How To Prepare upsc civil Services Mains Paper V (gs 4 -)

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How To Prepare UPSC Civil Services Mains Paper – V (GS – 4 –)

[Ethics, Aptitude and Integrity]


UPSC has brought changes to the Civil Services Mains examination in both the pattern and the syllabus.

We know that now there are 4 General Studies Papers apart from one Essay and Optional paper each. Of these, new paper on Ethics Aptitude and Integrity has been a headache for many aspirants as quality source is elusive even now when the exam is nearing.

This article discusses preparation strategy for General Studies – 4

(i.e Paper-IV -Ethics Aptitude and Integrity ).

Before you start reading further, please remember the following important mantra given by the Almighty UPSC:

  • The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues, and ability to analyze,

and take a view on conflicting socio‐ economic goals, objectives and demands. The candidates must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.”
This sentence is the guiding light for your preparation. You don’t have to master the topics, all you need is BASIC

UNDERSTANDING and the ability to analyze. Basic understanding comes from reading and re-reading. Ability to analyze what you have understood from reading comes from

This article was tough to write as it’s new and sources for this article were difficult to find.

Sources for this article are diverse. Books published by Oxford, Cambridge university presses, Springer, Sage publications have been referred. Britannica encyclopedia and IGNOU materials were of immense help too.

Many PDFs are of advanced nature. You don’t have to read all the PDFs in toto. Read first few paragraphs to understand the essence. Remember the above UPSC mantra.
Question paper will have questions on theory and case studies.

Case studies will be covered every day as an article where you can write answers and get comments from fellow aspirants.

I have given only links to sources. I am no authority to explain the topics.


Ethics and Human


Let’s start with basics:

Ethics A Very Basic

Introduction - BBC Guide toEthics

Introduction to Ethics

Essence, determinantsand Consequences of Ethics in human actions.

What is Ethics? – Cambridge University

Source- Authentic and Good one (read this completely to get conceptual clarity)

Dimensions of ethics

Read Chapters One and Two from this book

Ethics in private and public relationships.

Ethics in private relationships – Read chapter 3 in the link. It’s in Google Books and the chapter has all pages. It

is very good with lots of case studies. If any IT guy can extract pages and covert them to PDF, please send me a


Ethics in Private Relationship- Good one

Ethics in Public Relations

Human Values

Human values – IGNOU Material

Lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators

You can read about them from school books or from website. Will provide a list later.

Role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

Chapter Ten of this book. Google Books Value Education.


Structure and Function

Source – 1 – Very Basic

Source – 2 – Structure

source – 3 – Functions

Source – 4 – Complex and Specialized (if you can understand! Page no. 38,39…)

Its influence and relation with thought and behaviour

Source – 1 – Attitude and Behaviour

Source – 2 - Values, Attitudes and Behaviour –

Source – 3 – Very Advanced

Moral and political attitudes

Source 1 – Political Attitudes

Source – 2 – Moral Attitudes

Social influence and Persuasion

Source – 1 – Simple and Straight to the point. Good one.

Source -2 – Very Advanced
Related Article

Attitude for Good Governance – Read Section Two in Attitude for good governance and motivation.

Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service

Critical Look at Integrity

Integrity and Transparency – critical article
Impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and

compassion towards the weaker sections.

These are actually civil service values recommended by the second ARC in its report (10th Report, Chapter 16)

Emotional intelligence


Source – 1 - Very Basic – Excellent one.

Source – 2 – Conceptual clarity

Their utilities and application in administration and governance

Emotional Intelligence and Public Leadership

Emotional Intelligence in Bureaucracies

Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

Ethics in the history of Indian Philosophy

Ethics in Contemporary Indian Philosophy

Ethics in the history of western philosophy

Ethics in Medieval Western Philosophy

Ethics in Greek Philosophy

Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration:

Status and problems

Public Service Values – Status

Professionalism and Ethics in Public Service – UN Document. Read only Chapter One and Conclusion. Problems

and Issues about Public service values is given in it.

Ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions

Ethical Concerns in Public Administration

Ethical Dilemma – In this, read only Chapter One. It is written in foreign context but it’s applicability is universal.

Ethics in Public Administration – Don’t neglect this document because it’s written by a research scholar. It is

simple and lucid.

Laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance

Didn’t get any credible source. I will post it when I get one.

