UPSC Mains 2023 GS4 Model Answer

Q. You hold a responsible position in a ministry in the government. One day in the morning you received a call from the school of your 11-year-old son that you are required to come and meet the Principal.

Q. You hold a responsible position in a ministry in the government. One day in the morning you received a call from the school of your 11-year-old son that you are required to come and meet the Principal.

You proceed to the school and find your son in the Principal’s office. The Principal informs you that your son had been found wandering aimlessly in the grounds during the time classes were in progress. The class teacher further informs you that your son has lately become a loner and did not respond to questions in the class, he had also been unable to perform well in the football trials held recently. You bring your son back from the school and in the evening, you along with your wife try to find out the reasons for your son’s changed behaviour. After repeated cajoling, your son shares that some children had been making fun of him in the class as well as in the WhatsApp group of the students by calling him stunted, duh and a frog. He tells you the names of a few children who are the main culprits but pleads with you to let the matter rest.

After a few days, during a sporting event, where you and your wife have gone to watch your son play, one of your colleague’s son shows you a video in which students have caricatured your son. Further, he also points out to the perpetrators who were sitting in the stands. You purposefully walk past them with your son and go home. Next day, you find on social media, a video denigrating you, your son and even your wife, stating that you engaged in physical bullying of children on the sports field. The video became viral on social media. Your friends and colleagues began calling you to find out the details. One of your juniors advised you to make a counter video giving the background and explaining that nothing had happened on the field. You, in turn posted a video which you have captured during the sporting event, identifying the likely perpetrators who were responsible for your son’s predicament. You have also narrated what has actually happened in the field and made attempts to bring out the adverse effects of the misuse of social media.

(a) Based on the above case study, discuss the ethical issues involved in the use of social media.
(b) Discuss the pros and cons of using social media by you to put across the facts to counter the fake propaganda against your family.

Question from UPSC Mains 2023 GS4 Paper

Model Answer: 

Ethical Issues Involved in the Use of Social Media

1. Cyberbullying: The case highlights the issue of cyberbullying, where the child is being made fun of and ridiculed both in the class and on social media. This is a serious ethical issue as it involves harassment and humiliation of an individual, which can lead to severe emotional distress and psychological harm.

2. Misinformation and Propaganda: The spread of false information about the father’s alleged physical bullying on the sports field is another ethical issue. This can lead to defamation and damage to the reputation of the individual and their family.

3. Privacy Invasion: The use of social media to publicly ridicule and denigrate the child and his family is an invasion of their privacy. This is ethically wrong as everyone has the right to privacy and respect.

4. Misuse of Technology: The misuse of social media platforms for personal vendetta or to harm others is unethical. It goes against the intended purpose of these platforms which is to foster positive communication and sharing of information.

Pros and Cons of Using Social Media to Counter Fake Propaganda

Pros:

1. Transparency: Using social media to put across the facts can bring transparency to the situation. It can help in clarifying the situation and dispelling any false rumors.

2. Wide Reach: Social media has a wide reach, which can help in disseminating the correct information to a large audience quickly and efficiently.

3. Support: It can help in garnering support from the public, friends, and colleagues who may not be aware of the actual situation.

Cons:

1. Escalation: Responding to the situation on social media can escalate the issue further. It can attract more unwanted attention and potentially exacerbate the situation.

2. Privacy Concerns: Sharing personal issues on social media can lead to further invasion of privacy. It can expose the child and the family to more criticism and ridicule.

3. Misinterpretation: The information shared on social media can be misinterpreted or twisted by others to fit their narrative. This can lead to further spread of misinformation.

In conclusion, while social media can be a powerful tool for communication and sharing of information, it is important to use it responsibly and ethically. Cyberbullying, invasion of privacy, and spread of misinformation are serious ethical issues that need to be addressed. It is also important to consider the potential consequences before using social media to counter false propaganda.

Q. You hold a responsible position in a ministry in the government. One day in the morning you received a call from the school of your 11-year-old son that you are required to come and meet the Principal. Read More »

Q. You have just been appointed as Additional Director General of Central Public Works Department. The Chief Architect of your division, who is to retire in six months, is passionately working on a very important project, the successful completion of which would earn him a lasting reputation for the rest of his life.

