42 Solved Questions with Answers
12. Edward Snowden, a computer expert and former CIA administrator, released confidential Government documents to the press about the existence of Government surveillance programmes. According to many legal experts and the US Government, his action violated the Espionage act of 1971, which identified the leak of State secret as an act of treason. Yet, despite the fact that he broke the law, Snowden argued that he had a moral obligation to act. He gave a justification for his “whistle blowing” by stating that he had a duty “to inform the public as to that which is done in there name and that which is done against them.”
According to Snowden, the Government’s violation of privacy had to be exposed regardless of legality since more substantive issues of social action and public morality were involved here. Many agreed with Snowden. Few argued that he broke the law and compromised national security, for which he should be held accountable.
Do you agree that Snowden’s actions were ethically justified even if legally prohibited? Why or why not? Make an argument by weighing the competing values in this case. (2018)
Individual freedom and rights at one hand and larger interest of society or the nation on the other are perennial source of conflict. The given situation also highlights the very same fact. There are times when two competing values create dilemma. Here the competing values are (1) morality and legality and (2) individual liberty (privacy) and national security.
Morality vs Legality
These both values are closely related as both seek to regulate human behavior and actions. But actions which may be legally correct may not be morally correct or vice-versa. It is an eternal dilemma which will occur in the future as well. Law is necessary to maintain order and minimum co-ordination in the society. Morality is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are distinguished as proper and those that are improper. Both seek justice in different ways and help attaining stability in the society. Establishing precedence of one over other would not be a wise option. In this case, Edward Snowden has legally violated the Espionage Act, 1917, but his act must be looked with his intentions to serve the larger public good.
Individual Liberty vs National Security
Individual liberty (privacy) seeks to provide individual space to humans. This value respects the intricate relations of a person, personal feelings of people etc., which are essential because we are humans. National security seeks protection of society from all kinds of threats and it is the duty of the state to protect its citizens, boundaries, economy etc. No nation becomes great by dwarfing its own individual. The surveillance programme was a gross violation of its own mandate. Snowden’s act in this case should not be considered as threat to national security.
In the above mentioned conditions, it should be understood that all these values cannot propagate mutually exclusive to each other. There must be certain limitations or domain under which national security and individual liberty should operate. Legality and morality come to one’s conscience. Conscience can be a compass in difficult demanding conditions. In the mentioned case, Snowden was in a dilemma and surveillance was a gross violation in the name of national security, so he was right in exposing the government.
12. In recent times, there has been an increasing concern in India to develop effective civil service ethics, code of conduct, transparency measures, ethics and integrity systems and anti-corruption agencies. In view of this, there is a need being felt to focus on three specific areas, which are directly relevant to the problems of internalizing integrity and ethics in the civil services. These are as follows:
- Anticipating specific threats to ethical standards and integrity in the civil services,
- Strengthening the ethical competence of civil servant and
- Developing administrative processes and practices which promote ethical values and integrity in civil services.
Suggest institutional measures to address the above three issues.
In recent times, there is an increasing expectation from ordinary citizens, business leaders and Civil Society for higher standards of ethical behaviour and integrity in the Civil Services. To promote this, various methods like Code of Conduct, Citizen Charters, etc have been developed. However, the focus should also be on internalizing professional ethics and integrity in civil services to make it more citizen-friendly.
Values involved in the case
- Ethical integrity of civil servants.
- Probity in governance.
- Moral aptitude of civil servants.
- Accountability and responsibility.
- Transparency and citizen participation.
Specific focus issues and measures to address them
- Anticipating specific threats to ethical standards and integrity in the civil services.
- Red-tapism: Unnecessary administrative complexities to effective service delivery should be identified and removed.
- Culture of Secrecy: Decisions made by civil servants and public officials should be made as transparent and open as possible. Reasons must be given for official decisions.
- Inadequate grievance redressal System: Effective mechanisms should be put in place to ensure timely resolution of public complaints and appropriate feedback provided to the public organisations. Grievance redressal processes should be monitored so as to ensure that systems are reviewed and performance is improved.
- Biasedness and Partisan Attitude: Implementation of conduct rules and code of ethics in order to create a professional and non-partisan civil service hierarchy.
- Elitism of civil servants: Public orientation in Civil servants is crucial to increase public participation and improve public service delivery. Civil servants should be given proper training to ensure citizen-friendly behaviour.
- Strengthening the ethical competence of civil servant.
- Training and performance appraisal: This would incentivise the honest civil servants and make them role models for others to emulate.
- Reward and honours: It will infuse competition in the civil services to perform better and develop innovative solutions for public service.
- Promotion of inclusive work culture: Diluting strict hierarchy to increase the cooperation among public officials to increase the effectiveness of services.
- Social and cultural competence: This would help the civil servant to understand the diverse Indian society and perform as per the high aspirations of the public.
- Developing administrative processes and practices which promote ethical values and integrity in civil services.
- Promoting accountability: Effective laws which require civil servants to give reasons for their official decisions. For eg. RTI act.
- Reducing Corruption: Punitive provision like Prevention of Corruption Act and Whistleblower Protection act, technological Interventions in the form of e-governance to remove discretion, promotion of Social Auditing etc to ensure accountability of the administrative work.
- Human Resource management strategies: Performance-based pay, Lateral Entry, Multi-Phase training will increase the efficiency and quality of public service delivery.
- Internal and External Committees: To ensure redressal of complaints and grievances of civil servants and public. This improves the work culture and aligns the behaviour of public servants to the desired civil services values.
- Code of Conduct Rules: It ensures appropriate behaviour from public servants that should be unbiased and non-partisan.
Promotion of ethical behaviour and integrity in civil servants, and revamping the public administration is critical to ensure that the policies of social welfare are implemented in true spirit. It would improve the responsiveness of public servants towards the common citizenry. Also, public trust would increase in the government setup. Greater social capital can in turn help in the promotion of ethical governance.
11. Dr X is a leading medical practitioner in a city. He has set up a charitable trust through which he plans to establish a super-speciality hospital in the city to cater to the medical needs of all sections of the society. Incidentally, that part of the State had been neglected over the years. The proposed hospital would be a boon for the region.
You are heading the tax investigation agency of that region. During an inspection of the doctor’s clinic, your officers have found out some major irregularities. A few of them are substantial which had resulted in considerable withholding of tax that should be paid by him now. The doctor is cooperative. He undertakes to pay the tax immediately.
However, there are certain other deficiencies in his tax compliance which are purely technical in nature. If these technical defaults are pursued by the agency, considerable time and energy of the doctor will be diverted to issues which are not so serious, urgent or even helpful to the tax collection process. Further, in all probability, it will hamper the prospects of the hospital coming up.
There are two options before you:
(1) Taking a broader view, ensure substantial tax compliance and ignore defaults that are merely technical in nature.
(2) Pursue the matter strictly and proceed on all fronts, whether substantial or merely technical.
As the head of the tax agency, which course of action will you opt and why? (2018)
In the present case Dr. X, a leading medical practitioner through his charitable trust is planning to establish a super specialty hospital in backward region of the state.
Any irregularity or non compliance of tax at the end of assesses or tax department is illegal and a crime against the law of the land. Being the head of the tax investigation agency, my duty towards the department is to ensure that assesses comply with tax norms and pay taxes according to the law. As per my work ethics, I must abide by the rules and regulations of the department.
It has been found that there has been cases of irregularity in the clinic. Some irregularities are of substantial nature and of them, few are technical in nature that has led to withholding of tax. Dr. X undertakes to pay the tax immediately.
Super Specialty Hospital in backward region will cater to health needs of people of neglected area. Duty to the humanity is a greater service, and my duty is also towards my fellow citizens. My immediate focus will be on getting substantial irregularity fixed and get the pending tax amount paid. For technical irregularity, a dedicated team will be formed to get it solved in time bound manner.
As a medium term solution to the problem, as mentioned in the case, a team of officers and CAs will be formed to create awareness and educate the tax payers in compliance process.
In long term, a white paper will be tabled to the concerned ministry proposing ease in tax compliance process by use of technology, reducing paper work and making the process online and user friendly.
This will enable the department to handle any such case in near future and also make the tax payer less burdened with complex paper works.
11. In one of the districts of a frontier state, narcotics menace has been rampant. This has resulted in money laundering, mushrooming of poppy farming, arms smuggling and near stalling of education. The system is on the verge of collapse. The situation has been further worsened by unconfirmed reports that local politicians, as well as some senior police officers, are providing surreptitious patronage to the drug mafia. At that point of time a woman police officer, known for her skills in handling such situations is appointed as Superintendent of Police to bring the situation to normalcy.
If you are the same police officer, identify the various dimensions of the crisis. Based on your understanding, suggest measures to deal with the crisis.
The situation in the aforementioned district seems daunting, with the social and administrative system inching towards a total collapse. Consequentially, the prevalence of such a scenario must be leading to wastage of human and social capital, rise in crime rates, and endangering the future prospects of the district and its people.
The district is grappling with myriad problems which have various dimensions of the crisis can be summarised as below-
- Legal dimension: The activities like money laundering,poppy farming,arms smuggling,emanating from narcotics menace, are legally prohibited under respective laws.
- Security dimension: Frontier districts in India are susceptible to subversive groups trying to undermine democracy and authority of the State. Arms smuggling and money laundering provides easy means of financing their anti-social activities.
- Social dimension: A society ridden with such maladies can never focus on education, health, development, empowerment and welfare which are the key aims of a welfare state.
- Economic dimension: Involvement of people in such activities will lead to the emergence of a black economy eating away at the vitals of a state.
- Political and administrative dimension: Allegedly, local political leaders and senior police officers are hand in glove with the drug mafia and are providing clandestine support to them- which raises the question of moral and ethical propriety.
Measures to deal with the crisis
- Since the problems have permeated through the social, political and administrative structures, my response, as a lady Superintendent of Police should be calculated, precise and swift, with long term implications in mind.
- Firstly, a thorough investigation must be conducted within the police establishment to identify the black sheep and they should be subjected to lawful punishment.
- Law enforcement: I would focus on scrupulous and strict implementation of existing laws -taking a cue from inspirational lady SP of Sonitpur district, Sanjukta Parashar, who efficiently curbed insurgency, seized tons of illegal arms and ammunition and arrested dozens involved in illegal arms racket.
- Taking help from Border Security Forces: Since my district lies in a frontier state; there is a possibility of involvement of transnational elements. For this, the police force must act in tandem with Border security personnel because with rigorous patrolling and search operations local elements can be isolated.
- Going beyond just law enforcement, I would also discuss the social dimensions of the problem with other administrative officers like District Magistrate- and suggest to involve other benign actors like NGOs, Panchayat heads etc, acting in a concerted way, for engendering education and addressing the issue holistically.
- Efforts should also be made to wean off regular farmers if involved in poppy cultivation.
India’s frontier districts need to remain economically prosperous, socially in harmony and free of illegal criminal networks because an afflicted district can have long-term adverse implications on the security, unity and integrity of India.
14. You are a Public Information Officer (PIO) in a government department. You are aware that the RTI Act 2005 envisages transparency and accountability in administration. The act has functioned as a check on the supposedly arbitrarily administrative
behaviourand actions. However, as a PIO you have observed that there are citizens who filed RTI applications not for themselves but on behalf of such stakeholders who purportedly want to have access to information to further their own interests. At the same timethere are these RTI activists who routinely file RTI applications and attempt to extort money from the decision makers. This type of RTI activism has affected the functioning of the administration adversely and also possibly jeopardisesthe genuineness of the applications which are essentially aimed at getting justice.
What measures would you suggest to separate genuine and non-genuine applications? Give merits and demerits of your suggestions. (2017)
Over the year the RTI act has emerged as a milestone in assuring transparency in administration and governance. It has provided a tool in hands of citizens to bring the best out of the government but in many
casesthe act has also served as a way to harass government officials and extort money.
To deal with such situations following measures are available –
- Those filing RTI applications may be asked to mention about any connection/interest they have in the concerned department. Applicants might be given options to specify whether information asked serves
publicpurpose or private interest.
- Merit: It might help to identify the persons who indulge in
misuseof RTI and other wrong doing.
- Demerit: It makes the process a little cumbersome for the genuine applicants.
- All the previous applications under the RTI could be scrutinized to bring out the trends in asking questions so that genuine applications can be segregated from the non-genuine ones. Habitual offenders can be closely monitored.
- Merit: It will help in creating a robust database of almost all applicants for the future reference of the department and also identify the miscreants.
- Demerit: It will create
extraburden on the employees of the department as they might have to take help of other departments and law and order agencies.
- Few changes regarding charges and fees associated with providing information can be made in the law. There should be no changes in the fee for
initialfiling of the applications. But if they are found to be false or serving the vested interests of someone in later investigations, then a suitable monetary fine may be imposed.
