UPSC Main Examination 2023

General Studies Paper – IV (17th September 2023)

Model Answer

  1. a) What do you understand by ‘moral integrity’ and ‘professional efficiency’ in the context of corporate governance in India? Illustrate with suitable examples.

In the business world, the adherence to ethical standards and the pursuit of operational excellence are fundamental. These principles of ethical integrity and professional efficiency serve as guiding lights for companies, enabling responsible and effective operations. Let’s explore the meanings of these concepts and their applications in corporate settings:

Moral Integrity: Moral integrity entails upholding ethical principles and values in all aspects of business activities. It manifests in various ways, including:

  1. Independent Directors: These individuals, separate from the day-to-day operations of the company, contribute to unbiased decision-making at the board level. They play a pivotal role in ensuring that the company adheres to ethical practices, such as promoting environmentally sustainable initiatives.
  2. Transparency: Transparency involves openly sharing the company’s policies, actions, and outcomes with all stakeholders, including employees and the public. For instance, a company demonstrates transparency by publishing annual sustainability reports that detail efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.

Professional Efficiency: Professional efficiency refers to the ability to work competently and effectively while upholding ethical standards. It is evident in various aspects, such as:

  1. Accountability: Accountability entails taking responsibility for one’s actions and being prepared to justify the decisions made. Within a company, leaders should be willing to accept responsibility for the outcomes of their decisions, even when projects or initiatives fall short of their targets.
  2. Disclosure: Disclosure requires the accurate and timely sharing of critical information about the company’s financial health and significant developments. Companies demonstrate this by regularly providing financial reports that keep stakeholders informed and engaged.

By steadfastly adhering to the principles of moral integrity and professional efficiency, a company can earn trust and cultivate a positive reputation. This approach helps create an ethical and sustainable business environment, ensuring that the company not only achieves its objectives but also does so in an ethical and efficient manner.


  1. b) ‘International aid’ is an accepted form of helping ‘resource-challenged’ nations. Comment on ‘ethics in contemporary international aid’. Support your answer with suitable examples.

International aid is a vital instrument for promoting global solidarity and assisting nations in need. It encompasses various forms of support, including financial grants, humanitarian relief, technical expertise, and debt relief, and is facilitated through agreements involving countries, international organizations, and NGOs. Let’s explore the different dimensions of international aid, ethical challenges, and India’s role in this context:

Forms of International Aid:

  • Financial Grants: Countries or international organizations provide financial assistance to support development projects and stabilize economies.
  • Humanitarian Assistance: During emergencies like natural disasters or conflicts, aid is provided in the form of essential supplies such as food, shelter, and medical support.
  • Technical Assistance: This involves sharing expertise and knowledge to enhance the capacity of recipient countries in various sectors.
  • Debt Relief: To alleviate the economic burden of low-income countries, a portion of their debt is forgiven or rescheduled, supporting their growth and self-sufficiency.

Moral Concerns:

  • Dependency: A continuous influx of aid can potentially create dependency, hindering the recipient country’s ability to achieve self-sufficiency.
  • Political Influence: Aid can sometimes be used as a means to exert political influence, compromising the sovereignty of the recipient nation.
  • Misallocation and Corruption: The risk of aid not reaching its intended beneficiaries due to corruption and bureaucratic hurdles is a significant concern.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Aid programs must respect and integrate local cultures and traditions to be effective and well-received.

United Nations and International Aid: The United Nations, through agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Food Programme (WFP), works to ensure that international aid is dispensed ethically and responsibly, with a focus on human rights and sustainable development.

India’s Contribution:

  • South-South Cooperation: India actively shares its developmental experiences and provides technical assistance to other developing countries, fostering mutual growth.
  • Humanitarian Aid: India has a history of extending assistance during natural disasters in neighboring countries, including Nepal and Sri Lanka.
  • Educational Initiatives: India promotes education and cultural exchange by offering scholarships to students from developing countries.
  • Health Diplomacy: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, India initiated the “Vaccine Maitri” program, supplying vaccines to several countries, demonstrating solidarity and cooperation.

Understanding the ethical complexities surrounding international aid is essential. It is crucial to build collaborations that are respectful, transparent, and considerate of the needs and aspirations of recipient communities. India continues to play a significant role in the international aid landscape, promoting ethical and sustainable development through various initiatives.