Q. You have just been appointed as Additional Director General of Central Public Works Department. The Chief Architect of your division, who is to retire in six months, is passionately working on a very important project, the successful completion of which would earn him a lasting reputation for the rest of his life.

A new lady architect. Seema, trained at Manchester School of Architecture, UK joined as Senior Architect in your division. During the briefing about the project, Seema made some suggestions which would not only add value to the project, but would also reduce completion time. This has made the Chief Architect insecure and he is constantly worried that all the credit will go to her. Subsequently, he adopted a passive and aggressive behaviour towards her and has become disrespectful to her. Seema felt it embarrassing as the Chief Architect left no chance of humiliating her. He would very often correct her in front of other colleagues and raise his voice while speaking to her. This continuous harassment has resulted in her losing confidence and self-esteem. She felt perpetually tensed, anxious and stressed. She appeared to be in awe of him since he has had a long tenure in the office and has vast experience in the area of her work.

You are aware of her outstanding academic credentials and career record in her previous organisations. However, you fear that this harassment may result in compromising her much needed contribution in this important project and may adversely impact her emotional well-being. You have also come to know from her peers that she is contemplating tendering her resignation.

(a) What are the ethical issues involved in the above case?
(b) What are the options available to you in order to complete the project as well as to retain Seema in the organization?
(c) What would be your response to Seema’s predicament? What measures would you institute to prevent such occurrences from happening in your organization ?

Question from UPSC Mains 2023 GS4 Paper

Model Answer: 

Ethical Issues Involved:

1. Workplace Harassment: The Chief Architect’s behaviour towards Seema is a clear case of workplace harassment. His actions are causing emotional distress to Seema and affecting her productivity and self-esteem.
2. Professional Jealousy: The Chief Architect’s insecurity and fear of losing credit for his work is leading to unprofessional behaviour and is creating a hostile work environment.
3. Lack of Respect: The Chief Architect’s disrespectful behaviour towards Seema is not only unethical but also goes against the basic principles of a professional workplace.
4. Gender Discrimination: The Chief Architect’s behaviour could also be interpreted as gender discrimination, as he is targeting Seema, a female employee.
5. Compromise on Quality: The Chief Architect’s personal issues are causing a potential compromise on the quality of the project.

Options Available:

1. Mediation: A formal or informal mediation session could be arranged between Seema and the Chief Architect. This would provide a platform for both parties to express their views and concerns, and a resolution could be reached.
2. Sensitization Training: The Chief Architect could be made to attend a sensitization training which would help him understand the impact of his behaviour on his colleagues.
3. Reassignment: If the situation does not improve, the Chief Architect could be reassigned to another project, and Seema could be given the responsibility of the current project.
4. Counseling: Seema could be provided with professional counseling to help her regain her confidence and deal with the stress.

Response to Seema’s Predicament:

1. Assure Support: As the Additional Director General, I would assure Seema of my full support and take immediate steps to address the issue.
2. Address the Issue: I would have a frank discussion with the Chief Architect about his behaviour and its impact on the team and the project. I would make it clear that such behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
3. Create a Safe Environment: I would take steps to create a safe and respectful work environment where every employee is treated with dignity and respect.
4. Implement Policies: I would ensure that policies against workplace harassment and discrimination are in place and are strictly enforced.

Preventive Measures:

1. Regular Training: Regular sensitization and awareness training sessions should be conducted for all employees to prevent such incidents.
2. Grievance Redressal Mechanism: A robust grievance redressal mechanism should be in place to address any complaints of harassment or discrimination.
3. Strict Policies: Strict policies against workplace harassment and discrimination should be implemented and enforced.
4. Regular Monitoring: Regular monitoring and review of the workplace environment should be done to ensure that it is safe and respectful for all employees.

In conclusion, the situation calls for immediate action to protect the rights and well-being of Seema while also ensuring the successful completion of the project. The actions taken should also serve as a deterrent for any such behaviour in the future.

