UPSC General Studies 2014 Paper IV Solutions  

UPSC General Studies 2014 Paper IV Solutions



1 (a): All human beings aspire for happiness. Do you agree? What does happiness mean to you? Explain with examples


Happiness is the only point where both material and non-material aspects of life meet together; a point where the self meet with the entire collectivity and nature. A high GDP growth does not means high level of satisfaction and happiness. A state of poverty does not mean unhappiness. To me, happiness can be realised only by serving through self for the others through an extreme sense of sacrifice. Words The hallmark of the indoctrination of ethics is the will to sacrifice for others to get immense pleasure for the satisfaction of the self. The selfgratification remains intact in the form of services rendered by an individual to the society. In order to achieve this, one has to know and practice the culture of sacrifice. The family culture promotes and sustains the culture of sacrifice and commitment which makes an individual a part of the social system. I believe the family lays the foundation of strong character to face the challenges of life and the system.

Note: The answer is value-based and it can immensely differ. But one thing is important that in both parts of the question there should be inconsistency and no contradiction at all

1 (b): What does ethics seek to promote in human life? Why is it all the more important in public administration?


Ethics is the study and evaluation of human conduct in the light of moral principles based on the individual’s own standards or social duties and obligations. Ethics that govern human conduct at both formal and informal levels are a must to regulate both the behavioural and structural norms of the society. It is not at all possible to become professionally competent without being ethically sound. Both are complementary to each other and cannot be seen into isolation and segregation Code of conduct and ethics management are an important aspect of democratic development, efficient and effective public administration. Ethics, is an indispensable aspect of policy formulation, policy analysis and policy implementation, because these processes entail decision making processes. Effective codes and the ethics regimes that support them are now recognized as an essential part of a modern public administration. Codes and values are the glue that holds all of these systems together. Without integrity it is impossible for public programs to be effective, much less efficient, and fair

2 (a): In the context of defence 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.


By sacrificing for others. I had heard the story of the farmer and the military commander in my childhood. The powerful commander walked into a field of ripe wheat with his army and declared that his soldiers can eat the produce to their hearts’ content. The farmer humbly requested the commander to not touch the farm and instead offered to feed hisarmy in a separate area away from the farm. The commander asked the farmer, “Why did you want to take us somewhere else for food instead of this farm, even at the cost of your very life?” The poor farmer calmly replied, “Sir, this is not my farm, I was merely asking you to come to my farm.” This small incident demonstrates that the invisible mental power of ethics, morality and self-sacrifice can even defeat and reform the misguided will and determination of seemingly insurmountable physical power and tyranny. The farmer’s simplicity, generosity and concern for fellow humans won over the violent and tyrannical commander and made him realize the errors of his personality and actions. But the farmer’s sense of self-sacrifice is not easy to inculcate. Only those who can fight and win against their self obsession are able to sacrifice for others.

2 (b): 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?


Probity in governance is an essential and vital requirement for an efficient and effective system of governance and for socio-economic development. An important requisite for ensuring probity in governance is absence of corruption. The very recent trends of short-sighted politics appear to have created an impression that the democratic system to ensure probity in public life is increasingly stifled. One should not blame the politicians but the people who elect them. There may be many ways for ensuring probity in public life, but a self-disciplining mechanism seems to be the only realistic way out. While in countries like the US, chief compliance officers’ roles have been expanded to include matters of ethics; in India they are still largely concerned with legal matters. But due to recent protests, the NHRC has propagated the ‘Code of Ethics’ for industries and has refrained from projects that would be detrimental to locals, respecting whistleblowers’ rights and allowing equal opportunities to qualified employees regardless of their caste or religion. This implies that companies should respect the local culture, customs and traditions in which they operate.