  1. a) “Corruption is the manifestation of the failure of core values in the society.” In your opinion, what measures can be adopted to uplift the core values in the society?

Ans.: To combat corruption effectively, it is crucial to nurture a culture rooted in strong core values within society. In India, a range of measures can be adopted to achieve this goal:

  1. Education and Awareness:
  • Incorporate Ethics Education: Include ethics and anti-corruption education in the curriculum from an early age to instill moral values.
  • Awareness Campaigns: Promote awareness campaigns through various media to educate the public about the harmful effects of corruption and the importance of ethical conduct.
  1. Transparency:
  • Government Transparency: Ensure transparency in government processes, contracts, and dealings to minimize opportunities for corruption.
  • Right to Information (RTI): Implement and strengthen RTI mechanisms, enabling citizens to access information about government activities and expenditures.
  1. Accountability:
  • Hold Officials Accountable: Establish mechanisms to hold public officials accountable for their actions, ensuring they face consequences for engaging in corrupt practices.
  • Independent Anti-Corruption Body: Create an independent anti-corruption body with the authority to investigate and prosecute corruption cases.
  1. Whistleblower Protection:
  • Safeguard Whistleblowers: Provide legal protection and incentives for individuals who expose corruption to encourage reporting and protect those who come forward.
  1. Digital Governance:
  • E-Governance: Embrace e-governance and digital platforms to minimize human intervention in administrative processes, reducing opportunities for corruption.
  1. Strengthen Legal Framework:
  • Anti-Corruption Laws: Continuously update and strengthen anti-corruption laws to address evolving challenges.
  • Swift and Impartial Judiciary: Ensure a swift and impartial judiciary to expedite corruption cases.
  1. Public Participation:
  • Engage Civil Society: Encourage civil society organizations, NGOs, and citizens to actively participate in monitoring and reporting corruption cases.
  1. Ethical Leadership:
  • Promote Ethical Leadership: Promote ethical leadership in all sectors, including political, business, and social, to set a positive example for others.
  1. Promote Integrity:
  • Instill Values: Instill values like integrity, honesty, and accountability in individuals through social and cultural means, emphasizing their importance in personal and professional life.
  1. Community Initiatives:
  • Support Local Initiatives: Encourage and support local-level initiatives that promote ethical behavior and condemn corruption within communities.

By implementing these comprehensive measures, India can make significant strides in fostering core values and effectively combating corruption at all levels of society.

  1. b) In the context of work environment, differentiate between ‘coercion’ and ‘undue influence’ with suitable examples.

Ans: In a work environment, “coercion” and “undue influence” both represent forms of improper pressure or influence, but they differ in their methods and subtlety:


  • Method: Coercion relies on the use of force or explicit threats to compel someone to act against their will.
  • Directness: It is typically more direct and overt in its approach.
  • Example: For instance, a manager threatens an employee with job termination unless they work overtime without proper compensation. Here, the threat of job loss is used as a direct force to make the employee comply.

Undue Influence:

  • Method: Undue influence is a subtler form of pressure that takes advantage of power dynamics.
  • Subtlety: It is often less explicit and may involve manipulation or persuasion rather than direct threats.
  • Example: A manager subtly hints that employees who attend a particular social event will receive preferential treatment in promotions. This creates a situation where employees feel compelled to attend, even if they don’t want to, due to the implied advantages.

While both coercion and undue influence are considered unethical in the workplace, the key distinction lies in the overt use of threats in coercion and the manipulation of power dynamics in undue influence.

  1. Given below are three quotations of great thinkers. What do each of these quotations convey to you in the present context?
  2. a) “The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand head bowing in prayer.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Ans.: Mahatma Gandhi’s wisdom emphasizes the profound influence of simple acts of kindness. He underscores the idea that while prayer is significant, tangible actions that aid others carry even greater potency. A solitary act of kindness, such as assisting someone in their time of need or demonstrating empathy, possesses the remarkable ability to profoundly touch lives. It fosters compassion and unity within society. Gandhi’s message serves as a reminder that sincere acts of goodwill have the potential to uplift hearts and ignite positive transformation, surpassing the symbolic gestures of a thousand bowed heads. In a world frequently marked by divisions, his words resonate, highlighting the enduring significance of kindness as a force for unity and healing.

