General Studies – IV

General Studies IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)

 

 

Syllabus – By Heart it !!

  • This paper will include questions to test the candidate’s attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilize the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered.
  • Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.
  • Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.
  • Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
  • Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.
  • Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.
  • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
  • Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.
  • Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.
  • Case Studies on above issues.

Reference Books

IAS junior Notes:

Available only for mentorship program subscribers

Strategy:

  • Ethics, integrity and honesty should form a common theme during your entire preparation and not only for GS paper IV
  • All the traits demanded by the syllabus should flow like a common theme in your answers. Discussions with friends, family and self helps
  • The answers to these questions flow from two different parts of your body–mind and soul. Your mind would follow rationality and logic while your heart shall follow the gut feeling or intuition.
  • Don’t focus heavily on philosophical stuff. Study only what is needed to handle an administrative life and ethical dilemmas.
  • Track and note ethical issues in news
  • You may be asked to give solutions to current administrative problems and dilemmas, so keep your opinion on these issues ready.
  • Case studies will be not only from ethical issues but also present day burning problems like brain drain; reforms in Indian police; Land acquisition issues; disaster management etc
  • Your approach matters more than your content in the examination.
  • Practice logical writing to improvise on your approach and bring coherence in the answer.

Previous Year Question Papers

Yearwise:

 

Topicwise:

Ethics:

  • Distinguish between “Code of ethics” and “Code of conduct” with suitable examples. (150 words) 2018
  • What does this quotations mean to you in the present context:  “Falsehood takes the place of truth when it results in unblemished common good.”- Tirukkural. (150 words) 2018
  • With regard to the morality of actions, one view is that means is of paramount importance and the other view is that the ends justify the means. Which view do you think is more appropriate? Justify your answer. (150 words) 2018
  • The crisis of ethical values in modern times is traced to a narrow perception of the good life. Discuss. 2017
  • Without commonly shared and widely entrenched moral values and obligations, neither the law, nor democratic government, nor even the market economy will function properly. What do you understand by this statement? Explain with illustration in the contemporary times. 2017
  • Explain how ethics contributes to social and human well-being.   2016
  • Law and ethics are considered to be the two tools for controlling human conduct so as to make it conducive to civilized social existence. (a) Discuss how they achieve this objective. (b) Giving examples, show how the two differ in their approaches. 2016
  • What is meant by ‘environmental ethics’? Why is it important to study? Discuss any one environmental issue from the viewpoint of environmental ethics. 2015
  • Differentiate between the following (200 words); a) Law and Ethics; b) Ethical management and Management of ethics; c) Discrimination and Preferential treatment; d) Personal ethics and Professional ethics  2015
  • Human beings should always be treated as ‘ends’ in themselves and never as merely `means’. Explain the meaning and significance of this statement, giving its implications in the modern techno-economic society.  2014
  • What do you understand by ‘values’ and ‘ethics’? In what way is it important to be ethical along with being professionally competent? 2013
  • Some people feel that values keep changing with time and situation, while others strongly believe that there are certain universal and eternal human values. Give your perception in this regard with due justification. 2013
  • How will you apply emotional intelligence in administrative practices? 2017
  • Anger is a harmful negative emotion. It is injurious to both personal life and work life. (a) Discuss how it leads to negative emotions and undesirable behaviours. (b) How can it be managed and controlled? 2016
  • All human beings aspire for happiness. Do you agree? What does happiness mean to you? Explain with examples.  2014
  • What is ’emotional intelligence’ and how can it be developed in people? How does it help an individual in taking ethical decisions?  2013
  • What do you understand by the term ‘voice of conscience’? How do you prepare yourself to heed to the voice of conscience?  2013
  • What is meant by ‘crisis of conscience’? Narrate one incident in your life when you were faced with such a crisis and how you resolved the same. 2013

