General Studies Paper 4 (Ethics): Imagine you are working as a district collector (DC), and you have come across a following situation.



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Syllabus: General Studies Paper 4 (Ethics)

Imagine you are working as a district collector (DC), and you have come across a following situation.


In a recent meeting chaired by cabinet minister in your office, all elected representatives of local governments were invited. You had invited your subordinates as well. During the meeting, you, minister and other VIPs were served tea and snacks in clean porcelain cups and plates, whereas your subordinates and panchayat members were served in plastic cups. One gram panchayat member objected to this practice and shouted slogans against you and the minister. Some other members supported him. The minister pacified him telling that hierarchy was necessary to keep subordinates in their place and this practice helped in keeping a distance between ordinary people and powerful public servants to function smoothly.

  1. Is this practice discriminatory and unethical?
  2. Is minister right in his arguments?
  3. What steps will you adopt, to stop such practices? Justify.


 In the above case, justifying ways like this owing to a “hierarchical discriminatory” and “ways to keep the subordinate” away from the elites is purely illogical, inhumane, discriminatory, unethical and contradicts the concept of “equality of all”.

Certainly minister is wrong in his arguments because, discriminating a person on the basis of the position he holds in the government office can never be accepted. Not only does it disrespect the people being discriminated, it also questions on the officials ways to serve the poor. The whole idea behind a civil servant is “servant” of the country’s citizen, be it the PM himself or a clerk. Everyone must be treated equally.

 At this point, the idea should be respecting a “human” as an “athithi”(guest) and respecting the saying “athithi devo bhav”. I would have first collected the details about practices being followed. If there were a certain discriminatory “rule” that was being followed, I would have made sure to get this rule is mended by an official complaint to the concerned authorities. Furthermore, if there was something like this being followed even after my complaint, I would first ask for the tea and snacks in same utensil that my subordinates are being given, and ask my colleagues to follow the same. If they wouldn’t have accepted, I would have anyway continued to have in the same utensils, because i believe in the saying of mahatma Gandhi “If you want t change the world start with yourself”

Anyway. A simple step like this would make them realize that all are human beings and all are equal. And they  would feel guilt  about their practices and continue to follow the way of indiscrimination .


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