3 (a): “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


The integrity of a person is basically demonstrated by his or her decision-making power. It indicates that the personality has to be inculcated to balance his or her societal, professional, personal dilemmas and to curb personal cravings to accomplish something fruitful for the society as a whole. Therefore, knowledge is a must for integrity. Intellectual integrity ensures that the person’s mental and emotional faculties are positively harnessed for constructive purposes. It provides a moral compass to govern actions. Merely being an intellectual is not enough for a public servant. He, of course needs intellectual ability to tackle the most vexing problems of the day as that is the nature of a government’s mandate in any developing and diverse country. All situations will be perennially plagued by shortage of finances; untrained or inadequate manpower; conflicting political goals; rival interest groups and the uniformed and easily influenced public, a section of whose sentiments and conveniences may suffer encroachment for achieving the larger good. Out of scarcities and the consequent rivalries, he needs to create enabling conditions and examples of growth and harmony worthy of emulation. Therefore, if he fails to balance these dilemmas through his decision-making power, then knowledge could be fatal for the society

3 (b): “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 


IT is not an unconditional boon and its baneful aspects are fearsome, for they are targeting the very value systems on which civilization has stood for centuries. In his attempt to create the super machine, which would crunch numbers and compute complex mathematical problems at the speed of light, man is slowly becoming a soulless machine himself, devoid of emotions and stripped of feelings. The virtual space, which is the domain of IT has become an arena where the human brain is fighting the human soul, with the former decimating the latter. IT has unleashed the forces of economic prosperity never thought of previously, has diminished the barriers of time and space like never before and has made the impossible possible; but in its endeavour to overcome the constraints set by the physical world, it has wrenched out the humaneness from human beings and left behind in its trail, not men but robots. Man has created and benefited from the IT revolution; and yet he is feeling fatigued, unable to keep pace with the breakneck speed of the world of bits and bytes. In this way, the modern-techno society has made the human beings as a means rather than an end like machines


4 (a): 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.


Gautam Buddha was probably the first philosopher to give a palpable solution to the growing moral-material crisis of the sixth century BC. through his concept of Madhyam Pratipat or middle path. The doctrine of Pratityasamutpada or dependent origination is the foundation of all governance of all the teachings of the Buddha. To Buddha, desire is the cause of suffering and cessation of suffering is nirvana (salvation). Pratityasamutpada is based on the premises that the empirical world is dominated by the intellect but everything is relative, conditional, dependent, subject to birth and death and therefore, impermanent. The main lessons given by the Buddhist philosophy is that in crisis and confusion only concentration on ethical values and codification of norms can provide a durable solution. The extreme regulation and discipline of life can obviate the sorrow and plight of life. Buddha also gave a positive message that there is no option when one believes in extremity and if you have no options then you are bound to suffer. Therefore, one should adopt a middle path to every dimension of life so that you can have a choice.

4 (b): 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?


The process of revising a code is an excellent way to re-engineer or reform the administrative structures and processes. Code revisions can be used to refocus the vision or mission statement of the organization, because the values in the code often are a foundation for how people in the organization see their responsibilities.

  1. The organization’s overarching objective should be to develop values – based organization and values – driven code, to promote a culture that encourages employees to internalize the principle of integrity and practice it.
  2. A code of conduct reflects organizational context. The nature, title, and content of an effective code will vary between organizations, as will the approach to its development.
  3. Clearly identifying the established process for defining, developing, and reviewing a code will promote understanding of, and agreement on, the key stages and activities.
  4. Continuous awareness and promotion of the code and the wider approach to ethics and compliance is an important part of conveying management’s commitment to their underlying principles.


5 (a): 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? 


The important institutions of the social system like the family, morality, ethics, values have gone down to the level of extinction and the role-relationship is in a state of confusion and mutual trust and dependence has almost become unpredictable. This has made the life more painful and has created bewilderment. In the absence of proper codification and adequate level of interpretation, the term freedom and fundamental rights has been misconceived as complete independence and independence has been regarded as a symbol of a matured democracy. And this overemphasis on independence has disassociated an individual from the social system. I would try to create spirit of service to make myself trustworthy. The spirit of service is the highest motivating factor to render goodness towards human kind. It imbibes work culture and makes oneself extremely accountable towards one’s role. It is an inner urge to perform the best for others. It needs highest form of motivation. In fact, motivation is the inner force that propels people to work more for the betterment of the functioning of the system. In order to maintain the spirit of service, one has to exercise self-control and self-direction in the service of objectives to which he/she is committed. The spirit of service incorporates enthusiasm, voluntary conformance and willing-ness to cooperate in an unconditional manner with the given consignments. The spirit is always devoid of nepotism, corruption, and favouritism, and encompasses high ethical standards with complete accountability of professional standards

5 (b): 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.


