Saturday, 30 June 2018

Preparing for the UPSC Civil Services Examination - Mains - G.S. Paper 4 by Satyakam Dutta - Part 5




As we have discussed earlier, General Studies (GS) papers (I to IV) constitute 1000 Marks in the UPSC Civil Service Mains Examination, each paper carrying 250 marks. The General Studies IV Paper also carries 250 marks. This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilise the case study approach to determine these aspects. The Syllabus of the General Studies IV Paper of the Civil Services Mains Examination is given below for reference.
  • Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.
  • Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.
  • Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
  • Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service , integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.
  • Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.
  • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
  • Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance;
  • Ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.
  • Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information
  • Sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s
  • Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.
  • Case Studies on above issues.

The Ethics paper of the UPSC Examination has to be seen in light of what UPSC says about how to prepare for the examination through its notification. It says – “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.” These sentences should be the guiding light for one’s preparation. One doesn’t have to master the topics, all one needs is basic understanding and the ability to analyze. Basic understanding comes from reading and re-reading. Ability to analyze what one has understood from reading comes from writing practice.

One book for Ethics which is read by most of the successful aspirants is “Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude for IAS General Studies Paper IV” by Niraj Kumar. There are many other books for the Ethics part and aspirants might get confused about what to read and what not. But, I think this book shall suffice the requirements well. One needs to know that Ethics cannot be learnt in a week or month. It has to be imbibed since childhood, and that’s where the role of the parents and teachers come in. The 250 marks paper of Ethics is generally divided into roughly 125 marks for Theory and 125 marks for Case Study based interpretation of Real Life based problems. Theory can be learnt from the books, but Case Study based questions have to answered from one’s own Ethical standpoints. For the theory questions, I would suggest that one memorise or internalize the definitions of key ethical terms like, “Ethics”, “Values”, “Transparency”, “Accountability” etc, as one has to apply those definitions in writing the answers. To tackle the Case Study based questions, every question requires a different strategy. Some techniques one can google are - PESTLE, Stakeholder Analysis, Value Chain, SWOT and Pro-Con. And then apply these strategies in one’s answers.

It is not very difficult to answer the questions in this paper but the approach should be good. UPSC has introduced this paper in order to sensitise the candidates with proper ethical practices so that the citizen centric delivery model of the Government is executed judiciously. Hence, while answering the questions the candidate should also keep the Government’s point of view and Government administrative processes while answering the questions.


Other articles in the series :

Preparing for the UPSC Civil Services Examination - Mains by Satyakam Dutta - Part 1



Preparing for the UPSC Civil Services Examination - Mains -  G.S. Paper 3 by Satyakam Dutta - Part 4


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