Q. You have just been appointed as Additional Director General of Central Public Works Department. The Chief Architect of your division, who is to retire in six months, is passionately working on a very important project, the successful completion of which would earn him a lasting reputation for the rest of his life. Read More »

Q. Vinod is an honest and sincere IAS officer. Recently, he has taken over as Managing Director of the State Road Transport Corporation, his sixth transfer in the past three years.

Q. Vinod is an honest and sincere IAS officer. Recently, he has taken over as Managing Director of the State Road Transport Corporation, his sixth transfer in the past three years.

His peers acknowledge his vast knowledge, affability and uprightness. The Chairman of the State Road Transport Corporation is a powerful politician and is very close to the Chief Minister. Vinod comes to know about many alleged irregularities of the Corporation and the high-handedness of the Chairman in financial matters.

A Board Member of the Corporation belonging to the Opposition Party meets Vinod and hands over a few documents along with a video recording in which the Chairman appears to be demanding bribe for placing a huge order for the supply of QMR tyres. Vinod recollects the Chairman expediting clearing of pending bills of QMR tyres.

Vinod confronts the Board Member as to why he is shying away from exposing the Chairman with the so-called solid proof he has with him. The member informs him that the Chairman refuses to yield to his threats. He adds that Vinod may earn recognition and public support if he himself exposes he Chairman. Further, he tells Vinod that once his party comes to power, Vinod’s professional growth would be assured.

Vinod is aware that he may be penalized if he exposes the Chairman and may further be transferred to a distant place. He knows that the Opposition Party stands a better chance of coming to power in the forthcoming elections. However, he also realizes that the Board Member is trying to use him for his own political gains.

(a) As a conscientious civil servant, evaluate the options available to Vinod.
(b) In the light of the above case, comment upon the ethical issues that may arise due to the politicization of bureaucracy.

Question from UPSC Mains 2023 GS4 Paper

Model Answer: 

Options Available to Vinod:

1. Expose the Chairman: Vinod has the option to expose the Chairman using the evidence provided by the Board Member. This would fulfill his duty as an honest and sincere civil servant. However, this could lead to negative repercussions such as a possible transfer or other penalties.

2. Refrain from Exposing the Chairman: Vinod could choose to not expose the Chairman to avoid any potential backlash. However, this would go against his principles as an honest civil servant and would allow the alleged corruption to continue.

3. Report to Higher Authorities: Vinod could report the alleged corruption to higher authorities such as the Chief Minister or the Central Vigilance Commission. This would allow for an investigation to be conducted without directly involving him.

4. Seek Legal Advice: Vinod could consult with a legal advisor to understand the best course of action. This would ensure that he is making an informed decision that is in line with the law.

Ethical Issues Arising Due to the Politicization of Bureaucracy:

1. Conflict of Interest: The politicization of bureaucracy can lead to conflicts of interest, as seen in Vinod’s case. The Board Member is trying to use Vinod for his own political gains, which could compromise Vinod’s ability to perform his duties objectively.

2. Corruption: Politicization can lead to corruption, as politicians may use their power to influence bureaucratic decisions for their own benefit. In this case, the Chairman, a powerful politician, is allegedly involved in financial irregularities.

3. Inefficiency: The frequent transfers of Vinod, an experienced and knowledgeable officer, indicate inefficiency in the bureaucracy. This could be due to political interference, which disrupts the smooth functioning of the bureaucracy.

4. Threat to Impartiality: The politicization of bureaucracy can threaten the impartiality of civil servants. If Vinod decides to expose the Chairman in hopes of gaining professional growth when the Opposition Party comes to power, it would compromise his impartiality.

Example: The infamous coal scam in India is an example of the negative impact of the politicization of bureaucracy. The scam involved politicians and bureaucrats who allegedly conspired to underprice coal deposits, leading to a loss of billions of dollars to the government. This case highlights the ethical issues that can arise due to the politicization of bureaucracy, including corruption, conflict of interest, inefficiency, and a threat to impartiality.

