What do you understand by the terms ‘governance’, ‘good governance’, and `ethical governance’? (Civil Services Examination 2016)

  • Governance is a system of rules and regulations which helps in networking government and non-government institutions and also defining the power and function of individual entity involved in this network.
  • Hence, governance can exist in all forms of government including even monarchy or dictatorship. It is not concerned with the arbitrariness of the rules and regulation. For example, Women are not allowed to drive in few countries. Governance is thus capacity to execute this law irrespective of its correctness.
  • Good governance was a concept given by World Bank in wake of rising popularity of neo-liberal principles. It says that good governance is a manner in which power is exercised in management of country’s economic and social resources for development.
  • However, it was criticized by third world on the ground that it ignores legitimacy of government, accountability of public official and respect for human rights. World Bank emphasizes more on accountability and transparency to the forces of market and not to people.
  • Ethical governance is improvement over good governance. It is based on premises that citizen is the king and central figure in governance and government exist to serve the people. It gives primacy to legitimacy of government, citizen participation in decision making, accountability of public official towards people and transparency in administration.

Discuss the Public Services Code as recommended by the 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission (2nd ARC). (Civil Services Examination 2016)

2nd Administrative Reforms Commission (2nd ARC) was constituted by Government of India to review and recommend suggestions for revamping Indian public administration system. The commission has given comprehensive value and ethical standards, code of ethics and code of conduct for public servant.

The commission recommends
  • Unconditional commitment to constitutional values like equality, liberty, justice and secularism.
  • Impartiality, non-partisanship and apolitical attitude ensure free and fair decision making and promote collective good in society.
  • Objectivity requires carrying out various public business on basis of merit.
  • Commitment to citizen’s concerns has also been identified.
  • Empathy for the weaker sections has rightly been included in the recommendations.
  • Accountability and ownership public service now-a-days lack accountability. To this end the commission recommends that public service should be accountable for their decisions and actions to public. They should come forward and take responsibility of the issues. This will solve many corruption related issues.
  • Devotion to duty and exemplary behavior has rightly been identified as attributes to be inculcated in public service.

The practicing of these codes while performing the service needs to be inculcated throughout the career of a public servant as they are pillars on which the entire edifice of good and ethical governance stands.

Given are two quotations of moral thinkers/philosophers. For each of these, bring out what it means to you in the present context.

(a) “The weak can never forgive; forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”  (Civil Services Examination 2015)
  • Mahatma Gandhi has given this beautiful quotation. The weak can never forgive. He is bound by extreme emotions which prevent him from forgiving. This weakness is also the source of our negative attitude, anger, sense of revenge, etc. By not forgiving others, we are inclined to think that we are taking revenge from the person who has done harm to us. But in fact, it harms us, more than it does to other. Our mind remains occupied with such negativity that it hampers our own personality development. A person with weak personality always believes that forgiving someone is in itself a sign of incapability to punish the culprit.
  • However, for forgiveness, one needs moral fortitude to overcome the strong emotions which prevent us from forgiving. One needs to transcend the distinction between good and bad. This way, we can free our soul from the chains and hence, ensure our all-round personality development. So, by inculcating the value of forgiveness, we are helping ourselves as much as we are helping others. We need to always remember that forgiveness doesn’t change our past, but it does change our future.
  • So for society to prosper and humanity to progress, we need to inculcate the value of forgiveness, as forgiving someone, even when you have the power to punish him needs patience and compassion towards mankind.
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of dark;the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light” (Civil Services Examination 2015)

This quote by  plato can be interpreted in the present context where even the mature and educated citizens are not willing to accept gravity of a situation and refuse to acknowledge their duty to make positive changes.A child represents an immature mind;a man, in  contrast,represents a rational human being who knows the difference between right and wrong.on the other hand,light stands for virtue,while darkness is vice.Human have always preferred for status quo.any change ,whether ethical or not are resisted by them.Literal meaning of the quote implies that the one who is ignorant and commirs a mistake canbe forgiven for his lack of knowledge.This is whatJudiciary tends to pronounce in judgements which remain open to reform the convict.