There is a direct link between need of money and corruption. The need for money becomes unending when there is huge misunderstanding between the difference of cravings and requirements. Initially the requirements drives the desire but very soon the desire takes over the requirement and ultimately desire drives recklessly leading to negligence driving and casualties. In other words, in the name of expanding the infrastructure we heavily invest in ostentatious (pretentious display), superficial and unwarranted things. As a result of this, the cost rises which is very difficult to be sustained by genuine means. This becomes the stretching point when a social human being starts behaving like asocial and uncivil and corruption breeds at every segment of people  For example, one of my relative visited to my place after a heart attack. AIIMS gave one month advanced date for MRI but it was deferred three times and this relative shared his feelings with me that if I had the money, then I could have had the services of big private hospitals at my convenience and my entire ailment could have been cured. This is the reason money is God and it should by any means irrespective class distinction


6: 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?


In a lifecycle, through the process of socialization, the individual learns; and through psychological incorporation lives, sustains and further contributes to the overall functioning of the society – of course, at both negative and positive levels. After assimilation, individuals’ own personal attributes start reacting with the acquired social dimensions and in this process, an attitude is created.     These acquired social attitude makes temperamentally different towards evaluating and tackling social problems. And casteism is one of them. Caste system provides a lot limitations and opportunities to individuals. Those who get opportunity to speak against the caste-system from a caste platform would always try to preserve the caste system. Realizing that assured Vote-Bank was the only guarantee to the seat of Political Power, turned to caste, creed, religion, etc, which power suited to their game of Political Power-mongering, to ensure the fulfilment of their own and family numbers lustful living. In this process of Political Power capturing game, all ideologies, principles and morals took the back seats and were twisted and refashioned to suit to the needs of the realization of their selfish and personal ends.

Note: The caste system has been exploited by the politicians. Casteism is nothing but it is a basis of political mobilization. Since, politics is a manipulation of existing structure to mobilize support and consolidate position, the Indian politicians are finding caste groupings as the most articulate and readymade basis of mobilization and we have whole heartedly cooperated them in doing so

7: What does ‘accountability’ mean in the context of public service? What measures can be adopted to ensure individual and collective accountability of public servants?


The transparency and accountability of public administrations are a prerequisite to and underpin public trust, as a keystone of good governance. Transparency is also a necessary precondition for the exercise of accountability since without access to clear, accurate and up to-date information, it is impossible to judge whether the standard promised has been met. Accountability is a process that counter-checks the policies, people and institutions responsible for governance to ensure that performance is legitimate and transparent and citizens’ interest are protected. Actions to improve accountability comprise six initiatives: information, impartiality, implementation, infrastructure, independence and involvement. It has to be pointed out that some progress has been made towards improving accountability. That is due to the introduction of panchayati raj, mandatory disclosure of information by election candidates, the Right to Information Act, declaration of assets by judges of high courts and the Supreme Court, UIDA adhaar and so on, though much remains to be desired in terms of implementation.

Note: The toughest part of the question is the word-limit. The issue is huge and the time-limit is very less. Under such conditions, only broader suggestions should be made and one should avoid specific suggestions.

8: 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.


