services and bring out their importance. (150 words) 2018
Examine the relevance of the following in the context of civil service: (a) Transparency (b) Accountability (c) Fairness and justice (d) Courage of conviction (e) Spirit of service. 2017
One of the tests of integrity is complete refusal to be compromised. Explain with reference to a real life example. 2017
Conflict of interest in the public sector arises when (a) official duties, (b) public interest, and (c) personal interest are taking priority one above the other. How can this conflict in administration be resolved? Describe with an example. 2017
Why should impartiality and non-partisanship be considered as foundational values in public services, especially in the present day socio-political context? Illustrate your answer with examples. 2016
Public servants are likely to confront with the issues of ‘Conflict of Interest’. What do you understand by the term ‘Conflict of Interest’ and how does it manifest in the decision making by public servants? If faced with the conflict of interest situation, how would you resolve it? Explain with the help of examples. 2015
How do the virtues of trustworthiness and fortitude get manifested in public service? Explain with examples. 2015
A mere compliance with law is not enough, the public servant also has to have a well-developed sensibility to ethical issues for effective discharge of duties.” Do you agree? Explain with the help of two examples, where (i) an act is ethically right, but not legally and (ii) an act is legally right, but not ethically. 2015
Two different kinds of attitudes exhibited by public servants towards their work have been identified as the bureaucratic attitude and the democratic attitude. A) Distinguish between these two terms and write their merits and demerits. B) Is it possible to balance the two to create a better administration for the faster development of our country? 2015
What does ‘accountability’ mean in the context of public service? What measures can be adopted to ensure individual and collective accountability of public servants? 2014
Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, but knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful. What do you understand by this statement? Explain your stand with illustrations from the modern context. 2014
There is a heavy ethical responsibility on the public servants because they occupy positions of power, handle huge amounts of public funds, and their decisions have wide-ranging impact on society and environment. What steps have you taken to improve your ethical competence to handle such responsibility? 2014
What do you understand by the following terms in the context of public service? (5 terms x 3 marks each: a) Integrity  b) Perseverance c) Spirit of service  d) Commitment e) Courage of conviction f) Personal opinion 2013
Indicate two more attributes which you consider important for public service. Justify your answer. (10 marks |100 words) 2013

Case Study: politicization of bureaucracy (2019) 20marks

In a modern democratic polity, there is a concept of the political executive and permanent executive elected people’s representatives forms the political executive and bureaucracy form the permanent executive. Ministers frame policy decisions and bureaucrats execute these. In the initial decades after independence, the relationship between the permanent executives and the political executives were characterized by mutual understanding, respect, and cooperation, without encroaching upon each other’s domain.

However, in subsequent decades, the situation has changed. There are instances of the political executive insisting upon the permanent executives to follow its agenda. Respect for an appreciation of upright bureaucrats has declined. There is an increasing tendency among the political executive to get involved in routine administrative matters such as transfers, posting etc. Under this scenario, there is a definitive trend towards ‘politicization of bureaucracy’. The rising materialism and acquisitiveness in social life has also adversely impacted upon the ethical values of both the permanent executive and the political executive.

What are the consequences of this ‘politicization of bureaucracy? Discuss. (250 words) (20 marks)

Work Culture @Office

GSM4 Syllabus Topic: Work Culture

From this topic, case studies are formed instead of theoretical question. These case studies are usually related to sexual harassment, work deadline, Chalta hai mindset, pressure from above etc.

Discipline generally implies following the order and subordination. However, it may be counter-productive for the organisation. Discuss. 2017

Case-Study: Engineer: Bogus flyover vs deadline (2013)

You are working as an Executive Engineer in the construction cell of a Municipal Corporation and are presently in-charge of the construction of a flyover. There are two Junior Engineers under you who have the responsibility of day-to-day inspection of the site and are reporting to you, while you are finally reporting to the Chief Engineer who heads the cell. While the construction is heading towards completion, the Junior Engineers have been regularly reporting that all construction is taking place as per design specifications. However, in one of your surprise inspections, you have noticed some serious deviations and lacunae which, in your opinion, are likely to affect the safety of the flyover. Rectification of these lacunae at this stage would require a substantial amount of demolition and rework which will cause a tangible loss to the contractor and will also delay completion. There is a lot of public pressure on the Corporation to get this construction completed because of heavy traffic congestion in the area. When you brought this matter to the notice of the Chief Engineer, he advised you that in his opinion it is not a very serious lapse and may be ignored. He advised for further expediting the project for completion in time. However, you are convinced that this was a serious matter which might affect public safety and should not be left unaddressed.

What will you do in such a situation? Some of the options are given below. Evaluate the merits and demerits of each of these options and finally suggest what course of action you would like to take, giving reasons. (20 marks |250 words)

  1. Follow the advice of the Chief Engineer and go ahead.
  2. Make an exhaustive report of the situation bringing out all facts and analysis along with your own viewpoints stated clearly and seek for written orders from the chief Engineer.
  3. Call for explanation from the Junior Engineers and issue orders to the contractor for necessary correction within targeted time.
  4. Highlight the issue so that it reaches superiors above the Chief Engineer.
  5. Considering the rigid attitude of the Chief Engineer, seek transfer from the project or report sick.

Case-Study: Favoritism in Job recruitment (2013)

You are heading a leading technical institute of the country. The institute is planning to convene an interview panel shortly under your chairmanship for selection of the post of professors. A few days before the interview, you get a call from the Personal Secretary (PS) of a senior government functionary seeking your intervention in favour of the selection of a close relative of the functionary for this post. The PS also informs you that he is aware of the long pending and urgent proposals of your institute for grant of funds for modernization, which are awaiting the functionary’s approval. He assures you that he would get these proposals cleared. (20 marks | 250 words)

  1. What are the options available to you?
  2. Evaluate each of these options and choose the option which you would adopt, giving reasons.

Case-Study: Sexual Harassment (2013)

You are the Executive Director of an upcoming InfoTech Company which is making a name for itself in the market.

Mr. A, who is a star performer, is heading the marketing team. In a short period of one year, he has helped in doubling the revenues as well as creating a high brand equity for the Company so much so that you are thinking of promoting him. However, you have been receiving information from many corners about his attitude towards the female colleagues; particularly his habit of making loose comments on women. In addition, he regularly sends indecent SMS’s to all the team members including his female colleagues.

