Analysis and Solution of The GS Mains Paper-IV (Ethics) 2013

Analysis and Solution of the GS MAINS Paper-IV (ETHICS)

Section A

Question 1. What do you understand by 'Values' and 'Ethics'? In what way is it important to be ethical along with being professionally competent? (150 words) 10 marks


Before starting with the question, keep in mind the word limit. Since the length of the paper is very long, you must prepare your answers according to the expected word limit.

First, let us analyze what the question asks? The question has two parts-

  1. Meaning and distinction between Values and Ethics.
  2. Link between Being Ethical and Being Professionally competent.

Thus, the right strategy to deal with the question is to, first, discuss briefly the meaning of the term Values and Ethics. Then, instead of going deep into the meaning and evolution of these terms, you should bring a comparative analysis of the two terms, so as to bring a contrast in them.

Coming on to the next part of the question, do not start from the very beginning. Instead, directly go to the point. Your arguments should prove the link between ethics and professional competency.

Let us discuss the possible answer now:

Solution- Values and Ethics are often used interchangeably. However, there does exist a distinction between the two. Anything we see or experience around us is viewed and interpreted in terms of some preconceived ideas/values. Values are the yardsticks which help in measuring the desirability or undesirability of any act, behaviour or practice. Due to this nature of the values, there can be some universal values that are admired by all cultures and societies.

Ethics, on the other hand, are the socially acceptable principles that define what is good-bad, moral-immoral, and desirable-undesirable in a particular society. Ethics, in this context, becomes the manifestation of the different values in the human society. Ethical principles are altered to different shades to suit the human purpose, and achieve its goals. Therefore, while values are, more or less, universal in character, ethical principles are custom made by every society to serve the interest of the individuals living under its framework.

It is very important to be ethical in the performance of one's duty. An unethical person can only bring harm to the society, because professional competency, devoid of an ethical base, can only be a home for various vices. Whereas, an ethical person would strive for the common good, even if he lacks in the high standards of his profession. While an ethical and highly competent person is seen as an ideal; a person with no ethical principles and high professional competency can become a bane for the society.

Question 2. (a) What do you understand by the following terms in the context of public service? (250 words) 3x5= 15 marks.

  1. integrity;
  2. Perseverance
  3. Spirit of Service
  4. Commitment
  5. Courage of Conviction

(b) Indicate two more attributes which you consider important for public service. Justify your answer. 10 marks.


(a) this question expects you to simply explain/discuss the meaning and significance of the given values/terms. Since the whole question is split in two parts, and the word limit is mentioned as 250 words, it is plausible to write in brief only, while focusing only at the main points.

(b) the second part of the question requires the candidate to write and briefly discuss two more attributes for the public service. Here, it must be kept in mind that, there are a number of attributes that can be written. However, to fetch the maximum possible marks, it is necessary that you write the most crucial attributes.


2 (a)

  1. Integrity- Integrity refers to the cohesiveness of the character. A civil servant should be misled by material considerations. One must be committed to one's duty alone. Since the duty of the public servants is to serve the society, as a whole, he must not allow himself to be misled by the unethical influences that often come in the various courses of action. Integrity is a value that gives the strength to stand against all odds and circumstances, and do good to the society. Thus, it is one of the basic attributes of the public servants.

  2. Perseverance- it refers to the quality of the character to stay firm on the path of one's duty. A civil servant often faces difficulties in the performance of his duties. In this regard, it is important to develop the attribute of perseverance. This quality gives the character a stability and conviction, which ensures that the ends are achieved despite of the difficulties that come in the path.

  3. Spirit of Service- it refers to the quality of the character that encourages one to pursue the goals of the organization with devotion. Every organization has some basic objectives, which are ethical in nature. In the Public services, it is particularly important that the officials abide by the ethical code and goals of the public organization. The goal of the public organization is to do good to the society. Thus, only with a high spirit of service can the public officials bring a positive change in the society.

  4. Commitment- it is one of the basic attributes of the civil servant. Good of the society can only be done if the personnel are committed to the cause of the organization. A committed person adheres to the path of the organization, and strives for the highest of ethical standards of the organization.

  5. Courage of Conviction- it refers to the attribute of the public servants to serve the society with conviction in the organizational goals and objectives. A public servant's decisions should not be guided by their personal well being. Courage of conviction implies the performance of duty even in adverse situations and threats. Also, it implies that the personnel shall express what is right and necessary, rather than considering the material good of the himself.

(b) two more attributes that are necessary for the public servants are-

Objectivity- a civil servant shall not differentiate between different people, in the performance of his duties. This principle is one of the basic ones of any state organization. Everyone is equal before the eye of law. Thus, public personnel should perform their duties, irrespective of the citizen's class, caste, religion, etc.

Empathy- a civil servant is expected to do good to the society. In this context, a strict and uncompromising adherence to the rules of the organization might help the masses. A civil servant should be empathetic towards the concerns of the poor and marginalized sections. In genuine cases, he must be ready to make appropriate amends to the rules, in order to do good to the society. It is an important component in the attributes of the civil servants, as it is more important to aspire for the ends of the organization, rather than the rules.

Note- there can be many more attributes that a candidate might write. the list not exhaustive.

The Next article of the ETHICS SERIES would discuss the remaining question of the Section A of the Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude Paper.

In the Meanwhile, please feel free to contact us for any confusion and query.

We wish the aspirants All the BEST!!



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