- Merit: It will act as a check on insincere and unscrupulous applicants and hit others economically for
- Demerit: It will create a divide and discrimination between rich and poor people. Economically
well offand applicants will not hesitate to file applications while the poor will be discouraged to do so. nongenuine
The above steps will help in segregating genuine applications from the
ones and will help take the effective actions accordingly. nongenuine Howeverin the given question, there are RTI activists who are attempting to extort money from the decision makers. It indicates the systemic flaws in the government department itself. Besides it points to the fact that decision makers want to hide the information as it might expose the wrongdoings in the governance. Therefore the governanceitself should be reformed and transparency and accountability should never be forsaken. The genuine applicants must be provided with the requisite information. Betteroption would be to play a pro-active role and put most of the information that arenot exempted under the act in the public domain for easy accessibility by public.
- Those filing RTI applications may be asked to mention about any connection/interest they have in the concerned department. Applicants might be given options to specify whether information asked serves
10. A big corporate house is engaged in manufacturing industrial chemicals on a large scale. It proposes to set up an additional unit. Many states rejected its proposal due to the detrimental effect on the environment. But one state government acceded to the request and permitted the unit close to a city, brushing aside all opposition.
The unit was set up 10 years ago and was in full swing till recently. The pollution caused by the industrial effluents was affecting the land, water and crops in the area. It was also causing serious health problems to human beings and animals. This gave rise to a series of agitations demanding the closure of the plant. In a recent agitation thousands of people took part, creating a law and order problem necessitating stern police action. Following the public outcry, the State government ordered the closure of the factory.
The closure of the factory resulted in the unemployment of not only those workers who were engaged in the factory but also those who were working in the ancillary units. It also very badly affected those industry which depended on the chemicals manufactured by it.
As a senior officer entrusted with the responsibility of handling this issues, how are you going to address it? (2018)
As a senior officer, it is my responsibility that the given issue should be addressed in such manner that the problem related to environment and health of thousands of citizens must be taken care of along with the issue of unemployment and industrial growth of state due to closing down of factory.
Since the situation in state is volatile due to series of agitations, one of the quick solutions would be to close down the factory permanently. This will only solve the immediate existing problem of law and order by pacifying the public.
However, doing so will adversely affect the employment and economic development of state. Also, since it is a big corporate, it can shift its plant to other state, leading to the same problems but at some other place.
It would be morally and ethically wrong for me to shift the problem to some other place and consequently putting the health of people there at risk rather than providing a sustainable solution for the existing problem.
Therefore, as a responsible officer, I would like to suggest the following steps:
Firstly, an immediate scientific assessment of damage done to surrounding environment should be done. The company, guided by local community, should take immediate steps to de-contaminate the site and surrounding environment.
As it is a large corporate, investment will not be an issue. It should set up state-of-the-art infrastructure facilities for effluent treatment. This will help bring down effluent discharge to permissible level recommended by Pollution Control Boards, which will not affect health and ecology adversely.
Secondly, the company along with government should be asked to provide a monetary compensation for those affected, including those who were unemployed during closure of factory, in order to address their health problems and economic losses.
Thirdly, the company should be allowed to show the above expenditure in its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) contribution, to provide reasonable relief to the company as well.
Fourthly, an investigation should be done to find out whether environmental rules were flouted while giving permission to set up factory ten years back or were there lacunae in the state’s Environmental Impact Assessment norms which were used by company. At the same time the inspection should be done to find out that other companies are not flouting norms and polluting the environment.
Fifthly, a training programme should be institutionalized for state police to train them to handle large people’s movement sensitively as the concerns of people protesting were genuine.
As per my understanding, this would be the best approach to deal with this issue as it creates a win-win situation for all the stakeholders - the company, the state government, the employees and most importantly the common people.
10. In a modem democratic polity, there is the concept of political executive and permanent executive. Elected people’s representatives from the political executive and bureaucracy forms the permanent executive. Ministers frame policy decisions and bureaucrats execute these.
In the initial decades after independence, relationship between the permanent executive and the political executive were characterized by mutual understanding, respect and co-operation, without encroaching upon each other’s domain.
However, in the subsequent decades, the situation has changed. There are instances of the political executive insisting upon the permanent executive to follow its agenda. Respect for and appreciation of upright bureaucrats has declined. There is an increasing tendency among the political executive to get involved in routine administrative matters such as transfers, postings etc. Under this scenario, there is a definitive trend towards ‘politicization of bureaucracy’. The rising materialism and acquisitiveness in social life has also adversely impacted upon the ethical values of both the permanent executive and the
What are the consequences of this ‘politicization of bureaucracy’? Discuss.
Cooperation between elected representatives and bureaucrats is essential for democratic governance of the country. However, due to ‘politicization of bureaucracy’, there is a deterioration in the functioning of the civil services.
Values involved in the case
- Political neutrality and impartiality
- Integrity and probity
- Courage of conviction
- Following the code of conduct
- Legal responsibility
Consequences of politicization of bureaucracy
- Detrimental to moral fibre of bureaucrats: Even honest civil servants with political leanings have compulsion to take biased decisions in favour of one political group.
- Dilemma in personal v/s professional life: A bureaucrat indulged in material benefits have to compromise with his conscience or inner voice just to be in tune with outside reality, thereby disturbing his mental peace and work ethics. The person loses self respect and trust of his family and children who inculcate such inadequate values from him.
- Impact on governance system: Lack of impartiality in functioning of civil servants has direct impact on their decisions in day to day administration either in public service delivery or implementing social welfare schemes.
- Problems in chaotic situations: Difficult circumstances like communal riots demands officers with strict political neutrality. Biased decisions can lead to loss of lives and property. Hence, a civil servant must be accountable for his decisions in such situations.
- Policy paralysis: Fear of political vendetta against non-cooperative officers in the form of frequent transfers, delay in promotions, etc results in red-tapism and culture of secrecy in their decision making.
- Negative impact on civil society: Civil servants occupying top positions in the government are role models for young aspiring Indians. Their impartial attitude is detrimental to the societal ethics at large.
Therefore, a civil servant must be politically neutral. As a civil servant, one has the responsibility towards public and must adhere to constitutional principles keeping his conscience intact. His primary job is to perform Nishkama Karma (selfless and desire less duty). He must be rational, exemplary, and committed to the public
Materialistic things charms anyone only for short span and in the long run person derive satisfaction by doing his job honestly and making positive contributions in the lives of others. Therefore, civil servants and even politicians should stay away from material gains.
Also, a civil servant should be ready to serve at any position at any time. Fear of transfer should not refrain a civil servant from his commitment towards public cause and larger interest of society.
13. A building permitted for three floors, while being extended illegally to 6 floors by a builder, collapses. As a consequence, a number of innocent
labourersincluding women and children died. These labourersare migrants ofdifferent places. The government immediately announced cash relief to the aggrieved families and arrested the builder.
Give reasons for such incidents taking place across the country. Suggest measures to prevent their occurrence. (2017)
There are numerous incidences of building collapse reported across the country on regular basis killing innocent
labourersand people living in them. Poor and shoddy construction along with non-compliance of regulations has done immense damage to the life of people.
The reasons that could be attributed to such incidence on regular basis are discussed in following points –
- The ease with which rule and regulations are bypassed by the builders remains the main concern. The National Building Code that provides guidelines for regulating building construction
activities, arenot adhered by builders.
- Apathy towards laws
makeillegal construction a trend that continues to take lifeof innocent citizens.
- Moreover, the standards prescribed for construction are at best poorly defined that people either do not understand or are not aware of.
- Poor designs of buildings that could not withstand extra floors are also no less to be blamed. Poor quality materials used in construction makes any expansion a tough proposition.
- At the root of such incidence is unplanned
urbanisationthat forces one to opt for accommodation that is built illegally on faceof limited choices that people get in ever expandingurban areas.
- Somewhere government has also failed in providing affordable accommodation to citizens hence they go for illegal properties.
- Above all the builders’ moral attributes are to be blamed in totality that finds it alright to compromise people’s life in return for monetary gains.
Measures to prevent such occurrences–
- First and foremost, rules and regulations need to be defined in clear terms and enforced effectively. Standards defined in National Building Code need to be effectively adhered to.
- Those who break laws should be given stringent punishment to deter others from breaking such laws.
- Citizens should be made more aware
aboutlaws and rules regarding construction activities,so that they avoid purchasing any such illegally constructed property/building.
- Crèche facilities and proper welfare mechanism should be put in place for children of women
labourerworking at construction sites.
urbanisationwill go a long way in addressing this concern. Satellite towns need to be built to ease the pressure on main cities.
- The ease with which rule and regulations are bypassed by the builders remains the main concern. The National Building Code that provides guidelines for regulating building construction
9. It is a State where prohibition is in force. You are recently appointed as the Super-intendent of Police of a district notorious for illicit distillation of liquor. The illicit liquor leads to many death, reported and unreported, and causes a major problem for the district authorities.
The approach till now had been to view it as a law and order problem and tackle it accordingly. Raids, arrest, police cases, and criminal trials – all these had only limited impact. The problem remains as serious as ever.
Your inspections show that the parts of the district where the distillation flourishes are economically, industrially and educationally backward. Agriculture is badly affected by poor irrigation facilities. Frequent clashes among communities gave boost to illicit distillation. No major initiatives had taken place in the past either from the government’s side or from social organizations to improve the lot of the people.
Which new approach will you adopt to bring the problem under control? (2018)
As evident, the issue of illicit distillation is not limited to law and order but expands to life and economy of the place. The problem of illicit liquor is directly linked with lack of social cohesion, poor economic opportunities and low awareness among people. Thus, in spite of all prohibition and ill effects, it is still in demand by the locals.
Besides taking more stringent steps of legal nature which will work as last resort, there is need to initiate actions based on bringing attitudinal change; social persuasion; followed by ground level action by civil society and people themselves.
I will take following steps as Superintendent of district police:
My first focus will be to eradicate the socio-economic disadvantages of the region. Looking from humanistic angle, it is generally found that psychological aspects are also involved in the given ill practice, where people in hardship find refuge in intoxication.
I will promote the agricultural, small scale, and cottage industries. Promoting more participation of people in agricultural activities will act as motivation for more positive engagement and investment at right places.
I will promote SHGs to cooperate with government and police department.
I will deploy police personnel (without uniform) and volunteer groups at grass root level.
An app will be launched to report any illicit distillation, places of imminent dangers, violence, etc. The App is to be monitored by police for swift action.
Use of persuasion
I will also organise education campaigns at local level to instill awareness among people incentivise opening of small works of handicrafts, agricultural credits, etc. Besides, awareness campaigns in schools will also be organised, where parents will be invited and educative lectures and dramas on ill effects of liquor, and its impact on social-economic lives will be shown.
Street plays will be organized and community will be mobilized in support of liquor ban. By participating in street play, and listening to it, the consciousness of a person will be shaken and he can be reformed.
I will encourage women to persuade their male family members against intoxication.
The prime motive is of total prohibition on illicit distillation but given the situation on ground, it is prudent to first pursue with socio-economic, psychological, and ethical considerations. Going by this, it will curb the demand of liquor by locals and would help in proper enforcement by taking legal recourse at last.
9. An apparel manufacturing company having large number of women employees was losing sales due to various factors. The company hired a reputed marketing executive, who increased the volume of sales within a short span of time. However, some unconfirmed reports came up regarding his indulgence in sexual harassment at the work place.
After sometime, a woman employee lodged a formal complaint to the management against the marketing executive about sexually harassing her. Faced with the company’s indifference in not taking cognizance of her grievance, she lodged an FIR with the Police.
Realizing the sensitivity and gravity of the situation, the company called the women employee to negotiate. In that she was offered a hefty sum of money to withdraw the complaint and the FIR and also give in writing that the marketing executive is not involved in this case.
Identify the ethical issues involved in this case what options are available to the women employee?
Facts of the case
- lleged sexual harassment at workplace by the marketing executive.
- Marketing executive important resource for the company as he increased sales in a short period of time.
- Company management’s indifference in not taking cognizance of the woman’s complaint.
- Company pressurizing the woman employee to withdraw the case.
Stakeholders involved Ethical issues Woman employee
- Handling mental agony and societal pressure in pursuing the case.
- Loss of self respect in negotiating with the company for monetary benefits.
- Saving professional life by negotiating with the woman employee and proving innocence if not guilty.
- Insensitivity towards dignity of a woman.
- Priority to profit over organizational values by indulging in illegitimate negotiation with the woman employee.
- To continue working with the marketing executive against moral conscience of other women employees.
Following options are available to the woman employee:
- Continue with her case by taking a firm stand against the company management.
- This would give fair chance to her to prove her viewpoint in a court of law and will give her mental peace that she stood for herself.
- However, she will have to face mental agony and societal pressure in pursuing the case and may even prove detrimental for her career prospects.
- Accept the negotiation offer by the company and withdraw the case.
- This may be beneficial for her career and will save her from rigorous investigation process.
- However, this would create dissonance and affect mental peace as her conscience would not allow her to accept monetary gains over self respect. Also, she would never be able to stand for herself in the future.
- Resign from the company and focus on other career opportunities.
- This will let her avoid the situation and will be beneficial for her career prospects.
- However, the scars of sexual harassment will remain with her throughout her life and she will regret that she herself is responsible for denial of justice to her.