In this case, only a proper coordination between the law enforcing agency, the victim and the judiciary is needed and innovation won’t work much. A comprehensive strategy along with traditional methods could produce some positive results. To face the on the spot situations, each girl needs to be given compulsory training in fighting skills at school level. Social policing can be an effective measure to bring down the crime graph. Our police force should be made more vigilant and equipped with ultra-modern technology especially, IT related, to harness its full potential. The government and NGOs need to make a collaborated effort of rehabilitation of victims of violence, to give them strength to stand again.   there is a need for courts for speedy justice and conducted workshop/seminars for gender awareness and took up publicity campaign to curb violence against women, etc. in order to generate awareness in the society against these social evils. Words 38. Source: CST Good Governance, Page No. 207 Note: There is no need to give unpractical innovative suggestion in such a broad-based social issues. It is a prolonged and protracted problem and needs to be seen from a comprehensive and collective point of view

9: Now-a-days, there is an increasing thrust on economic development all around the globe. At the same time, there is also an increasing concern about environmental degradation caused by development. Many a time, we face a direct conflict between developmental activity and environmental quality. It is neither feasible to stop or curtail the development process, nor it is advisable to keep degrading the environment, as it threatens our very survival. Discuss some feasible strategies which could be adopted to eliminate this conflict and which could lead to sustainable development. 250 words


: To me development and ecology is the most compatible form of relationship. There is no contradiction at all. The ecology permits the human being to modify them and sustain their lives in such a manner that it continues to shape again; again and again and forms a cycle.

  1. There is an immediate need to review the overall strategy and programmes for the development of tribal areas to plug loopholes and to work out more viable livelihood strategies.
  2. Tribal people alienated from land should be rehabilitated through the process of afforestation.
  3. The forest policies were made so cumbersome and it was beyond the understanding of both the implementer as well as the tribals. Once again the protracted laws made the purpose defeated and a lot of intermediaries took undue advantage of it. Therefore, make forest laws very clear, short and amenable to common people.
  4. To me, the ecology is not merely confined to leaves, trees and plants, water bodies, etc., but those who preserve them matters. To me, if the condition of the tribal deteriorates then the condition of ecology is bound to deteriorate. We cannot afford to divorce the tribal from the forests and land tillers from the land and fishermen from the sea.
  5. Proper survey of the typography and impact of industries over its ecology must be made.
  6. Prudent application of science and technology in driving transformation towards sustainable            development.
  1. The benefits of Panchayats Extension to Schedule Areas (PESA) were never capitalized even after 17 years. It should be capitalized at the optimum level.


10: Suppose one of your close friends, who is also aspiring for civil services, comes to you for discussing some of the issues related to ethical conduct in public service. He raises the following points

(i) In the present times, when unethical environment is quite prevalent, individual attempts to stick to ethical principles may cause a lot of problems in one’s career. It may also cause hardship to the family members as well as risk to one’s life. Why should we not be pragmatic and follow the path of least resistance, and be happy with doing whatever good we can?

(ii) When so many people are adopting wrong means and are grossly harming the system, what difference would it make if only a small minority tries to be ethical? They are going to be rather ineffective and are bound to get frustrated.

(iii) If we become fussy about ethical considerations, will it not hamper the economic progress of our country? After all, in the present age of high competition, we cannot afford to be left behind in the race of development.

(iv) It is understandable that we should not get involved in grossly unethical practices, but giving and accepting small gratifications and doing small favours increases everybody’s motivation. It also makes the system more efficient. What is wrong in adopting such practices? Critically analyze the above viewpoints. On the basis of this analysis, what will be your advice to your friend? 


To some extent, even our society-pressure even forces civil servants to fail misunderstand glorious difference between means and ends. They conceive getting into the civil services as an end whereas it is just a proper means to do something good in the interest of the nation and the people in general. It sets forth a high profile legitimate platform to perform and leave a mark behind.

It gives an extraordinary opportunity. The society suffers when these extraordinary powers fall into the hands of ordinary people, whose behavioural and cognitive wavelength is not commensurate with the authority and the responsibility associated. In life nothing comes as a free lunch. You have to pay a price for everything you get.

Responsibility and accountability is the price for wielding this legitimate power. So, it is the foremost challenge to comprehend that a civil servant should not expect the booty of power free of cost, but as and when he asks it for free then the whole society pays for it on his behalf. Unfortunately, it is a heavy amount. The fate of the system and society depends on the level of the guts, commitment and the conviction of the person who has accepted the challenge to do something beyond him. Don’t regret about your decision; about your honesty; about your stand. Relish it. I am sure this will give you pleasure of a heaven even in moments of greatest despair and discomfort. Either accept the challenge or be a part of the hell.