  1. b) “To awaken the people, it is the women who must be awakened. Once she is on the move, the family moves, the village moves, the nation moves.” – Jawaharlal Nehru

Ans.: Jawaharlal Nehru’s insight underscores the crucial role of women in societal progress. He emphasizes that when women are empowered and motivated, their influence radiates through every aspect of society. As women take the initiative, families, communities, and nations are propelled forward. Their active participation in education, politics, and the workforce not only uplifts them but also enhances the collective growth and development of society. Nehru’s words serve as a powerful reminder of the transformative potential of women, highlighting the interconnection between their empowerment and the advancement of nations. By acknowledging and nurturing the potential of women, societies can truly flourish and advance.

  1. c) “Do not hate anybody, because that hatred that comes out from you must, in the long run, come back to you. If you love, that love will come back to you, completing the circle.”- Swami Vivekanand

Ans.: Swami Vivekananda’s profound message resonates with the universal principle of karma. He advises against harboring hatred, as negativity eventually returns to the source. Instead, he advocates love, highlighting its cyclical nature. When we radiate love and kindness, it enriches our own lives, fostering positivity and goodwill. The love we give ultimately finds its way back to us, completing the circle of harmony and happiness. Vivekananda’s wisdom urges us to embrace love as a transformative force, reminding us that by sowing seeds of compassion and affection, we cultivate a future filled with joy and contentment, both for ourselves and for those around us.

  1. a) “What really matters for success, character, happiness and lifelong achievements is a definite set of emotional skills you EQ not just purely cognitive abilities that are measured by conventional IQ tests.” Do you agree with this view? Give reasons in support of your answer.

Ans.: I wholeheartedly agree with the view that emotional intelligence (EQ) is paramount for success, character, happiness, and lifelong achievements, even more so than conventional IQ.

Firstly, EQ enables effective interpersonal relationships, which are a vital component of personal and professional success. The ability to empathize, communicate, and collaborate with others is often more crucial than sheer cognitive prowess.

Secondly, EQ is the cornerstone of strong character. It fosters traits like empathy, integrity, and resilience. These qualities contribute significantly to one’s moral compass and ethical decision-making.

  1. b) Differentiate ‘moral intuition’ from ‘moral reasoning’ with suitable examples.

Ans.: “Moral intuition” and “moral reasoning” are two distinct approaches to ethical decision-making, each with its characteristics and examples.

Moral Intuition: Moral intuition is an instinctive, gut-level response to ethical dilemmas. It involves making moral judgments based on immediate feelings and intuitions rather than conscious deliberation. For example, if a person witnesses an act of kindness and feels an immediate sense of approval and warmth, their moral intuition leads them to conclude that the action is morally right.

Moral Reasoning: On the other hand, moral reasoning is a conscious and deliberate process of ethical decision-making. It involves analyzing a situation, considering ethical principles, and arriving at a moral judgment through logical thinking. For instance, a person might use moral reasoning to decide whether a particular government policy is just or unjust by examining its consequences, fairness, and adherence to ethical principles.

In summary, moral intuition relies on immediate feelings and instincts, while moral reasoning involves a more systematic and rational approach to ethical decision-making. Both play essential roles in our moral lives, with intuition guiding quick judgments and reasoning allowing for deeper ethical analysis.

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

Ans.: One’s conscience and external laws, rules, and regulations serve as essential guides in ethical decision-making, but their reliability can vary depending on the situation.

Conscience as a Guide: A person’s conscience represents their internal moral compass, shaped by personal values, principles, and beliefs. It can be a more reliable guide in some ethical dilemmas where laws or regulations may be inadequate or morally questionable. Conscience can lead individuals to make decisions based on empathy, compassion, and a deep sense of right and wrong. For example, when faced with a situation where a law might permit harm to others, one’s conscience might lead them to choose a morally upright path, such as protecting the vulnerable.

Laws, Rules, and Regulations as a Guide: External laws and regulations are crucial in maintaining social order and defining acceptable behavior within a society. They provide clear standards and consequences for actions, which can be helpful in ensuring fairness and justice. However, they may not always align with an individual’s personal moral values or the complexities of a particular situation. In some cases, following laws without question can lead to morally questionable outcomes or injustices.