Thinkers and philosophies

  • “In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And if they do not have the first, the other two will kill you.” – Warren Buffett. What do you understand by this statement in the present-day scenario? Explain. (150 words) 2018
  • What does this quotations mean to you in the present context:  Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding. “ _ Mahatma Gandhi. (150 words) 2018
  • “Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte. Stating examples mention the rulers (i) who have harmed society and country, (ii) who worked for the development of society and country. 2017
  • Discuss Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of seven sins. 2016
  • Analyse John Rawls’s concept of social justice in the Indian context. 2016
  • Corruption causes misuse of government treasury, Administrative inefficiency and obstruction in the path of national Development. Discuss Kautilya’s views. 2016
  • Max Weber said that it is not wise to apply to public administration the sort of moral and ethical norms we apply to matters of personal conscience. It is important to realise that the State bureaucracy might possess its own independent bureaucratic morality. Critically analyse this statement.  2016
  • “The weak can never forgive; forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” 2015
  • We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. 2015
  • Which eminent personality has inspired you the most in the context of ethical conduct in life? Give the gist of his/her teachings giving specific examples, describe how you have been able to apply these teachings for your own ethical development. 2014
  • There is enough on this earth for every one’s need but for no one’s greed. Mahatma Gandhi. 2013
  • Nearly all men can withstand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.—Abraham Lincoln 2013
  • I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who overcomes his enemies.—Aristotle 2013

Family

  • What is meant by conflict of interest? Illustrate with examples, the difference between the actual and potential conflicts of interest. (150 words) 2018
  • Our attitudes towards life, work, other people and society are generally shaped unconsciously by the family and social surroundings in which we grow up. Some of these unconsciously acquired attitudes and values are often undesirable in the citizens of modern democratic and egalitarian society.  (a) Discuss such undesirable values prevalent in today’s educated Indians. (b) How can such undesirable attitudes be changed and socio-ethical values be cultivated in the aspiring and serving civil servants? 2016
  • Social values are more important than economic values. Discuss the above statement with examples in the context of inclusive growth of a nation. 2015
  • The current society is plagued with widespread trust-deficit. What are the consequences of this situation for personal well-being and for societal well-being? What can you do at the personal level to make yourself trustworthy? 2014
  • What factors affect the formation of a person’s attitude towards social problems? In our society, contrasting attitudes are prevalent about many social problems. What contrasting attitudes do you notice about the caste system in our society? How do you explain the existence of these contrasting attitudes? 2014
  • We are witnessing increasing instances of sexual violence against women in the country. Despite existing legal provisions against it, the number of such incidences is on the rise. Suggest some innovative measures to tackle this menace. 2014
  • Young people with ethical conduct are not willing to come forward to join active politics. Suggest steps to motivate them to come forward. 2017
  • In the context of defense services, ‘patriotism’ demands readiness to even lay down one’s life in protecting the nation. According to you, what does patriotism imply in everyday civil life? Explain with illustrations and justify your answer. 2014
  • It is often said that ‘politics’ and ‘ethics’ do not go together. What is your opinion in this regard? Justify your answer with illustrations.  2013

