(Sample Material) Study Kit on Current Affairs for UPSC Mains
Ethics & Integrity: Need for Ethical Empowerment as Social
and Political Reform A Ranga Reddy
If men behave like angels no government is needed, Thomas
Mann once said that in this modern age man’s destiny leads him back to politics:
political activity is one of the most visible aspects of public life and the
current Westphalian model of the nation—State has dominated human history for
the last few centuries.
Empowerment is a process of giving more power by engaging
both the hearts and minds of people so that they can take the opportunities
available to them for greater responsibility and to create a credible,
trustworthy and a value model. Ethical development certainly brings mental
balance, contentment, standard nature and everlasting society over this earth.
CIVILISATIONS AND UNETHICAL ACTIONS
Most of the civilisations have been destroyed as a result of
internal corruption than the external aggression, and regimes have collapsed on
the erosion of their moral authority by deep-seated and prolonged corruption.
There are number of such instances even in modern times. During the last years
of his tenure as Prime Minister; Lloyd George, in England collected funds by
virtual auction of honours; and the funds which should have gone to the Liberal
Party coffers, bad been diverted to his personal political fund. It is unlikely
that he never turned for his personal expenditure the money he received; but the
stench of the honours scandal had given rise to such strong repugnance that in
spite his great achievements as a war leader, and also in domestic affairs, no
chances were of his becoming Prime Minister again. In the process, the Liberal
Party too suffered grievous damage. The fall of Kuomintang under Chiang Kai shek
provides another instance of the destructive effect of corruption. The defeat
and disintegration of the Government of South, Vietnam, in spite of massive
support from the USA and also their direct, prolonged military involvement,
present yet another example of the fatal consequences of political corruption,
and unbridled acquisition of wealth and privileges by those favoured by the
regime, Nixon’s, case was a more recent instance of the disastrous consequences
of adoption of totally unethical means, including outright lying, in pursuit of
political ends. A powerful President had an ignominious exit under the threat of
impeachment and prosecution and the pressure of a morally outraged public
opinion, and partly as a reaction against Watergate, the Jimmy Presidency that
followed after the next election showed concern for moral and human values.
ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF ETHICS
Like Socrates, Plato’s emphasis is ethical rather than
scientific; knowledge is not separable from virtue, and the good is also true.
History tells us that advantages gained by sacrificing principles and rules of
ethics at the altar of expediency have always proved to be short lives. In the
long run, they not only undermine the moral fabric of society, but also, let
lose the forces of political charlatanism, rank opportunism and brazen
chicanery. Our founding fathers made the mantra “Satyameva Jayate” part of the
national emblem. This was in consonance with the great traditions and values and
the land which gave to world Mahaveer, Buddha and Gandhi. Let us prove ourselves
as worthy inheritors of those traditions and values by receiving them and making
them a part of the national life.
Individual and Social Choices
Ethical consideration are relevant not only to politicians
and public officials, but also to citizens, we have invoked the concept of
citizenship associated with the tradition of civic republicanism.
Kemeth Arrow, the Nobel Prize winner in Economics proved that although a series
of individual choices may be consistent, social outcomes are not necessarily
consistent. All social choices are determined by individual desires. Social
choices are rational and they have to fulfill the following five conditions:
For any set of individual preferences, the social function should reflect a
true social ordering (i.e., it is translatable into some social choice.)
A social ordering responds positively to change in individual values, such
that the more the individuals prefer an alternative, the more likely it will be
the social choice.
Irrelevant alternatives—those not under considerations—should not influence
the social choice among relevant alternatives.
The social welfare function is not to be imposed (e.g., by tradition.)
The social welfare function is not to be dictatorial. The violations of
either condition of four of five would directly contradict the basic premises of
SOCIAL JUSTICE AND DEVELOPMENT
Social Justice is an extension of the principle of ethics in
public life. Extreme concentration of wealth on one side and extreme poverty on
the other are the manifestation of an unethical order of society. Societies, if
they have to march in a smooth and peaceful manner towards progress and
prosperity, must banish such ugly and unethical blots like: hunger, poverty and
Regarding Indian economy, growth has strong direct reducing
effects; the frictions and rigidities can make these processes less effective,
and the Eleventh Plan must therefore be formulated in a manner, which explicitly
address the need to ensure equity an social justice. A three-pronged strategy
for attaining equity and social justice along with higher rates of growth is
proposed for the Tenth Plan period given below:
(i) Agricultural development must be reviewed as the core element of the plan
since growth in the sector is likely to lead to the widest spread of benefits
especially to the rural poor.
