UPSC GS Paper 4 Mains 2015

Hello friends, this is GS paper 4 of Mains 2105, the question paper is really interesting, and might look easy to some, but to think and see exactly what examiner is expecting from candidate from each question in that short time in mains hall is whole different game.

Section A 

1 (a) What is meant by ‘environmental ethics’? Why is it important to study? Discuss any one environmental issue from the viewpoint of environmental ethics. (150 words) (10)

(b) Differentiate between the following (10 marks) (200 Words)

(i) Law and ethics

(ii) Ethical management and management of ethics

(iii) Discrimination and preferential treatment

(iv) Personal Ethics and Professional Ethics

2) 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 strong.” (10) (150 words)

(b) “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” (10 marks) (150 words)

3) (a) “A mere compliance with law is not enough, the public servant also have 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. (10 Marks) (150 words)

(b) How do the virtues of trustworthiness and fortitude get manifested in public service? Explain with examples (10)  (150 words)

4) (a) Social values are more important than economic values. Discuss the above statement with examples in the context of inclusive growth of a nation.  (150 words)  (10 Marks)

(b) 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. Analyse the situation in detail and suggest how the dichotomy can be resolved. Suggest how these negative impacts can be minimised. (150 words)  (10 Marks)

5) Two different kinds of attitudes exhibited by public servants towards their work have been identified as bureaucratic attitude and the democratic attitude. (10 Marks) (150 words)

(a) Distinguish between these two terms and write their merits and demerits.

(b) Is it possible to balance the two too create a better administration for the faster development of our country?

6) Today we find that in-spite of various measures of prescribing codes of conduct, setting up vigilance cells/commissions, RTI, active media and strengthening of legal mechanism, corrupt practices are not coming under control. (10 Marks) (150 words)

(a) Evaluate the effectiveness of these measures with justifications

(b) Suggest more effective strategies to tackle this menace

7) At the international level, 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 lead to conflicts and tension between the nations. How can ethical consideration help resolve such tensions? Discuss with specific examples. (10 Marks) (150 words)

8) 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. (10 Marks) (150 words)

Section – B

9) A private company is known for its efficiency, transparency and employee welfare. The company though owned by a private individual has a cooperative character where employees feel a sense of ownership. The company employs nearly 700 personnel and they have voluntarily decided not to form union.

One day suddenly in the morning, about 40 men belonging to political party gate crashed into the factory demanding jobs in the factory. They threatened the management and employees, and also used foul language. The employees feel demoralized. It was clear that those people who gate crashed wanted to be on the payroll of the company as well as continue as the volunteers/members of the party.

The company maintains high standards in integrity and does not extend favours to civil administration that also includes law enforcement agency. Such incident occur in public sector also. (20 Marks) (250 Words)

(a) Assume you are the CEO of the company. What would you do to diffuse the volatile situation on the date of gate crashing with the violent mob sitting inside the company premises?

(b) What can be the long term solution to the issue discussed in the case?

(c) Every solution/action that you suggest will have a negative and a positive impact on you as (CEO), the employees and the performance of the employees. Analyse the consequences of each of your suggested actions.

10) You are the Sarpanch of a Panchayat. There is a primary school run by the government in your area. Midday meals are provided to children attending the school. The headmaster has now appointed a new cook in the school to prepare the meals. However, when it is found that cook is from Dalit community, almost half of the children belonging to higher castes are not allowed to take meals by their parents. Consequently the attendance in the schools falls sharply. This could result in the possibility of discontinuation of midday meal scheme, thereafter of teaching staff and subsequent closing down the school. (20 Marks) (250 Words)

(a) Discuss some feasible strategies to overcome the conflict and to create right ambiance.

(b) What should be the responsibilities of different social segments and agencies to create positive social ambiance for accepting such changes?

11)One of the scientists working in the R&D laboratory of a major pharmaceutical company discovers that one of the company’s bestselling veterinary drugs has the potential to cure a currently incurable liver disease which is prevalent in tribal areas. However, developing a variant of the drug suitable for human being  entailed a lot of research and development having a huge expenditure to the extent of Rs. 50 crores. It was unlikely that company would recover the cost as the disease was rampant only in poverty stricken areas having very little market otherwise.