Option(1) seems to be the correct way of handling the situation. The women employee can play a leadership role. Her actions will give voice to other genuine concerns of women employees. It is her moral responsibility to come forward and show exemplary behaviour. This will not only bring self satisfaction to her but also increase her confidence and inner strength.
Also, there is a major fault of company management in giving priority to profit motives by saving the marketing executive and not forming the internal complaints committee as mandated by the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. Gandhiji considered ‘commerce without morality’ as one of the seven social sins. Thus, it is not only an individual’s fault, but an organization’s which lack values such as respect for the dignity of woman, work-culture ethics, and gender equality.
12. You are the manager of a spare parts company A and you have to negotiate a deal with the manager of a large manufacturing company B. The deal is highly competitive and sealing the deal is critical for your company. The deal is being worked out over a dinner. After dinner the manager of manufacturing company B offered to drop you to the hotel in his car. On the way to hotel he happens to hit motorcycle injuring the motorcyclist badly. You know the manager was driving fast and thus lost control. The law enforcement officer comes to investigate the issue and you are the sole eyewitness to it. Knowing the strict laws pertaining to road accidents you are aware that your honest account of the incident would lead to the prosecution of the manager and as a consequence the deal is likely to be jeopardised, which is of immense importance to your company.
What are the dilemmas you face? What will be your response to the situation? (2017)
In the above case
The stakeholders involved are:
- Manager of company A that is me and the company itself
- Manager of company B
- The motorcyclist
In the given situation following ethical dilemmas arise:-
Personal cost ethical dilemma: If I give an honest account of incidents to the investigating authorities, the critical deal will be lost for my company.
Moral dilemma: If I do not report the incident, fearing the loss of deal, the defaulter will not be brought to the book and motorcyclist will not be assured justice, who is critically injured. My conscience would prick me in the long term for not taking the right action in pursuance of selfish interests.
Legal dilemma: Not giving the correct account of accident would also be legally wrong since an accident has taken place critically injuring a person.
Response to the situation
The situation involves
lifeof a person who has been critically injured and my personal interests regarding the deal, being at stake. There is also a legal dimension to it as the Manager of other company was over speeding that led to the accident.
In this situation, I would cooperate with the investigating agency, giving the correct details of the accident and let
lawtake its own course. This would affect the deal thereby affecting the interests of company but it would be unethical, illegal and immoral on my part to continue a deal with the person implicated for an accident for negligent driving and shield him from authorities, moreover, it would be wrong for the motorcyclist to be denied justice, who is critically injured despite being innocent.
The growth of
companycan be ensured along with adhering to moral principles of truth, justice and moral uprightness, which need to be protected.
8. As a senior officer in the Ministry, you have access to important policy decisions and upcoming big announcements such as road construction projects before they are notified in the public domain. The Ministry is about to announce a mega road project for which the drawings are already in place. Sufficient care was taken by the planners to make use of the government land with the minimum land acquisition from private parties. Compensation rate for private parties was also finalized as per government rules. Care was also taken to minimize deforestation. Once the project is announced, it is expected that there will be a huge spurt in real estate prices in and around that area.
Meanwhile, the Minister concerned insists that you realign the road in such a way that it comes closer to his 20 acres farmhouse. He also suggests that he would facilitate the purchase of a big plot of land in your wife name at the prevailing rate which is very nominal, in and around the proposed mega road project. He also tries to convince you by saying that there is no harm in it as he is buying the land legally. He even promises to supplement your savings in case you do not have sufficient funds to buy the land. However, by the act of realignment, a lot of agricultural lands has to be acquired, thereby causing a considerable financial burden on the government, and also the displacement of the farmers. As if this is not enough, it will involve cutting down of a large number of trees denuding the area of its green cover.
Faced with this situation, what will you do? Critically examine various conflicts of interest and explain what your responsibilities are as a public servant. (2018)
As a senior officer in the Ministry I have certain authorities and with authority there are responsibilities towards society.
In the above case, there are certain conflicts of interest:
My economic interest vs. interest of farmers: The offer of the Minister will strengthen me economically, but it will also result in great loss to the farmers as large displacement of farmers will take place. Moreover, my ethical values do not allow me to favour the Minister and thus I will stand with the original project.
Minister’s interest vs. professional interest: If I do not consider the Minister’s proposal, it may cost me. Disregarding his wish will irritate him and I may have to pay a cost – maybe in the form of an unfavourable transfer. On considering his proposal, I will get benefitted in future with higher posts. But I will prepare myself for the impending situation and I will take the decision in favour of the society not the Minister.
My economic interest and that of minister vs. environment: Our combined interest is very harmful for environment as it may result in cutting down of a large number of trees denuding the area of its green cover. As a responsible public servant, I shall keep aside the vested interests and shall consider the original project.
Minister’s interest vs. financial burden on the Government: Minister’s proposal will cause financial burden on government as more money and labour will be needed for realigning the road. Instead, this money can be used for other welfare programmes.
Moral Conflict: Till now, I have done my services on moral values and with honesty and accepting the offer will rob me of my mental peace. It will also degrade my values which are my pillars of strength. For fulfilling my economic needs, the salary provided to me from the Government is enough.
Given the above situation, I will ask the Ministry to announce the project with all nitty-gritties in public domain as soon as possible to minimize any kind of corruption. I will inform my seniors about the Minister’s intention. If they help me then it’s good, otherwise I will take help of NGOs and media houses to uncover the case. This will make moral and public pressure on the Minister to take back the proposal.
8. Honesty and uprightness are the hallmarks of a civil servant. Civil servants possessing these qualities are considered as the backbone of any strong organization. In line of duty, they take various decisions, at times some become bonafide mistakes. As long as such decisions are not taken intentionally and do not benefit personally, the officer cannot be said to be guilty. Though such decisions may, at times, lead to unforeseen adverse consequences in the long-term.
In the recent past, a few instances have surfaced wherein civil servants have been implicated for bonafide mistakes. They have often been prosecuted and even imprisoned. These instances have greatly rattled the moral fibre of the civil servants.
How does this trend affect the functioning of the civil services? What measures can be taken to ensure that honest civil servants are not implicated for bonafide mistakes on their part? Justify your answer.
The role of civil servants is to take decisions which have huge ramifications on the socio-economic growth of the country. However, instances of wrongful prosecution of honest officers deeply impact the morale of honest officers. It has multiple effects on the functioning of civil services in India:
Affect on the functioning of the civil services
- Impact on decision-making of officers: Officers will be averse to expressing their views. This may further aggravate red-tapism due to fear of departmental action for their incorrect decisions.
- Hampers economic growth: With increasing private sector participation in public services, fear of prosecution may restrict honest officers to take progressive, bold and courageous decisions across sectors. Delay in taking key decisions will lead to poor governance.
- Tool to harass honest officers: Corrupt political leaders and bureaucrats may harass honest officers through baseless complaints and investigations.
- Impact on reputation of honest officers: Prosecution of honest officers leads to mental agony and heavy financial loss besides being defamed in the society.
Measures to ensure that honest civil servants are not implicated for bonafide mistakes
- Ensuring maximum transparency in administration: The key policy making decisions should be made ensuring maximum clarity and openness about how decisions are taken. This will prevent blaming select individuals for incorrect decisions.
- Legislative actions: As recommended by the Hota Committee report, amendment to Section 13(1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act , 1988, that deals with criminal misconduct by a public servant is a welcome step. It will protect honest civil servants from malicious prosecution and harassment.
- Reducing politicization of bureaucracy: The fear of transfers, denial of promotions, or being punished post retirement may impact decision making of officers. Ensuring fixed tenure to civil servants is a much needed step for systemic reforms in civil services.
- Role of institutions:
- Approach of judiciary: In a democracy and a rapidly growing economy, courts have to make decisions with a very constructive interpretation of laws. It must clarify the distinction between corruption and wrong administrative decisions.
- IAS Association of India and other civil society groups should support and stand by honest officers undergoing wrongful prosecution.
- Creating internal oversight mechanisms: Internal enquiries in each department should consider integrity and past career record of officers before recommending for criminal investigation of bonafide decisions.
- Since every decision taken may not prove to be correct in the long run, it is unjust to prosecute honest officers for genuine mistakes. Young and aspiring civil servants should preserve the key values of honesty, impartiality and fearlessness.
- Dynamic and honest officials, who are risk-takers for the greater good, must be encouraged, not restrained. No bureaucrat or public official should be fearful for a bona fide decision.
- Officers must stick to honesty and righteousness and ultimately there is victory of right over wrong. As the national motto suggests – Satyameva Jayate: Truth alone triumphs; not falsehood.
- For ex: Former coal secretary HC Gupta who is known for his integrity and clean career record was acquitted by the Delhi High Court after CBI failed to prove the charges of criminal misconduct against him in the coal scam.
Thus, the need of the hour for the civil servants is to follow the code of ethics along with code of conduct.
11. You are the head of the Human Resources department of an organization. One day one of the workers died on duty. His family was demanding compensation. However, the company denied compensation because it was revealed in investigation that he was drunk at the time of the accident. The workers of the company went on to strike demanding compensation for the family of the deceased. The Chairman of the management board has asked for your recommendation.
What recommendation would you provide to the management?
Discuss the merits and demerits of each of the recommendation. (2017)
Option 1: Let the law take its own course. As the worker was drunk during duty, the company cannot be held responsible for his death.
This may sound right as the worker was bound to follow rules at the place of work. However, the strike by the remaining workers could affect the image and productivity of the company. No matter the outcome, the trust between workers and the management would be lost.
Option 2: Recommend the company to offer compensation.
But this would set a bad precedent among the management as well as the workers. To offer compensation would mean to let down the safety regulations of the company. The management may also not appreciate the payment as they were not liable for compensation due to negligence showed by the worker.
Option 3: Recommend the management to offer alternative employment to the kin of the deceased. Push the management to adopt stricter prevention and safety measures.
The third option is suitable as it would be better to bring the situation under control. The workers could be placated if the kin of the deceased would be offered a job. And also the company may prefer to not lose image and
man daysdue to the strike.
14. Saraswati was a successful IT professional in USA. Moved by patriotic sense of doing something for the country she returned to India. Together with some other like-minded friends, she formed an NGO to build a school for a poor rural community.The objective of the school was to provide the best quality modern education at a nominal cost. She soon discovered that she has to seek permission from a number of Government agencies. The rules and procedures were quite confusing and cumbersome. What frustrated her most were delays, callous attitude of officials and constant demand for bribes. Her experience and the experience of many others like her have deterred people from taking up social service projects.
A measure of Government control over voluntary social work is necessary. But it should not be exercised in a coercive and corrupt manner. What measures can you suggest to ensure that due control is exercised but well meaning, honest NGO efforts are not thwarted? (2016)
First of all developmental process like these aimed at imparting knowledge to rural poor community which will eventually help them in achieving a better standard of living should be encouraged.
Saraswati and her friends were all determined to bring about a positive change through the medium of NGO. They should be facilitated with all possible support in a stipulated time to ensure that their passion is not thwarted.
Posing unnecessary hindrances by creating excessive bureaucratic clearances to block the slightest likelihood of wrong doing is recurring news in case of NGO with malicious intentions these days. However, they should not create roadblocks for those with genuine intentions.
Methods that can be adopted:
- Laying out simple rules applying to all new entrants as well the existing ones. Reducing red tapism experienced in form of exhaustive paper work and clearances from various departments.
- Strict action against complaints regarding intentional blocking of entry of new NGO by a concerned authority in lieu of bribe and personal favour.
- Recently many NGO's have faced cancellation of their registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010. These cancellations have been widely criticized. The government has been charged with stalling ground level work which is carried by NGOs. In order to avert such situation transparent system for both grant providers and receivers of such funds should be created.
- Regular appraisals of NGO by government officials must be conducted to verify the purpose, nature of work and practices followed by NGOs to ensure credibility of an NGO.
- Trust deficit created between NGOs and the government, both questioning each other's intention must be worked out as the common man suffers the most in between as visible in the case of Saraswati.
Government and its official through NGOs and their personnels must ensure that the policies/programs of the former reaches the downtrodden, rural as well as in remote areas so they both need to work in tandem to achieve development.
7. Rakesh is a responsible district level officer, who enjoys the trust of his higher officials. Knowing his honesty, the government entrusted him with the responsibility of identifying the beneficiaries under a health care scheme meant for senior citizens.
The criteria to be a beneficiary are the following:
(a) 60 years of age or above.
(b) Belonging to a reserved community.
(c) Family income of less than 1 Lakh rupees per annum.
(d) Post-treatment prognosis is likely to be high to make a positive difference to the quality of life of the beneficiary.
One day, an old couple visited Rakesh’s office with their application. They have been the residents of a village in his district since their birth. The old man is diagnosed with a rare condition that causes obstruction in the large intestine. As a consequence, he has severe abdominal pain frequently that prevents him from doing any physical labour. The couple has no children to support them. The expert surgeon whom they contacted is willing to do the surgery without charging any fee. However, the couple will have to bear the cost of incidental charges, such as medicines, hospitalization, etc., to the tune of rupees one lakh. The couple fulfils all the criteria except criterion ‘b’. However, any financial aid would certainly make a significant difference in their quality of life.
