(Sample Material) Study Kit on Current Affairs for UPSC Mains Exam: Ethics & Integrity: Need for Ethical Empowerment as Social and Political Reform A Ranga Reddy

(Sample Material) Study Kit on Current Affairs for UPSC Mains Examination

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.


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.


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.)

Positive Associations

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

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 democratic decision-making.


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 unemployment.

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.


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 focus.

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.


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

—Mahatma Gandhi


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 greed”.

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.

Buy Study Kit on Current Affairs for UPSC Mains Examination

Buy IAS Mains General Studies Study Kit

Online Crash Course on Current Affairs for UPSC Mains Examination

<< Go Back to Main Page