One day, late in the evening, Mrs. X, who is one of Mr. A’s team members, comes to you visibly disturbed. She complains against the continued misconduct of Mr. A, who has been making undesirable advances towards her and has even tried to touch her inappropriately in his cabin. She tenders her resignation and leaves your office. (20 marks | 250 words)

  1. What are the options available to you?
  2. Evaluate each of these options and choose the option you would adopt, giving reasons.

Case-Study: Bogus rape complaint (2014)

You are a no-nonsense, honest officer. You have been transferred to a remote district to head a department that is notorious for its inefficiency and callousness. You find that the main cause of the poor state of affairs is the indiscipline of a section of employees. They do not work themselves and also disrupt the working of others. You first warned the troublemakers to mend their ways or else face disciplinary action. When the warning had little effect, you issued a show cause notice to the ringleaders. As a retaliatory measure, these troublemakers instigated a woman employee amongst them to file a complaint of sexual harassment against you with the Women’s Commission. The Commission promptly seeks your explanation. The matter is also publicized in the media to embarrass you further. Some of the options to handle this situation could be as follows :

  1. Give your explanation to the Commission and go soft on the disciplinary action.
  2. Ignore the Commission and proceed firmly with the disciplinary action.
  3. Brief your higher-ups, seek directions from them and act accordingly.

Suggest any other possible option(s). Evaluate all of them and suggest the best course of action, giving your reasons for it.

Case-Study: Ethics not essential (2014)

Suppose one of your close friends, who is also aspiring for civil services, comes to you for discussing some of the issues related to ethical conduct in public service. He raises the following points :

  1. In the present times, when unethical environment is quite prevalent, individual attempts to stick to ethical principles may cause a lot of problems in one’s career. It may also cause hardship to the family members as well as risk to one’s life. Why should we not be pragmatic and follow the path of least resistance, and be happy with doing whatever good we can?
  2. When so many people are adopting wrong means and are grossly harming the system, what difference would it make if only a small minority tries to be ethical? They are going to be rather ineffective and are bound to get frustrated.
  3. If we become fussy about ethical considerations, will it not hamper the economic progress of our country? After all, in the present age of high competition, we cannot afford to be left behind in the race of development.
  4. It is understandable that we should not get involved in grossly unethical practices, but giving and accepting small gratifications and doing small favours increases everybody’s motivation. It also makes the system more efficient. What is wrong in adopting such practices?

Critically analyze the above viewpoints. On the basis of this analysis, what will be your advice to your friend? 250 words.

Case-Study: Disillusioned UPSC topper (2014)

Rameshwar successfully cleared the prestigious civil services examination and was excited about the opportunity that he would get through the civil services to serve the country. However, soon after joining the services, he realized that things are not as rosy as he had imagined.

He found a number of malpractices prevailing in the department assigned to him. For example, funds under various schemes and grants were being misappropriated. The official facilities were frequently being used for personal needs by the officers and staff. After some time, he noticed that the process of recruiting the staff was also not up to the mark. Prospective candidates were required to write an examination in which a lot of cheating was going on. Some candidates were provided external help in the examination. Rameshwar brought these incidents to the notice of his seniors. However, he was advised to keep his eyes, ears and mouth shut and ignore all these things which were taking place with the connivance of the higher-ups. Rameshwar felt highly disillusioned and uncomfortable. He comes to you seeking your advice.

Indicate various options that you think are available in this situation. How would you help him to evaluate these options and choose the most appropriate path to be adopted? 250 words.

Case-Study: Dubious plot acquired for school (2015)

You are heading a district administration in a particular department. Your senior officer calls you from the State Headquarters and tells you that a plot in Rampur village is to have a building constructed on it for a school. A visit is scheduled during which he will visit the site along with the chief engineer and the senior architect. He wants you to check out all the papers relating to it and to ensure that the visit is properly arranged. You examine the file which relates to the period before you joined the department. The land was acquired from the local Panchayat at a nominal cost and the papers show that clearance certificates are available from the two of the three authorities who have to certify the site’s suitability. There is no certification by the architect available on file. You decide to visit Rampur to ensure that all is in order as stated on file. When you visit Rampur, you find that the plot under reference is part of Thakurgarh Fort and that the walls, ramparts, etc., are running across it. The fort is well away from the main village, therefore a school here will be a serious inconvenience for the children. However, the area near the village has potential to expand into a larger residential area. The development charges on the existing plot, at the fort, will be very high and the question of heritage site has not been addressed. Moreover, the Sarpanch, at the time of acquisition of the land, was a relative of your predecessor. The whole transaction appears to have been done with some vested interest.

  1. List the likely vested interests of the concerned parties.
  2. Some of the options for action available to you are listed below. Discuss the merits and demerits of each of the options :
    1. You can await the visit of the superior officer and let him take a decision.
    2. You can seek his advice in writing or on phone.
    3. You can consult your predecessor/colleagues, etc., and then decide what to do.
    4. You can find out if any alternate plot can be got in exchange and then send a comprehensive written report.

Can you suggest any other option with proper justification? (250 words) 25

Compassion for others while on job

GSM4 Syllabus Topic: empathy, tolerance & compassion towards weaker sections

Case Study: Compassion- child labour in Cotton farm (2020, 20m)

Rampura, a remote district inhabited by a tribal population, is marked by extreme backwardness and abject poverty. Agriculture is the mainstay of the local population, though it is subsistence due to the very small landholdings. There is insignificant industrial or mining activity. Even the targeted welfare programs have inadequately benefited the tribal population. In this restrictive scenario, the youth has begun to migrate to other states to supplement the family income. Plight of minor girls is that their parents are persuaded by labour contractors to send them to work in the Bt Cotton farms of a nearby state. The soft fingers of the minor girls are well suited for plucking the cotton. The inadequate living and working conditions in these farms have caused serious health issues for the minor girls. NGOs in the districts of domicile and the cotton farms appear to be compromised and have not effectively espoused the twin issues of child labour and development of the area.

You are appointed as the District Collector of Rampura. Identify the ethical issues involved. Which specific steps will you initiate to ameliorate the conditions of minor girls of your district and to improve the overall economic scenario in the district (250 words)

Case Study: compassion for migrant workers in corona (2020, 20m)

Migrant workers have always remained at the socio-economic margins of our society, silently serving as the instrumental labour force of urban economics. The pandemic has brought them into national focus.

On announcement of a countrywide lockdown, a very large number of migrant workers decided to move back from their places of employment to their native villages. The non-availability of transport created its own problems. Added to this was the fear of starvation and inconvenience to their families. This caused, the migrant workers to demand wages and transport facilities for returning to their villages. Their mental agony was accentuated by multiple factors such as a sudden loss of livelihood, possibility of lack of food and inability to assist in harvesting their rabi crop due to not being able to reach home in time. Reports of inadequate response of some districts in providing the essential boarding and lodging arrangements along the way multiplied their fears.