Accountability and ethical governance

Ethical Governance in twenty first century – This is culled from a costly and an authentic book. Read it to understand the importance of ethics in governance.

Ethics As element of Good Governance

Ethics and Governance – T N Chaturvedi (he was CAG and Governor of Karnataka) – His reflections are insightful.

Strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance

Above PDFs reflect on this topic too.

Ethical issues in international relations and funding

Ethics in International Relations – Taken from a reputed book and is a primary source on the topic.

Ethics in International Relations – This is in relation to corporate responsibility. It covers some aspects of ethical

issues in ‘funding’ mentioned in the syllabus.

Corporate governance

Corporate Governance – Read it as it contains many new facts and ideas. (not so good, though)

Corporate Governance – An Ethical Perspective – It is critical article, a research paper.

News Report - Economic Times

PPT Presentation – IIT Bombay

Probity in Governance

This part of the syllabus is completely covered in the following book. It is written by two retired IAS officers of

Gujarat cadre. All the topics of this part of the syllabus and other topics of importance are covered in this book.

Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination (Paper – 5)

I am giving below PDFs to some topics taken from some UN sites, books and ministries websites.

Probity in Governance

Probity in Governance – Excellent one – It is published by Law Ministry and contains many concepts.

What is Probity in Governance – Private context

Concept of public service

Probity in Governance – Excellent one – it defines what’s public service.

Philosophical basis of governance and probity

Information sharing and transparency in government – Right to Information

Articles on RTI from The Hindu, EPW will be posted.

The above mentioned book has a chapter on this topic.

Codes of Ethics

Codes of Ethics – OECD

Codes of ethics – World Bank -

Codes of Conduct

Refer the above mentioned book.

Citizen’s Charters

Citizen’s Chartes – FAQs

Citizen Charter Handbook

Work culture

Quality of service delivery

Utilization of public funds – Planning Commission – PDF

challenges of corruption

This is basically a general topic. I will compile articles published on this topic in The Hindu (last year there were

many articles on this topic) and give links soon.

Source – 1

Apart from the above book, the following book might be useful as it is written by a renowned author Ramesh Arora

(his books on Public Administration are well received)

Ethics in Governance – Ramesh K Arora
A SMALL LECTURE – again!?!

Note: You can skip this if you are already bored!

Until now we saw what books to read. Now the question is how to remember most of the things we read and how

to translate them into better answers.

A common mistake most of the aspirants commit is reading so many books for a single topic.This mistake

costs both your time and ability to remember things clearly and concisely.

Stick to a single source and read it again and again. Remember The Same Source. Avoid the temptation of

doing ‘Research’ on a topic.

Always Remember – UPSC tests Basic Understanding. Not mastery over a topic.

Make short notes on each topic. It is while making notes that readers tend to do RESEARCH and scout

various sources. Stick to one book even if you are not 100% satisfied with it.

Remember that old saying? – Jack of all trades, master of NONE. If you try to do Research, most probablyyour name won’t appear in the Final List. I guarantee it.

For Paper-II (i.e GS-1) being thorough with Current Events plays a crucial role in enabling you to acquireanalytical skills.

Very Important Part In The Preparation

Writing. Writing. Writing.

But what? – One must practice answer writing to Previous year questions, or take a Mock Test. Whatever,

before you enter examination hall, you must have spent lot of time on answer writing.

Most Important Part In The Preparation

Revision. Revision. Re-Revision.

You do this and you appear for the Personality Test.

If you don’t Revise what you read all these months – you slightly miss the Personality Test, or You narrowly miss appearing in the Final List.

Well, to sum up. To get the interview call all you need to do is:
Read, Re-read the same source, Write and Revise.
Preparation for this paper can be finished in 20 days provided you are focused and determined.

Of course. Eat well, Sleep well and Keep a good health. If you get a running nose on the day of the exam, 2 hours out of 3 hours goes in draining it and drying it.

Disclaimer: This article is meant to be a blueprint or a road map for your preparation.


Recently UPSC has brought out some

changes in civil services (Mains) examination

and a new paper on ethics, integrity and

aptitude has been introduced. Following is the

core area on which emphasis has been made.
• Ethics

• Attitude

• Aptitude for the Civil Services.

• Emotional intelligence.

• Contribution of thinkers.