How should Rakesh respond to the situation? (2018)
As a district level officer, Rakesh is entrusted with responsibility of identifying the beneficiaries under health care scheme for senior citizens. During the process, he came across a form submitted by old couple seeking inclusion as beneficiaries in the scheme, but unfortunately they do not belong to reserved community which is one of the criteria for inclusion in scheme.
The stakeholders in the case are old aged couple who are from economically weaker section but do not belong to any reserved community. On other hand, there is competing rights of the old age people from reserved community.
As a district level officer, duty of Rakesh is to follow the rules and norms of the work but as a human and civil servant, he has responsibility towards citizens in general and old age people in particular.
On receiving the application, his immediate course of action should be to hold meeting with the surgeon who is willing to do the surgery free of cost. The prime focus during the discussion should be to know the details of condition of the applicant, his health, and kind of care required post surgery.
After the said meeting with doctor, Rakesh should hold meetings with NGOs working in health sector for old age people and public spirited citizens. The course of action should be to crowd source funds to meet the incidental charges and providing post surgery care.
Rakesh should also forward an application to his superiors in the district with the details of the case requesting them, if possible, from DM welfare fund for financial support for this specific case.
These immediate steps are to ensure support to the couple in consideration. As midterm solution, Rakesh should try to organise awareness among citizens of district regarding Integrated Programme for Older Persons (IPOP). Secondly, he should hold meeting with NGOs, public institutions and public spirited citizens to organise outreach programme. He should make proposal and effort for proving space and creating awareness about PM Jan Aushadhi Kendra at District, Block and Village level.
This case cannot be taken in isolation as there would be many more poor people in need. Taking this case as base, Rakesh may propose his seniors to consider insertion of sub category for economically weaker section. Sub categorization can be considered as inclusive of landless poor, old people without children and people without any permanent source of income.
7. You are heading the rescue operations in an area affected by severe natural calamity. Thousands of people are rendered homeless and deprived of food, drinking water and other basic amenities. Rescue work has been disrupted by heavy rainfall and damage to supply routes. The local people are seething with anger against the delayed limited rescue operations. When your team reaches the affected area, the people there heckle and even assault some of the team members. One of pa-Ur team members is even severely injured. Faced with this crisis, some team members plead with you to call off the operations fearing
threats to their life.
In such trying circumstances, what will be your response? Examine the qualities of a public servant which will be required to manage the situation.
My response in such a fervent atmosphere should be thoughtful, cogent and humane because there are various dilemmas involved. Leaving thousands unattended, when they are completely dependent on government help, would be an act of timidity and self preservation which is unbecoming of a public servant.
Morale upliftment: The primary response for me, as the head of the rescue mission, is to reorient the focus of the group towards our real objectives. Since some of them are requesting to call off the mission I need to exhort them, with examples like – During the 2014 Floods in Kashmir, when the NDRF team started rescue mission, they were pelted with stones,their boats were snached and one of them was stabbed but they did not yield and went on to rescue more than 50000 people.
Initially, when Mahatma Gandhi was marching barefoot in riot hit areas of Noakhali, his path was strewn with pieces of glass and animal excreta by the riot-affected people. Later, His unflinching courage and love for humanity created a miracle, when people themselves promised not to retaliate.
Here, the anger of people is misplaced due to the popular perception of government servants. Once, people witness self-abnegation, dedication and courage in the rescue work they will start cooperating.
Secondly, I would try to persuade people by taking help from those who are willing to cooperate, in such an exercise local leaders can also help.
Apart from this, I will try to get cooperation from the government with respect to protection of my team members so that they may not be hurt in helping the people.
Qualities required to effectively manage such situation
- Spirit of service: Since the rescue team is vulnerable to physical and verbal attacks,only some higher cause can help an officer in composed and coordinated rescue work.
- Leadership: In such circumstances,finality of any decision lies completely on the wisdom of the leader.He/She also needs to lead the team from the front; displaying personal courage and conviction.
- Empathy and Emotional Intelligence: An officer needs to have empathy and emotional intelligence for understanding the behavior of disgruntled local people otherwise one may abort the relief mission or resort to use of force-which will only heighten their anger.
- Power of persuasion: People seething with anger are reactive and short-sighted, making them agree for something requires the power of persuasion.
- Patience and Presence of mind: A Public Servant can not afford to make spontaneous decisions in such situations. Any further course of action should be guided by considerate assessment and swift thinking.
Thus, we need to have a sensitivity of the situation and not blame people for their reactions. Empathy and support is the key to rescue people in problems.
10. You are aspiring to become an IAS officer and you have cleared various stages and now you have been selected for the personal interview. On the day of the interview, on the way to the venue you saw an accident where a mother and child who happen to be your relatives were badly injured. They needed immediate help.
What would you have done in such a situation? Justify your action. (2017)
In the above case:
Stakeholders involved: The mother and child, me, society at large.
Ethical dilemmas: personal cost ethical dilemma v/s civic duty
Values at play: compassion, civic and moral duty.
Course of action: In the following situation I will take following steps:-
First, I will try taking help of the bystanders there and persuade them to get to the nearest hospital for immediate help to accident victims and persuade them to do so on humanitarian, civic and legal grounds (Good Samaritan Law) and assure them of no harassment at the hands of medical and legal authorities (due to which they might hesitate from helping) under Good Samaritan Law also.
I would also call
ambulancefor medical help and police for further investigation and apprise them of the situation at the earliest,so that I am relieved offthe safety of the victim and can peacefully go for interview. MeanwhileI would also try calling up my relatives or friends to rush to the hospital and take over the responsibility so that I can reach for interviewon time. I will also try informing the concerned authorities at UPSC for the delay and will explain my situation.
The above actions, on one hand, will ensure timely medical attention for the accident victims, and will also help me take care of the interview, without compromising my responsibilities either as a citizen, relative or as an aspirant.
13. ABC Ltd. is a large transnational company having diversified business activities with a huge shareholder base. The company is continuously expanding and generating employment. The company, in its expansion and diversification programme, decides to establish a new plant at Vikaspuri, an area which is underdeveloped. The new plant is designed to use energy efficient technology that will help the company to save production cost by 20%. The company’s decision goes well with the Government policy of attracting investment to develop such underdeveloped regions. The government has also announced tax holiday for five years for the companies that invest in underdeveloped areas. However, the new plant may bring chaos for the inhabitants of Vikaspuri region, which is otherwise tranquil. The new plant may result in increased cost of living, aliens migrating to the region, disturbing the social and economic order. The company sensing the possible protest tried to educate the people of Vikaspuri region and public in general that how its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy would help overcome the likely difficulties of the residents of Vikaspuri region. In spite of this the protests begin and some of the residents decided to approach the judiciary as their plea before the Government did not yield any result. (2016)
(a) Identify the issues involved in the case.
(b) What can be suggested to satisfy the company’s goal and to address the residents’ concern?
(a) Ways to satisfy company’s goals to address resident’s concern:
- Environment impact assessment should be conducted in the first place with a non partisan approach.
- Government and Company must work in tandem to ensure that the problems of the residents are taken care of through the CSR programs. However, CSR programs alone will not be able to do much, so correct initiatives must be taken by the government too.
- Legislative Representative of the area should accompany the company officials when information camps about the project are set up to develop a sense of belief amongst the residents. If the residents are convinced that the intentions are as genuine as the talks they will not be bothered with the project.
Issues involved in this case
- Due to limited livelihood options increased cost of living for the people most of which might belong to lower middle class strata or below will become a major problem to handle.
- Since the area is already underdeveloped resources like land, water, public services like health, education, a planned sewer management system will be inadequate. An under planned area with sudden migration of people will not be able to cater to the basic needs like health, resident or education for the people which is known to have long term effects.
- Though the company claims to tackle all the difficulties through CSR, construction of basic infrastructure can take a lot of time which may further add to the chaos.
(b) Blockade always arises due to lack of faith and doubt on the intentions of the company which is always, seen as profit making. To negate this company should adhere to its promises which in turn will be benevolent for both the parties. Such cases bring in the question of right of life versus development of community. For example lands were acquired by the Andhra government for developing the capital city of Amravati and they were promised that 20% of their land will be returned after being developed. Such initiative instill confidence in people and they would eventually not oppose such development.
9. You are an honest and responsible civil servant. You often observe the following:
(a) There is a general perception that adhering to ethical conduct one may face difficulties to oneself and cause problems for the family, whereas unfair practices may help to reach the career goals.
(b) When the number of people adopting unfair means is large, a small minority having a penchant towards ethical means makes no difference.
(c) Sticking to ethical means is detrimental to the larger developmental goals
(d) While one may not involve oneself in large unethical practices, but giving and accepting small gifts makes the system more efficient.
Examine the above statements with their merits and demerits. (2017)
(a) Demerit Strict adherence to ethical conduct may cause problems in carrying out certain aims both in public and private life causing disaffection arising out of inability to reach goals. Being upright also pits the person against powerful vested interest, endangering his and his family’s life, which may not be worth the cost of ethical principles.
Merit: Even though adherence to ethical conduct may produce disaffection from
inabilityto reach certain short termcareer goals, but mereattainment of materialistic goals cannot be essenceof life. Achieving goals by unfair means would prick our conscience and erode strengthof character. The security of life and family members can also be assured for a person of upr ightcharacter by preventing him from being implicated on charges of wrongdoing.
In the long run ethical conduct always helps in achieving life’s larger goals, such as mental peace,
clearconscience, strengthof character and brings harmony and balance in life.
(b) Demerit: When a large number of people are corrupt, a few good men can’t help salvage the situation as their voices drown in the majority. Moreover, in such a scenario upright men are deemed as obstruction by others in achieving their selfish aims through unfair means. This brings the upright men in
directconfrontation with such corrupt forces, sometimes endangering their values, life andcareer. For example, civil servant Satyendra Dubey was killed while standing against the corrupt forces.
Merit: Even though there might be instances of
largenumber of corrupt prevailing over few honest individuals, it’s these few upright men that sustain the faith of people in humanity and society. They act as checkagainst larger wrongdoings, constraining their power and also exposing and uprooting them. They act as role model for larger society to adhere to what is right. For example, Anna Hazare stood up as a crusader against corruption; T.N. Seshan, the chief election commissioner, countermanded elections in Bihar, U.P. citing mass rigging.
(c) Demerit: Ethical means may at times not merge with the larger developmental ends. In trying to adhere to correct means, if one misses the goals then means lose their significance, no matter how ethical they were. For example, Robinhood morals may achieve
largergoal of saving the poor, even if by questionable means of looting the rich, than sticking to moral means and letting the poor die of hunger.
Merit: To preserve the ethical and moral values it is important that both means and ends are right. Trying to achieve a noble goal with unethical means impinges upon the ethical fabric of individual and society at large, prompting a person for further compromises in the future. For example; Gandhiji
emphasisedupon the means to be ethical through wayof Ahimsa as much as he emphasisedon the result, the independence.
(d) Demerit: Exchange of small gifts is sometimes seen as essential to
maintainformal relations, as a symbol of gratitude for the services rendered. Not accepting gifts may be perceived to be rude, morally arrogant and at times may isolate the person from the larger circle of this give and take culture.
Merit: Sometimes corruption is not carried out explicitly but is masked in form of these small exchanges, rendering bigger scandals possible. Hence, it is essential to nip this menace in the bud. Not accepting any form of gifts indicates a strong moral and ethical character preserving the trust of people in person in the long run.
12. You are a young, aspiring and sincere employee in a Government office working as an assistant to the director of your department. Since you have joined recently, you need to learn and progress. Luckily your superior is very kind and ready to train you for your job. He is a very intelligent and well-informed person having knowledge of various departments. In short, you respect your boss and are looking forward to lean a lot from him.
Since you have good tuning with the boss, he started depending on you. One day due to ill health he invited you at his place for finishing some urgent work.
You reached his house and before you could ring the bell you heard shouting noises. You waited for a while. After entering the house the boss greeted you and explained the work. But you were constantly disturbed by the crying of a woman. At last, you inquired with the boss but his answer did not satisfy you.
Next day, you were compelled to inquire further in the office and found out that his behavior is very bad at home with his wife. He also beats up his wife. His wife is not well educated and is a simple woman in comparison to her husband. you see that though your boss is a nice person in the office, he is engaged in domestic violence at home.
In such a situation, you are left with the following options. Analyse each option with its consequences. (2016)
(a) Just ignore thinking about it because it is their personal matter.
(b) Repost the case to the appropriate authority.
(c) Your own innovative approach towards situation.
The above situation represents a case of domestic violence by an upstanding government officer against his wife. As an assistant to the officer, the options available to me are:
(a) Just ignore the situation since it is a personal matter: By doing so the situation remains the same and domestic violence against the wife would continue. Being aware of this fact, I should not turn a blind eye and take measures to rectify the situation. Doing nothing would not be ethically and morally right. Further, as a government officer knowing that a law is being violated and not taking any steps to prevent it would also be legally wrong.
At the same time, by not informing on my boss, I would be ensuring my job security since he is I already have a good tuning with him.