In conclusion, while conscience can be a valuable guide rooted in personal ethics and values, it is not infallible and can be influenced by biases and subjectivity. Laws and regulations, on the other hand, provide a more structured framework for ethical decision-making but may lack the nuance required for every moral dilemma. Therefore, a balance between the two is often necessary, with individuals using their conscience to critically evaluate and, if necessary, challenge existing laws and regulations to ensure ethical integrity in their decisions.

  1. b) Probity is essential for an effective system of governance and socio-economic development. Discuss.

Ans.: “Probity,” often defined as honesty and integrity, indeed plays a crucial role in fostering an effective system of governance and driving socio-economic development in India. Firstly, probity is essential for building trust between the government and its citizens. When government officials and institutions operate with transparency and integrity, citizens have confidence in their actions and decisions. This trust is the foundation of a well-functioning democracy. Secondly, probity is vital for attracting investments and promoting economic growth. Foreign and domestic investors are more likely to invest in a country where there is a strong commitment to ethical governance. Corruption and lack of probity can deter investments, hindering economic development.

Moreover, probity ensures that public resources are utilized efficiently and fairly. When government officials act with integrity, resources are allocated based on merit rather than favoritism or bribery. This, in turn, leads to more equitable socio-economic development.

In conclusion, probity is not just a moral virtue but a practical necessity for effective governance and socio-economic progress in India. It builds trust, attracts investments, and ensures the efficient use of resources. Therefore, fostering a culture of probity should be a top priority for the nation’s leaders and institutions.

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

Ans.: Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, imparted several significant teachings that continue to hold relevance in the contemporary world:

  1. Oneness of God (Ik Onkar): Guru Nanak preached the belief in a single, formless, and omnipresent God. This monotheistic concept remains relevant today as it promotes unity among diverse religious beliefs and emphasizes the universal nature of spirituality.
  2. Equality and Social Justice: Guru Nanak emphasized the equality of all individuals regardless of caste, creed, or gender. His teachings underscore the need for social justice, which is still pertinent in today’s world where discrimination and inequality persist.
  3. Selfless Service (Seva): The Guru advocated selfless service to humanity, known as “seva.” This principle encourages individuals to engage in acts of charity and volunteerism, promoting a spirit of giving and empathy in contemporary society.
  4. Rejecting Rituals and Superstitions: Guru Nanak rejected rituals and superstitions, emphasizing a direct and personal connection with God. In today’s age, where blind adherence to rituals and superstitions can hinder progress, this teaching encourages critical thinking and a focus on spirituality over mere customs.
  5. Honest Livelihood (Kirat Karni): Guru Nanak encouraged honest and hard work as a means of livelihood. This teaching remains relevant in contemporary society, advocating for ethical work practices and discouraging dishonesty and exploitation.
  6. Interfaith Harmony: Guru Nanak engaged in dialogues with followers of different faiths, promoting interfaith harmony. In a globalized world with diverse religious communities, his teachings on tolerance and understanding are indispensable for peaceful coexistence.
  7. Environmental Stewardship: Guru Nanak’s reverence for nature and environmental responsibility align with modern concerns about climate change and ecological preservation. His teachings inspire a sense of responsibility towards the environment.

In the contemporary world, Guru Nanak’s teachings serve as a guide for ethical and harmonious living, addressing issues such as inequality, intolerance, and environmental degradation. They encourage individuals to embrace diversity, work for social justice, and cultivate a sense of spirituality that transcends religious boundaries, making his teachings more relevant than ever.

  1. b) Explain the term social capital. How does it enhance good governance?