• Public Service/Civil Service values and


• Honesty and Probity in Public Life.

It has also been suggested that case study

approach may be adopted on the above points.

Importance and significance of ethics -

The Rig Veda states "Atmano Mokshartham

jagat hitayacha" i.e. private good of self

promotion should be subservient to the greatest

good of all.

Kautilya's Arthshastra says –
"Praja sukhe sukham rajyaha

prajanam cha Hitehitam,

Natma priyam hitam rajanaha

Prajanam cha hitam priyam"

(In the happiness of his public rests the

king's happiness, in their welfare his welfare..)

Bhishma Pitamaha, who had mastered the

art of governance says "the foundation of good

governance is righteousness in public affairs".

Mahatma Gandhi emphasized the

importance of means stating that the means are

as much or even more important than the end.

In 'Gita' Lord Krishna advises officials:

"By understanding what ought to be done,

and what not, what is to be feared and what

not, and what is obligatory and what is simply

permitted, a ruler leads the moral and righteous nation".
Similarly Confucius (551-479 B.C.) believed

that a well ordered society required a

government based on superior morality rather

than on superior authority.

In the Islamic world, letters written to

governors by Imam Hazrat Omer and Imam

Hazrat Ali are the shining examples of

governing through ethics and morality.

These examples from various religions

illustrate that one should not shy away from

tapping religious assets.
'Ethics' is a system of accepted beliefs and

values which influence human behaviour. The

family systems and educational systems are

influential instruments of socialization and

training of the mind in its initial years. If the

values inculcated through the family and the

school have underscored honesty and ethics,

the impact on the mindset of citizens is likely

to be highly positive and powerful.
The gist of wisdom on administrative ethics

is that the public administrators are the

"guardians" of the Administrative state. Hence

they are expected to honour public trust and

not violate it.
Relation between Ethics and Civil Services-
Following are the principles on which Civil

Servants are supposed to discharge their duties

and responsibilities.
• Legal and rational action: Civil Servants

must follow the law and rules to govern

and guide.
• Responsibility and accountability: An

administrator should hold himself morally

responsible for his actions and should be

willing to be held accountable.

• Commitment for work: According to Swami

Vivekananda "Every duty is holy and devotion

to duty is the highest form of worship.
• Ensuring excellence in work: An

administrator would ensure the highest

standard of quality in administrativedecisions

and action.

• Responsiveness and resilience: He should

adopt to environmental transformation and

yet sustain the ethical norms of conduct.
• Principle of utilitarianism: An administrator

should ensure that his decisions should lead

to the greatest good of the greatest number.
• Maxim of Compassion: A civil servant

without violating the prescribed law and

rules would demonstrate compassion for the

poor, the disabled and the weak.

• National interest: A civil servant should keep

in view the impact of his action on his

nation's strength and prestige.
• Principle of justice: Administrators must

observe principles of equality, equity,

fairness, impartiality and objectivity.
• Transparency: Civil Servants will make

decisions in a transparent manner.

• Maxim of integrity: An administrator would

undertake an administrative action on the

basis of honesty and not use his power,

position and discretion to serve his personal

The Nolan Committee constituted for setting

standards in public life in United Kingdom has

recommended seven principles of public life:
1. Selflessness 2. Integrity 3. Objectivity

4. Accountability 5. Openness 6. Honesty

7. Leadership.
These principles of public life are of general

applicability in every democracy. Arising out

of such ethical principles a set of guidelines of

public behavior in nature of code of conduct

becomes essential for public functionaries.

United Nations has formulated a 'Code of

Conduct' for public officials by its resolution

58/4 of 31st Oct. 2003. The code of conduct

states that "Each State party shall promote,

interalia, integrity, honesty, and responsibility

among its public officials in accordance with

the fundamental principles of its legal system."

In the corporate world, governance has

become an important factor for success and

excellence. The Cadbury Committee defines the

concept of corporate governance "the system

by which companies are directed and

controlled, thus placing the board of directors

of a company at the centre of governance

system. Maximising the shareholders value in

a legal and ethical manner is the symbol of

good corporate governance.

Government of India has formulated some

codes, laws, rules and regulations to help

achieve ethics, values, and probity in public

life. Besides, some good practices have also been introduced to bring probity in public servants.

An illustrated list is as follows.