(b) Report the case to the appropriate authority: If I do so, my boss may come to know about my involvement and as his junior, he could make things difficult for me at work.
On the other hand, by informing the authorities about the situation, I would be ensuring that the suffering of the wife is ended and my boss is made accountable for his actions. This is legally, morally and ethically the right course of action.
(c) Approaching the wife and making her aware of her rights under Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005: Since the wife is uneducated, she may not be aware of her legal rights and therefore, informing here is important so that she can herself file a case against her husband. In the second option stated above, I would be filing the complaint as a third person which can weaken the case. Also, being ignorant about her rights, if the boss threatens her, she may get cowered and not speak the truth. Hence, apprising her of her rights is necessary so that she can state her case without fear to the authorities.
At the same time I would also engage with my senior to help change his mindset by explaining to him the implications of his actions and also getting him in touch with his relatives and friends to persuade him to see the wrongness of his behavior so that he is dissuaded from doing something similar in future.
12. Pawan is working as an officer in the State Government for the last ten years. As a part of routine transfer, he was posted to another department. He joined in a new office along with five other colleagues. The head of the office was a senior officer conversant with the functioning of the office. As a part of general inquiry, Pawan gathered that his senior officer carries the reputation of being difficult and insensitive person having his own disturbed family life. Initially, all seemed to go well. However, after some time Pawan felt that the senior officer was belittling him and at times unreasonable. Whatever suggestions given or views expressed by Pawan in the meetings were summarily rejected and the senior officer would express displeasure in the presence of others. It became a pattern of boss’ style of functioning to show him in bad light highlighting his shortcomings and humiliating publicly. It became apparent that though there were no serious work-related problems/shortcomings, the senior officer was always on one pretext or the other and would scold and shout at him. The continuous harassment and public criticism of Pawan resulted in loss of confidence, self-esteem and equanimity. Pawan realised that his relation with his senior officer was becoming more toxic and due to this, he felt perpetually tensed, anxious and stressed. His mind was occupied with negativity and caused him mental torture, anguish and agony. Eventually, it badly affected his personal and family life. He was no longer joyous, happy and contented even at home. Rather without any reason he would lose his temper with his wife and other family members. The family environment was no longer pleasant and congenial. His wife who was always supportive to him also became a victim of his negativity and hostile behaviour. Due to harassment and humiliation suffered by him in the office, comfort and happiness virtually vanished from his life. Thus, it damaged his physical and mental health.
(a) What are the options available with Pawan to cope with the situation?
(b) What approach Pawan should adopt for bringing peace, tranquility and congenial environment in the office and home?
(c) As an outsider, what are your suggestions for both boss and subordinate to overcome this situation and for improving the work performance, mental and emotional hygiene?
(d) In the above scenario, what type of training would you suggest for officers at various levels in the government offices?
The presented case study exhibits the case of abuse of authority, lack of emotional intelligence, poor work culture and inability to demarcate between personal and professional life.
(a) Following options are available to Pawan to cope up with the situation:
- Address the root cause of the problem and talk with his senior about issues he is facing.
- He may take leave from office, discuss the issue with his colleagues in other services and then re-join. This will give a short respite to Pawan, but the problem will continue.
- He may seek transfer to another department, which might be an administrative decision, with little control of Pawan over it.
- Ignore his senior at work, which will affect his coordination and quality of work. This may also show him as incompetent.
- The last resort may be to resign from his current position. This will highlight his attitude of escapism and lack of courage. His personal responsibilities would also suffer.
(b) Approach Pawan should adopt
- At office:
- He should introspect his behaviour, as to whether his actions are annoying his senior and what is the behaviour of his senior towards other newly transferred colleagues. This will give him a thought clarity.
- Pawan should try talking to his seniors (boss’ colleagues) and explain his actions and at the same time understand his boss’ temperament. This will give opportunity for course correction to Pawan and his senior.
- If both the above suggestions do not work out, then Pawan should lodge a written complaint to his boss’ senior and make the superior boss aware of all the happenings.
- At home:
- Pawan should try segregating his professional and personal life. He should evolve his emotional intelligence quotient.
- He should talk to his family members, wife about the issues he is facing at the workplace. The family members should try to understand and support him through his difficulties. This will bring peace, tranquility, and a congenial environment both at his office and at home.
(c) As an outsider, my suggestion
- To boss:
- One should act and behave as a leader and represent himself/herself as an example. Developing emotional intelligence in this aspect is very necessary.
- Subordinates are the working force behind every organisation. As an authority/senior, one must respect the subordinates or the juniors.
- Constructive criticism goes a long way in shaping an organisation or one’s life. Belittling someone to show oneself as superior always gives out a bad example.
- Appreciating good work is not only ethically warranted but also creates positive energy amongst team members.
- To subordinates:
- Do not let the professional and personal life merge. Work related issues should not hamper the personal space and vice-versa.
- Nothing comes above self-respect. Constructive criticism is welcomed, but not demeaning. When at workplace, one should work with utmost dedication and commitment.
(d) Following types of training can be given to the officers in government offices:
- Sensitivity Training: Officials should be sensitised about how their actions impact people around them. Mental health issues should be kept in mind.
- Role-playing Training: To be a people’s officer or a successful bureaucrat, one must investigate the situation from other’s perspective and understand their problems and constraints. This will always provide a constructive decision in decision making.
- Assertiveness Training: Officials should exercise authority without being condescending to others. They should build team spirit and foster cooperation.
- Communication Training: Using verbal and non-verbal cues for effective communication. The motive of this is to increase positivity in outlook, promote inclusiveness and make work culture conducive for performance.
12. Migrant workers have always remained at the socio-economic margins of our society, silently serving as the instrumental labour force of urban economics. The pandemic has brought them into national focus.
On announcement of a countrywide lockdown, a very large number of migrant workers decided to move back from their places of employment to their native villages. The non-availability of transport created its own problems. Added to this was the fear of starvation and inconvenience to their families. This caused the migrant workers to demand wages and transport facilities for returning to their villages. Their mental agony was accentuated by multiple factors such as a sudden loss of livelihood, possibility of lack of food and inability to assist in harvesting their rabi crop due to not being able to reach home in time. Reports of inadequate response of some districts in providing the essential boarding and lodging arrangements along the way multiplied their fears.
You have learnt many lessons from this situation when you were tasked to oversee the functioning of the District Disaster Relief Force in your district. In your opinion what ethical issues arose in the current migrant crisis? What do you understand by an ethical care giving state? What assistance can the civil society render to mitigate the sufferings of migrants in similar situations?
Ethical issues that arose in the current migrant crisis:
While monitoring the District Disaster Relief Force, I witnessed certain ethical issues in fulfilling the responsibility of managing disasters.
- Conscience vs. administrative constraints: While monitoring disaster management authority, I had limited resources to be spent. This posed the challenges of caring well for elderly migrants especially those suffering from any disease. Assisting elder family members with physical care, emotional support, managing crises, maintaining connections with others, tested the conscience & decision–making of professionals.
- Selfish vs. selfless: Selfish means lacking consideration for other people and preoccupation with one’s own pleasure, profit or welfare, while selfless means having little or no concern for oneself, and helping society as a whole. Migrants in their barefoot long journeys witnessed both kinds of people in the society. While some helped the migrants on their way to home in a selfless approach, many others hardly showed any interest and took care of their family only.
Meaning of an ethical care giving state:
- The ethics of care giving involves helping the needy without expecting for any reward in return. ‘Ethical care giving state’ is a government or nation which ensures implementation of such policies that provide social, economic, and medical facilities for free to the needy. To provide the same, besides constructing necessary infrastructure, also needs both professionals and volunteers providing caregiving.
Assistance that the civil society can render to mitigate the sufferings of migrants in similar situations
- Civil society can construct temporary health centers, rehabilitation centers, avail doctors & nurses, and other care giving professionals, to take care of migrants in their way. Also, civil society can provide direct financial assistance to migrants, providing them with essentials such food & water and necessary medicines, arranging transportation facilities to their destination. Civil societies and many individuals took responsibility and were highly successful in helping migrants during the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
12. You are appointed as an officer heading the section in Environment Pollution Control Board to ensure compliance and its follow-up. In that region, there were large number of small and medium industries which had been granted clearance you learnt that these industries provide employment to many migrant workers Most of the industrial units have got environmental clearance certificate in their possession. The environmental clearance seeks to curb industries and projects that supposedly hamper environment and living species in the region. But in practice most of these units remain to be polluting units in several ways like air, water and soil pollution. As such, local people encountered persistent health problems. It was confirmed that majority of the industries were violating environmental compliance. You issued notice to all the industrial units to apply for fresh environmental clearance certificate from the competent authority. However, your action met with hostile response from a section of the industrial units, other vested interest persons and a section of the local politicians. The workers also became very hostile to you as they felt that your action would lead to the closure these of industrial units, and the resultant unemployment will lead to insecurity and uncertainty in their livelihood. Many owners of the industries approached you with the plea that you should not initiate harsh action as it would compel them their units, and cause huge Financial loss, shortage of their products in the market. These would obviously add to the sufferings of the labourers and the consumer alike. The labour union also sent you representation requesting against the closure of the units. You simultaneously started receiving threats from unknown corners. You however received supports from some of your colleagues, who advised you to act freely to ensure environmental compliance. Local NGOs also came to your support and they demanded the closure of the polluting units immediately
(a) What are the options available to you under the given situation?
(b) Critically examine the options listed by you.
(c) What type of mechanism would you suggest to ensure environmental compliance?
(d) What are the ethical dilemmas you faced in exercising your option?
(a) As an officer a situation always arises where an officer has various options to take a decision but she/he has to take decision which is best for all. Under the given scenario I have two options:
- I can take direct action and close all the industries hampering the environment, without analysing its immediate consequences like unemployment among workers, protests from labour unions, increased health issues due to a decrease in purchasing capacity of medicines, etc.
- The second option is that I would call a meeting with all the owners of the industries and environmental NGOs and talk with them to come to some common ground like setting a limit on using harmful elements and using better alternatives wherever available or possible, and with the help of the NGOs convince the medium industries to take new environmental clearance etc.
(b) In the first option, I am only completing my prescribed duty without analysing its long-term effect. In the immediate effect maybe health problems or pollution will be reduced but in the long term this decision has various other consequences like poverty, health deterioration due to poverty, other indirect environmental issues can happen due to plague etc.
- In the second option, I am considering the issue of everyone. There will be no direct shutdown of industries. Talking with every section of society and coming to the common ground is the best possible method. This may not show a positive result in the short term but in the long term it will reduce pollution without creating protests or unemployment.
(c) The environmental compliances suggested by me would be:
- Dividing industries into two categories, based on their harmful effect on the environment. Then, apply the tighter rules on the most harmful industries.
- Every industry will clean their own waste. And every industry must have water treatment plants.
- Use of sustainable alternative elements for harmful chemicals. And complete stoppage the elements or chemicals which are harming the environment most.
- New environment clearance must be taken by the second category industries (most harmful industries) etc.
- Monetary penalties must be given by the industries that will use the restricted chemicals and pollute the environment above the prescribed limit.
(d) The ethical dilemma which I will face is between the completion of duty and compassion and empathy towards migrant workers. Completion of duty is not would be rational but taking decisions with compassion and empathy toward migrant workers will be rational, moral and ethical. Another ethical dilemma which I will face will be between protecting the environment and protecting jobs.
11. Suppose you are an officer in charge of implementing a social service scheme to provide support to old and destitute women. An old and illiterate woman comes to you to avail the benefits of the scheme. However, she has no documents to show that she fulfils the eligibility criteria. But after meeting her and listening to her you feel that she certainly needs support. Your enquiries also show that she is really destitute and living in a pitiable condition. You are in a dilemma as to what to do. Putting her under the scheme without necessary documents would clearly be violation of rules. But denying her the support would be cruel and inhuman. (2016)
(a) Can you think of a rational way to resolve this dilemma?
(b) Give your reasons for it.
(a) In the given case, according to enquiry done by office in charge the old women is realy a destitute women and deserves the benefits under social service scheme. So not providing the benefits just because of lack of documents would defeat the noble purpose of this social service scheme itself. Though it may be legally right but morally and ethically it would be wrong. To resolve this dilemma following actions can be taken following rules of law.
- The women is old and illiterate, so just giving directions to complete the documents would not help her. I would ask a subordinate officer to help that women in completing necessary documents, and providing benefits to her.
- Though there may be some delays in completing the document so in this specific condition, I would write to my senior officer and ask permission for some discretionary powers so that I can provide immediate relief to old women.
- This is the specific case that came into my knowledge but there may be lots of similar cases. To resolve these types of cases, I would inform to the senior authorities and ask them to appoint a special officer that would look only the problem related with old and illiterate person who are not able to complete their documents. A special desk in the office can be assigned to these types of cases.
(b) My action would provide the benefit of scheme to old women and would not keep her out of the ambit of benefits just because she is not capable of completing her documents. This action would be compliant to rule of law and would also be humane in nature. My action to inform the seniors to resolve these types of cases would solve the problems for future also. It would reduce the hurdles such as red tapism, bureaucratic inertia in getting benefits of such social security schemes. Rule of Law with inclusion of humanity aspect would be taken care of by this action.
