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Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. Examine the importance of accountability and transparency in promoting ethical behavior in public administration. (150 words)

    23 Mar, 2023 GS Paper 4 Theoretical Questions

    Approach

    • Start your answer by briefly introducing public administration.
    • Discuss importance of accountability and transparency in promoting ethical behavior in public administration.
    • Discuss challenges related to their implementation and suggest measures to address these challenges
    • Conclude accordingly.

    Introduction

    • Public administration is a critical component of any government. It is responsible for implementing policies and programs that affect the lives of citizens. Public administrators are entrusted with a significant amount of power and responsibility, and as such, are expected to behave ethically and responsibly.
      • However, history has shown that this is not always the case. Public administrators have been known to engage in corrupt and unethical behavior, which has led to a loss of public trust in government.
      • To address this problem, accountability and transparency have been identified as key principles that can promote ethical behavior in public administration.

    Body

    • The Importance of Accountability and Transparency Accountability and Transparency are Closely Linked:
      • Accountability refers to the obligation of public administrators to be answerable for their actions and decisions.
        • It involves being transparent about the processes and outcomes of decision-making, and being willing to accept responsibility for any negative consequences that may arise from those decisions.
      • Transparency, on the other hand, refers to the open and honest disclosure of information to the public.
        • It involves making information available to citizens in a timely and accessible manner, and providing explanations for any decisions or actions that are taken.
    • Accountability and transparency are important for several reasons:
      • Firstly, they promote trust between the government and the public. When public administrators are transparent about their actions and decisions, it helps to build trust and confidence in government.
        • This is particularly important in countries where there is a high level of corruption and mistrust in government.
      • Secondly, accountability and transparency help to prevent corruption and unethical behavior.
        • When public administrators know that their actions are being scrutinized, they are less likely to engage in corrupt or unethical behavior.
      • Thirdly, accountability and transparency promote good governance.
        • When public administrators are held accountable for their actions, it helps to ensure that they are making decisions that are in the best interests of the public.
    • Challenges in Implementing Accountability and Transparency:
      • While accountability and transparency are important in promoting ethical behavior in public administration, there are challenges that exist in implementing these principles.
        • One of the biggest challenges is a lack of political will.
          • In some countries, there is a reluctance to implement accountability and transparency measures because it may expose corrupt practices.
          • Additionally, there may be resistance from public administrators who are used to operating in an environment where they are not held accountable for their actions.
        • Another challenge is a lack of resources.
          • Implementing accountability and transparency measures requires financial and human resources. In countries where resources are limited, it may be difficult to implement these measures effectively.
            • There may also be a lack of technical capacity to implement these measures, particularly in developing countries.
    • Addressing the Challenges Despite the challenges that exist in implementing accountability and transparency measures, there are ways to address these challenges.
      • Firstly, there needs to be political will to implement these measures.
        • This may involve changing the political culture to one that is more transparent and accountable.
        • It may also involve providing incentives for public administrators to behave ethically and punishing those who engage in corrupt practices.
      • Secondly, there needs to be an investment in resources.
        • This may involve providing financial and human resources to support the implementation of accountability and transparency measures.
          • It may also involve building technical capacity through training and support.

    Conclusion

    • Accountability and transparency are critical in promoting ethical behavior in public administration. There are challenges in implementing these measures, they can be addressed through political will, investment in resources, and building technical capacity.
    • Governments and public administrators must prioritize accountability and transparency to ensure that they are making decisions that are in the best interests of the public.
      • This will not only promote ethical behavior in public administration but also strengthen democratic institutions and promote citizen participation in governance.

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