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State PCS

Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. What do you understand by the term ‘ethical competence’? Why is it important for a civil servant to develop ethical competence? (150 words)

    25 May, 2023 GS Paper 4 Theoretical Questions


    • Start your answer by explaining Ethical Competence.
    • Describe the importance of ethical competence for a Civil Servant.
    • Conclude by summarizing the key points.


    • Ethical competence refers to the ability of an individual to understand, apply, and demonstrate ethical principles and values in their decision-making and actions. It involves having a solid understanding of moral principles, being able to recognize ethical dilemmas, and possessing the skills to make ethical choices and act in an ethical manner.


    Importance of ethical competence for a civil servant:

    • Upholding Public Trust: Civil servants hold positions of public trust and serve the community's best interests. Ethical competence helps them maintain public trust by guiding their actions with moral principles and the common good.
    • Making Ethical Decisions: Civil servants often encounter complex situations where they must make decisions that have far-reaching consequences. Ethical competence equips them with the necessary tools to navigate these dilemmas and make decisions that are fair, just, and in line with ethical standards.
    • Mitigating Corruption and Misconduct: Ethical competence prevents corruption and unethical behaviour in civil service. It promotes a clean and accountable administration by reducing susceptibility to corrupt practices.
    • Enhancing Professionalism and Credibility: Ethical competence helps a civil servant to perform his/her duties with integrity, accountability, impartiality, and professionalism, without being influenced by personal interests, biases, or pressures.
    • Promoting Accountability and Transparency: Ethical competence helps civil servants understand the importance of accountability and transparency in their roles. They are more likely to act responsibly, report misconduct, and adhere to high standards of integrity when they possess ethical competence.
    • Fostering a Positive Organizational Culture: Ethical competence contributes to the development of a positive organizational culture within the civil service. When civil servants demonstrate ethical behavior, it sets an example for others and fosters an environment that values integrity, fairness, and respect.


    Ethical competence is a vital attribute for a civil servant as it helps him/her to fulfil his/her obligations towards the public interest and welfare with integrity and excellence. It also helps him/her to cope with ethical challenges and dilemmas that may arise in public service. Ethical competence can be developed through continuous learning, reflection, and practice.

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