11. A reputed food product company based in India developed a food product for the international market and started exporting the same after getting necessary approvals. The company announced this achievement and also indicated that soon the product will be made available for the domestic consumers with almost same quality and health benefits. Accordingly, the company got its product approved by the domestic competent authority and launched the product in Indian market. The company could increase its market share over a period of time and earn substantial profit both domestically and internationally. However, the random sample test conducted by inspecting team found the product being sold domestically in variance with the approval obtained from the competent authority. On further investigation, it was also discovered that the food company was not only selling products which were not meeting the health standard of the country but also selling the rejected export products in the domestic market. This episode adversely affected the reputation and profitability of the food company.
(a) What action do you visualise should be taken by the competent authority against the food company for violating the laid down domestic food standard and selling rejected export products in domestic market?
(b) What course of action is available with the food company to resolve the crisis and bring back its lost reputation?
(c) Examine the ethical dilemma involved in the case.
(a) Following actions should be taken by the competent authority against the food company for violating food standards:
- It should be directed to take back all substandard products already launched in the market and should be made to pay adequate compensation to consumers.
- Proportionate punitive action should be taken as per the provisions of Food Safety and Standards Act.
- Additionally, the company should also be asked to contribute a significant amount of money in campaigns for raising public awareness on FSSAI norms.
(b) Course of action available with the food company to resolve the crisis and bring back its lost reputation:
- Fully cooperate in investigation and serve punishments prescribed by the law for selling substandard food products.
- Order an external audit by a reputed organisation to pinpoint the fault and fix accountability within the organisation.
- The top management of the company should tender a public apology and come clean on what went wrong and what remedial actions are being taken. This will assure the public that management is serious about the issue.
- Ensure that the planned course of action is adhered to and periodically monitor the progress.
(c) Ethical dilemmas involved in the case:
- Shareholder’s Profit vs Heath of Consumer: This dilemma would have been faced by the food product company. It might have prioritised profit of the shareholders over the health of the consumer. This was a bad decision as ultimately both were affected.
- Long vs Short Term Gain of Shareholders: Selling substandard food might have increased profit for the company and hence shareholders in the short term, however because of tarnished reputation, shareholders will be facing a long-term loss in revenue term.
- Standard for Domestic vs International Consumers: The company would have arrived at the conclusion that rejected products do not meet domestic standards because standards were too high. In their opinion, food products were still safe. However, if this was the case, the company should have raised this technical point with the regulator and tried to get the standard rationalised instead of breaching the law.
- Law vs Public Trust: Cases like this might create trust deficit between the whole food product industry and the consumers. This may hurt the economy and lead to employment loss for many. However, the regulator did well to take a long-term view and followed the law. Eventually the public will trust the system if only it knows that the regulator is keeping an eye on the quality of the product.
11. Parmal is a small but underdeveloped district. It has rocky terrain that is not suitable for agriculture, though some subsistence agriculture is being done on small plots of land. The area receives adequate rainfall and has an irrigation canal flowing through it. Amria, its administrative centre, is a medium sized town. It houses a large district hospital, an Industrial Training Institute and some privately owned skill training centres. It has all the facilities of a district headquarters. A trunk railway line passes approximately 50 kilometres from Amria. Its poor connectivity is a major reason for the absence of any major industry therein. The state government offers a 10 years tax holiday as an incentive to new industry.
In 2010 Anil, an industrialist, decided to take benefits to set up Amria Plastic Works (APW) in Noora village, about 20 km from Amria. While the factory was being built, Anil hired the required key labour and got them trained at the skill training centres at Amria. This act of his made the key personnel very loyal to APW.
APW started production in 2011 with the labour drawn fully from Noora village. The villagers were very happy to get employment near their homes and were motivated by the key personnel to meet the production targets with high quality. APW started making large profits, a sizable portion of which was used to improve the quality of life in Noora. By 2016, Noora could boast of a greener village and a renovated village temple. Anil liaised with the local MLA to increase the frequency of the bus services to Amria. The government also opened a primary health care centre and primary school at Noora in buildings constructed by APW. APW used its CSR funds to set up women’s self-help groups, subsidize primary education to the village children and procure an ambulance for use by its employees and the needy.
In 2019, there was a minor fire in APW. It was quickly extinguished as fire safety protocols were in place in the factory. Investigations revealed that the factory had been using electricity in excess of its authorized capacity. This was soon rectified. The next year, due to a nationwide lockdown, the requirement of production fell for four months. Anil decided that all employees would be paid regularly. He employed them to plant trees and improve the village habitat. APW had developed a reputation of high-quality production and a motivated workforce.
Critically analyse the story of APW and state the ethical issues involved. Do you consider APW as a role model for development of backward areas? Give reasons.
Critical analysis of the story of APW:
- Business activities, especially like setting up a small-scale manufacturing industry are done with the sole purpose of profit maximization and involve capital risk. Also, we know that proper and right choice of location is instrumental in future success of the industry. In our case, the condition of Parmal district, the Amria administrative centre within the district and the small Noora village is no more hidden after reading the given story. Despite such existing circumstances, the initiative to set up industry in such remote areas and ensure livelihood of villagers, that to with least government support, is a commendable and appreciable job. As far as excess use than granted capacity of electricity is concerned an enquiry can be initiated and prima facie a warning can be issued to administrative staff of the industry. Liaising with the local MLA to increase the frequency of the bus services to Amria can be considered a good initiative as it is the duty of the MLA to work in public interest and liaising is a part of long standing bureaucratic and corporate culture.
Ethical issues involved:
- Selflessness vs. Business Ethics: Selflessness is being more concerned about the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own. Business ethics talks about profit maximization and rapid growth instead. In the given case, Anil despite being a businessman, was less concerned about business ethics and instead showed selfless character in decision making.
- Accountability vs. Transparency: The case of accountability is worsened by the perceived lack of transparency in the system. Anil’s industry should have maintained transparency in utilisation of allocated resources as running businesses brings accountability towards stakeholders.
- Spirit of Service and Sacrifice vs. Professionalism: Spirit of Service and Sacrifice is the major quality required in public officials, while professionalism is the major quality required in a businessman or industrialist for boosting business growth. In the given case, Anil despite being a businessman showcased the quality of spirit of service and sacrifice & remained less professional in approach.
My take on APW’s initiative:
- Yes, I consider APW as a role model for development of backward areas. Firstly, we all know profit maximization is the sole purpose of any kind of business by private individuals. But the same cannot be found true in case of Amria Plastic Works (APW) and its owner Anil. Despite low expectation of return, he decided to set up industry in the backward Noora village, tried to ensure livelihood for village people and give hope to villagers for prosperity reaching their doorsteps in near future. His works can be more related to multi-dimensional philanthropic agenda rather than pure business motive. Secondly, even during lockdown, when his profit from industry went to zero, in fact might be facing losses because of huge investment done earlier, Anil decided to pay all employees regularly and ensured food, nutrition and livelihood security for them. Thirdly, he employed villagemen to plant trees and improve the village habitat. This work in itself is a highly philanthrophic and altruistic activity as it does common good to mankind without any discrimination and irrational thinking. Finally, as far as works like using electricity in excess by his industry and liaising with the local MLA to increase the frequency of the bus services to Amria are concerned, they cannot be rated unethical, especially at the cost of what good he has done to the society. It is the duty of the government’s executive authority to ensure smooth functioning of the system, if any small fault occurs, it can be dealt accordingly.
11. Rakesh was working as Joint Commissioner in Transport Department of a city. As a Part of his Job profile, among others, he was entrusted with the task of overseeing the control and functioning of City Transport Department. A case of strike by the drivers' union of City Transport Department over the issue of Compensation to a driver who died on duty while driving the bus came up before him for decision in the matter.
He gathered that the driver (deceased) was plying Bus No. 528 which Passed through busy and congested roads of the city. It so happened that near an intersection on the way, there was an accident involving the bus and a car driver by a middle-aged man. It was found that there was altercation between the driver and the car driver. Heated arguments between them led to fight and the driver gave him a blow. Lot of passerbys had gathered and tried to intervene but without success. Eventually, both of them were badly injured and profusely bleeding and were taken to the nearby hospital. The driver succumbed to the injuries and could not be saved. The middle-aged driver's condition was also critical but after a day, he recovered and was discharged. Police had immediately come at the spot of accident and FIR was registered. Police investigation revealed that the quarrel in question was started by the bus driver and he had resorted to physical violence. There was exchange of blows between them. The City Transport Department management is considering of not giving any extra compensation to the driver's (deceased) family. The family is very aggrieved, depressed and agitated against the discriminatory and non-sympathetic approach of the City Transport Department management. The bus driver (deceased) was 52 years of age, was survived by his wife and two school-college going daughters. He was the sole earner of the family. The City Transport Department workers' union took up this case and when found no favorable response from the management, decided to go on strike. The union's demand was two-fold. First was full extra compensation as given to other drivers who died on duty and secondly employment to onefamily member. The strike has continued for 10 days and the deadlock remains.
(a) What are the options available to Rakesh to meet the above situation?
(b) Critically examine each of the options identified by Rakesh.
(c) What are the ethical dilemmas being faced by Rakesh?
(d) What course of action would Rakesh adopt to diffuse the above situation
Various possible stakeholders in the above discussed case study-
- Rakesh as a joint commissioner in transport department of a city.
- Union of city transport department.
- Deceased driver.
- Deceased driver and his two school- college going daughters.
- Survived car driver.
- Police and its duty.
A) Possible options available to Rakesh to meet the above situations-
- Rakesh can accept both demands of transport union.
- Rakesh can reject the both demand of transport union.
- Rakesh can accept one of demand of department comfort and can reject another.
- Rakesh can appoint a departmental enquiry team which include half members from union and half from department.
- Rakesh can send strict warning to those who are involve in strike and can use police force to resolve the dialogue.
- Rakesh can seek advice from commissioner.
B) Critically examining each of options identified by Rakesh
1.Rakesh can accept both demands of transport union-
- Deadlock can resolve soon and transport department can start working in full capacity.
- Deceased driver’s family would get instant justice.
- After resolving deadlock, Rakesh can use his time and energy on departmental work. This can enhance the productivity of department.
- This activity can override police investigation report which cites that quarrel started by bus driver.
- It can send wrong message to other bus drivers.
- It can become the case of departmental jurisprudence.
2. Rakesh can reject the both demands of transport union-
- Department’s exchequer can be saved.
- Department management’s decision would prevail.
- Deadlock can be continued for long.
- Productivity and efficiency of department can be reduced.
- Deceased driver’s family can face serious economic and livelihood concerns.
3. Rakesh can accept one of demand of department comfort and can reject another-
- Deadlock can reach to a conclusion.
- It can be half relief to deceased driver’s family.
- Productivity and efficiency of the department can be restored.
- It can be the act of overriding police investigation reports.
- Deadlock can be continued because transport union is stick to its both demands.
4. Rakesh can appoint a departmental enquiry committee which includes equal members from union and equal from department and some from police department. Union should resume work and wait for committee decision. Till committee conclusion come out, he can organise departmental funding to help family in buffer time.
- It can be the win- win situation for department management, transport union and police department.
- It can result in all aggregable resolution points.
- It can set an example of all party integrated dispute resolution system.
- Police department can provide the solution of appropriate proportionate legal angle which can motivate department management to be more sympathetic and kinder towards deceased driver’s family.
- Because of all parties involve so It can take time to reach a conclusion.
- Wastage of energy, time, resources if it ended in no conclusive state.
5.Rakesh can send strict warning to those who are involve in strike and can use police force to resolve the dialogue-
- It is possible that by introducing element of warning and fear of police force, most of union worker can resume their work.
- This action can make the situation violent.
- It can introduce the elements of trust deficit and bitterness among the union workers and department management.
- Productivity of department can be poorer.
6.Rakesh can seek advice from commissioner-
- As a more experienced person commissioner can give appropriate advice to deal with this situation.
- By consulting commissioner, He can take commissioner in confidence for future decisions.
- Commissioner have choice to diplomatically refuse to help him out.
- Commission can question the crisis dealing capacity of Rakesh.
C) Possible ethical dilemmas being faced by Rakesh-
1. Principal of natural justice vs Due process of Law-
- Principal of natural justice appeals that deceased’s family should get extra compensation and job to his family but due process of law hinders the department management to do so.
2. Right vs Duty-
- He is facing dilemma of public duty as a joint commissioner vs extra compensation and job rights of deceased family.
3. Public accountability vs Personal accountability-
- As a public servant, he is accountable to public service and activity delivered by him. On other hand, on compassionate and empathetic ground he is accountable to his personal conscience.
4. Code of conduct vs Code of ethics-
- Code of conduct demands what conduct rules and regulation say. Code of ethics demands the way of ‘what ought to do’ under the domain of morality.
5. Morality vs Law-
- Morality is what ought to do under principal of natural justice. While law follow the statutory rules and regulations under the domain of procedure establish by law or due course of law.