Q. Vinod is an honest and sincere IAS officer. Recently, he has taken over as Managing Director of the State Road Transport Corporation, his sixth transfer in the past three years. Read More »

Q. At 9 pm on Saturday evening, Rashika, a Joint Secretary, was still engrossed in her work in her office.

Q. At 9 pm on Saturday evening, Rashika, a Joint Secretary, was still engrossed in her work in her office.

Her husband, Vikram, is an executive in an MNC and frequently out of town in connection with his work. Their two children aged 5 and 3 are looked after by their domestic helper. At 9:30 pm her superior, Mr. Suresh calls her and asks her to prepare a detailed note on an important matter to be discussed in a meeting in the Ministry. She realises, that she will have to work on Sunday to finish the additional task given by her superior.

She reflects on how she had looked forward to this posting and had worked long hours for months to achieve it. She had kept the welfare of people uppermost in discharging her duties. She feels that she has not done enough justice to her family and she has not fulfilled her duties in discharging essential social obligations. Even as recently as last month she had to leave her sick child in the nanny’s care as she had to work in the office. Now, she feels that she must draw a line, beyond which her personal life should take precedence over her professional responsibilities. She thinks that there should be reasonable limits to the work ethics such as punctuality, hard work, dedication to duty and selfless service.

(a) Discuss the ethical issues involved in this case.
(b) Briefly describe at least four laws that have been enacted by the Government with respect to providing a healthy, safe and equitable working environment for women.
(c) Imagine you are in a similar situation. What suggestions would you make to mitigate such working conditions?

Question from UPSC Mains 2023 GS4 Paper

Model Answer: 

Ethical Issues Involved:

1. Work-Life Balance: The case highlights the ethical issue of work-life balance, which is essential for the overall well-being of an individual. Rashika is struggling to balance her professional responsibilities with her personal life, which is causing her stress and dissatisfaction.

2. Employee Welfare: Another ethical issue is the lack of consideration for employee welfare. The superior’s demand for additional work without considering Rashika’s personal commitments reflects a disregard for her well-being.

3. Gender Equality: There is also an issue of gender equality. Rashika, being a woman, is expected to fulfil her professional responsibilities along with her familial duties. This reflects the societal expectation that women should bear the burden of household responsibilities, irrespective of their professional commitments.

4. Ethical Dilemma: Rashika is facing an ethical dilemma where she has to choose between her professional responsibilities and her personal life. This raises questions about the ethical values of duty and responsibility.

Laws Enacted by the Government for Women’s Working Environment:

1. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013: This Act provides protection to women from sexual harassment at their place of work and for the prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment.

2. The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961: This Act regulates the employment of women and maternity benefits mandated by law. It states that a woman employee who has worked in an organisation for a period of at least 80 days during the 12 months preceding the date of her expected delivery is entitled to receive maternity benefits, which includes maternity leave, nursing breaks, medical allowance etc.

3. The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976: This Act provides for the payment of equal remuneration to men and women workers for the same work, or work of a similar nature, and for the prevention of discrimination on the grounds of sex.

4. The Factories Act, 1948: This Act ensures the health, safety, welfare, working hours of adults and the employment of young persons and women. It prohibits the employment of women between 7 P.M. and 6 A.M.

Suggestions to Mitigate Such Working Conditions:

1. Flexibility: Employers should provide flexible working hours and the option to work from home, especially for employees with family commitments.

2. Employee Support: Employers should provide support services such as childcare facilities, counselling services, and paid leave for family emergencies.

3. Sensitisation Programs: Employers should conduct sensitisation programs to create a supportive and understanding work culture.

4. Clear Communication: Employees should communicate their personal commitments to their superiors and negotiate a reasonable workload.

5. Work Delegation: Proper delegation of work can ensure that the workload is evenly distributed and no single employee is overburdened.

6. Legal Compliance: Employers should adhere to the laws enacted by the government for the welfare of women employees.

Q. At 9 pm on Saturday evening, Rashika, a Joint Secretary, was still engrossed in her work in her office. Read More »

Q. A landslide occurred in the middle of the night on 20th July, 2023 in a remote mountain hamlet, approximately 60kilometers from Uttarkashi.

Q. A landslide occurred in the middle of the night on 20th July, 2023 in a remote mountain hamlet, approximately 60kilometers from Uttarkashi.