11: You are a no-nonsense, honest officer. You have been transferred to a remote district to head a department that is notorious for its inefficiency and callousness. You find that the main cause of the poor state of affairs is the indiscipline of a section of employees. They do not work themselves and also disrupt the working of others. You first warned the troublemakers to mend their ways or else face disciplinary action. When the warning had little effect, you issued a show cause notice to the ringleaders. As a retaliatory measure, these troublemakers instigated a woman employee amongst them to file a complaint of sexual harassment against you with the Women’s Commission. The Commission promptly seeks your explanation. The matter is also publicized in the media to embarrass you further. Some of the options to handle this situation could be as follows :

(i) Give your explanation to the Commission and go soft on the disciplinary action.

(ii) Ignore the Commission and proceed firmly with the disciplinary action.

(iii) Brief your higher-ups, seek directions from them and act accordingly. Suggest any other possible option(s).

Evaluate all of them and suggest the best course of action, giving your reasons for it


  • The explanation has to be given to the commission. But I would not go soft on the disciplinary action. This because of two reasons:

(a) I would not succumb to such tactics and pressures.

(b) If I go soft, it means, I am a weak person and further pressures can force me to change my stance and

(c) This will send a negative message to all the officials and this will demoralize the entire civil services.

  • The commission is a constitutional body and that cannot be ignored at all. I should present all the arguments and evidences before them and at the same time all the proceedings related to disciplinary actions should be intensified.
  • That has to be done as in bureaucracy, all the major decisions are to be communicated to the super-ordinates. I will seek all the directions from them but amidst that I would continue to go ahead with the decision of taking disciplinary action against those persons. The entire decision has to taken without bowing down to the imminent threat to image and character because the quick investigation and disciplinary action is the only option to get rid of this problem. There is no room to escape from this case and the entire process could only be completed when the hard facts are brought before the commission, super-ordinates and media. One has to remember, in challenging works, decisions are to be defended and sustained against all the pressures

12: Suppose you are the CEO of a company that manufactures specialized electronic equipment used by a government department. You have submitted your bid for the supply of this equipment to the department. Both the quality and cost of your offer are better than those of the competitors. Yet the concerned officer is demanding a hefty bribe for approving the tender. Getting the order is important both for you and for your company. Not getting the order would mean closing a production line. It may also affect your own career. However, as a value-conscious person, you do not want to give bribe. Valid arguments can be advanced both for giving the bribe and getting the order, and for refusing to pay the bribe and risking the loss of the order. What those arguments could be? Could there be any better way to get out of this dilemma? If so outline the main elements of this third way, pointing out its merits. 250 words.


Balancing our individual emotions with an innate understanding of others’ emotions, for the betterment of the overall emotional landscape of family, societal and administrative institutions is the ultimate basis and utility of Emotional Intelligence  A balanced and pragmatic approach would be needed because the stake is very high ranging from personal to organisational. It is not a simple exercise of choosing good over evil, but between two evils. So, I would choose the lesser evil in the hope of saving my organisation, protecting my job and others job too by directly avoiding confrontation with the seniors and tender management. I will thus, bribe the tender management and try to prevent the imminent crisis of the company. But I will firmly and strongly communicate my sincere disliking about the bribing and other illicit practices. I will send a clear cut message that from next time the same thing wouldn’t be done. In the meantime, I will do all the home work at two levels:

(a) further improvement of the quality of the product and

(b) having a direct communication with top most senior of the tender management. I shall endeavour to understand his motivations and surrounding environment that might have compelled them to resort to cheating, and then systematically either remove those inhibitors to ethical conduct or change his opinion in favour of perseverance and ethical conduct. I need to better detect and identify problems before they snowball into bigger problems, following the principle of ‘prevention is better than cure’, which is equally applicable for any administrative philosophy