6. Conflict of Conscience- He is facing the dilemma of crisis of conscience as public servant being vs personal being.
D) Possible course of action by virtue which Rakesh can diffuse the above situation-
Rakesh has many courses of action to implement, but the best one is that-
Rakesh can appoint a ‘Departmental enquiry committee’ which includes equal members from Transport Union and equal from Department management and some from Police Department. Union should resume work and wait for committee decision. Since, committee decision process is time taking so he can organise departmental funding or personal funding to help out deceased family in this buffer time.
- It can be the win- win situation for department management, transport union and police department.
- It can result in all aggregable resolution points.
- Transport union can resume functioning for time being.
- It can set an example of all party integrated dispute resolution system.
- Police department can provide the solution of appropriate proportionate legal angle which can motivate department management to be more sympathetic and kind towards deceased driver’s family.
Although, it can be a time taking process due to involvement of various parties but the final conclusion of this committee can be more comprehensive, majority agreeable, inclusive. Hence, Rakesh should use this integrated and all participative course of action to diffuse the above situation.
If any extreme case, committee decision is not in favour of deceased family then Rakesh as an empathetic and compassionate public servant, should organise departmental crowdfunding to help out driver’s family. As a joint commissioner, he should also provide some ad hock job to elder daughter of family.
10. Land needed for mining, dams and other large-scale projects is acquired mostly from Adivasis, hill dwellers and rural communities. The displaced persons are paid monetary compensation as per the legal provisions. However, the payment is often tardy. In any case, it cannot sustain the displaced families for long. These people do not possess marketable skills to engage in some other accusation. They end up as low paid migrant labourers. Moreover, the development goes to industries, industrialists and urban communities whereas the costs are passed on to these poor helpless people. This unjust distribution of costs and benefits is unethical.
Suppose you have been entrusted with the task of drafting a better compensation-cum-rehabilitation policy for such displaced persons, how would you approach the problem and what would be the main elements of your suggested policy? (2016)
The rights of adivasis, rural communities, hill dwellers their rights over the forest resources under the Forest Right Act (FRA) must be kept in mind along with various compensations like payment, jobs in the upcoming industries etc.
Though FRA was passed in 2006 according to the Citizens’s Report prepared by Community Forest Rights, only 3% of villages or communities could actually secure their rights.
Approach to be adopted
- Rehabilitation must be fixed according to the community or category of people being displaced which should ensure them basic amenities subject to restrictions for forest protection.
- Even after compensation they should not be deprived of their user rights like forest produce which includes grazing and pastoralist routes etc. For example, Telangana government in total violation of forest rights act has illegalized traditional methods of forest land cultivation, creating a lot of unrest in the area.
- ‘Free informed consent’ of gram sabhas for any government plans to remove tribal/hill dwellers from the forests and for the settlement or rehabilitation package should not be undermined in any circumstance.
Main Elements must include
- Creating awareness among the lot about community right’s provision.
- Ensuring that implementation of laws of community forest provision is undiluted.
- Nodal tribal departments must provide clear instructions to the concerned administrators. However without a strong political will, these instructions almost go unheard.
- Imparting skills to the displaced migrants should be made compulsory along with compensation. This would give them right to decide whether they want to migrate as a labourer or work in the upcoming industry.
- FRA should be a major hurdle for corporate to cross with the intentions of single handed profit making.
- Since most of the tribal states have a poor record of implementation of the compensatory provisions, the FRA must be made more transparent. The concerned authority must be made accountable for non compliance.
- A grievance redressal mechanism must be created wherein the tribals/displaced can openly register their complaints. These should be appraised regularly to dispense those complaints.
Such displacements straight away violate the right to life of the dwellers of such areas. Proper rehabilitation of the displaced population must be ensured.
10. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has quickly spread to various countries. As on May 8th, 2020, in India 56342 positive cases of corona had been reported. India with a population of more than 1.35 billion had difficulty in controlling the transmission of coronavirus among its population. Multiple strategies became necessary to handle this outbreak. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India raised awareness about this outbreak and to take all necessary actions to control the spread of COVID-19. Indian Government implemented a 55-day lockdown throughout the country to reduce the transmission of the virus. Schools and colleges had shifted to alternative mode of teaching-learning-evaluation and certification. Online mode became popular during these days.
India was not prepared for a sudden onslaught of such a crisis due to limited infrastructure in terms of human resource, money and other facilities needed for taking care of this situation. This disease did not spare anybody irrespective of caste, creed, religion on the one hand and ‘have and have not’ on the other. Deficiencies in hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, ambulances, hospital staff and crematorium were the most crucial aspects.
You are a hospital administrator in a public hospital at the time when coronavirus had attacked large number of people and patients were pouring into hospital day in and day out.
(a) What are your criteria and justification for putting your clinical and non-clinical staff to attend to the patients knowing fully well that it is highly infectious disease and resources and infrastructure are limited?
(b) If yours is a private hospital, whether your justification and decision would remain same as that of a public hospital?
(a) Following would be the criteria considered for putting clinical and non-clinical staff at work:
- The preferred staff would be of the age group which is considered to have the highest strength and immunity to deal with the virus (as directed by scientific studies and doctors).
- Staff who are suffering from the problem of co-morbidities would be kept away from clinical work and will be preferred to do non-clinical work and medical insurance would be made mandatory.
- Staff with age of 50 years or above would not be involved in the clinical duties or direct contact with the patients.
- The clinical and nonclinical staff would be divided on the basis of merit and expertise to hand over the critical situations and make the hospital ready to deal with the caseload and prevent the collapse of health infrastructure.
Following justification can be given to put the staff at work in such a severe situation:
- Compassion: The people are suffering, losing their loved ones and children are becoming orphaned. All these generate sympathy for them and cry for compassion.
- Responsibility: As I’m a public servant, it is my duty to serve the public and as the administrator of the hospital I will motivate my staff to fulfill their duty with utmost dedication and sincerity.
- Public Good: Hospitals are meant to serve the needy and in such severe situations when people are losing their life, the medical staff and hospital cannot step back from their oath of saving people’s life or working for the public good.
- Empathy: The heart-wrenching conditions of the public will motivate me to serve the patients with more zeal, so that more and more people’s lives can be saved.
- Utilitarianism: Actions are right if they are useful or for the benefit of a majority, and benefit of the majority lies in larger public interest; treatment of patients.
- Contentment: Serving the patients, saving people’s life, fulfilling one’s duty with honesty, helping the medical infrastructure to sustain, will bring satisfaction and happiness within oneself.
(b) As an administrator of a private hospital, I would have adopted all the same measures as adopted in a public hospital. Additionally, I would have taken other steps viz.:
- I would have tried my level best to arrange the best equipment, protective gears and facilities for my staff (like PPE kits, testing kits) and maintain staff’s workload properly with proper rest to remain mentally and physically stable.
- If in any case any casualty happens among the staff members, proper compensation would be given to their family members and free education provided to their children.
- I would try to get my staff fully vaccinated as soon as possible and get their health checkup and tests done on a regular basis.
Serving as administrator either in public or private hospital will give me an opportunity to fulfill my ethical conduct with utmost honesty and integrity. It will give me a chance to serve my country in the best possible manner.
10. You are a municipal commissioner of a large city, having the reputation of a very honest and upright officer. A huge multipurpose mall is under construction in your city in which a large number of daily wage earners are employed. One night, during monsoons, a big chunk of the roof collapsed causing instant death of four labourers including two minors. Many more were seriously injured requiring immediate medical attention. The mishap resulted in a big hue and cry, forcing the government to institute an enquiry.
Your preliminary enquiry has revealed a series of anomalies. The material used for the construction was of poor quality. Despite the approved building plans permitting only one basement, an additional basement has been constructed. This was overlooked during the periodic inspections by the building inspector of the municipal corporation. In your enquiry, you noticed that the construction of the mall was given the green signal despite encroaching on areas earmarked for a green belt and a slip road in the Zonal Master Plan of the city. The permission to construct the mall was accorded by the previous Municipal Commissioner who is not only your senior and well known to you professionally, but also a good friend.
Prima facie, the case appears to be of a widespread nexus between officials of the Municipal Corporation and the builders. Your colleagues are putting pressure on you to go slow in the enquiry. The builder, who is rich and influential, happens to be a close relative of a powerful minister in the state cabinet. The builder is persuading you to hush up the matter, promising you a fortune to do so. He also hinted that if this matter is not resolved at the earliest in his favour; there is somebody in his office who is waiting to file a case against you under the POSH Act.
Discuss the ethical issues involved in the case. What are the options available to you in this situation? Explain your selected course of action.
The decision making of the civil servant is predominantly guided by the ethical principles in public interest and not by any kind of luring or fear by seniors or political veterans. In the given case, as a municipal commissioner, my role is to ensure that larger interests of the society are not the vested interests of few individuals. Any unethical decision by me favoring the builder or pleasing my senior or political veterans would not only be violating the code of conduct but are also against the basic values of impartiality, objectivity, and fairness.
Ethical issues involved in the given case:
- Personal vs. Professional ethics: Personal ethics involve morals and values that have been induced in me since my childhood, by parents, family and relatives and friends & teachers. Professional ethics on the other hand involve a strict adherence to code of conduct laid down at the workplace. Any violation of these rules and regulations can be termed as unprofessional. In this case, my personal ethics forces me to take personal interest in the case, conduct the enquiry at a fast pace and send the culprits behind the bars irrespective of consequences. But professional ethics suggest me to follow law and rules and involve my other teammates and seniors in the investigation process, or even quit from the enquiry if asked to do so by the authority concerned.
- Personal Interest vs. Public Interest: The given situation may drive me as an officer to gain in terms of promotion or financial gains from higher authorities. This can be done if I keep my personal interest above public interest. Personal interest relates to ignoring the widespread nexus between officials of the Municipal Corporation and the builders and resolving the case at the earliest in the favour of the builder, while public interest lies in transparent and quick enquiry into the case and sending the culprits behind the bars thereby giving justice to victims and their families.
- Honesty & Courage vs. Flattering: Honesty is a facet of moral character that connotes truthfulness and straightforwardness of conduct. Similarly, courage means the ability to control fear by ignoring consequences while critical decision making. Flattery, on the other hand, is done to seek attention or try to win favor for unethical reasons.
Options available with me are:
- The first option is to lose all my moral values and read the situation as an opportunity to take executive favour in terms of posting and promotion by seniors and politicians. This can be done if I totally ignore the nexus between officials of the Municipal Corporation and the builders and end up an enquiry with results in their favour.
- The second option is to remain stuck to my moral principles of impartiality, integrity and probity thereby conducting a fair and transparent enquiry. If the builder and my senior officers are found guilty, a report regarding their conduct can be sent to the judicial and quasi-judicial authorities for further course of action.
My selected course of action:
- My moral principles drive me to adopt the second option as my final course of action. Being honest and courageous since childhood, I hardly have any fear of consequences. Also, if I find that there is too much political and administrative pressure on me to perform unethical action, then I may even breach the principle of hierarchy, and report the same to the higher central authorities and request them to tackle the situation. Also, I will bring the issue in public limelight through the media, which will continue the pressure of transparent enquiry on public officials on this matter.
10. You have done MBA from a reputed institution three years back but could not get campus placement due to COVID-19 generated recession. However, after a lot of persuasion and series of competitive tests including written and interview, you managed to get a job in a leading shoe company. You have aged parents who are dependent and staying with you. You also recently got married after getting this decent job. You were allotted the Inspection Section which is responsible for clearing the final product. In first one year, you learnt your job well and was appreciated for your performance by the management. The company is doing good business for last five years in domestic market and this year it is decided even to export to Europe and Gulf countries. However, one large consignment to Europe was rejected by their Inspecting Team due to certain poor quality and was sent back. The top management ordered that ibid consignment to be cleared for the domestic market. As a part of Inspecting Team, you observed the glaring poor quality and brought to the knowledge of the Team Commander. However, the top management advised all the members of the team to overlook these defects as the management cannot bear such a huge loss. Rest of the team members except you promptly signed and cleared the consignment for domestic market, overlooking glaring defects. You again brought to the knowledge of the Team Commander that such consignment, if cleared even for domestic market, will tarnish the image and reputation of the company and will be counter-productive in the long run. However, you were further advised by the top management that if you do not clear the consignment, the company
will not hesitate to terminate your services citing certain innocuous reasons.
(a) Under the given conditions, what are the options available to you as a member of the Inspecting Team?
(b) Critically evaluate each of the options listed by you.
(c) What option would you adopt and why?
(d) What are the ethical dilemmas being faced by you?
(e) What can be the consequences of overlooking the observations raised by the inspecting Team?
The given case study enumerates a fairly common problem that working professionals face across sectors and industries. Further, the issue in this case study has a near-universal relevance and applicability.
(a) Under the given conditions, as part of the Inspecting Team I have a few options available.
- I can overlook the defects and pass the product.
- I can refuse to follow the company’s instructions and decline to overlook the issues with the product and pass it.
- I can also try to convince the management to not pass the product.
- Further, I can suggest certain measures such as rebranding the product, modifying the product and marketing it accordingly, etc., that can allow (a) me to maintain my integrity intact and (b) enable the company to keep its market position and reputation intact.
