2021 GS4 Answer

Q. Sunil is a young civil servant and has a reputation for his competence, integrity, dedication and relentness pursuit of difficult and onerous jobs.

Considering his profile, he was picked up by his bosses to handle a very challenging and sensitive assignment. He was posted in a tribal dominated district notorious for illegal sand mining. Excavating sand from river belt and transporting through trucks and selling them in black market was rampant. This illegal sand mining mafia was operating with the support of local functionaries and tribal musclemen who in turn were bribing selected poor tribals and had kept the tribals under fear and intimidation.

Sunil being a sharp and energetic officer immediately grasped the ground realities and the modus operandi followed by the mafia through their devious and dubious mechanism. On making inquiries, he gathered that some of their own office employees are in hand and glove with them and have developed close unholy nexus. Sunil initiated stringent action against them and started conducting raids on their illegal operations of movement of trucks filled with sand. The mafia got rattled as not many officers in the past had taken such steps against the mafia. Some of the office employees who were allegedly close to mafia informed them that the officer is determined to clean up the mafia’s illegal sand mining operations in that the district and may cause them irrepairable damage.

The mafia turned hostile and launched counter-offensive. The tribal musclemen and mafia srted threatening him with dire consequences. His family (wife and old mother) were stalked and were under virtual surveillance and thus causing mental torture, agony and stress to all of them. The matter assumed serious proportions when a muscleman came to his office and threatened him to stop raids, etc., otherwise, his fate will not be different than some of his predecessors (ten years back one officer was killed by the mafia).

o Identify the different options available to Sunil in attending to this situation.
o Critically evaluate each of the options listed by you.
o Which of the above, do you think, would be the most appropriate for Sunil to adopt and why?

Question from UPSC Mains 2021 GS4 Paper

Model Answer: 

Options Available to Sunil:

Continuing the Raids: Sunil can choose to continue his raids on the illegal sand mining mafia despite the threats and intimidation. He can also try to gather more evidence and build a stronger case against the mafia.

Seeking Help: Sunil can reach out to his superiors, the police, or other government agencies for help and support. He can also seek the help of NGOs or the media to bring attention to the issue and put pressure on the mafia.

Negotiating: Sunil can try to negotiate with the mafia and tribal musclemen to find a peaceful resolution. He can offer them incentives or promise them immunity in exchange for stopping their illegal activities.

Resigning: Sunil can choose to resign from his post and move to a safer location to protect himself and his family.

Critical Evaluation of each option:

Continuing the Raids: This option could lead to Sunil and his family being in grave danger. The mafia has already shown that they are willing to resort to violence, and they might escalate their tactics to harm Sunil or his family. However, this option could also send a strong message to the mafia that they cannot operate with impunity.

Seeking Help: Seeking help from other agencies and the media could put pressure on the mafia to back off, but it could also expose Sunil and his family to greater risk. Moreover, the help may not arrive in time or may be inadequate to deal with the mafia’s threats.

Negotiating: Negotiating with the mafia is not a viable option as it undermines the rule of law and sends a message that criminal activities can be condoned. Moreover, the mafia may not be interested in any peaceful resolution and may continue to threaten Sunil and his family.

Resigning: Resigning would be the easiest option for Sunil, but it would also mean that the mafia wins. Moreover, it would send a wrong message to the public that the government is unable to protect its own officers.

Most Appropriate Option for Sunil:

Considering the options available and the risks associated with each, seeking help from his superiors and the police would be the most appropriate option for Sunil. He can provide them with the evidence he has gathered and seek their support to deal with the mafia’s threats. Sunil can also request for additional security measures to be put in place for him and his family. This option would allow Sunil to continue his work and send a strong message that the government is committed to fighting against criminal activities.

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