You have learnt many lessons from this situation when you were tasked to oversee the functioning of the District Disaster Relief Force in your district. In your opinion what ethical issues arose in the current migrant crisis? What do you understand by an ethical care giving state? What assistance can the civil society render to mitigate the sufferings of migrants in similar situations? (250 words)

Case-Study: ineligible beneficiary for health-scheme (2018)

Rakesh is a responsible district level officer, who enjoys the trust of his higher officials. Knowing his honesty, the government entrusted him with the responsibility of identifying the beneficiaries under a health care scheme meant for senior citizens. The criteria to be a beneficiary are the following:

  1. 60 years of age or above.
  2. Belonging to a reserved community.
  3. Family income of less than 1 Lakh rupees per annum.
  4. Post-treatment prognosis is likely to be high to make a positive difference to the quality of life of the beneficiary.

One day, an old couple visited Rakesh’s office with their application. They have been the residents of a village in his district since their birth. The old man is diagnosed with a rare condition that causes obstruction in the large intestine. As a consequence, he has severe abdominal pain frequently that prevents him from doing any physical labour. The couple has no children to support them. The expert surgeon whom they contacted is willing to do the surgery without charging any fee. However, the couple will have to bear the cost of incidental charges, such as medicines, hospitalization, etc., to the tune of rupees one lakh. The couple fulfils all the criteria except criterion ‘b’. However, any financial aid would certainly make a significant difference in their quality of life. How should Rakesh respond to the situation? (250 words, 20m)

Case-Study: IRS officer’s compassion for a public-spirited Doctor (2018)

Dr X is a leading medical practitioner in a city. He has set up a charitable trust through which he plans to establish a super-speciality hospital in the city to cater to the medical needs of all sections of the society. Incidentally, that part of the State had been neglected over the years. The proposed hospital would be a boon for the region. You are heading the tax investigation agency of that region. During an inspection of the doctor’s clinic, your officers have found out some major irregularities. A few of them are substantial which had resulted in considerable withholding of tax that should be paid by him now. The doctor is cooperative. He undertakes to pay the tax immediately. However, there are certain other deficiencies in his tax compliance which are purely technical in nature. If these technical defaults are pursued by the agency, considerable time and energy of the doctor will be diverted to issues which are not so serious, urgent or even helpful to the tax collection process. Further, in all probability, it will hamper the prospects of the hospital coming up. There are two options before you:

  1. Taking a broader view, ensure substantial tax compliance and ignore defaults that are merely technical in nature.
  2. Pursue the matter strictly and proceed on all fronts,whether substantial or merely technical.

As the head of the tax agency, which course of action will you opt and why? (250 words, 20 marks)

Case-Study: Help accident victim on interview day? (2017)

Q10. You are aspiring to become an IAS officer and you have cleared various stages and now you have been selected for the personal interview. On the day of the interview, on the way to the venue you saw an accident where a mother and child who happen to be your relatives were badly injured. They needed immediate help. What would you have done in such a situation? Justify your action. (250 Words, 20)

Case-Study: Child Labourers in Sivakasi (2013)

Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu is known for its manufacturing clusters on firecrackers and matches. The local economy of the area is largely dependent on firecrackers industry. It has led to tangible economic development and improved standard of living in the area.

So far as child labour norms for hazardous industries like firecrackers industry are concerned, International Labour Organization (ILO) has set the minimum age as 18 years. In India, however, this age is 14 years.

The units in industrial clusters of firecrackers can be classified into registered and non-registered entities. One typical unit is household-based work. Though the law is clear on the use of child labour employment norms in registered/non-registered units, it does not include household-based works. Household-based work means children working under the supervision of their parents/relatives. To evade child labour norms, several units project themselves as household-based works but employ children from outside. Needless to say that employing children saves the costs for these units leading to higher profits to the owners.

On your visit to one of the units at Sivakasi, the owner takes you around the unit which has about 10-15 children below 14 years of age. The owner tells you that in his household-based unit, the children are all his relatives. You notice that several children smirk, when the owner tells you this. On deeper enquiry, you figure out that neither the owner nor the children are able to satisfactorily establish their relationship with each other.

  1. Bring out and discuss the ethical issues involved in the above case.
  2. What would be your reaction after your above visit?

Case-Study: Dalit Cook in Mid-day Meal (2015)

You are the Sarpanch of a Panchayat. There is a primary school run by the government in your area. Midday meals are provided to the children attending the school. The Headmaster has now appointed a new cook in the school to prepare the meals. However, when it is found that the cook is from Dalit community, almost half of the children belonging to higher castes are not allowed to take meals by their parents. Consequently the attendance in the school falls sharply. This could result in the possibility of discontinuation of midday meal scheme, thereafter of teaching staff and subsequent closing down the school.

  1. Discuss some feasible strategies to overcome the conflict and to create right ambience.
  2. What should be the responsibilities of different social segments and agencies to create positive social ambience for accepting such changes?

Case-Study: Poor woman without documentary proof? (2016)

Suppose you are an officer in-charge of implementing a social service scheme to provide support to old and destitute women. An old and illiterate woman comes to you to avail the benefits of the scheme. However, she has no documents to show that she fulfils the eligibility criteria. But after meeting her and listening to her you feel that she certainly needs support. Your enquiries also show that she is really destitute and living in a pitiable condition. You are in a dilemma as to what to do. Putting her under the scheme without are documents would clearly be violation of rules. But denying her the support would be cruel and inhuman.

  1. Can you think of a rational way to resolve this dilemma?
  2. Give your reasons for it. (250 words)

[Block#4A] Public organizations

[Download] Topicwise UPSC Mains General Studies Paper with Mrunal's Analysis

Public Org- Theory

GSM4 Syllabus Topic: Public service values & Ethics in Public Administration; Strengthening of ethical & moral values in governance; Accountability & ethical governance; Philosophical basis of governance and probity

what is meant by constitutional morality? How does one uphold constitutional morality?(150 words, 10m) 2019
What do you understand by probity in governance? Based on your understanding of the term, suggest measures for ensuring probity in government. (150 words, 10m) 2019
What do you understand by the terms ‘governance’, ‘good governance’ and ‘ethical governance’? 2016
What do you understand by ‘probity’ in public life? What are the difficulties in practicing it in the present times? How can these difficulties be overcome? 2014
What does ethics seek to promote in human life? Why is it all the more important in public administration? 2014
The good of an individual is contained in the good of all. What do you understand by this statement? How can this principle be implemented in public life? 2013

Public Org- Dilemma

GSM4 Syllabus Topic: problems, dilemmas in Public Administration and public service.