(ii) The other sectors like construction, tourism, transport, Small-Scale
Industry (SSI), retailing, Information Technology (IT) and communication-enabled
services are needed to promote.
(iii) There will be a continuing need to supplement the impact of growth with
special programmes aimed at special target groups, which may not benefit
sufficiency from the normal growth process.
SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL SYSTEM AND ETHICS
Every system of government requires that those wielding power
should use it for the public good and not make it an instrument of self-seeking.
All powers is like a trust. Those who derive it from the people are accountable
for showing that it has been exercised for the people. Abuse and misuse of
authority can take many forms. It can result in acquisition of more authority by
those in power, and use of that authority for eliminating political and personal
opponents. Such abuse may trigger authoritarianism and dictatorship. Power can
likewise be abused by making it a source of personal aggrandizement. And if
those at the top turn corrupt, we would soon find that corruption and graft
become ubiquitous and percolate down to all spheres of administration at lower
levels. Although corruption anywhere is reprehensible, developed countries can
somehow afford this vice, despite it how they may, because their economy is
already well-developed. In case of developing countries, corruption arrests and
often retards the process of development and the nations pay a heavy price in
terms of loss of moral values. In a nascent democracy like India, where the role
of a minister has to be that of a pioneer rather than that of pirate, one
dedicated to the public weal and not one obsessed with the desire of personal
gain. The old adage that Caesar’s wife should be above suspicion is equally true
of the ministers in a democratic set-up.
Sir Ivor Jennings observed, the most elementary qualification
demand of a minister is honesty and incorruptibility. Therefore, it is
imperative that mean at the top should personify the highest standards of
personal integrity, probity and rectitude.
US Congress ban of research on human cloning have thrown up
ethical issues in the realm of science, ethics and human welfare. In this
connection, ethical guidelines as per the recommendations of a Central Ethical
Committee set up under the Chairmanship of M.N. Venkatachaliah come to into
Further, it is found that in the West, there has been more
work on the language of ethics than on the ethics of language. The best way is
to civilize the politicians, who restore truth an absorb criticism of opposition
parties, finally, ethics will prevail in the society.
The remedy is that without a strong public opinion, it would
be preposterous to depend upon laws and courts alone to ensure compliance with
rules of conduct in public life. Idealism plays as much part in shaping the life
of a nation as do the other material teachers. It is one of the greatest sources
of inner strength of a nation. No progressive nation can allow the springs of
national idealism to dry up.
CHANGING ETHICS IN INDIAN ADMINISTRATION
In the colonial phase, the problems revolved around ego and
hierarchy. There was no appreciation for outspokenness. Yet there was a degree
of commitment on the part of the officers to respond to the exigencies. During
the transitional phase of the colonial administrative ethics, outspokenness,
space for hard work and commitment were gradually replaced by a new set of
ethics. These ethics somewhere came to be influenced by the upper classes. The
new situation invoked nostalgia for the older days. This was result of the
absence of a purpose and direction for administration. As a consequence, the
administrators became more selfish and self-centred. They started using public
office for their private benefit. The rulers were mended and bent for private
gain, but for public purpose they became a stumbling block or a source of
harassment. This was also a result of increasing nexus between the corrupt
politicians, self-seeking administrators and criminals. And those who stood for
values became the target of attack, causing considerable demoralization. Poor
people have to raise their empowerment by electing only ethical politician.
Gandhi’s seven sins as listed below are to be removed, first on Gandhi’s land to
achieve a holistic society.
Politics without Principles; Wealth without Work; Commerce without Morality;
Education without Character, Pleasure without Consciousness; Science without
Humanity; and Worship without Sacrifice
NATURE — THE BEST MANAGER
God’s creation which you may call different names is intact
under His command. The universe, the gift of God is the best example for
excellent management, where the sun rises, stars twinkle, seasons come and go as
scheduled and everything works with same precision. Our ancestors had a holistic
view of nature and its resources, used it as God’s blessing in the care and
caution. They never altered the natural and divine laws, but adjusted themselves
to it. Their very living was peaceful and their needs were limited. They were
contended and believed in Vasudhaika Kutumbam.