If you were the CEO, then (20 Marks) (250 Words)

(a) Identify the various actions that you could take

(b) Evaluate the pros and cons of each of your actions

12) There is a disaster prone state having frequent landslides, forest fires, cloudbursts, flash floods and earthquakes, etc. Some of these are seasonal and often unpredictable. The magnitude of the disaster is always unanticipated. During one of the seasons a cloudburst caused a devastating floods and landslides leading to high casualties. There was major damage to infrastructure like roads, bridges and power generating units. This led to more than 100000 pilgrims, tourist and other locals trapped across different routes and locations. The people trapped in your area of responsibility includes senior citizens, patients in hospitals, women and children, hiker, tourist, ruling parties, regional presidents along with his family, additional chief secretary of the neighboring state and prisoners in jail.

As a civil services officer of the state, what would be the order in which you would rescue these people and why? Give Justifications  (20 Marks) (200 Words)

13) You are heading a district administration in a particular department. Your senior officer calls you from the State Headquarters and tells you that a plot in Rampur village is to have a building constructed on it for a school. A visit is scheduled during which he will visit the site along with the chief engineer and the senior architect. He wants you to check out all the papers relating to it and ensure that the visit is properly arranged. You examine the file which relates to the period before you joined the department. The land was acquired for the local panchayat at a nominal cost and the papers showed that clearance certificates are available for the two of the three authorities who have to certify the site’s suitability. There is no certification by the architect available on file. You decide to visit Rampur to ensure that all is in the order as stated on file. When you visit Rampur, you find that the plot under reference is a part of Thakurgarh fort and that the walls, ramparts, etc., are running across it. The fort is well away from the main village, therefore a school here will be a serious inconvenience for the children. However, the area near the village has potential to expand into a larger residential area. The development charges on the existing plot, at the fort, will be very high and question of heritage site has not been addressed. Moreover, the Sarpanch, at the time of acquisition of the land, was a relative of your predecessor. The whole transaction appears to have been done with some vested interest. (25 Marks) (250 Words)

(a) List the likely vested interest of the concerned parties.

(b) Some of the options for action available to you are listed below. Discuss the merits and demerits of each of the options:

(i) You can await the visit of the superior officer and let him take a decision.

(ii) You can seek his advice in writing or on phone.

(iii) You can consult your predecessor/ colleagues, etc, and then decide what to do.

(iv) You can find out if any alternate plot can be got in exchange and then send a comprehensive written report.

Can you suggest any other option with proper justifications?

14) You are recently posted as district development officer of a district. Shortly thereafter you found that there is considerable tension in the rural areas of your district on the issue of sending girls to schools.

The elders of the village feel that many problems have come up because girls are being educated and they are stepping out of the safe environment of the household. They are the view that the girls should be quickly married off with minimum education. The girls are also competing for jobs after education, which have traditionally remained in boys’ exclusive domain, adding to unemployment amongst male population.

The younger generation feels that in the present era, girls should have equal opportunities for education and employment, and other means of livelihood. The entire locality is divided between sexes in both generations. You come to know that in Panchayat or in other local bodies or even in busy crosswords, the issue is being acrimoniously debated.

One day you are informed that an unpleasant incident has taken place. Some girls were molested, when they were en route to schools. The incident led to clashes between several groups and a law and order problem has arisen. The elder after heated discussion have taken a joint decision not to allow girls to go to school and to socially boycott all such families, which do not follow their dictate. (250 words) (25 Marks)

(a) What steps would you take to ensure girls’ safety without disrupting their education?

(b) How would you manage and mould patriarchic attitude of the village elders to ensure harmony in the inter- generational relations?

Thanks to Forum IAS

What is the rationale for gender sensitization training for police ?

In order to make police officers behave and act in a gender sensitive manner in cases of violence against women and in the discharge of their duties in general, there is an urgent need to conduct gender sensitization training courses for police. At present, the concept of gender is grossly misunderstood by a large majority of police officers. There is also a lack of proper awareness of the prevailing gender inequalities among police officers.

Even if there is awareness, the cult of masculinity prevailing in the police organizations does not easily permit a change in the attitude and behaviour of male police personnel toward women. The stereotypes held by the police about sexual violence/harassment and domestic violence ( blaming the victim etc) indicate the general attitude of police towards women. The following findings of a research study about the opinion of male police personnel regarding the role of women colleagues also reflect the attitude of a majority of police officers towards women and the lack of awareness about the concept of gender:-

1. There is no need to integrate women into the mainstream of police.
2. Women police personnel should be given specific tasks related to women and children.
3. Women are not enthusiastic about their jobs.
4. Women may work as cooks in the police mess.
5. Women should escort only female prisoners and not male prisoners.
6. Women should not be engaged in operations against militants, extremists and insurgents.
7. Women police officers are very gentle and are not capable of handling hardened criminals.