From this topic, mainly case studies are formed- related to land acquisition; environmental conservation vs. economic development etc.

Distinguish between laws and rules. Discuss the role of ethics in formulating them. (150 words). 2020
What does this quotations mean to you in the present context:  “The true rule, in determining to embrace, or reject anything, is not whether it has any evil in it; but whether it has more evil than good. There are few things wholly evil or wholly good. Almost everything, especially of governmental policy, is an inseparable compound of the two; so that our best judgement of the preponderance between them is continually demanded. ” Abraham Lincoln. (150 words) 2018
Explain the process of resolving ethical dilemmas in Public Administration. (150 words) 2018
Suppose the Government of India is thinking of constructing a dam in a mountain valley bond by forests and inhabited by ethnic communities. What rational policy should it resort to in dealing with unforeseen contingencies (150 words) 2018

Case study: public org dilemma- Housing vs SEZ allocation (2020, 20m)

Rajesh Kumar is a senior public servant, with a reputation of honesty and forthrightness, currently posted in the Finance Ministry as the Head of the Budget Division. His department is presently busy in organizing the budgetary support to the states, four of which are due to the polls within the financial year.

This year’s annual budget had allotted Rs 8300 crores for the National Housing Scheme (NHS), a centrally sponsored social housing scheme for the weaker sections of society. Rs 775 crores have been drawn for NHS till June.

The Ministry of Commerce had long been pursuing a case for setting up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in a southern state to boost exports. After two years of detailed discussion between the center and state, the Union Cabinet approved the project in August. The process was initiated to acquire the necessary land.

Eighteen months ago a leading Public Sector Unit (PSU) had projected the need for setting up a large natural gas processing plant in a northern state for the regional gas grid. The land is already in possession of the PSU. The gas grid is an essential component of the national energy security strategy. After three rounds of global bidding, the project was allotted to an MNC, M/s XYZ Hydrocarbons. The first tranche of payment to the MNC is scheduled to be made in December.

Finance Ministry was asked for a timely allocation of an additional Rs 6000 crores for these two developmental projects. It was decided to recommend re-appropriation of this entire amount from NHS allocation. The file was forwarded to the Budget Department for their comments and further processing. On studying the case file, Rajesh Kumar realized that this re-appropriation may cause an inordinate delay in the execution of NHS, a project much publicized in the rallies of senior politicians. Correspondingly, the non-availability of finances would cause a financial loss in the SEZ and national embarrassment due to delayed payment in the international project.

Rajesh Kumar discussed the matter with seniors. He was conveyed that this politically sensitive situation needs to be processed immediately. Rajesh Kumar realized that diversion of funds from the NHS could raise difficult questions for the government in the Parliament.

Discuss the following with reference to this case:

  1. Ethical issues involved in re-appropriation of funds from a welfare project to the development projects.
  2. Given the need for proper utilization of public funds, discuss the options available to Rajesh Kumar. Is resigning a worthy option? (250 words)

Case Study: Angry villagers & Disaster relief (2019) 20marks

You are the heading the rescue operations in an area affected by severe natural calamity, thousands of people are rendered homeless and deprived of food, drinking water and other basic amenities. Rescue work has been disrupted by heavy rainfall and damaged to supply routes. The local people are seeding with anger against the delayed limited rescue operations. When your team reaches the affected area, the people there heckle and even assault some of the team members. One of your team members is even severely injured. Faced with this crisis some team member pleads with you to call off the operations freeing threats to their life.

In such trying circumstances, what will be your response? Examine the qualities of a public servant which will be required to manage the situations. (250 words) (20 marks)

Case Study: IPS Officer vs Drug Mafia (2019) 20marks

In one of the districts of a frontier state, narcotics menace has been rampant. This has resulted in money laundering, mushrooming of poppy farming, arms smuggling and near stalling of education. The system is on the verge of collapse. The situation has been further worsened by unconfirmed reports that local politicians, as well as some senior police officers, are providing surreptitious patronage to the drug mafia. At that point of time a woman police officer, known for her skills in handling such situations is appointed as superintendent of police to bring the situation to normalcy.

If you are the same police officer, identify the various dimensions of the crisis. Based on your understanding, suggest measures to deal with the crisis. (250 words) (20 marks)

Case-Study: Enforcing liquor prohibition in backward area (2018)

It is a State where prohibition is in force. You are recently appointed as the Superintendent of Police of a district notorious for illicit distillation of liquor. The illicit liquor leads to many death, reported and unreported, and causes a major problem for the district authorities. The approach till now had been to view it as a law and order problem and tackle it accordingly. Raids, arrest, police cases, and criminal trials – all these had only limited impact. The problem remains as serious as ever. Your inspections show that the parts of the district where the distillation flourishes are economically, industrially and educationally backward. Agriculture is badly affected by poor irrigation facilities. Frequent clashes among communities gave boost to illicit distillation. No major initiatives had taken place in the past either from the government’s side or from social organizations to improve the lot of the people. Which new approach will you adopt to bring the problem under control? (250 words, 20 marks)

Case-Study: Polluting factory closure leading to unemployment (2018)

A big corporate house is engaged in manufacturing industrial chemicals on a large scale. It proposes to set upon the additional unit. Many states rejected its proposal due to the detrimental effect on the environment. But one state government acceded to the request and permitted the unit close to a city, brushing aside all opposition. The unit was set up 10 years ago and was in full swing till recently. The pollution caused by the industrial effluents was affecting the land, water and crops in the area. It was also causing serious health problems to human beings and animals. This gave rise to a series of agitation thousands of people took part, creating a law and order problem necessitating stern police action. Following the public outcry, the State government ordered the closure of the factory. The closure of the factory resulted in the unemployment of not only those workers who were engaged in the factory but also those who were working in the ancillary units. It also very badly affected those industry which depended on the chemicals manufactured by it. As a senior officer entrusted with the responsibility of handling this issues, how are you going to address it? (250 words, 20 marks)

Case-Study: Environment degradation (2014)

Now-a-days, there is an increasing thrust on economic development all around the globe. At the same time, there is also an increasing concern about environmental degradation caused by development. Many a time, we face a direct conflict between developmental activity and environmental quality. It is neither feasible to stop or curtail the development process, nor it is advisable to keep degrading the environment, as it threatens our very survival.