13: Rameshwar successfully cleared the prestigious civil services examination and was excited about the opportunity that he would get through the civil services to serve the country. However, soon after joining the services, he realized that things are not as rosy as he had imagined. He found a number of malpractices prevailing in the department assigned to him. For example, funds under various schemes and grants were being misappropriated. The official facilities were frequently being used for personal needs by the officers and staff. After some time, he noticed that the process of recruiting the staff was also not up to the mark. Prospective candidates were required to write an examination in which a lot of cheating was going on. Some candidates were provided external help in the examination. Rameshwar brought these incidents to the notice of his seniors. However, he was advised to keep his eyes, ears and mouth shut and ignore all these things which were taking place with the connivance of the higher-ups. Rameshwar felt highly disillusioned and uncomfortable. He comes to you seeking your advice. Indicate various options that you think are available in this situation. How would you help him to evaluate these options and choose the most appropriate path to be adopted? 250 words.


To me only they can sustain such pressure who are above their need and greed, above their feelings, desires, principles, aspirations and even oneself. A civil servant has to balance everything. He has to balance a moment when he feels that he has power to do something but the very next moment he will be forced to realize that he has no power to do so; when he tries to punish his subordinate by transferring him, he himself gets transferred; when he wants to implement the welfare and development schemes, he finds that the vested interests dominate and consume the fund; when he is emotionally charged, he is told to be neutral. Let me first define the meaning and scope of the concept of accepting challenge. It is an attitude to pursue the objectivity of the conceived goal even against all odds and powered by will power and engineered by confidence. A person takes challenge to contribute positively and constructively to the society in which he lives andsurvives. In doing so, one has to forget every kind of trouble or any kind of convenience. You have to put yourself beyond pale of discomfort and grievances. In other words, you cannot complain to any one; you cannot blame anyone. You are the trend-setter and you have to leave such examples to be followed by others. If you fail, the society is bound to suffer. You have to carry the expectations and aspirations of the entire society. Under such a situation, there is only one option: stay there, choose the necessary lesser evil and make a strategy to deal with them and be prepared to face ups and downs with an evolutionary and progressive approach. He should take written action against the cheating and write the whole issue with audio-video evidences to his seniors and also seek their instructions in written form. And wait for their instructions..


14: In our country, the migration of rural people to towns and cities is increasing drastically. This is causing serious problems both in the rural as well as in the urban areas. In fact, things are becoming really unmanageable. Can you analyze this problem in detail and indicate not only the socio-economic but also the emotional and attitudinal factors responsible for this problem? Also, distinctly bring out why:

(a) Educated rural youth are trying to shift to urban areas;

(b) Landless poor people are migrating to urban slums;

(c) Even some farmers are selling off their landand trying to settle in urban areas taking up petty jobs. What feasible steps can you suggest which will be effective in controlling this serious problem of our country?


 Educated rural youth is shifting to get jobs which are not available in the rural areas. The condition of landless is worse than the urban labourers in urban slums; the growing fragmentation of land holding has made tilling of the land unviable forcing marginal landholders to sell their lands. It is more of a push factor than pull factor for lack of opportunities in rural areas. By 2030, India’s urban population is set to reach 590 million, an addition of approximately 300 million to India’s current urban population. Much of this growth will be due to rural-urban migration.

  1. The economy efficiency of first sector (agriculture) should be improved and there is a need to develop system who can increase the income of farmers. The excessive growth of tertiary sector and its effect on economic growth, employment and sustainability of the system has become a matter of concern.
  2. Eco-tourism in the rural areas should be encouraged and intensified to create employment in the rural and semi-rural areas.
  3. To streamline rural infrastructure especially the roads and railway network.
  4. If the digital divide is tackled properly then most of the bottlenecks like illiteracy, lack of skills, infrastructures, and investment in rural areas could be improved.
  5. According to the CAG, the irregularities in MNREGA pertain to diversion of funds, implementation of impermissible works and deficiencies in maintenance of records. Therefore, the functioning of MNREGA should be improved.