The landslide was caused by torrential rains and has resulted in large-scale destruction of property and life. You, as district magistrate of the area, have rushed to the spot with a team of doctors, NGOs, media and police along with numerous support staff to oversee the rescue operations.
A man came running to you with a request for urgent medical help for his pregnant wife who is in labor and is losing blood. You directed your medical team to examine his wife. They return and convey to you that this woman needs blood transfusion immediately. Upon enquiry, you come know that a few blood collection bags and blood group test kits are available in the ambulance accompanying your team. Few people of your team have already volunteered to donate blood.

Being a physician who has graduated for AIIMS, you know that blood for transfusion needs to be procured only through a recognized blood bank. Your team members are divided on this issue; some favor transfusion while some others oppose it. The doctors in the team are ready to facilitate the delivery provided they are not penalized for transfusion. Now you are in a dilemma. Your professional training emphasizes on prioritizing service to humanity and saving lives of individuals.

(a)What are the ethical issues involved in this case?
(b) Evaluate the options available to you, being District Magistrate of the area.

Question from UPSC Mains 2023 GS4 Paper

Model Answer: 

Ethical Issues Involved:

1. Medical Ethics: As a physician, the district magistrate is trained to prioritize service to humanity and saving lives. However, the medical ethics dictate that blood for transfusion should be procured only from a recognized blood bank. Deviating from this norm could potentially lead to legal implications.

2. Humanitarian Ethics: The pregnant woman is in dire need of a blood transfusion. Denying her the necessary medical attention due to lack of proper resources could result in loss of life, which is against the humanitarian principle of preserving life.

3. Organizational Ethics: As the district magistrate, there is a responsibility to uphold the rules and regulations of the organization. The dilemma arises when these rules conflict with the immediate need to save a life.

4. Professional Ethics: The doctors in the team are willing to facilitate the delivery, but they are concerned about the potential penalization for transfusion. This highlights the conflict between professional responsibility and legal constraints.

Options Available:

1. Prioritize Saving Life: The most immediate concern is to save the life of the pregnant woman and her unborn child. The district magistrate could decide to go ahead with the blood transfusion, prioritizing the value of human life over the procedural norms.

2. Seek Legal Advice: The district magistrate could quickly consult with a legal expert to understand the potential implications of going ahead with the transfusion. This might help in making an informed decision.

3. Mobilize Resources: The district magistrate could try to arrange for blood from a nearby recognized blood bank. This could involve coordinating with local authorities, NGOs, or even the military if they are in the vicinity.

4. Document the Situation: The district magistrate could ensure that the entire situation is well-documented, including the urgency of the situation, the unavailability of resources, and the willingness of the team to donate blood. This could potentially serve as a defense in case of any legal implications.

5. Advocate for Policy Change: In the longer term, the district magistrate could use this situation to advocate for changes in policy that allow for exceptions in emergency situations.

In conclusion, the district magistrate, as a physician and a public servant, is in a challenging position where he/she has to balance medical ethics, humanitarian ethics, organizational ethics, and professional ethics. The decision taken should be in the best interest of the patient, while also considering the potential legal implications. The situation also highlights the need for flexible policies that can adapt to emergency situations.

Q. A landslide occurred in the middle of the night on 20th July, 2023 in a remote mountain hamlet, approximately 60kilometers from Uttarkashi. Read More »

Q. You are working as an executive in a nationalized bank for several years.

Q. You are working as an executive in a nationalized bank for several years.

One day one of your close colleagues tells you that her father is suffering from heart disease and needs surgery immediately to survive. She also tells you that she has no insurance and the operation will cost about Rs. 10 lakh. You are also aware of the fact that her husband is no more and that she is from a lower middle class family. You are empathetic about her situation. However, apart from expressing your sympathy, you do not have the resources to fund her.

A few weeks later, you ask her about the well-being of her father and she informs you about his successful surgery and that he is recovering. She then confides in you that the bank manager was kind enough to facilitate the release of Rs. 10 lakh from a dormant account of someone to pay for the operation with a promise that it should be confidential and be repaid at the earliest. She has already started paying it back and will continue to do no until it is all returned.

(a) What are the ethical issues involved ?
(b) Evaluate the behavior or the bank manager from an ethical point of view.
(c) How would you react to the situation ?