Discuss some feasible strategies which could be adopted to eliminate this conflict and which could lead to sustainable development. 250 words

Case-Study: Why villagers migrate? (2014)

In our country, the migration of rural people to towns and cities is increasing drastically. This is causing serious problems both in the rural as well as in the urban areas. In fact, things are becoming really unmanageable. Can you analyze this problem in detail and indicate not only the socio-economic but also the emotional and attitudinal factors responsible for this problem? Also, distinctly bring out why—

  1. Educated rural youth are trying to shift to urban areas;
  2. Landless poor people are migrating to urban slums;
  3. Even some farmers are selling off their land and trying to settle in urban areas taking up petty jobs.

What feasible steps can you suggest which will be effective in controlling this serious problem of our country?

Case-Study: Disaster management (2015)

There is a disaster-prone State having frequent landslides, forest fires, cloudbursts, flash floods and earthquakes, etc. Some of these are seasonal and often unpredictable. The magnitude of the disaster is always unanticipated. During one of the seasons, a cloudburst caused devastating floods and landslides leading to high casualties. There was major damage to infrastructure like roads, bridges and power generating units. This led to more than 100000 pilgrims, tourists and other locals trapped across different routes and locations. The people trapped in your area of responsibility included senior citizens, patients in hospitals, women and children, hikers, tourists, ruling party’s regional president along with his family, additional jail. As secretary State and prisoners in jail.

As a civil services officer of the State, what would be the order in which you would rescue these people and why? Give justifications.

Case-Study: Draft better Land-acquisition policy (2016)

Land needed for mining, dams and other large-scale projects is acquired mostly from Adivasis, hill dwellers and rural communities. The displaced persons are paid monetary compensation as per the legal provisions. However, the payment is often tardy. In any case, it cannot sustain the displaced families for long. These people do not possess marketable skills to engage in some other occupation. They end up as low paid migrant labourers. Moreover, their living is destroyed. Thus, the benefits of traditional ways of community development go to industries, industrialists and urban communities whereas the costs are passed on to these poor helpless people. This unjust distribution of costs and benefits is unethical. Suppose you have been entrusted with the task of drafting a better compensation-cum-rehabilitation policy for such displaced persons, how would you approach the problem and what would be the main elements of your suggested policy? (250 words)

Public org- Code of conduct / ethics

GSM4 Syllabus Topic: Codes of Ethics; Codes of Conduct; Laws, rules, regulations, conscience as sources of ethical Guidance.

What are the basic principles of public life? Illustrate any three of these with suitable examples.(150 words, 10m) 2019
What is meant by ‘crisis of conscience’? How does it manifest itself in the public domain? (150 words, 10m) 2019
Distinguish between “Code of ethics” and “Code of conduct” with suitable examples. (150 words) 2018
Discuss the Public Services Code as recommended by the 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission. 2016

Case Study: Ethics in Civil Services (2019) 20marks

In recent times, there has been an increasing concern in India to develop effective civil service ethics, code of conduct, transparency measures, ethics and integrity systems and anti-corruption agencies. In view of this, there is a need being felt to focus on three specific areas, which are directly relevant to the problems of internalizing integrity and ethics in the civil services. These are as follows:

  1. Anticipating specific threats to ethical standards and integrity in the civil services,
  2. Strengthening the ethical competence of civil servant and
  3. Developing administrative processes and practices which promote ethical values and integrity in civil services.

Suggest institutional measures to address the above three issues. (250 words) (20 marks)

Public Org-Charter

GSM4 Syllabus Topic: Citizens Charters; Quality of Service Delivery; Probity in Governance, concept of public service;

Explain the basic principles of citizens’ charter movement and bring out its importance. (150 words, 10m) 2019

Public Org-Corruption

GSM4 Syllabus Topic: Challenges of Corruption; Utilization of public funds

Effective utilisation of public funds is crucial to meet development goals. Critically examine the reasons for under-utilization and mis-utilisation of public funds and their implications.(150 words, 10m) 2019
“Non-performance of duty by a public servant is a form of corruption” Do you agree with this view? Justify your answer (150 words, 10m) 2019
What is meant by conflict of interest? Illustrate with examples, the difference between the actual and potential conflicts of interest. (150 words) 2018
“If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. they are father, the mother and the teacher.” – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. Analyse. 2017
It is often said that poverty leads to corruption. However, there is no dearth of instances where affluent and powerful people indulge in corruption in a big way. What are the basic causes of corruption among people? Support your answer with examples. 2014

Case Study:  corruption in municipal construction (2020, 20m)

You are a municipal commissioner of a large city, having the reputation of a very honest and upright officer. A huge multipurpose mall is under construction in your city in which a large number of daily wage earners are employed. One night, during monsoons, a big chunk of the roof collapsed causing instant death of four labourers including two minors. Many more were seriously injured requiring immediate medical attention. The mishap resulted in a big hue and cry, forcing the government to institute an enquiry.

Your preliminary enquiry has revealed a series of anomalies. The material used for the construction was of poor quality. Despite the approved building plans permitting only one basement, an additional basement has been constructed. This was overlooked during the periodic inspections by the building inspector of the municipal corporation. In your enquiry, you noticed that the construction of the mall was given the green signal despite encroaching on areas earmarked for a green belt and a slip road in the Zonal Master Plan of the city. The permission to construct the mall was accorded by the previous Municipal Commissioner who is not only your senior and well known to you professionally, but also a good friend.

Prima facie, the case appears to be of a widespread nexus between officials of the Municipal Corporation and the builders. Your colleagues are putting pressure on you to go slow in the enquiry. The builder, who is rich and influential, happens to be a close relative of a powerful minister in the state cabinet. The builder is persuading you to hush up the matter, promising you a fortune to do so. He also hinted that if this matter is not resolved at the earliest in his favour there is somebody in his office who is waiting to file a case against you under the POSH act.

Discuss the ethical issues involved in the case. What are the options available to you in this situation? Explain your selected course of action. (250 words)

Case Study: Honest mistakes by Civil Servants (2019) 20marks

Honesty and uprightness are the hallmarks of civil servants. Civil servants possessing these qualities are considered as a backbone of any strong organizations. In the line of duty, they take various decisions, at time some become bonafide mistakes. As long as such decisions, are not taken intentionally and do not benefit personally, the officer cannot be said to be guilty. Though such decisions may, at times, lead to unforeseen adverse consequences in the long term.

