Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude 2013: Paper Analysis and Solution Section B (Part 2 of 3)


Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude 2013: Paper Analysis and Solution Section B (Part 2 of 3)


In the Previous article, we discussed the First Two questions of the Section B of the Ethics Paper 2013. Now, let us take the next two Questions:
 

Question 11- So far as child labor norms for hazardous industries like firecrackers industry are concerned, International Labour Organization (ILO) has set the minimum age as 18 years. In India, however, this age is 14 years.

The units in industrial clusters of firecrackers can be classified into registered and non-registered entities. One typical unit is household based work Though the law is clear on the use of child labour employment norms in registered/non-registered units, it does not include household based works. Household based work means children working under the supervision of their parents/relative. To evade child labor norms, several units project themselves as household-based works but employ children from outside. Needless to say that employing children saves the costs for these units leading to higher profits to the owner.

On your visit to one of the units at Sivakasi, the owner takes you around the unit which has about 10-15 children below 14 years of age. The owner tells you that in his household-based unit, the children are all his relatives. You notice that several children smirk, when the owner tells you this. On deeper enquiry, you figure out that neither the owner nor the children are able to satisfactorily establish their relationship with each other.

  1. bring out and discuss the ethical issues involved in the above case.
  2. What would be your reaction after your above visit? (300 words) 25 marks


Analysis-

This is a different type of situation based questions, as it does not provide the candidate with the options. Secondly, it does not specify whether you are an administrative officer, or a common person. Thus, you should write it assuming that you are a common man.

Note that it is a 25 marks questions, and the word limit is 300 words, for both the parts. However, the word limit is only indicative, and not mandatory.

Solution-

(a)

This case involves very crucial issues relating to human and child rights. First, there is an employment of the small children in hazardous factories, putting their lives under threat. This is a clear violation of their child rights. Secondly, since it is highly probable that the children working in those units are not the relatives of the owner, it might be possible that those children have been forcefully brought to the production centre. Thus, this involves a case of child trafficking, which is a criminal offense under the Indian Constitution.

Thirdly, it is also highly probable that the children are being kept forcefully under inhuman conditions, while depriving them of the opportunity of education and development.

Such confinement of the minor children is highly unethical and uncalled for. It is a clear case of violation of the child rights as well the fundamental rights, enshrined under our constitution. By making the children work under hazardous conditions, the owner of the production unit is putting their lives in jeopardy, while infringing every opportunity of self-development.

(b)

My reaction, as a common man, would be to inform the owner of the unit about the provisions of the Constitution regarding the employment of children under hazardous conditions. Next, I would try to know if the children really are his relatives. On the basis of my strong suspicion, I would report the matter to the local police station, and request them to make an inquiry in the matter. Also, it would be necessary to report the matter to the local NGOs and the Child Rights Commission, so that an adequate enquiry might be initiated.

As a long-term measure, I would file a PIL in the Supreme Court regarding the confinement of the minor children in hazardous production units, in the guise of relative. Also, I would write to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) regarding the gross violation of child rights in the concerned region.

Also, I would also try to make an investigation about the number of such children employed in the domestic units in that area.
 

Question 12- You are heading a leading technical institute of the country. The institute is planning to convene an interview panel shortly under your chairmanship for selection of the post of professors. A few days before the interview, you get a call from the Personal Secretary (PS) of a senior government functionary seeking your intervention in favor of the selection of a close relative of the functionary for this post. The PS also informs you that he is aware of the long pending and urgent proposal of our institute for grant of funds for modernization, which are awaiting the functionary's approval. He assures you that he would get these proposals cleared.

  1. What are the options available to you?
  2. Evaluate each of these options and choose the option which you would adopt, giving reasons. (250 words) 20 marks


Analysis-

This kind of situation comes very often before an administrative officer. It should be remembered in such situations that one must not bow down before these kinds of pressures. One must tackle the situation tactfully, while not compromising with one's integrity.

Solution-

(a)

Since the Personal Secretary (PS) is asking for an undue favor, it would be highly unethical to succumb to the pressure and make an unethical decision. Thus, following are the possible course of action, that might be legitimate:

  1. Outrightly reject the offer of the PS, and prepare to face the consequences.
  2. Negotiate with the PS trying to make him understand that this would be unethical and unprofessional.
  3. Informing to the PS that I would talk to the interview board in this regard, and do as per their suggestion.
  4. Contact the superior authority of the PS, regarding the PS's action, and ask for their help.
  5. Lodge a complaint with the Anti-corruption cell.

(b)

although it is would be unethical to comply with the PS directions, but since the stake of the institute depends on the grant of the aid, an outright attitude might bring negative consequences for the institute. Thus, it might not be rational to reject his offer outrightly.

An attempt should be made to make the PS understand that his course of action is ethical unjust and unprofessional. However, this course might not address the concern if the PS did not change his mind. Trying to communicate the interview board about the PS's proposal is a justifiable idea, as the interview board takes the decision together. However, such communication should make it clear that any demand of such unjust favor would not be answered. Contacting the interview board would also help the chairman to know about the different opinion in the interview panel, and if the PS had tried persuade any other member of the board. However, this option might not address the concern of the institute's grants.

Lodging a complaint with the anti-corruption cell might not be practical as there would be no evidence to support the allegations and the case would ultimately be discarded without any disciplinary action. This might also offend the PS and he may create complications in approving the grants.

The most practical solution to this problem could be, to reject the demand of the PS tactfully, and contacting the superior authority of the PS, regarding the PS's action and the unjust basis of it.

In any case, there shall be no submission to the unjust demand of favor. Even if the PS attempts to delay the grants approval without any reason, the option of RTI might be resorted to know the reasons for disapproval. On further problems, the institute may lodge a compliant with the appropriate authority.

The Next article of the ETHICS SERIES would discuss the last two questions of the Section B of the Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude Paper 2013.
 

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

We wish the aspirants All the BEST!!
 

Team UPSCPORTAL
 

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