(Sample Material) UPSC IAS Mains GS Online Coaching : Paper 4 - "Case Studies"

Sample Material of Our IAS Mains GS Online Coaching Programme

Subject: General Studies (Paper 4 - Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)

Topic: Case Studies


What is a Case Study? Explain the Case Method as a Learning Tool.

A case study isa description of an actual administrative situation involving a decision to be made or a problem to be solved. It can a real situation that actually happened just as described, or portions have been disguised for reasons of privacy. Most case studies are written in such a way that the reader takes the place of the manager whose responsibility is to make decisions to help solve the problem. In almost all case studies, a decision must be made, although that decision might be to leave the situation as it is and do nothing.

The Case Method as a Learning Tool : The case method of analysis is a learning tool in which students and Instructors participate in direct discussion of case studies, as opposed to the lecture method, where the Instructor speaks and students listen and take notes. In the case method, students teach themselves, with the Instructor being an active guide, rather than just a talking head delivering content. The focus is on students learning through their joint, co-operative effort.

Assigned cases are first prepared by students, and this preparation forms the basis for class discussion under the direction of the Instructor. Students learn, often unconsciously, how to evaluate a problem, how to make decisions, and how to orally argue a point of view. Using this method, they also learn how to think in terms of the problems faced by an administrator. In courses that use the case method extensively, a significant part of the student’s evaluation may rest with classroom participation in case discussions, with another substantial portion resting on written case analyses. For these reasons, using the case method tends to be very intensive for both students and Instructor.

Case Study-1

What’s Ailing Public Services?

A recent Centre for Media Studies (CMS) study shows that a majority of citizens are not satisued with the delivery of public services. In seven out of the 11 departments covered the study, less than one-third of the citizens are satisffed with the services delivered. In fact, in most need-based services such as the police, judiciary and municipalities, (which enjoy a greater discretion and power), not even 20 per cent of the households are satisfied with their services. Even in essential services such as the PDS, hospitals, and electricity and water supplies, a mere 30-40 per cent of the households are happy with the services....

The study brings out that there are hardly any effective complaint redressal systems in place in most departments. In most cases, citizens are not even aware that such systems exist and departments make no effort to educate them. Even those who are aware have little confidence in them. Not surprisingly, theresult is a sense of helplessness. The behavior of cutting-edge level employees is another area of concern. Most employees of the public services are not turned into the changing expectations of the citizens. There are a number of possible initiatives at the department level, such as strategic outsourcing of services, use of technology (like e-seva in Andhra Pradesh), better commercial practices, performance-linked incentive to staff, periodic tracking of user satisfaction and involving resident welfare associations. These initiatives ~ can go a long way in improving the quality of public services.

Also, the public service provider needs to be made more accountable to the citizens through user committees.This experiment has been demonstrated to hold potential in the case of Rogi Kalyan Samitis in Madhya Pradesh.

Also, it is high time that we directly linked outlays to outcomes. We can draw valuable lessons from the British experiment of having public service agreements (PSAs) - with local governments under which objective and measurable targets for various services are fixed together with an evaluation mechanism. The funds are allocated to local governments on the basis of their achievement on PSAs.

Case Study-2

Need for Ethical Code

Senator Fulbright identified a problem of government employees who committed ethical lapses not amounting to criminal conduct. He asked-What should be done about men who do not directly and blatantly sell the favors of their offices for money and so place themselves within the penalties of the law? How do we deal with those who, under the guise of friendship, accept favors, which offend the spirit of the law but do not violate its letter?

He further elaborated- One of the most disturbing aspects ofJhi’s problem of moral conduct is the revelation that among so many influential people, morality lias become identical with legality. We are certainly in a tragic plight if the accepted standard by which we measure the integrity of a man in public life is that he keep within the letter of the law.

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