Question from UPSC Mains 2023 GS4 Paper

Model Answer: 

Ethical Issues Involved:

1. Misuse of Authority: The bank manager has misused his authority by illegally transferring funds from a dormant account. Even though his intentions were noble, his actions were against the law and banking regulations.

2. Breach of Trust: The bank manager’s actions constitute a breach of trust. Banks are trusted institutions that people rely on to keep their money safe. By transferring funds without the account holder’s knowledge or permission, the manager has violated this trust.

3. Confidentiality: The bank manager and the colleague have both breached the principle of confidentiality by not informing the account holder about the transaction. This is against the ethical norms of transparency and honesty in banking.

Evaluation of the Bank Manager’s Behavior from an Ethical Point of View:

From an ethical perspective, the bank manager’s actions are questionable. While his intentions were good, as he was trying to help someone in need, his methods were unethical and illegal. He misused his authority and breached the trust of the account holder. He also violated the principle of confidentiality by not informing the account holder about the transaction.

In banking, integrity and honesty are paramount. The manager’s actions have compromised these values. Even though his actions resulted in saving a life, the means by which he achieved this end were unethical.

Reaction to the Situation:

As a responsible bank executive, I would firstly appreciate the bank manager’s empathy towards my colleague’s situation. However, I would also express my concerns about the means he used to help her. I would explain to him that while his intentions were good, his actions were against the law and the ethical norms of banking.

I would then suggest that in future, he should explore legal and ethical ways to help someone in need, such as organizing a fundraiser or helping the person apply for a loan.

I would also advise my colleague to report the incident to higher authorities in the bank, as keeping it a secret could lead to more serious consequences in the future. I would assure her that I would support her in doing so, as it is important to uphold the values of honesty and transparency in our profession.

In conclusion, while empathy and kindness are important values, they should not lead us to break the law or violate ethical norms. As professionals, we should always strive to uphold the highest standards of integrity and honesty, even when faced with difficult situations.

Q. You are working as an executive in a nationalized bank for several years. Read More »

Q. Explain the term social capital. How does it enhance good governance?

Q. Explain the term social capital. How does it enhance good governance?

Question from UPSC Mains 2023 GS4 Paper

Model Answer: 

Social Capital

Social capital refers to the networks of relationships among individuals, groups, and entities that facilitate cooperation and coordination for mutual benefit. It includes shared norms, values, trust, and understanding that enable participants to act together more effectively to pursue shared objectives. Social capital is not just the sum of the institutions that underpin a society – it is the glue that holds them together.

Social capital in India can be seen in various forms such as family bonds, community networks, professional associations, trade unions, self-help groups, and other forms of collective action. The concept of social capital is deeply rooted in Indian society and culture, where the importance of community, family, and social networks is highly valued.

Enhancement of Good Governance

Social capital can enhance good governance in several ways:

1. Promoting Participation: Social capital fosters greater participation in public affairs, which is a key aspect of good governance. It encourages citizens to participate in decision-making processes, thereby making the government more responsive and accountable. For example, in India, the Panchayati Raj system of local self-governance has been successful in many places due to the strong social capital in rural communities.

2. Building Trust: Social capital helps to build trust among individuals and communities. This trust can facilitate cooperation and consensus-building, which are important for effective governance. For instance, the success of the Kerala model of development in India has been attributed to the high levels of social capital, which has fostered trust and cooperation among the diverse communities in the state.

3. Facilitating Collective Action: Social capital can facilitate collective action by providing a platform for individuals and groups to work together for common goals. This can lead to more effective implementation of policies and programs. In India, the success of various community-based natural resource management initiatives, such as the joint forest management and watershed development programs, can be attributed to the strong social capital in the communities involved.

4. Strengthening Institutional Performance: Social capital can strengthen the performance of institutions by promoting norms of reciprocity and mutual aid. This can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of public services. For example, in India, the strong social capital in the state of Himachal Pradesh has been linked to the high performance of its education and health systems.

Conclusion

In conclusion, social capital plays a crucial role in enhancing good governance. It promotes participation, builds trust, facilitates collective action, and strengthens institutional performance. However, it is important to note that social capital is not a panacea for all governance problems. It needs to be complemented by other forms of capital – human, physical, and financial – and by effective institutional mechanisms for it to contribute to good governance.