Ans.: Social capital refers to the network of social relationships, trust, and shared values that exist within a community or society. It encompasses the goodwill and cooperation among individuals, groups, and institutions, which can lead to collective action and positive outcomes for society. In the context of India, social capital plays a significant role in enhancing good governance in several ways:

  1. Community Engagement: Social capital fosters citizen engagement in governance processes. When communities have strong social bonds, they are more likely to participate in local governance activities, such as Panchayati Raj institutions, and hold their leaders accountable.
  2. Trust in Institutions: High levels of social capital result in greater trust in government institutions. Citizens who trust their government are more likely to cooperate with policies and regulations, leading to smoother implementation and better governance.
  3. Conflict Resolution: Social capital helps resolve conflicts through informal community mechanisms. When people have strong relationships and trust one another, they are more inclined to resolve disputes peacefully, reducing the burden on formal legal systems.
  4. Collective Action: Social capital enables collective action for common goals. Communities with strong social ties are better equipped to address local issues collectively, such as infrastructure development, healthcare initiatives, or disaster response.
  5. Information Sharing: Strong social networks facilitate the flow of information. Citizens can access and share crucial information about government programs, policies, and entitlements, ensuring that benefits reach those in need.
  6. Social Inclusion: Social capital promotes social inclusion and reduces discrimination. Inclusive communities are more likely to demand and support policies that promote equality and social justice.
  7. Accountability: Social capital acts as a check on government power. Communities with strong social ties can hold public officials accountable for their actions and decisions.
  8. Resilience: During times of crisis, communities with high social capital are more resilient. They can quickly mobilize resources and support systems to respond to emergencies.

In conclusion, social capital is a valuable resource for enhancing good governance in India. It promotes citizen engagement, trust, and cooperation, leading to more effective and accountable governance. Building and nurturing social capital at the grassroots level can contribute to improved governance practices and better outcomes for the nation as a whole.

  1. You are working as an executive in a nationalised 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 now 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 so until it is all returned. S

  1. a) What are the ethical issues involved?
  2. b) Evaluate the behaviour of the bank manager from an ethical point of view.
  3. c) How would you react to the situation?

Ethical Issues Involved:

  1. Medical Emergency vs. Confidentiality: The primary ethical issue is the conflict between the urgent medical need of the colleague’s father, which involves a matter of life and death, and the ethical principle of maintaining confidentiality and adhering to banking rules.
  2. Bank Manager’s Decision: The bank manager’s decision to release funds from a dormant account for a humanitarian cause without following standard procedures raises questions about ethics in financial management.
  3. Repayment Commitment: The commitment made by the colleague to repay the borrowed funds raises ethical questions about financial integrity and the responsibility to fulfill obligations.

Evaluation of the Bank Manager’s Behavior: The bank manager’s behavior can be evaluated from an ethical point of view as follows:

  1. Compassion and Humanitarianism: On the positive side, the bank manager displayed compassion and humanitarianism by facilitating the release of funds for a life-saving surgery. This action aligns with ethical principles of empathy and helping those in dire need.
  2. Confidentiality: However, the bank manager did breach confidentiality by disclosing sensitive information about the dormant account to a third party (the colleague) without the account holder’s consent. This raises ethical concerns about privacy and data protection.
  3. Adherence to Banking Regulations: The manager’s decision to bypass standard banking procedures might be seen as ethically questionable from a regulatory perspective, as it disregards established protocols for account access.

How to React to the Situation: As an executive in the bank and considering the ethical complexities involved, here’s how you might react to the situation:

  1. Discuss Confidentiality: Express concern to your colleague about the breach of confidentiality by the bank manager. Emphasize the importance of maintaining customer privacy and suggest discussing the matter with the bank manager to clarify the situation.
  2. Support Repayment: Encourage your colleague to continue repaying the borrowed funds as promised, ensuring financial integrity. It’s important to fulfill obligations even when funds are used for humanitarian reasons.
  3. Seek Manager’s Perspective: Initiate a conversation with the bank manager to understand their rationale behind the decision and to ensure that appropriate steps are taken to safeguard customer data and maintain adherence to banking regulations in the future.
  4. Promote Transparency: Advocate for transparent processes within the bank that allow for exceptional cases, such as medical emergencies, to be handled ethically and within the boundaries of banking regulations.
  5. Learn from the Experience: Use this situation as an opportunity to review and improve internal policies and guidelines regarding exceptional cases to ensure ethical, compassionate, and legally compliant decision-making.

Overall, the focus should be on finding a balance between humanitarian concerns and ethical principles, while also upholding the integrity and regulations of the banking institution.

