2021 GS4 Answer

Q. Identify five ethical traits on which one can plot the performance of a civil servant. Justify their inclusion in the matrix.

Question from UPSC Mains 2021 GS4 Paper

Model Answer: 

Performance of a Civil Servant

The performance of a civil servant can be plotted on a matrix based on various ethical traits. These traits are essential for maintaining the integrity and efficiency of the civil service while upholding public trust.

Five Key Ethical Traits

Here are five key ethical traits on which one can plot the performance of a civil servant:


Integrity is the quality of being honest, transparent, and consistent in one’s actions and decisions. Civil servants with high integrity adhere to ethical principles and do not compromise their values for personal gain. They act in the best interest of the public and resist any form of corruption or unethical behavior. Including integrity in the matrix is vital, as it forms the foundation of trust between civil servants and the citizens they serve.


Accountability refers to a civil servant’s responsibility for their actions and decisions, and their willingness to accept the consequences. Civil servants must be accountable to the public, the government, and their superiors. This trait ensures that civil servants perform their duties diligently and take responsibility for their performance. Including accountability in the matrix is crucial, as it promotes transparency and helps in identifying areas of improvement.


Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Civil servants should be empathetic towards the needs and concerns of citizens and should consider the impact of their decisions on the people they serve. Including empathy in the matrix is important, as it helps civil servants connect with citizens, understand their perspectives, and develop effective solutions to address their needs.


Objectivity refers to making decisions based on rational analysis and evidence, without being influenced by personal biases, emotions, or political affiliations. Civil servants should approach problems objectively to ensure that their decisions are fair, equitable, and in the best interest of the public. Including objectivity in the matrix is essential, as it helps civil servants make unbiased decisions that promote fairness and social justice.

Commitment to Public Service

Commitment to public service entails prioritizing the welfare of citizens and the nation above personal interests. Civil servants should be dedicated to their roles and work diligently to improve the lives of the people they serve. Including commitment to public service in the matrix is critical, as it reflects a civil servant’s dedication to their responsibilities and their ability to work towards the greater good.

In summary, the inclusion of these five ethical traits—integrity, accountability, empathy, objectivity, and commitment to public service—in the performance matrix is essential for evaluating the performance of a civil servant. These traits collectively ensure that civil servants uphold the highest ethical standards, effectively serve the public interest, and maintain public trust in the administration. By measuring civil servants’ performance based on these traits, it becomes possible to identify areas of improvement and promote a culture of ethical excellence within the civil service.

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