In order to remove the prejudices and biases of police officers towards women in general and women victims as well as women colleagues in particular and to develop in them the required professionalism (in terms of knowledge, skills and attitudes) for dealing with cases of violence against women more effectively, it is imperative that all State police organizations undertake suitable initiatives, including organizing of training programmes to sensitize the police personnel at all levels. Such biases have serious consequences for morale of women, justive meted out to them, entry of women into police force etc.

Ethics and Integrity Propriety and Public Life

Propriety means conformity to established standards of morals and appropriateness for the purpose or circumstances; suitability
rightness or justness. It is an essential attribute of those in public service.

The meaning of the term propriety encompasses ‘appropriateness’, ‘rightness’, ‘correctness in behaviour or morals’, ‘conformity with convention in conduct’, ‘the standards of behaviour considered correct by society’. The core principles of the concept of propriety could be summarised as under:

  • Integrity
  • Openness
  • Objectivity
  • Honesty
  • Selflessness

The concept of propriety can be related to various other concepts. To list a few:

  • Accountability
  • Legality
  • Probity
  • Value for money
  • Fraud & Corruption
  • Governance

Though the concept of propriety is generally associated with public sector activities, the time has now come to apply this concept even in the private sector. With the changing environment, there is a greater emphasis on conformance with prescribed values, customs, procedures and practices, keeping in mind the public interest.

In India there is a Statement of Judicial Values that sets high benchmarks for judicial behavior in line with propriety.

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behavior expected of all civil servants, for example, participation of government servants in political activities and attendance by government servants at political meetings .

No member of the Civil Service shall use his position or influence directly or indirectly to secure employment for any member of his family with any private undertaking or Non- Government Organisation.Civil servants should not abuse office and official power.

Auditors and companies also have demands of propriety. For example, recent examples of Nestle’s Maggi being contaminated and the auditors of Satyam Computer Services Ltd overlooking best practices.* Fallout of Sushma Swaraj episode

Is altruism a core value for civil servants?

Altruism or selflessness is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures and a core aspect of various religious traditions and secular worldviews. Altruism or selflessness is the opposite of selfishness. The word was coined by the French philosopher Auguste Comte as the opposite of egoism.

Altruism is when we act to promote someone else’s welfare, even at a risk or cost to ourselves. Studies have found that people’s first impulse is to cooperate rather than compete.

Altruism has deep roots in human nature because helping and cooperation promote the survival of our species. Darwin himself argued that altruism, which he called “sympathy” or “benevolence,” is “an essential part of the social instincts.”

This does not mean that humans are more altruistic than selfish; instead, evidence suggests we have deeply ingrained tendencies to act in either direction. Our challenge lies in finding ways to evoke the better angels of our nature.

Individuals come to exhibit charitable, philanthropic, and other pro-social, altruistic actions for the common good both by nature and by training. Moral education, law, civic leadership also establish ethos to develop altruism. Building social capital is crucial for good governance, economic development and social harmony. At its heart lies altruism and cooperation.

In a welfare state like ours that has the responsibility to eradicate poverty; bring about social equality and deliver goods and services to the deprived and vulnerable, civil service has to be altruistic. It is written in the Code as well. The welfare schemes that we have require our Civil Service to be sensitive , compassionate and generous which is the crux of altruism.

Cow slaughter and dharma by Dev Dutt

Dharma has been made out to be a complicated word. That way you can call anything dharma. Currently, many Hindu – or rather Hindutva – leaders want to equate it with commandment, taking a cue from Abrahamic mythology that they love to otherwise mock.

So dharma becomes law that you can use to control (or oppress?) sections of the population, create parameters for ethics and morality, deem what is good and right. But there is another word for law – it’s called niti. Niti (law) and riti (tradition) can be inspired by dharma, but is not dharma. Dharma is a thought, not an action.

Dharma is equated with the act of not killing, or ahimsa. This value placed non-violence began with monastic orders, Jainism and Buddhism, and was restricted to monastic orders, and certain communities, not imposed on all people. It was yama, or discipline, that is the first step prescribed for someone who wishes to practice Raja Yoga as prescribed by Patanjali. In the 20th century, Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha turned ahimsa into a tool for non-violent political protest. Somewhere along the line ahimsa became associated with nobility and goodness. Neither violence, nor non-violence is dharma. For dharma is a thought, not an action.