Civil Services

  • “The Right to Information Act is not all about citizens’ empowerment alone, it essentially redefines the concept of accountability. Discuss. (150 words) 2018
  • What does this quotations mean to you in the present context:  “The true rule, in determining to embrace, or reject anything, is not whether it has any evil in it; but whether it has more evil than good. There are few things wholly evil or wholly good. Almost everything, especially of governmental policy, is an inseparable compound of the two; so that our best judgement of the preponderance between them is continually demanded. ” Abraham Lincoln. (150 words) 2018
  • Explain the process of resolving ethical dilemmas in Public Administration. (150 words) 2018
  • Suppose the Government of India is thinking of constructing a dam in a mountain valley bond by forests and inhabited by ethnic communities. What rational policy should it resort to in dealing with unforeseen contingencies (150 words) 2018
  • What is mean by public interest? What are the principles and procedures to be followed by the civil servants in public interest? (150 words) 2018
  • State the three basic values, universal in nature, in the context of civil services and bring out their importance. (150 words) 2018
  • “In doing a good thing, everything is permitted which is not prohibited expressly or by clear implication”. Examine the statement with suitable examples in the context of a public servant discharging his/her duties. (150 words) 2018
  • Examine the relevance of the following in the context of civil service: (a) Transparency (b) Accountability (c) Fairness and justice (d) Courage of conviction (e) Spirit of service. 2017
  • One of the tests of integrity is complete refusal to be compromised. Explain with reference to a real life example. 2017
  • Conflict of interest in the public sector arises when (a) official duties, (b) public interest, and (c) personal interest are taking priority one above the other. How can this conflict in administration be resolved? Describe with an example. 2017
  • Why should impartiality and non-partisanship be considered as foundational values in public services, especially in the present day socio-political context? Illustrate your answer with examples. 2016
  • Public servants are likely to confront with the issues of ‘Conflict of Interest’. What do you understand by the term ‘Conflict of Interest’ and how does it manifest in the decision making by public servants? If faced with the conflict of interest situation, how would you resolve it? Explain with the help of examples. 2015
  • How do the virtues of trustworthiness and fortitude get manifested in public service? Explain with examples. 2015
  • A mere compliance with law is not enough, the public servant also has to have a well-developed sensibility to ethical issues for effective discharge of duties.” Do you agree? Explain with the help of two examples, where (i) an act is ethically right, but not legally and (ii) an act is legally right, but not ethically. 2015
  • Two different kinds of attitudes exhibited by public servants towards their work have been identified as the bureaucratic attitude and the democratic attitude. A) Distinguish between these two terms and write their merits and demerits. B) Is it possible to balance the two to create a better administration for the faster development of our country? 2015
  • What does ‘accountability’ mean in the context of public service? What measures can be adopted to ensure individual and collective accountability of public servants? 2014
  • Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, but knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful. What do you understand by this statement? Explain your stand with illustrations from the modern context. 2014
  • There is a heavy 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? 2014
  • What do you understand by the following terms in the context of public service? (5 terms x 3 marks each: a) Integrity  b) Perseverance c) Spirit of service d) Commitment e) Courage of conviction f) Personal opinion 2013
  • Indicate two more attributes which you consider important for public service. Justify your answer. (10 marks |100 words)  2013
  • Discipline generally implies following the order and subordination. However, it may be counter-productive for the organisation. Discuss. 2017
  • What do you understand by the terms ‘governance’, ‘good governance’ and ‘ethical governance’? 2016
  • What do you understand by ‘probity’ in public life? What are the difficulties in practicing it in the present times? How can these difficulties be overcome?      2014
  • What does ethics seek to promote in human life? Why is it all the more important in public administration?  2014
  • The good of an individual is contained in the good of all. What do you understand by this statement? How can this principle be implemented in public life? 2013
  • Discuss the Public Services Code as recommended by the 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission. 2016
  • “If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. they are father, the mother and the teacher.” – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. Analyse. 2017
  • It is often said that poverty leads to corruption. However, there is no dearth of instances where affluent and powerful people indulge in corruption in a big way. What are the basic causes of corruption among people? Support your answer with examples. 2014
  • 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. Analyze this situation in detail and suggest how this dichotomy can be resolved. Suggest how these negative impacts can be minimized. 2015
  • Today we find that in spite of various measures like prescribing codes of conduct, setting up vigilance cells/commissions, RTI, active media and strengthening of legal mechanisms, corrupt practices are not coming under control. A) Evaluate the effectiveness of these measures with justifications. B) Suggest more effective strategies to tackle this menace. 2015
  • Strength, peace and security are considered to be the pillars of international relations. Elucidate. 2017
  • At the international level, the bilateral relations between most nations are governed on the policy of promoting one’s own national interest without any regard for the interest of other nations. This leads to conflicts and tensions between the nations. How can ethical consideration help resolve such tensions? Discuss with specific examples. 2015
  • Corporate social responsibility makes companies more profitable and sustainable. Analyse. 2017
  • Increased national wealth did not result in equitable distribution of its benefits. It has created only some “enclaves of modernity and prosperity for a small minority at the cost of the majority.” Justify. 2017

Case Studies:

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Previous Year Questions and Answers:

 

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2013 UPSC GS 4 SOLUTIONS2014 UPSC GS 4 SOLUTIONS2015 UPSC GS 4 SOLUTIONS2016 UPSC GS 4 SOLUTIONS2017 UPSC GS 4 SOLUTIONS2018 UPSC GS 4 SOLUTIONS2019 UPSC GS 4 SOLUTIONS

Sample Topper Answers:

Anudeep Durishetty – Rank 1, CSE 2017 –GS4

Sachin Gupta – Rank 3, CSE 2017 – GS4