  1. A landslide occurred in the middle of night on 20th July 2023 in a remote mountain hamlet, approximately 60 kilometres 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 that 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 labour and is losing blood. You directed your medical team to examine his wife. They will return and convey to you that this woman needs blood transfusion immediately. Upon enquiry, you come to know that a few blood collection bags and blood group test kids 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 from 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 favour transfusion, while some other oppose it. The doctors in the team are ready to facilitate the delivery provided they are not penalized for transfusion. Now you are in the dilemma. Your professional training emphasizes on prioritising service to humanity and saving lives of individual.

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

Ans.: (a) Ethical Issues Involved:

  1. Medical Ethics: The primary ethical concern is the administration of a blood transfusion outside of recognized blood bank procedures. This raises questions about the safety and quality of the blood being transfused, potentially jeopardizing the health of the patient.
  2. Duty to Save Lives: As a physician and District Magistrate, there is a moral and professional duty to prioritize saving lives, especially in emergency situations like childbirth complications.
  3. Legal and Regulatory Compliance: There may be legal and regulatory issues related to administering blood without proper authorization or following established medical protocols.
  4. Conflict of Interest: Balancing the ethical duty to save lives with potential legal consequences or professional repercussions can create a conflict of interest.

(b) Options Available to the District Magistrate:

  1. Seek Emergency Authorization: You can contact higher authorities or medical experts to seek emergency authorization for the blood transfusion, ensuring that all safety precautions are taken. This would involve consulting legal and medical experts to ensure compliance with regulations.
  2. Coordinate with a Blood Bank: While time is of the essence, you can coordinate with the nearest recognized blood bank to expedite the process of obtaining blood and conducting blood group tests. This may involve arranging for immediate transportation of blood to the location.
  3. Utilize Volunteer Donors: If some team members are willing to donate blood, they can do so, but the collected blood should undergo immediate testing for compatibility and safety before transfusion.
  4. Inform the Family: Clearly explain the situation to the family and gain informed consent. They should be made aware of the circumstances and potential risks involved in receiving blood that hasn’t gone through standard procedures.
  5. Document the Decision: Maintain thorough documentation of the situation, the decision taken, and the rationale behind it to provide a transparent account of the emergency.
  6. Follow Up: Ensure that proper medical care is provided throughout and after the delivery to monitor for any complications or adverse reactions.

In this challenging situation, the District Magistrate must prioritize saving lives while taking all necessary steps to adhere to ethical, legal, and safety standards. Consulting with experts and coordinating with recognized medical facilities are essential to navigate this ethical dilemma effectively.

  1. At 9:00 p.m. on Saturday evening, Rasika, 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 p.m. her superior, Mr. Suresh calls her and asks her to prepare a detailed note on 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 leaver 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.

  2. a) Discuss the ethical issues involved in this case.
  3. 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.
  4. e) Imagine you are in a similar situation. What suggestions would you make to mitigate such working conditions?

(a) Ethical Issues Involved:

  1. Work-Life Balance: The primary ethical issue in this case is the challenge of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Rashika’s dedication to her job has led to long working hours, which is affecting her personal life and her duties towards her family.
  2. Prioritization of Responsibilities: Rashika is faced with the dilemma of prioritizing her professional responsibilities, which are important for her career and the welfare of the people she serves, against her personal duties as a wife and mother.
  3. Social Obligations: Rashika reflects on her social obligations, including taking care of her sick child, and questions whether her commitment to her job has compromised her ability to fulfill these essential social responsibilities.
  4. Setting Boundaries: Rashika contemplates the need to set reasonable limits to work ethics, particularly in terms of punctuality, hard work, dedication to duty, and selfless service, to ensure that personal life is not overshadowed.

(b) Laws for Providing a Healthy and Safe Working Environment for Women:

  1. Maternity Benefit Act, 1961: This law ensures that pregnant women are entitled to maternity leave with pay and benefits, allowing them to balance work and family responsibilities during and after childbirth.
  2. Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013: This Act mandates that organizations create a safe working environment for women by preventing and addressing sexual harassment issues promptly.
  3. Equal Remuneration Act, 1976: This law prohibits wage discrimination based on gender, ensuring that women receive equal pay for equal work, promoting economic security and equality.
  4. Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923: This Act provides compensation to employees, including women, in case of injuries or accidents at the workplace, ensuring their safety and well-being.

