Analysis of General Studies Paper IV: IAS Mains 2014
In General studies mains 2014 - PAPER IV
Unlike year 2013, this year (2014) UPSC followed uniform
pattern in questions of theoretical section and case studies. Each question of
theoretical section carrying 10 marks and 150 words whereas each case study
carrying 20 marks and 250 words. This year UPSC reduced the overall marks of
case study from 125 marks to 120 marks.
SECTION - A
Theoretical Section (130m)
Each of the following question is carrying 10 marks and have to write
answers in not less than 150 words.
All human beings aspire for happiness. Do you agree? What
does happiness mean to you? Explain with examples.
What does ethics seek to promote in human life? Why is it
all the more important in public administration?
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.
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?
“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
“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
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.
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 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?
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.
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
What does ‘accountability’ mean in the context of public
service? What measures can be adopted to ensure individual and collective
accountability of public servants?
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.
SECTION - B
Case Studies (120m)
Case Study 1: Development caused Environment degradation (20m)
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
Case Study 2: Ethical Conduct in Public Service (20m)
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 :
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
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.
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
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? 250 words.
Case Study 3: False Complaint of Sexual Harassment (20m)
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 :
- Give your explanation to the Commission and go soft on the disciplinary
- Ignore the Commission and proceed firmly with the disciplinary action.
- 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. 250 words
Case Study 4: Corrupt Practices (20m)
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.
Case Study 5: Disillusionment in Civil Services as Career (20m)
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.
Case Study 6: Migration of people (20m)
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 land and 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? 250 words