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State PCS

Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. Discuss the main principles of Chanakya’s philosophy for civil servants and how they are relevant for the contemporary Indian bureaucracy. (150 words)

    08 Jun, 2023 GS Paper 4 Theoretical Questions


    • Chanakya was an ancient Indian statesman and philosopher who wrote a classic treatise on polity, Artha-shastra, which deals with various aspects of administration, economy, and ethics. Chanakya's philosophy for civil servants can be derived from Artha-shastra and his collection of aphorisms Chanakya Niti.


    Some of the main principles of his philosophy are:

    • Dharma (Duty): Chanakya believed that a civil servant should uphold moral law and act according to the principles of justice and righteousness. He should protect the weak, punish the wicked, and promote the welfare of the people.
    • Loyalty: Chanakya emphasized that a civil servant should be loyal to his king and his country, and not be swayed by personal interests or external influences. He should serve with honesty, integrity, and dedication.
    • Prudence: Chanakya advocated that a civil servant should be prudent and wise in his decisions and actions. He should avoid wasteful expenditure, unnecessary conflicts, and harmful alliances. He should also be aware of the changing circumstances and adapt accordingly.
    • Competence: Chanakya stressed that a civil servant should be skilled and competent in his field of work. He should have a thorough knowledge of the laws, policies, and procedures of the state. He should also be able to communicate effectively, manage resources efficiently, and solve problems creatively.

    These principles are relevant for the contemporary Indian bureaucracy because they provide a comprehensive framework for good governance and ethical conduct. They can help the civil servants to:

    • Serve the public interest and uphold the constitutional values: Chanakya's principles guide Indian civil servants to prioritize the welfare of the people and uphold constitutional values like democracy, secularism, justice, and equality. They can promote these values by advocating for Dharma and punishing Adharma, ensuring a just and inclusive society.
    • Enhance their efficiency and effectiveness: Chanakya's principles of competence, loyalty, honesty, and diligence are relevant for Indian bureaucracy. Civil servants can enhance their skills, maintain integrity, and deliver quality services to citizens by following these principles.
    • Deal with complex and dynamic situations: Chanakya's principles of strategy, pragmatism, and adaptability are crucial for contemporary civil servants to address challenges and seize opportunities in areas like globalization, technology, diversity, and development. These principles enable them to devise innovative solutions, employ diverse tools and methods, and achieve their goals successfully.
    • Foster a culture of ethics and morality: By following Chanakya's principle of ethics, morality, and spirituality, civil servants can prevent corruption and malpractices, promote values and virtues among themselves and others, and attain peace and happiness in their personal and professional lives.


    Chanakya's philosophy for civil servants, which emphasizes ethical governance, efficient resource management, strategic thinking, and continuous learning, holds immense relevance for the contemporary Indian bureaucracy. Incorporating these principles can enhance the effectiveness and integrity of the civil service and contribute to the overall development of the nation.

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