General Studies Paper 4 (Ethics): Public Service

Ashok Khemka

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Syllabus: General Studies Paper 4 (Ethics)


What is Public Service? Illustrate with an example the qualities that a civil servant possesses.


Public service is best understood as integration of service value with public interest. It could take myriads of forms in providing social, economic, political utility to public at large. Public services should be available to all, regardless of income, physical ability or mental acuity. It is best done keeping in mind the values of Trust, Equity and Economy.
In my opinion  it is the opportunity to transform the socio-economic landscape of our nation. It involves courage, imagination and unbeatable determination.

Public servant should prioritize duty ethics which are nothing but manifestation of his/her higher self. This involves inculcating value of selflessness, Integrity, leadership, accountability, Objectivity, openness in decision making process. In Indian context it becomes utmost important because growing perception of corruption in public service thereby threatening the legitimacy of entire state.

Further the problems of poverty, inequality of opportunity, ignorance are need to be resolved for which there are programs and policies but it takes professionalism in public service to implement them.


Qualities that a civil servant possess.

Ashok Khemka, an Indian Administrative services officer of Haryana cadre, is well known for being  transferred to 52 times in his career of 27 years. He is a complete package of personality traits to be followed by any public servant.

1. Honesty Towards work: despite of being transferred so many times he remained honest towards his work.

2. Discipline: following his ideals of honesty, determination despite of all odds, he set an example.

3. Fearlessness: He Has set an example of being fearless , be it a political pressure or life threats he always acted bravely and continued to expose scams and corruption.

4. Hard Work & Commitment: He had excelled in the every department he has posted to, for him department did not matter, he is and was always a hard working and committed to his work.

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do”– Steve Jobs.

5. Principle of Utilitarianism: Utilitarianism is a general ethical theory that marks the point of right and wrong completely based on the consequences of one’s action or policy. His decisions of exposing scams, corruptions lead to the greatest good for the country and its maximum people.

6. Being calm with his success: His praising, awards and ‘upright officer ‘has never put him astray from his goal.


Ashok Khemka is a personality, worth learning and enacting his principles in one’s life. There is a need for youngsters to follow ideologies and principles set by many of the remarkable officers, who has set an example by being honest and transparency and fearless. Determination, commitment, compassion can make a good strong chain of youths to protect our country from internal and external challenges.


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