Science and technology have opened new doors hitherto
unknown. In the name of development, we not only disturbed nature but also
destroyed all her sanctity. English novelist and scientist C.P. Snow, once said:
“Technology…is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it
stabs you in the back with the other. We are paying a heavy penalty for rainfall
(due to depression) droughts (due to water scarcity and salinity) and
desertification have become order of the day. Ethics in Indian culture is known
as Niti. Niti is identified with Prakriti Sanskritit (culture) develops on the
basis of Prakritii of a state, nation and civilisation. Over the centuries there
have been constant changes in the civilisation of a nation due to various
factors. Science and technology in the hands of multinational companies have
completely reversed the value, system, ethical standards and social mores. The
MAD (also means Mutually Aided Destruction) rush should be stopped. For all
actions, Dharma is the guiding principle.
Rig Veda said ‘Attempt not to obtain wealth through unjust
and condemned means. Never will that wealth be useful which is obtained through
violence or oppression. Non-violent way of generating wealth without oppression
and suppression, without interfering and destroy natural and divine lass is the
spirit behind living. Generate wealth for the need but not for the greed'. Even
Gandhiji said “there is enough for everybody’s need but not for anybody’s
On the eve of 21st century, we ignore Dharma and over-indulge in artha and
Kama. Over-indulgence and abuse create all sorts of chaos and it seems that we
have reached a point of no return.
The best message of Indian mythology to the world is Ram
Rajya where we see the embodiment of dharma in Rama’s action. He is always seen
with “a bow and an arrow”. The righteous way is always protected by the Rama
Baan while the guilty and the adharmas are threatened with punishment. We have
to create in atmosphere to live with high moral standard and in a conductive
social atmosphere is the necessity of our time. Let us have more people who will
be able to inspire us to make a very happy and beautiful would.
Ethics—Key to Social well-being
To accelerate the reduction in poverty and increase in
employment, a number of poverty alleviation, employment generation and basic
services programmes are being implemented at present (Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadsk
Yojana, Indira Awaas Yojana; Swarna Jayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana; Sampoorna
Grammena Rojgar Yojana; DPAP, DPP and IWDP; Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana;
Valmiki Amdedkar Awaas Yojana, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.
National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme). Fully recognizing the centrality of
the panchayats in effectively implementing poverty alleviation and a host of
other social sector programmes Government has set up the Ministry of Panchayati
Raj Institutions (PRIs). A number of steps have been taken to devolve function
to PRIs in line with the constitutional mandate. The annual outlay for this
sector for 2006-07 (BE) of Rs. 3,825 crore includes Rs. 3,750 crore for the
newly created Backward Regions Grant fund (BRGF) for the 250 most backward
districts of the country.
It is found that the poverty level declined to about 22 percent in 2004-05
from a level of 26.1 percent in 1999-2000.
The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), which
provides the country with a potential social safety net, should reduce poverty
and improve the incomes of poor households. It is observed that once the poverty
is eliminated, the ethics will enter into the threshold of household.
Norms of ethics vary from country-to-country. What is
ethically wrong or condemned in one country may not be son in another. Peter
Drucker very appropriately remarked that there is neither a separate ethics of
business nor is one needed. And there have always been a number of people who
cheat, steal, lie, give bride or take bribes. The problem is one of moral values
and normal education of the individual, of the family, of the school.
Environment issues have been the focus discussion in the international business
horizon. Some countries prohibit the import of goods which tend to cause
ecological imbalance. Developing countries are affected by the relocation of
polluting industries from the developed to the developing countries. Similarly,
several products which are banned in the developed countries are marked in the
under-developed world. Another serious problem is that developed nations raise
environment issues as a trade barrier or a coercive measure rather than for
genuine reasons. Trade liberations may improve the quality of the environment
rather than promote degradation. Removing fuel subsidies an improving public
transporation, for example, not only are in the best interest of individual
economies but also contribute to reducing global carbon dioxide emission that
effect other countries. Rootless, jobless, growth less, voiceless and futureless
classes and societies are to be mitigated totally, provided ethics are order of
the day in the globe.
Certainly ethical development brings mental balance, contentment, standard
nature and everlasting society over this earth.