(c) Mitigating Working Conditions: To mitigate such working conditions, Rashika and individuals in similar situations can consider the following suggestions:

  1. Set Clear Boundaries: Clearly define boundaries between work and personal life, allocating specific time for each to avoid overcommitment to one at the expense of the other.
  2. Effective Time Management: Prioritize tasks and use time management techniques to enhance efficiency at work, reducing the need for extended working hours.
  3. Flexibility in Work: Seek flexible work arrangements or telecommuting options when possible to better balance work and family responsibilities.
  4. Support Network: Build a strong support network, including family, friends, and colleagues, who can assist during demanding work periods or emergencies.
  5. Employee Assistance Programs: Utilize workplace programs that provide support for employees dealing with personal or family-related challenges.
  6. Open Communication: Communicate openly with supervisors about the need for a healthier work-life balance, seeking accommodations or support when necessary.
  7. Legal Protections: Be aware of legal protections available under various labor laws, and assert rights when facing challenges related to work hours, leave, or workplace conditions.

By implementing these strategies and seeking support, individuals like Rashika can strive to strike a better balance between their professional and personal lives while fulfilling their ethical and social obligations.

  1. Vinod is an honest and sincere IAS officer. Recently, he has taken over as Managing Director of State Road Transport Corporation, his sixth transfer in the past 3 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 the 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. Vinos 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 prove he has with him. The members 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 the 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.

  1. 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.

Ans.: (a) Options Available to Vinod:

  1. Report the Allegations: Vinod can choose to report the alleged irregularities and the video evidence of the Chairman demanding a bribe to the appropriate authorities within the State Road Transport Corporation and higher government levels. This would uphold his integrity and ethical principles.
  2. Whistleblower Protection: Vinod may also seek whistleblower protection, ensuring that he is safeguarded against any retaliation or penalization for exposing corruption. This would require taking the matter to external agencies responsible for handling such cases.
  3. Confront the Chairman: Vinod could confront the Chairman directly with the evidence and demand an explanation. This approach risks backlash but may encourage the Chairman to rectify the situation.
  4. Seek Legal Advice: Vinod can consult legal experts to understand the legal implications and procedures for reporting corruption within the organization and to ensure his actions are in line with the law.

(b) Ethical Issues Arising from Politicization of Bureaucracy:

  1. Corruption and Nepotism: When powerful politicians have close ties to bureaucrats, there is a risk of corruption, nepotism, and favoritism, as seen in the case with the Chairman’s alleged demand for a bribe.
  2. Compromised Integrity: Bureaucrats may face pressure to compromise their integrity to maintain their positions or avoid punishment, as the Board Member suggests in this case.
  3. Misuse of Power: Politicization can lead to the misuse of power by politicians to further their interests, often at the expense of public welfare and ethical governance.
  4. Diminished Autonomy: Civil servants may find their autonomy and decision-making abilities compromised when they are subjected to external political pressures.
  5. Ethical Dilemma: Bureaucrats may face ethical dilemmas like the one Vinod encounters, where exposing corruption could have personal and professional repercussions, but not doing so compromises their ethical principles.
  6. Erosion of Public Trust: When citizens perceive that bureaucracy is politicized and influenced by political agendas rather than serving the public interest, it erodes public trust in government institutions.

In conclusion, Vinod’s case highlights the ethical challenges faced by civil servants in a politicized bureaucracy. Upholding ethical values, transparency, and accountability is crucial to ensure good governance and maintain public trust in government institutions.

  1. 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 6 months, is working on a very important project, the successful completion of which would him a lasting reputation for the rest of his life.

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 his 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 academy 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 ears that she is contemplating tender resignation.

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

Ans.: (a) Ethical Issues:

  1. Workplace Harassment: The Chief Architect’s passive-aggressive behavior, disrespect, and humiliation of Seema constitute workplace harassment. It is ethically wrong to create a hostile work environment that affects an employee’s confidence, self-esteem, and emotional well-being.
  2. Inequality and Unfair Treatment: Seema is being treated unfairly solely because she made valuable suggestions that may overshadow the Chief Architect’s work. Discrimination based on gender or experience is ethically unacceptable.
  3. Compromising Project Quality: The Chief Architect’s behavior may lead to Seema’s resignation, which could compromise the quality and completion of the important project. Ethically, the organization should aim for excellence and not let personal insecurities hinder progress.