Q. Explain the term social capital. How does it enhance good governance? Read More »

Q. What were the major teachings of Guru Nanak? Explain their relevance in the contemporary world.

Q. What were the major teachings of Guru Nanak? Explain their relevance in the contemporary world.

Question from UPSC Mains 2023 GS4 Paper

Model Answer: 

Guru Nanak – The Founder of Sikhism

Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, was a profound philosopher, social reformer, and spiritual leader who lived in the 15th century. His teachings, which revolve around love, equality, fraternity, and virtue, are of immense relevance in the contemporary world.

1. Oneness of God:

Guru Nanak preached the concept of monotheism, emphasizing the presence of one supreme power. He discouraged the worship of idols, asserting that God is formless, timeless, and omnipresent. In this era of religious intolerance and fanaticism, this teaching is highly pertinent. It inspires us to respect all religions, as they all lead to the same divine power.

2. Equality and Fraternity:

Guru Nanak was a strong advocate of equality. He denounced the caste system and preached that all humans are equal, regardless of their race, religion, or gender. This principle is reflected in the Sikh practice of Langar, a community kitchen where everyone sits together to eat, irrespective of their social status. In today’s world, where discrimination and prejudice are rampant, Guru Nanak’s teachings remind us to treat everyone with equal respect and dignity.

3. Importance of Honest Work:

Guru Nanak emphasized the importance of honest work and earning one’s livelihood. He taught his followers to be self-reliant and to contribute to society through their work. This teaching is especially relevant in today’s world, where corruption and dishonesty are prevalent. It encourages individuals to value their work and to contribute positively to society.

4. Service to Humanity:

Guru Nanak taught that serving others is the highest form of worship. He urged his followers to practice selflessness and to help those in need. This teaching is of immense significance in the contemporary world, where people often prioritize personal gain over the welfare of others. It inspires us to be compassionate and to help those in need.

5. Meditation and Self-Realization:

Guru Nanak emphasized the importance of meditation and self-realization. He taught that through meditation, one can attain peace of mind and become aware of the divine presence within oneself. In the modern world, where stress and anxiety are common, Guru Nanak’s teachings offer a path to inner peace and self-awareness.

6. Respect for Nature:

Guru Nanak taught his followers to respect and protect nature. He regarded nature as a manifestation of God and emphasized its preservation. This teaching is particularly relevant today, as the world grapples with environmental issues like climate change and deforestation.

In conclusion, Guru Nanak’s teachings, which emphasize love, equality, honesty, service to humanity, and respect for nature, are of immense relevance in the contemporary world. They offer a path to peace, harmony, and sustainable development. His teachings continue to inspire millions around the world and guide them towards a more compassionate and equitable society.

Q. What were the major teachings of Guru Nanak? Explain their relevance in the contemporary world. Read More »

Q. ‘Probity is essential for an effective system of governance and socio-economic development.’ Discuss.

Q. ‘Probity is essential for an effective system of governance and socio-economic development.’ Discuss.

Question from UPSC Mains 2023 GS4 Paper

Model Answer: 

Probity and its Significance

Probity refers to the quality of having strong moral principles, honesty, and decency. In the context of governance and socio-economic development, probity denotes the adherence to ethical standards and values, transparency, responsibility, accountability, and rule of law in public life. The significance of probity in governance cannot be overstated, as it ensures that the power entrusted to the government is used wisely, responsibly, and in the best interests of the people.

Probity and Good Governance

Good governance is characterized by participation, transparency, accountability, effectiveness, and coherence. Probity serves as the bedrock of these principles. For instance, transparency and accountability, two key aspects of good governance, are facilitated by probity. When public officials act with probity, they are open about their actions and decisions, allowing citizens to scrutinize them and hold them accountable.

Probity in Governance – Examples

The Right to Information Act, 2005, in India is a great example of probity in governance. This act empowers Indian citizens to seek information from public authorities, promoting transparency and accountability. Another example is the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, which established the Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta at the State level to investigate allegations of corruption against public functionaries.