Tragedy is that when human refuse to accept knowledge that could lead to desirable change in individuals and society.Khap and traditionalists can be quotes as example.Despite knowing the advantages of modern societal values,these orthodox minds remain firm on theirview point and perpetrate violance in name of preserving their traditions.those who fear their weakness can never relise their potential fully.They keep justifying their wrongs without accepting them.Hence,one of the most important characterstics men must have is self – confidence,responsibility taking ability abd fearlessness to come forward.

4.a. “Social values are more important than economic values “Discuss the given statement with examples in the context of inclusive growth of a nation (Civil Services Examination 2015)
  • Economic values emphasise on the value of profit, consumerism, materialism and maximum productivity.These values fuel inequality and don’t really care about the concept of social m justice. On the other hand, social values emphasise on the concept of social justice, harmony and equality. These values are humane in nature and improve social bonding. So, it can be said that inclusion of social values in economy can give it a humane touch, e.g. inclusion of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in economy.
  • For improving the social capital, we need to focus on social values. It will also help in improving quality of life of an individual, e.g., Current Day Welfare states focus on social values, alongwith economic values. It tries to minimise inequality. So, for a balanced, inclusive and sustainable development, we need to focus more on the social values than the economic values. In fact, social values provide the foundation over which a strong economy can be built upon.
Some recent developments such as introduction of RTI Act, media and judicial activism, etc, are proving helpful in bringing about greater transparency and accountability in the functioning of the government. However, it is also being observed that at times the mechanisms are misused. Another negative effect is that the officers are now afraid to take prompt decisions. Analyses this situation in detail and suggest how this dichotomy can be resolved. Suggest how these negative impacts can be minimized.(Civil Services Examination 2015)

RTI Act,media and judicial activism are few measures,which have acted as the protector of democracy,medium of accountability and responsiveness and bluwark against state’s excesses.These measures have tried to make the system more transperent and accessible to the citizens.

They have improved the participation of an ordinary citizen in the governance public officials continuously feel that somebody isobserving thir work and decisions and this is a healthy sign for a transparent,accountable and responsible administration.However there are also allegations that these provisions have been misused for vested intrests.

Officers are more relucant to take bold decisions.There has also been a trend of pessimism and interference in decision-making process.

There is a need to resolve the dicthomy between the need for transparency and accountability and protecting honest civil servants from under harsment.

It can be done by
  • Providing monitaring mechanism for ensuring transparency in programme implementation.
  • Providing adequate safeguards to officers,such autonomy and accountability can be balanced.
  • Encouraging officers to take decisions by rewarding them for success.
  • Defining standard operating procedure andcode of conduct for officers.
  • Encouraging partcipation of people in governance throughtrust building measures.
  • Penality for those who use measures for personal interests.
  • Bringing media under regulations through propagating positive values.
  • Judiciary can restrictit self in crossing the boundaries by coming out with norms for judicial activism.

In this way,the dichotomy can be resolved and the negative ipact can b minimised.

(a) Which eminent personality has inspired you the most in the context ofethical conduct in life? Give the gist of his/her teachings giving specificexamples; describe how you have been able to apply these teachings for your own ethical development. (Civil Services Examination 2014)

It is the life of Mahatma Gandhi, which has played a major role in shaping my morality.Gandhiji was a saint and a moral revolutionary who believed that peaceful solution of our problems was not only possible, but was the only way to have a real solution.

He absolutely stuck to the cardinal concepts of truth, non-violence and non- accumulation. Gandhism is not merely a political creed, it is a message. It is a philosophy of life. He was a firm believer that morality lies not only in ends, but also in means, e.g. the Chauri Chaura Incident,which led to suspension of Non- Cooperation Movement, Gandhiji has talked about seven principles, which have worked as a practical guide for me while facing many ethical dilemmas of my life.

I have applied his teachings by
  • Respecting every religion, while practising one of them.
  • Doing right things in right way.
  • Doing moral reasoning.
  • Respecting women and disadvantaged.
  • Helping others and raising voice, when required in peaceful manner.

He showed me how I can integrate my value system with conduct and live  person should be known by his actions rather than his thoughts.

b.There is a hevy ethical responsibility on  the public servants because they occupy positions of power,handle huge amounts of public funds and their decisions have wide-ranging impact on society and environment.What steps have you taken to improve your ethical competence to handle.such responsibility?(Civil Services Examination 2014)

Public servants are the protector of public resources and people’s trust.They have the constitutional responsibility to use them In the interest of the nation,in the purpose of national development.Each and every decision of a public servant has wide ranging impact on society and environment.So it is necessary that decision taken by him should be driven ethical standards.