In the recent past, a few instances have surfaced wherein civil servants have been implicated for bonafide mistakes. They have often been prosecuted and even imprisoned. These instances have greatly rattled the moral fibre of the civil servants.

How does this trend affect the functioning of civil services? What measures can be taken to ensure that honest civil servants are not implicated for bonafide mistakes on their part? Justify your answer. (250 words) (20 marks)

Case-Study: Obliging to minister’s wishes for land-deal (2018)

As a senior officer in the Ministry, you have access to important policy decisions and upcoming big announcements such as road constructions projects before they are notified in the public domain. The Ministry is about to announce a mega road project for which the drawings are already in place. Sufficient care was taken by the planners to make use of the government land with the minimum land acquisition from private parties. Compensation rate for private parties was also finalized as per government rules. Care was also taken to minimize deforestation. Once the project is announced, it is expected that there will be a huge spurt in real estate prices in and around that area. Meanwhile, the Minister concerned insists that you realign the road in such a way that it comes closer to his 20 acres farmhouse. He also suggests that he would facilitate the purchase of a big plot of land in your wife name at the prevailing rate which is very nominal, in and around the proposed mega road project. He also tries to convince you by saying that there is no harm in it as he is buying the land legally. He even promises to supplement your savings in case you do not have sufficient funds to buy the land. However, by the act of realignment, a lot of agricultural lands has to be acquired, thereby causing a considerable financial burden on the government, and also the displacement of the farmers. As if this is not enough, it will involve cutting down of a large number of trees denuding the area of its green cover. Faced with this situation, what will you do? Critically examine various conflicts of interest and explain what your responsibilities are as a public servant. (250 words, 20 marks)

Case-Study: illegal building collapse? (2017)

Q13. A building permitted for three floors, while being extended illegally to 6 floors by a builder, collapses. As a consequence, a number of innocent labourers including women and children died. These labourers are migrants of different places. The government immediately announced cash relief to the aggrieved families and arrested the builder. Give reasons for such incidents taking place across the country. Suggest measures to prevent their occurrence. (250 Words, 20)

Case-Study: Opinion as honest officer (2017)

Q9. You are an honest and responsible civil servant. You often observe the following:

  1. There is a general perception that adhering to ethical conduct one may face difficulties to oneself and cause problems for the family, whereas unfair practices may help to reach the career goals.
  2. When the number of people adopting unfair means is large, a small minority having a penchant towards ethical means makes no difference.
  3. Sticking to ethical means is detrimental to the larger developmental goals
  4. While one may not involve oneself in large unethical practices, but giving and accepting small gifts makes the system more efficient.

Examine the above statements with their merits and demerits. (250 Words, 20)

Case-Study: “Shivaji-the Boss”: Movie plot (2016)

Saraswati was a successful IT professional in USA. Moved by the patriotic sense of doing something for the country she returned to India. Together with some other like-minded friends, she formed an NGO to build a school for a poor rural community.

The objective of the school was to provide the best quality modern education at a nominal cost. She soon discovered that she has to seek permission from a number of Governments agencies.  The rules and procedures were quite confusing and cumbersome. What frustrated her most was the delays, callous attitude of officials and constant demand of bribes. Her experience and the experience of many others like her has deterred people from taking up social service projects.

A measure of Government control over voluntary social work is necessary. But it should not be exercised in a coercive or corrupt manner. What measures can you suggest to ensure that due control is exercised but well meaning, honest NGO efforts are not thwarted? (25 marks)

Public Org-RTI / Transparency

GSM4 Syllabus Topic: Information (sharing & transparency in government); RTI;

There is a view that the official secrets act is an obstacle to the implementation of the Rights to Information act. Do you agree with the view? Discuss (150 words, 10m) 2019
“The Right to Information Act is not all about citizens’ empowerment alone, it essentially redefines the concept of accountability. Discuss. (150 words) 2018
Some recent developments such as introduction of RTI Act, media and judicial activism, etc., are proving helpful in bringing about greater transparency and accountability in the functioning of the government. However, it is also being observed that at times the mechanisms are misused. Another negative effect is that the officers are now afraid to take prompt decisions. Analyze this situation in detail and suggest how this dichotomy can be resolved. Suggest how these negative impacts can be minimized. 2015
Today we find that in spite of various measures like prescribing codes of conduct, setting up vigilance cells/commissions, RTI, active media and strengthening of legal mechanisms, corrupt practices are not coming under control. A) Evaluate the effectiveness of these measures with justifications. B) Suggest more effective strategies to tackle this menace. 2015

Case-Study: Snowden’s whistleblowing: right / wrong? (2018)

Edward Snowden, a computer expert and former CIA administrator, released confidential Government documents to the press about the existence of Government surveillance programmes. According to many legal experts and the US Government, his action violated the Espionage act of 1971, which identified the leak of State secret as an act of treason. Yet, despite the fact that he broke the law, Snowden argued that he had a moral obligation to act. He gave a justification for his “whistle blowing” by stating that he had a duty “to inform the public as to that which is done in there name and that which is done against them.” According to Snowden, the Government’s violation of privacy had to be exposed regardless of legality since more substantive issues of social action and public morality were involved here. Many agreed with Snowden. Few argued that he broke the law and compromised national security, for which he should be held accountable.

Do you agree that Snowden’s actions were ethically justified even if legally prohibited? Why or why not? Make an argument by weighing the competing values in this case (250 words, 20 marks)

Case-Study: PIO should do RTI stonewalling™ (2017)

Q14. You are a Public Information Officer (PIO) in a government department. You are aware that the RTI Act 2005 envisages transparency and accountability in administration. The act has functioned as a check on the supposedly arbitrarily administrative behaviour and actions. However, as a PIO you have observed that there are citizens who filed RTI applications not for themselves but on behalf of such stakeholders who purportedly want to have access to information to further their own interests. At the same time there are these RTI activists who routinely file RTI applications and attempt to extort money from the decision makers. This type of RTI activism has affected the functioning of the administration adversely and also possibly jeopardises the genuineness of the applications which are essentially aimed at getting justice. What measures would you suggest to separate genuine and non-genuine applications? Give merits and demerits of your suggestions. (250 Words, 20)

Case-Study: RTI: To hide or not to hide (2013)

In the following questions, carefully study the cases presented and then answer the questions that follow:

Q9. A Public Information Officer has received an application under RTI Act. Having gathered the information, the PIO discovers that the information pertains to some of the decisions taken by him, which were found to be not altogether right. There were other employees also who party to these decisions were. Disclosure of the information is likely to lead to disciplinary action with possibility of punishment against him as well as some of his colleagues. Non-disclosure or part disclosure or camouflaged disclosure of information will result into lesser punishment or no punishment.