(b) Options Available:

  1. Intervention and Mediation: You can intervene as the Additional Director General and mediate between Seema and the Chief Architect. A frank discussion may help resolve the conflict and ensure that the project benefits from both of their contributions.
  2. Recognition and Equal Credit: Ensure that Seema receives recognition for her valuable suggestions and contributions to the project. Make it clear that the organization values teamwork and innovation.
  3. Anti-Harassment Policies: Enforce strict anti-harassment policies within the organization. Provide training to all employees on workplace ethics and respectful behavior.
  4. Employee Support: Offer emotional support to Seema and assure her that the organization is committed to her well-being. Encourage her to report any further harassment.

(c) Response to Seema’s Predicament and Preventive Measures: Your response should focus on the following:

  1. Support Seema: Provide emotional support to Seema and assure her that her contributions are valued. Encourage her not to resign and report any further harassment immediately.
  2. Mediation: Facilitate a meeting between Seema and the Chief Architect to resolve their issues and ensure a harmonious working relationship.
  3. Anti-Harassment Measures: Enforce a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and discrimination within the organization. Conduct regular workshops and training sessions on workplace ethics.
  4. Conflict Resolution: Establish a mechanism for conflict resolution within the organization, ensuring that employees have a safe and confidential platform to raise concerns.
  5. Merit-Based Recognition: Implement a merit-based recognition system that rewards employees for their contributions to projects, regardless of their seniority or experience.
  6. Ethical Culture: Foster an ethical work culture that promotes respect, teamwork, and open communication. Lead by example in upholding these values.

By taking these measures, you can address the ethical issues in the case, ensure the successful completion of the project, and create a workplace environment where all employees are treated fairly and respectfully.

  1. 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 in forms 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 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 caricatures 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 physically bullying of children on the sports field. The video became viral on social media. Your friends and colleagues begin 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.

  1. a) Based on the above case study, discuss the ethical issues involved in the use of social media.
  2. 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.

Ans.: (a) Ethical Issues Involved in the Use of Social Media:

  1. Privacy Violation: The initial act of ridiculing the 11-year-old boy on social media was a breach of his privacy and dignity. Posting derogatory comments or videos about individuals, especially minors, without their consent is ethically wrong.
  2. Bullying and Harassment: The act of making fun of the boy, calling him names, and sharing derogatory content amounts to cyberbullying and harassment. Such behavior on social media platforms can have severe emotional and psychological effects on the victim.
  3. Responsibility of Users: Users of social media have a moral responsibility to ensure that the content they share is respectful, truthful, and does not harm others. Engaging in derogatory or defamatory behavior reflects a lack of ethical responsibility.
  4. Impact on Minors: Children and adolescents are vulnerable to the negative effects of cyberbullying and online harassment. It’s ethically imperative to protect their well-being and emotional health.
  5. Responsibility of Parents and Guardians: Parents have an ethical duty to monitor and guide their children’s online activities, as well as to address any issues related to their children’s online behavior and experiences.

(b) Pros and Cons of Using Social Media to Counter Fake Propaganda: Pros:

  1. Swift Response: Social media allows for a rapid response to counter false information and provide context to a wide audience.
  2. Transparency: Posting a counter video can provide a transparent account of what actually happened, allowing the truth to be heard.
  3. Educational Opportunity: Using social media, the family can educate the public about the harmful consequences of spreading false information and cyberbullying.


  1. Amplification of Content: While the family’s intention is to counter false propaganda, sharing content related to the incident can inadvertently amplify the negative messages or content.
  2. Privacy Concerns: Posting videos and personal information on social media may further invade the family’s privacy and expose them to online harassment.
  3. Emotional Toll: Engaging in online disputes can be emotionally draining and escalate tensions, especially if others respond negatively.
  4. Legal Implications: Counteractions on social media must be careful not to cross legal boundaries, such as revealing personal information or making false accusations.

In conclusion, the case highlights the ethical issues related to the misuse of social media, including cyberbullying and harassment. While using social media to counter false propaganda has its advantages, it also comes with risks and responsibilities that must be carefully considered. Balancing the need for truth and the ethical use of social media is essential in such situations.