Action is karma. Reaction is karma. Karma is a worldview that does not qualify actions as right and wrong but as having a cause and a consequence. Monasticism is neither good nor bad, it’s a choice of action that enables one to break free from the cycle of rebirths, but when men start finding glory in withdrawing from women, somewhere along the line women become “temptations” and sex becomes “dirty”. Likewise, when eating some kind of food is valorised over other, some foods become pure, and other kinds of food become impure. With concepts such as purity and impurity, we create a society of hierarchy, which was never the intention of monasticism, but ends up becoming its consequence. This is why in the Gita, Krishna speaks out against withdrawal from duties, even those involving violence, and in chapter four, verse 18, says, “The wise can see inaction in action, and action in inaction.”

So what is dharma? Dharma is potential. The best of what anything or anyone can do. Fire can burn; that is its dharma. Trees can grow and bear flower and fruit; that is its dharma. Birds eat, fly, mate, migrate, take care of young; that is its dharma. What are humans supposed to do? What is human dharma? This is a tough one. For humans have imagination. Hence the vast literature on it.

Humans can imagine a reality alternative to the reality we experience. So we have choices. Some animals like crows and cats and dolphins and chimpanzees have imagination but nothing in the human scale. So while they also have choice, whether to freeze or flee or fight in danger, and to play, and to problem solve, their abilities are nowhere in the human scale.

Dharma becomes even more complicated when we introduce social structures upon it: what is a man supposed to do, what is a woman supposed to do, what is a child supposed to do. What is the son of a charioteer supposed to do? What is the son of a cobbler supposed to do? What is a king supposed to do? What is a priest supposed to do? Gender, age and family vocation and economic situation shape our choices. In case of humans, dharma is the seed of thought that determines what will sprout as action. It is not what you do that is dharma; it is why you do it that is dharma. What is that thought?

For that we have to appreciate what only humans can do. What no plant or animal can do. What is that? It is the ability to reject the law of the jungle: that might is right, that only the fit can thrive. This is called matsya nyaya (law of fish) in Sanskrit. That is why Vishnu takes the form of fish in his first avatar. As a small fish escaping the jaws of a big fish, Vishnu asks Manu, father of humanity, to save him. Only humans can respond to cries of help. When we do, we validate our humanity. Animals and plants do not help other animals or birds (except the young of their herd or pack), not because they are cruel or indifferent, but because they do not have the wherewithal to do so.

Humans can help the helpless. Humans can choose not to dominate. Humans can choose not to be territorial or violent. Humans can share. Humans can help the unfit thrive. To do so is dharma. Simple.

But this makes dharma very tough. For who decides if we are helping or not. Dharma is not what we imagine it to be. We may think we are being kind, but if those around us feel we are cruel, then it cannot be dharma. Human subjectivity comes into play. Human plurality comes into play. Who decides who is the oppressor and oppressed? The parties involved or a third-party judge. But God is no judge in Hindu mythology. And in nature, there is no oppressor and oppressed, only eaters and eaten, predators and prey, the food chain and the pecking order. There is no objectivity here. This is why dharma is complex.

So people want to save cows. They say it is dharma. It is the Hindu way. That is a controversial statement. For it sounds like a commandment, which has never been the Hindu way. Hinduism has always appreciated the flux of society, changing with period, place and people (kala, sthan, and patra). In fact, there are verses (furiously debated and far from conclusive) in Vedic scriptures that suggest ancient Hindus did consume meat, probably even beef, before the rise of monastic orders in Hinduism.

Veda has a very mature view of violence, not a romantic view, very different from the monastic view of Buddhism and Jainism where the whole point is to withdraw from existence itself. Vedic scriptures are very clear that violence is a necessary component of existence, if one chooses to be part of existence. To live, we have to eat; to eat, we have to consume; when we consume, we kill. Nature is full of violence as animals graze and hunt for food. Even farming vegetables involves killing pests and weeds. Hence the Taittiriya Upanishad (3.10) describes divinity through the qualification, “I am food. I am that which eats food.”

