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State PCS

Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. What are the ethical considerations in public policy making and how do they impact the well-being of citizens? (150 words)

    05 Jan, 2023 GS Paper 4 Theoretical Questions


    • Start your answer by introducing ethical considerations in public policy.
    • Discuss their impact of well-being of citizens.
    • Conclude accordingly.


    • Ethical considerations in public policy making refer to the values, principles, and moral judgments that policymakers take into account when making decisions that affect the public.
    • Further, Ethical considerations in policy making involve searching for reasons for acting or refraining from acting, for approving or not approving conduct, and for believing or denying something about virtuous or vicious conduct.


    • These considerations can impact the well-being of citizens in a number of ways like:
      • Justice: One important ethical consideration is the principle of justice, which dictates that policies should be fair and not discriminate against certain groups of people.
        • For example, a policy that disproportionately harms minority communities would not be considered just.
      • Human rights: Other ethical considerations in public policy making include the respect for individual rights and freedoms, the protection of the common good, and the obligation to act in the public interest.
      • Utility: Another ethical consideration is the principle of utility, which holds that policies should aim to maximize the overall well-being of society.
        • This requires policymakers to consider the potential consequences of their decisions on a wide range of stakeholders, including citizens, businesses, and the natural environment.
      • Autonomy: Individuals should have the freedom to make their own choices and decisions, as long as they do not harm others.
      • Transparency: The decision-making process should be open and transparent, so that citizens can understand the reasoning behind policy decisions.
      • Responsibility: Policymakers have a responsibility to consider the long-term consequences of their decisions and to act in the best interests of the public.
      • Impact of ethical consideration on the well-being of citizens and Individuals:
        • Society: At the societal level, ethical considerations can impact the well-being of citizens by promoting a sense of trust and confidence in the government and other public organizations.
          • When citizens believe that their government is acting in an ethical and responsible manner, they may feel more positively about their community and be more likely to participate in public life. On the other hand, unethical behavior by the government or other public organizations can lead to social unrest, which can have negative impacts on the well-being of citizens.
        • Individual: Ethical consideration nudge an individual to follow ethics in her lifestyle. For example, many people have been inspired by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, who emphasized the importance of nonviolence, truth, and compassion in all actions.
          • Further, they have tried to apply these teachings in their own ethical development by striving to be honest and kind in their interactions with others, and by seeking nonviolent solutions to conflicts.


    Thus, it is important for policymakers to carefully weigh the potential impacts of their decisions on the well-being of citizens and to consider a range of ethical considerations in order to create policies that are fair, just, and in the best interest of society as a whole.

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