The PIO is otherwise an honest and conscientious person but this particular decision, on which the RTI application has been filed, turned out to be wrong. He comes to you for advice.

The following are some suggested options. Please evaluate the merits and demerits of each of the options:

  1. The PIO could refer the matter to his superior officer and seek his advice and act strictly in accordance with the advice, even though he is not completely in agreement with the advice of the superior.
  2. The PIO could proceed on leave and leave the matter to be dealt by his successor in office or request for transfer of the application to another PIO.
  3. The PIO could weigh the consequences of disclosing the information truthfully, including the effect on his career, and reply in a manner that would not place him or his career in jeopardy, but at the same time a little compromise can be made on the contents of the information.
  4. The PIO could consult his other colleagues who are party to the decision and take action as per their advice.

Also please indicate (without necessarily restricting to the above options) what you would like to advise, giving proper reasons. (20 marks| 250 words)

Case-Study: 5: Leaking information (2013)

Q13.As a senior officer in the Finance Ministry, you have access to some confidential and crucial information about policy decisions that the Government is about to announce. These decisions are likely to have far-reaching impact on the housing and construction industry. If the builders have access to this information beforehand, they can make huge profits. One of the builders has done a lot of quality work for the Government and is known to be close to your immediate superior, who asks you to disclose this information to the said builder. (20 marks| 250 words)

  1. What are the options available to you?
  2. Evaluate each of these options and choose the option which you would adopt, giving reasons.

[Block#4B] International Relations (IR)

GSM4 Syllabus Topic: Ethical issues in international relations and funding

Discuss the role of ethics and values in enhancing the following three major components of Comprehensive National Power(CNP)viz. human capital, soft power(culture and policies), and social harmony. (150 words) 2020
‘The will to power exits, but it can be tamed and be guided by rationality and principles of moral duty.’ Examine this statement in the context of international relations. (150 words) 2020
Strength, peace and security are considered to be the pillars of international relations. Elucidate. 2017
At the international level, the bilateral relations between most nations are governed on the policy of promoting one’s own national interest without any regard for the interest of other nations. This leads to conflicts and tensions between the nations. How can ethical consideration help resolve such tensions? Discuss with specific examples. 2015

Case Study: IR-defends export to friendly countries (2020, 20m)

The Chairman of Bharat Missiles Ltd (BML) was watching a program on TV wherein the Prime Minister was addressing the nation on the necessity of developing a self-reliant India. He subconsciously nodded in agreement and smiled to himself as he mentally reviewed BML’s journey in the past two decades. BML had admirably progressed from producing first-generation anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) to designing and producing state of the art ATGM weapon systems that would be the envy of any army. He sighed in reconciliation with his assumptions that the government would probably not alter the status quo of a ban on the export of military weaponry.

To his surprise, the very next day he got a telephone call from the Director-General, Ministry of Defence, asking him to discuss the modalities of increasing BML production of ATGMs as there is a probability of exporting the same to a friendly country. The Director-General wanted the Chairman to discuss the details with his staff in Delhi next week.

Two days later, at a press conference, the Defence Minister stated that he aims to double the current weapons export levels within five years. This would give an impetus to financing the development and manufacturing of indigenous weapons in the country. He also stated that all indigenous arms manufacturing nations have a very good record of the international arms trade.

As the Chairman of BML, what are your views on the following points?

  1. As an arms exporter of a responsible nation like India, what are the ethical issues involved in arms trade?
  2. List five ethical factors that would influence the decision to sell arms to foreign governments. (250 words)

[Block#5] Private organizations / CSR

GSM4 Syllabus Topic: Corporate Governance; Ethical concerns and dilemmas in government & private institutions

Corporate social responsibility makes companies more profitable and sustainable. Analyse. 2017
Increased national wealth did not result in equitable distribution of its benefits. It has created only some “enclaves of modernity and prosperity for a small minority at the cost of the majority.” Justify. 2017

Case studies have been asked from this topic, rather than direct questions. Theme is usually bribing, displacement, environmental degradation.

Case Study: CSR Funding in Amaria (2020, 20m)

Parmal is a small but underdeveloped district. It has a rocky terrain that is not suitable for agriculture, though some subsistence agriculture is being done on small plots of land. The area receives adequate rainfall and has an irrigation canal flowing through it. Amria, its administrative centre, is a medium-sized town. It houses a large district hospital, an Industrial Training Institute and some privately owned skill training centres. It has all the facilities of a district headquarters. A trunk railway line passes approximately 50 kilometers from Amria. Its poor connectivity is a major reason for the absence of any major industry therein. The state government offers a 10 year tax holiday as an incentive to new industry.

In 2010 Anil, an industrialist decided to take benefits to set up Amria Plastic Works (APW) in Noora village, about 20km from Amria. While the factory was being built, Anil hired the required key labour and got them trained at the skill training centres at Amria. This act of his made the key personnel very loyal to APW.

APW started production in 2011 with the labour drawn fully from Noora village. The villagers were very happy to get employment near their homes and were motivated by the key personnel to meet the production targets with high quality. APW started making large profits, a sizeable portion of which was used to improve the quality of life in Noora. By 2016, Noora could boast of a greener village and a renovated village temple. Anil liaised with the local MLA to increase the frequency of the bus services to Amria. The government also opened a primary health care centre and primary school at Noora in buildings constructed by APW. APW used its CSR funds to set up women’s self-help groups, subsidize primary education to the village children and procure an ambulance for use by its employeed and the needy.

In 2019, there was a minor fire in APW. It was quickly extinguished as fire safety protocols were in place in the factory. Investigations revealed that the factory had been using electricity in excess of its authorized capacity. This was soon rectified. The next year, due to nationwide lockdown, the requirement of production fell for four months. Anil decided that all employees would be paid regularly. He employed them to plant trees and improve the village habitat.

APW had developed a reputation of high-quality production and a motivated workforce.

Critically analyse the story of APW and state the ethical issues involved. Do you consider APW as a role model for the development of backward areas? Give reasons. (250 words)

Case Study: Sexual Harassment in Pvt Company (2019) 20marks

An apparel manufacturing company having a large number of women employees was losing sales due to various factors. The company hired a reputed marketing executive, who increased the volume of sales within a short span of time. However, some unconfirmed reports came up regarding his indulgence in sexual harassment at the workplace.