Veda recognises that sanskriti or culture exists by consuming prakriti or nature. Thus in the Mahabharata the forest of Khandava is burned to establish the city of Indra-prastha on Krishna’s instructions. It recognises that violence is integral to the defence of notion of property, which is itself seen as a necessary delusion. So Parshurama slaughters the king who steals his father’s cow, and those who support him. So Ram fights Ravana to rescue his wife. And when things get ambiguous on who is the proprietor then, Krishna takes the side of the weak, the Pandavas (five brothers, seven armies) and not the strong, the Kauravas (100 brothers, 11 armies) not because the former are good but because the latter refuses to compromise.

This understanding, not endorsement, of violence is why the Goddess alone, not the male gods, are offered sacrifice of male, only male, animals – the bull, the buffalo, the goat, the rooster. She embodies nature, and this blood offering to her is to remind us of the aggressive dominating alpha tendency that needs to be kept in check, often violently, for civilisation to thrive and dharma to grow. This understanding, not endorsement, of violence is also why the Mahabharata has a Vyadha Gita, where a butcher gives Vedic wisdom to a hermit who has withdrawn from family responsibilities.

Cow was sacred in Vedic times, when people lived a pastoral life, as it was the source of milk from which one could make curd and ghee, hence food. So cow protection had much to do with economics. Did this protection of cow extend to the bull, or the buffalo? We are not sure. Does cow protection mean cattle protection? Does it mean not eating buff (buffalo) meat? There are no clear answers or injunctions anywhere.

No one opposes the violent castration of a bull and turning him into a beast of burden to pull ploughs and carts. It’s a price of culture and we are willing to pay the price. Durga kills the buffalo, which is visualised as an asura. Shiva kills the elephant and the tiger, also forms of asuras, and wraps his body with its blood-soaked hide. Krishna kills the wild horse, Keshi, and a violent calf, Vatsa, also considered asuras. These images of violence can be taken literally as acts of violence that helps humans tame nature and establish culture. Or they can be taken as potent metaphors for masculine aggression, again the masculine referring to the tendency to dominate, not gender per se.

Metaphorically, the earth is a cow. Puranas speak of Vena who plundered the earth until the earth protested and the rishis decided to kill him and how Prithu, the primal king, promised the earth-cow that he would protect her and nurture her. Puranas speak of Vishnu wiping the tears of the earth-cow and promising to relieve her of the burden of greedy kings (one reason why the wars of Ramayana and Mahabharata are fought). Today, we let industry destroy the earth; NGOs like Greenpeace protest. Governments have to tread the line between development and saving the ecosystem carefully. We don’t want Venas, but the current government seems to be also punishing those who stand up to modern-day Venas. So much for respecting rishis, who protected the earth-cow.

Metaphorically, cow is the foremost symbol of livelihood. Killing cows was destroying someone’s source of livelihood. It was not acceptable. It could not be dharma. By banning the consumption of beef, many butchers will be deprived of livelihood. Many poor farmers will be forced to take care of old cows, which will add to their economic burden. Many tribals and Muslims and Christians and non-Brahmanical Hindus will be deprived of a much favoured and cheap non-vegetarian food, a source of protein for them. Is this dharma?

For all its faults, the old community-based society (I do not use the word “caste” as implicit in the word is oppression) rules were restricted to communities. Jains and Buddhists could practice their vegetarianism without imposing it on Kshatriya rulers. Muslims could eat beef in their community without disturbing the Brahmins in the neighbourhood. However, as we have rejected this old system, and strive for a secular democratic republic we want the same rules for all communities. This has its benefits, for women for example and LGBTQ communities. But it also comes at a cost. Vegetarian communities want all communities to be vegetarian. We are becoming “missionary” in our zeal. We may not be able to get a uniform civil code in matters such as marriage and divorce but, we certainly can ban beef across the board, stating religious sensitivity of one community and steamrolling over customs and practices of others.

Yes saving cows can be dharma. But banning beef is a lazy, inauthentic, even a mischievous way to go about it. A far superior and authentic solution would be establishing cow shelters as many Hindus and Jain do, and buying old cows from poor farmers at prices much higher than that offered by butchers. But this will cost a lot of money, and the vegetarian business community knows is not economically viable. Surely money can be spent if we believe saving cows is dharma? But the Maharashtra Government, which has banned beef recently, knows this will not win it votes. Tax payers will be furious.

Banning beef will create conflict, conflict will provide media fodder, polarise society, divert attention from real issues (like land grabbing, dispossession, draconian labour laws, marital rape, violence against women, children and LGBTQ), and maybe even win votes. So banning beef is more a political decision, in my view. Not one based on helping the meek. Raja-niti, not raja-dharma.