1. Official Secrets Act.

2. Right to Information Act.

3. Prevention of Corruption Act.

4. Benami (Properties) Transaction Act.

5. Central Civil Services (conduct) Rules.

6. All India Services (conduct) Rules.

7. Citizen's Charters.

8. Code of Conduct for political parties.

9. Model code of conduct (during elections).

Candidates appearing for civil services will

be supposed to be familiar with these Acts, rules

and regulations. Cases studies could be asked

based on the above.

After this based on the aforesaid, we come

to a case study based on the hotly debated and

ever evolving domain of RTI also exclusively

made by Mr S K Mishra. It also has an

informed way of looking at the question pattern

in the mains exam.

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 favour 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 proposals of your

institute for grant of funds for modernization,

which are awaiting the functionary’s approval.

He assures you that he would get these

proposals cleared. (20 marks | 250 words)
1. What are the options available to you?

2. Evaluate each of these options and choose

the option which you would adopt, giving

Option 1: Accept the Personal secretary

request, but this will be an unethical and

unconstitutional step as the person will be

discriminating between the candidates.
Option 2: Politely explain the Personal

Secretary that Interview will be taken by the

panel, thus he can't help him.
Option 3: He should directly say no to the

Personal secretary as this is against the official

norms. He should tell PS that the procedure of

interview is transparent and if his relative is

eligible for the post of professor, he will

definitely be selected for it, even without favour.

Further the grant of funds for institution is an

official act and legal course of action should be

taken to avail it.
As a senior officer in the Finance Ministry,

you have access to some confidential and crucial

information about policy decisions that the

Government is about to announce. These

decisions are likely to have far-reaching impact

on the housing and construction industry. If

the builders have access to this information

beforehand, they can make huge profits. One

of the builders has done a lot of quality work

for the Government and is known to be close

to your immediate superior, who asks you to

disclose this information to the said builder.

(20 marks| 250 words)
1. What are the options available to you?

2. Evaluate each of these options and choose

the option which you would adopt, giving

Option 1: The officer will disclose the

information to the builder. But this will be an

unethical and unoffical act. Government reports

and files are confidential and their

confidentiality has to be maintained according

to the service rules. Nepotism and favouritism

are strictly prohibited in official acts.

Option 2: The officer may ask for a written

permission from the senior for disclosing the

information to the builder. As according to the

service rules, the direction of the official superior shall ordinarily be in writing. Oral direction to subordinates shall be avoided, as far as possible.Where the issue of oral direction becomes unavoidable, the official superior shall confirmit in writing immediately thereafter.

Option 3: The officer should staight-forward

reject the request of the superior to disclose the

information to the said builder, stating it is

against the norms of an organisation.

Correct course of action: The officer should

not disclose the information to the builder as

this will have an effect on the exchequer of the

government. He should respectfully say no to

the superior.
You are the Executive Director of an

upcoming InfoTech Company which is making

a name for itself in the market.

Mr. A, who is a star performer, is heading

the marketing team. In a short period of one

year, he has helped in doubling the revenues

as well as creating a high brand equity for the

Company so much so that you are thinking of

promoting him. However, you have been

receiving information from many corners about

his attitude towards the female colleagues;

particularly his habit of making loose comments

on women. In addition, he regularly sends

indecent SMS’s to all the team members

including his female colleagues.

One day, late in the evening, Mrs. X, who

is one of Mr. A’s team members, comes to you

visibly disturbed. She complains against the

continued misconduct of Mr. A, who has been

making undesirable advances towards her and

has even tried to touch her inappropriately in

his cabin. She tenders her resignation and leaves

your office. (20 marks | 250 words)
1. What are the options available to you?

2. Evaluate each of these options and choose

the option you would adopt, giving reasons.
Option 1: After receiving the complaint,

Executive Director should take prompt action

against Mr. A. He should appoint a three

member committee as per the sexual

harassment at workplace act. The members

should be independent and inquiry should be

done nuetrally. Both the sides should be given

chance for explanation. Decision should be

taken after analysing all the evidences.
Option 2:

Executive Director may ask for

resignation from Mr. A. But reasonable opportunity

of being heard should be given to Mr. A.

Correct course of action: A committee

should be set to inquire about the complaint

independently. Further steps should be taken

to avoid the situation in futur


IAS, 2015

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