After sometime a women employee launched a formal complaint to the management against the marketing executive about sexually harassing her. Faced with the companies’ indifference, in not taking cognizance of her grievances, she lodged an FIR with the police.

Realizing the sensitivity and gravity of the situation, the company called the women employee to negotiate. In that she was offered a hefty sum of money to withdraw the complaint and the FIR and also give in writing that the marketing executive is not involved in the case.

Identify the ethical issues involved in this case. What options are available to the women employee? (250 words) (20 marks)

Case-Study: Give compensation to dead drunkard worker’s family (2017)

Q11. You are the head of the Human Resources department of an organisation. One day one of the workers died on duty. His family was demanding compensation. However, the company denied compensation because it was revealed in investigation that he was drunk at the time of the accident. The workers of the company went to strike demanding compensation for the family of the deceased. The Chairman of the management board has asked for your recommendation. What recommendation would you provide the management? Discuss the merits and demerits of each of the recommendations. (250 Words, 20)

Case-Study: Fake testimony to save manager? (2017)

Q12. You are the manager of a spare parts company A and you have to negotiate a deal with the manager of a large manufacturing company B. The deal is highly competitive and sealing the deal is critical for your company. The deal is being worked out over a dinner. After dinner the manager of manufacturing company B offered to drop you to the hotel in his car. On the way to hotel he happens to hit motorcycle injuring the motorcyclist badly. You know the manager was driving fast and thus lost control. The law enforcement officer comes to investigate the issue and you are the sole eyewitness to it. Knowing the strict laws pertaining to road accidents you are aware that your honest account of the incident would lead to the prosecution of the manager and as a consequence the deal is likely to be jeopardised, which is of immense importance to your company. What are the dilemmas you face? What will be your response to the situation? (250 Words, 20)

Case-Study: give bribe or end career (2014)

Suppose you are the CEO of a company that manufactures specialized electronic equipment used by a government department. You have submitted your bid for the supply of this equipment to the department. Both the quality and cost of your offer are better than those of the competitors. Yet the concerned officer is demanding a hefty bribe for approving the tender. Getting the order is important both for you and for your company. Not getting the order would mean closing a production line. It may also affect your own career. However, as a value-conscious person, you do not want to give bribe.

Valid arguments can be advanced both for giving the bribe and getting the order, and for refusing to pay the bribe and risking the loss of the order. What those arguments could be? Could there be any better way to get out of this dilemma? If so outline the main elements of this third way, pointing out its merits. 250 words.

Case-Study: Trade union issue (2015)

A private company is known for its efficiency, transparency and employee welfare. The company though owned by a private individual has a cooperative character where employees feel a sense of ownership. The company employs nearly 700 personnel and they have voluntarily decided not to form a union.

One day suddenly in the morning, about 40 men belonging to a political party gatecrashed into the factory demanding jobs in the factory. They threatened the management and employees, and also used foul language. The employees feel demoralized. It was clear that those people who gate-crashed wanted to be on the payroll of the company as well as continue as the volunteers/members of the party. The company maintains high standards in integrity and does not extend favours to civil administration that also includes law enforcement agency. Such incidents occur in public sector also.

  1. Assume you are the CEO of the company. What would you do to diffuse the volatile situation on the date of gate-crashing with the violent mob sitting inside the company premises?
  2. What could be the long-term solution to the issue discussed in the case?
  3. Every solution/action that you suggest will have a positive and a negative impact on you (as CEO), the employees and the performance of the employees. Analyze the consequences of each of your suggested actions. (250 words)

Case-Study: To do Drug Research on non-profitable disease or not? (2015)

One of the scientists working in the R & D laboratory of a major pharmaceutical company discovers that one of the company’s best selling veterinary drugs, B has the potential to cure a currently incurable liver disease that is prevalent in tribal areas. However, developing a variant of the drug suitable for human beings entailed a lot of research and development having a huge expenditure to the extent of 50 crores rupees. It was unlikely that the company would recover the costs as the disease was rampant only in poverty-stricken area having very little market otherwise.

If you were the CEO, then—

(a) Identify the various actions that you could take;

(b) Evaluate the pros and cons of each of your actions.

Case-Study: To Whistle-blow against Polluting industry or not? (2016)

A fresh  engineering graduate gets a job in a prestigious chemical industry. She likes the work. The salary is also good. However, after a few months accidentally discovers that a highly toxic waste is being secretly discharged into a river nearby. This is causing health problems to the villagers downstream who depend on the river for their water needs. She is perturbed and mentions her concern to her colleagues who have been with the company for longer periods. They advise her to keep quite as anyone who mentions the topic is summarily dismissed. She cannot risk losing her job as she is the sole bread-winner for her family and has to support her ailing parents and siblings.

At first, she thinks that if her seniors are keeping quiet, why should she stick out her neck. But her conscience pricks her to do something to save the river and the people who depend upon it. At heart she feels that the advice of silence given by her friends is not correct though she cannot give reasons for it. She thinks you are a wise person and seeks your advice.

  1. What arguments can you advance to show her that keeping quiet is not morally right?
  2. What course of action would you advise her to adopt and why?

Case-Study: New Project hurting lifestyle of locals? (2016)

ABC Ltd. is a large transnational company having diversified business activities with a huge shareholder base. The company is continuously expanding and generating employment. The company, in its expansion and diversification programme, decides to establish a new plant at Vikaspuri, an area which is underdeveloped. The new plant is designed to use energy efficient technology that will help the company to save production cost by 20%. The company’s decision goes well with the Government policy of attracting investment to develop such underdeveloped regions. The Government has also announced tax holiday for five years for the companies that invest in underdeveloped areas. However, the new plant may bring chaos for the inhabitants of Vikaspuri region which is otherwise tranquil. The new plant may result in increased cost of living, aliens migrating to the region, disturbing the social and economic order. The company sensing the possible protest tried to educate the people of Vikaspuri region and public in general that how its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy would help overcome the likely difficulties of the residents of Vikaspuri region. In spite of this the protests begin and some of the residents decided to approach the judiciary as their plea before the Government did not yield any result. (25 marks)

(a)  Identify the issues involved in the case.

(b)  What can be suggested to satisfy Company’s goal and to address the resident’s concern. (300 words)

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7 Comments on “[Download] UPSC Mains General Studies Paper-4 (GSM4) Topicwise Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude – All Papers (2013-2020)”

  1. Dear sir,
    There is a typing mistake in Question no. 2 in section (thinkers and reformer) of GS-4, written as ‘gender resposibility’ instead of ‘ gender inequality’.
    Please correct it!
    Thanks

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