Some steps taken to improve ethical competence by me include 
  • Developing and maintaining professional knowledge and skins.
  • understanding and respecting diversity of people and views around me.
  • Remain tolerant and peaceful in my conduct.
  • practising altruism and giving unconditional regard to people.
  • Living a simple life with less materialism.
  • Seeing everything from different point of views.
  • Developing intellectual courage by strongly practising what I believe in.
  • Remain open to new ideas and criticism.
  • To behave with others the way I expect others to behave with me.
  • Positive attitude towards life and developing my emotional competence through introspection and humour.
  • Being objective and dedicated towards my goals.
  • Doing right things in right ways.
  • Increasing self-awareness about environmental issues and also propagating them,
  • Reading good books and discussion with knowledgeable and experienced.

6.Given below are three quotations of great moral thinkers/philosophers For each of these quotations, bring out what it means to you in the present context.

“There is enough on this earth for every one’s need but for no one’s greed.”— Mahatma Gandhi (Civil Services Examination 2013)

  • This quotation of Gandhiji seems very appropriate in the current context, as it asks for the development to be sustainable, which the present generation has failed to achieve. It is being seen that the world does not have enough resources to keep up with the rapidly growing consumption. It is said that we will need resources from four and a half earths, if every country in the world wants to have the living standards equivalent to the West. Such a growth is not sustainable.
  • Such a pattern of consumption is also creating huge environmental problems alongwith global warming and climate change. On the other hand, if everyone tries to consume staying with the limits of their basic needs, there are enough resources on the planet for everyone. The quotation can also be seen as a remark on greed. It tells us that greed is unlimited. It is neversatisfied, even if the person gets the whole world for himself.

“Nearly all men can withstand adversity,but if you want to test a man’s character,give him power”.-Abraham Lincon

(Civil Services Examination 2013)

True character is the correct reflection of a person’s morality,ethics and courage.This can be revealed,when a person is set free or given free power bot in adversity because when a man is  faced with adversity,he has no choice but face it.most people would try to with stand adversity since,survival is a natural human instinct.

When a man is given power on the other hand, he has multiple choices.he can use his power for the good or for self-interest  or for  hurting is said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.It is power which is the source of corruption.Thus a person’s true character is revealed only by watching his behaviour after  he has got was power of non-violence and truth that entire india walked behind mahatma gandhu for the cause of independence of contrast,Hitler who got immense power could not prevent himself from abusing that power.

“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who over comes his enemies.”-Aristotle(Civil Services Examination 2013)

Mahatma budha had said that desires are the causes of sorrow,if they are  conqured the person can become enlightened.Gandhiji had also emphasised on self-regulation of desires.Conquering of desires is one of the most difficult things todo.It is much easier to overcome enemies.Most of us are focused on the external world.Moreover,an enemy presents  clear threats.Not facing him can harm our interests.

Overcoming our desires on the other hand requires us to turn our focus is like fighting with requires  a level of honesty and integrity which is not easy.It requires a high level of self-decipline.Not overcoming our desires does not present presnt any clear threats.Therefore, a person who can overcome his desires is braver than the person who overcomes enemies.

7.The good of an individual is contained in the good for all” What do you understand by this statement? How can this principle be implemented inpublic life? (Civil Services Examination 2013)

This statement is very close to Gandhiji’s idea of Sarvodaya.This statement can have two meanings. Firstly, it means that a person can achieve happiness and satisfaction only by serving others. Secondly, it means that a Person cannot be happy if there exist many others who are not happy.

This statement brings out an idea which should be imbibed by everyone in public life. We should all have compassion for those who are suffering.

Serving others should in fact become our life goal. We also need to realise that our happiness will be short lived if there are many people surrounding us who are suffering. Inequality in society is a destabilising factor which can lead to problems which affect every one. It thus hurts the interest of everyone if there are people in society who are suffering.

So, for reducing this suffering various plans have been adopted. For example, various social security schemes for women, old age and disable, health and education schemes for the poor and food providing schemes like NFSA (National Food Security Act) are following the principle of “The good of an individual is contained in the good of all.”

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