Probity and Socio-economic Development

Probity plays a pivotal role in socio-economic development. When the government acts with probity, it ensures that resources are used efficiently and equitably, contributing to the overall socio-economic development of the country.

Attracting Foreign Investment

Moreover, probity in governance can help attract foreign investment, which is crucial for economic growth. Foreign investors are more likely to invest in countries where there is a high level of probity, as it reduces the risk of corruption and ensures a fair and predictable business environment. For instance, the ease of doing business index, which ranks countries based on the ease of doing business there, considers the level of probity in governance.

Reducing Income Inequality

Probity can also help reduce income inequality. When public officials act with probity, they are less likely to engage in corrupt practices, such as embezzling public funds or accepting bribes. This ensures that resources are distributed more equitably, reducing income inequality.

Conclusion

In conclusion, probity is essential for an effective system of governance and socio-economic development. It ensures that public officials act in the best interests of the people, promoting transparency, accountability, and the rule of law. Moreover, it contributes to socio-economic development by ensuring efficient and equitable use of resources, attracting foreign investment, and reducing income inequality. Therefore, it is important for India, as well as other countries, to promote and uphold probity in governance.

Q. ‘Probity is essential for an effective system of governance and socio-economic development.’ Discuss. Read More »

Q. Is conscience a more reliable guide when compared to laws, rules and regulations in the context of ethical decision making ? Discuss.

Q. Is conscience a more reliable guide when compared to laws, rules and regulations in the context of ethical decision making ? Discuss.

Question from UPSC Mains 2023 GS4 Paper

Model Answer: 

Conscience and Decision Making

Conscience is the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives, impelling one toward the right action. Laws, rules, and regulations, on the other hand, are established standards of society that dictate what is acceptable and what is not. Comparing the two as guides for ethical decision making is a complex task, as both have their strengths and limitations.

Role of Conscience in Ethical Decision Making

Conscience is a powerful guide in ethical decision making as it is deeply personal and subjective. It is influenced by personal values, beliefs, and experiences. In the Indian context, where moral values are deeply ingrained from childhood, conscience plays a significant role. It often guides individuals to make decisions that are not just legally right but also morally and ethically sound.

For instance, a businessman in India may choose not to engage in corrupt practices, not because it is against the law, but because his conscience doesn’t allow him. Similarly, many Indians choose to help the less fortunate or engage in acts of kindness, driven by their conscience rather than any law or rule.

Limitations of Conscience

However, conscience is not always a reliable guide. It is subjective and can be influenced by personal biases, prejudices, and cultural conditioning. For instance, in certain parts of India, practices like child marriage and caste-based discrimination are considered acceptable by some individuals. Their conscience may not find anything wrong with these practices due to cultural conditioning, even though they are ethically and legally wrong.

Role of Laws, Rules, and Regulations

Laws, rules, and regulations serve as an objective guide for ethical decision making. They provide a clear framework of do’s and don’ts, leaving no room for personal interpretation or bias. For example, the Indian Penal Code and the Constitution of India lay down clear rules against practices like dowry, child labor, and discrimination, guiding individuals towards ethical behavior.

Moreover, laws and rules evolve with changing societal norms and values, reflecting the collective conscience of the society. For instance, the recent laws on triple talaq and transgender rights in India reflect the evolving societal understanding of gender equality and justice.

Limitations of Laws, Rules, and Regulations

However, laws and rules are not always a perfect guide. They may not cover all possible scenarios, leaving gaps in guidance. For instance, the law may not clearly define the ethical course of action in complex issues like euthanasia or genetic engineering.

Moreover, laws and rules can sometimes be influenced by political and societal biases, leading to unjust practices. For instance, the colonial-era Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalized homosexuality, was a law but was not ethically right. It was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court of India in 2018, recognizing the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

Conclusion

In conclusion, both conscience and laws, rules, and regulations have their roles to play in ethical decision making. While conscience provides a personal moral compass, laws and rules provide an objective framework. The key is to strike a balance between the two, using personal conscience to guide decisions within the framework of laws and rules. This ensures decisions that are not just legally right but also ethically sound.

Q. Is conscience a more reliable guide when compared to laws, rules and regulations in the context of ethical decision making ? Discuss. Read More »