2023 GS4 Answer

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.

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