2 Solved Questions with Answers
1. (b) Why should impartiality and non-partisanship be considered as foundational values in public services, especially in the present day socio-political context? Illustrate your answer with examples. (2016)
Impartiality and non-partisanship imply acting solely according to the merits of the case and serving equally well the governments of different political persuasions. An impartial and politically neutral civil service is a defence against the spoils system which has the propensity to degenerate into a system of patronage, nepotism and corruption. An impartial civil service is more likely to assess the long-term social payoffs of any policy whereas the politically motivated may have a tendency to look for short term political gain. It takes decision on merit and is free from any partisan consideration. Further, a non-partisan civil service is also responsible to the Constitution of the land to which they have taken an oath of loyalty.
However, political neutrality is no longer regarded as the accepted norm with many civil servants getting identified with particular party dispensation. Officers cultivate and seek patronage from politicians for obtaining suitable positions post-retirement. Further, civil services is being seen as increasingly politicized with wholesale transfer of civil servants seen with changes in governments particularly at state level. Therefore, political neutrality and impartiality of civil services needs to be preserved for a heterogeneous society like India to function smoothly. Example: Das Commission’s Report 1964 on illegal acts by highly placed officials to curry favour with political heads in Punjab.
2. Examine the relevance of the following in the context of civil service:
(a) Transparency (b) Accountability (c) Fairness and Justice (d) Courage of Conviction (e) Spirit of service. (2017)
(a) Transparency means sharing information and acting in an open manner. Transparency is essential for controlling corruption in public life, to uphold accountability and deliver information to stakeholders about the activities, procedures and policies of the Government. It also allows stakeholders to collect information that may be critical to uncovering abuses and defending their interests.
(b) Accountability is the process whereby public sector organisations, and the individuals within them, are responsible for their decisions and actions and submit themselves to appropriate external scrutiny. Accountability is the fundamental requirement for preventing the abuse of power and for ensuring that power is directed towards the achievement of efficiency, effectiveness, responsiveness and transparency in civil services. It is needed to prevent covert unethical behaviour which would affect public service and due entitlements of stakeholders.
(c) Justice means giving each person what he or she deserves while fairness is associated with an ability to judge without reference to one's feelings or interests. The principles of justice and fairness can be thought of as rules of "fair play" for issues of social justice. These principles of justice and fairness are needed in civil service to ensure that the common man receives his due without
biasness, inefficiencies or greed of the civil servant affecting his entitlements.
(d) Courage of conviction: In public service, while facing different situations one may be buoyed by the circumstances, fear, passions, greed since the decisions at the helm would be affecting many interests, vested or non-vested. It is during these trying moments that courage of conviction helps a civil servant to stay on the best course of action despite various temptations and risks, staying firm in his beliefs, values and duty. Hence, this quality assumes importance in public service.
(e) Spirit of Service: Quality of being committed to public service without any self motives. The domain of civil service calls for duty in the spirit of service for country, society and its people and sacrifices by putting aside greed, personal entitlements and engagements. This is the single most important value that marks civil services apart from other service and keeps the civil servant motivated to keep working for the betterment of society.