(b) A critical evaluation of the available options is required.
- Overlooking and passing the product
- Job security
- Lack of moral courage
- Loss of consumer trust and market reputation for the company
- Declining to pass the product
- Display of moral courage
- Keeping the integrity intact
- Continuation of company reputation
- Loss of job
- Launch of the product despite resistance from my end
- Display of lack of emotional quotient
- Convincing the management and modifying the product
- Display of practicality
- Display of emotional quotient
- Display of moral courage
- Reduced chance of loss of consumer trust and market reputation for the company
- Chances of overlooking suggestions by the company
- Possibility of negative impact on career progression and even job loss
- Possibility of negative impact on the company’s reputation in the event of rejection of the suggestions made
(c) I would choose to convince the management and make suggestions for modifying the product accordingly, rebranding and launching it accordingly since it would allow me to retain my employment and ensure my job security and enabling me to display moral courage and integrity. Further, it would also possibly allow the company to maintain its reputation and trust in the market and trust in the market.
(d) As per the given case study, I will face the following ethical dilemmas.
- Accountability to the Public vs Accountability to Company Management: Choice between ensuring that the correct product is delivered to the customers or adhering to the instructions from the management.
- Ethics vs Herd Mentality: Choice between taking a stand or following a herd mentality and going along with what the others are doing.
- Profit vs Integrity: Choice between profit and monetary gains or keeping my integrity intact by flagging the issues with the product.
- Moral Courage vs Job Loss: Choice between taking the correct action or facing a job loss and endangering my job security.
(e) There can be the following consequences of overlooking the observations raised by the Inspecting Team.
- Loss of customer trust and market reputation for the company.
- It can also lead to a culture of complacency in the company which could prove to be detrimental to its growth and existence in the market.
- It can also result in the loss of morale and drive in the employees of the company.
- It can also lead to dissatisfaction and distress on the part of the customers due to receiving a poor product from an erstwhile reliable company.
9. A fresh engineering graduate gets a job in a prestigious chemical industry. She likes the work. The salary is also good. However, after a few months she accidentally discovers that a highly toxic waste is being secretly discharged into a river nearby. This is causing health problems to the villagers downstream who depend on the river for their water needs. She is perturbed and mentions her concern to her colleagues who have been with the company for longer periods. They advise her to keep quite as anyone who mentions the topic is summarily dismissed. She cannot risk losing her job as she is the sole bread-winner for her family and has to support her ailing parents and siblings. At first, she thinks that if her seniors are keeping quiet, why should she stick out her neck. But her conscience pricks her to do something to save the river and the people who depend upon it. At heart she feels that the advice of silence given by her friends is not correct though she cannot give reasons for it. She thinks you are a wise person and seeks your advice. (2016)
(a) What arguments can you advance to show her that keeping quiet is not morally right?
(b) What course of action would you advice her to adopt and why?
(a) Arguments in favour of not keeping quiet are as follows:
- ‘Business without morality’ is the most important point to be kept in mind so the secretive discharge of highly toxic waste must be made public.
- As a conscience citizen she must keep in mind the right of life of the villagers compelling her to speak. Usually people join such voices/movements against injustice and all that they need is a trigger, in this case the villagers need a spokesperson.
- Company making profits by jeopardising the lives of people at the expense of health of both the river and the villagers is immoral and not ethically right.
- On the question of integrity she must speak up against the company. Discharge of toxic waste is not only morally wrong but is environmental hazardous too.
(b) Course of action that can be advised to her is as follows:
- Moral persuasion should be the first step. She should consult her colleagues one more time. It is likely that would still not budge but again there is a possibility that she might be able to conscience even one of them.
- The residents of the villages must be made aware about their right to life which includes a healthy life.
- After some ground work like talking to villagers, the health problem faced by them, testing the level of toxicity of rivers a report must be made. She can show this report to her immediate senior to remind the company of the environment laws as well as corporate social responsibility.
- Since profit is the sole aim of the company she can present a case study where companies lost business due to loss of confidence of people.
- She can take the assistance of the local NGO as well as media to create pressure on the company as well other big industries working on similar lines.
- She can inform the district administration of the same wrongdoing and seek their help.
- As a last resort she can file public interest litigation on behalf of the villagers as the toxic level of discharge and take head of the whistle blower’s act.
There is high chance of her loosing the job, so simultaneously she can start looking for a new job since even if the complains go unheard she might not continue in the company on moral grounds.
9. An elevated corridor is being constructed to reduce traffic congestion in the capital of a particular State. You have been selected as project manager of this prestigious project on your professional competence and experience. The deadline is to complete the project in next two years by 30 June, 2021, since this project is to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister before the elections are announced in the second week of July 2021. While carrying out the surprise inspection by inspecting team, a minor crack was noticed in one of the piers of the elevated corridor possibly due to poor material used. You immediately informed the chief engineer and stopped further work. It was assessed by you that minimum three piers of the elevated corridor have to be demolished and reconstructed. But this process will delay the project minimum by four to six months. But the chief engineer overruled the observation of inspecting team on the ground that it was a minor crack which will not in any way impact the strength and durability of the bridge. He ordered you to overlook the observation of inspecting team and continue working with same speed and tempo. He informed you that the minister does not want any delay as he wants the Chief Minister to inaugurate the elevated corridor before the elections are declared. Also informed you that the contractor is far relative of the minister and he wants him to finish the project. He also gave you hint that your further promotion as additional chief engineer is under consideration with the ministry. However, you strongly felt that the minor crack in the pier of the elevated corridor will adversely affect the health and life of the bridge and therefore it will be very dangerous not to repair the elevated corridor.
(a) Under the given conditions, what are the options available to you as a project manager?
(b) What are the ethical dilemmas being faced by the project manager?
(c) What are the professional challenges likely to be faced by the project manager and his response to overcome such challenges?
(d) What can be the consequences of overlooking the observation raised by the inspecting team?
Stakeholders in the case:
- Myself as a project manager
- Chief engineer of the project
- Inspecting team (who noticed minor crack)
- Minister (asking not to delay)
- Chief Minister (who is going to inaugurate the elevated corridor)
(a) Options available to me as the project manager are as under:
- I can go ahead with the work, as advised by my superior.
- I can go deep into the issue, and bring the matter with political leadership itself.
- As I believe that the quality of the project is not up to standard, I can request my transfer from the project to avoid the responsibility.
(b) Ethical dilemma faced by the project manager are as under:
- Own Benefit vs Public Benefit: Moving forward with the project will almost certainly result in a promotion, but it may also put the lives of countless residents in grave danger.
- Right Method vs Right End: While moving on with the project will ensure a timely inauguration and my promotion, it will compromise the quality of the resources used.
- Administrative Ethics vs Work Efficiency: While the project manager will be praised for his efficiency for completing the project on time, it will jeopardise his administrative ethics.
(c) Professional challenges likely to be faced by the project manager are as under:
- Pressure from Seniors: Asked by the chief engineer to continue work.
- Political Upheaval: The contractor is a minister’s relative, and the CM wants to inaugurate the project before the elections.
- Career Prospects: My career will depend upon how I choose to complete the project.
- Liability: If the project fails and the bridge collapses, the project manager may face a departmental or judicial investigation.
- Administrative Corruption: As the material used was of poor quality, the project manager faces the challenge of tackling corruption in his department.
The project manager can overcome these challenges by:
- Presenting a full report on his findings to the CM, the concerned ministry and the chief engineer.
- Investigating the quality of the materials used and, if an abnormality is discovered, issuing a show cause notice to the parties involved.
(d) The consequences of overlooking the observations of the inspecting team could be:
- The corridor could fall, posing a serious threat to the lives and property of the inhabitants.
- The project will face a higher cost and schedule overrun as a result of the collapse, as the entire project will have to be restarted from scratch.
- The project’s failure will reflect badly on the department as well as the State’s political leadership.
9. Rampura, a remote district inhabited by a tribal population, is marked by extreme backwardness and abject poverty. Agriculture is the mainstay of the local population, though it is primarily subsistence due to the very small landholdings. There is insignificant industrial or mining activity. Even the targeted welfare programs have inadequately benefited the tribal population. In this restrictive scenario, the youth has begun to migrate to other states to supplement the family income. Plight of minor girls is that their parents are persuaded by labour contractors to send them to work in the Bt Cotton farms of a nearby state. The soft fingers of the minor girls are well suited for plucking the cotton. The inadequate living and working conditions in these farms have caused serious health issues for the minor girls. NGOs in the districts of domicile and the cotton farms appear to be compromised and have not effectively espoused the twin issues of child labour and development of the area.
You are appointed as the District Collector of Rampura. Identify the ethical issues involved. Which specific steps will you initiate to ameliorate the conditions of minor girls of your district and to improve the overall economic scenario in the district?
The tribal area, which has minimal interaction with the outer world, is shrouded in abysmal condition which reflects the extent of poverty and deprivation. The ineffectiveness of the targeted welfare programs highlights the level of unawareness and helplessness.
The major stakeholders in this scenario are tribal people, the youth that has started migrating to other states and minor girls who are forced to work in the Cotton farms. The ethical issues involved are:
- Livelihood vs Well-being: The meagre livelihood opportunities have forced the local population to send their minor children to Bt-Cotton farms.
- Distress Migration: Migration of youth in search of better working opportunities leaving their families behind in abysmal conditions.
- Child Labour: Tribal people who are compelled to send their minor girls in the Bt-Cotton farms as their small landholdings are not earning well.
- Well-being of Minors: Forced labour which is leading to the deterioration of health of minor girls. This affects their education as well.
- Corruption: The NGOs are compromised and have proved ineffective in highlighting the plight of the tribals.
There are plethora of government schemes and programmes which when implemented effectively will ensure the upliftment of the tribal population. Following steps are needed to improve the well-being of minor girls and economic scenario:
- Article 24 of the Constitution prohibits the employment of children below 14. Actions shall be initiated against labour contractors under Child Labour Amendment (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 2016.
- Minors Girls shall be encouraged to attend school as it is their right under Article 21A. It shall be ensured that they receive the benefits of Integrated Child Development Services Scheme and Midday Meal. Eklavya residential school can be promoted to provide tribal children a better education.
- To enhance their earning, steps shall be taken to market their local products under the guidance of TRIFED. It will fetch them better livelihood opportunities. Their products can be listed on websites like TribesIndia or marketplace like Hunar-Haat for sale.
- As far as the return of migrants is concerned, it will require a calibrated approach. It will require better employment opportunity and adequate earnings.
- Avenues for the establishment of industries can be explored in consultation with all the stakeholders.
- Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana shall be harnessed which is a market-linked tribal entrepreneurship development program for forming clusters of tribal SHGs and strengthening them into Tribal Producer Companies.
- Tribals shall also be encouraged to pool their land together and start contract farming.
- To bring transparency and efficiency among NGOs, a better surveillance mechanism shall be implemented under the EAT (Expenditure Advance Transfer) Module.
- The guidelines pertaining to the functioning of NGOs in the regions shall also be revamped.
While implementing all the mentioned steps tribals shall always be taken into confidence to assure that the reach of benefits is universal.
9. The Supreme Court has banned mining in the Aravalli Hills to stop degradation of the forest cover and to maintain ecological balance. However, the stone mining was still prevalent in the border district of the affected State with connivance of certain corrupt forest officials and politicians. Young and dynamic SP who was recently posted in the affected district promised to himself to stop this menace. In one of his surprise checks with his team, he found loaded truck with stone trying to escape the mining area. He tried to stop the truck but the truck driver overrun the police officer, killing him on the spot and thereafter managed to flee. Police filed FIR but no breakthrough was achieved in the case for almost three months. Ashok who was the Investigative Journalist working with leading TV channel, suo moto started investigating the case. Within one month, Ashok got breakthrough by interacting with local people, stone mining mafia and government officials. He prepared his investigative story and presented to the CMD of the TV channel. He exposed in his investigative report the complete nexus of stone mafia working with blessing of corrupt police and civil officials and politicians. The politician who was involved in the mafia was no one else but local MLA who was considered to be very close to the Chief Minister. After going through the investigative report, the CMD advised Ashok to drop the idea of making the story public through electronic media. He informed that the local MLA was not only the relative of the owner of the TV channel but also had unofficially 20 percent share in the channel. The CMD further informed Ashok that his further promotion and hike in pay will be taken care of in addition the soft loan of `10 lakhs which he has taken from the TV channel for his son's chronic disease will be suitably adjusted if he hands over the investigative report to him.
(a) What are the options available with Ashok to cope up with the situation?
(b) Critically evaluate/examine each of the options identified by Ashok.
(c) What are the ethical dilemmas being faced by Ashok?
(d) Which of the options, do you think, would be the most appropriate for Ashok to adopt and why?
(e) In the above scenario, what type of training would you suggest for police officers posted to such districts where stone mining illegal activities are rampant?
This case study seems similar to Surender Singh, a 59-year-old deputy superintendent of police (DSP) was run over by a dumpster while trying to stop mining activities near Pachgaon village in Haryana on July 19, 2022.
- Corrupt officials and politicians
- Ashoka (Journalist)
- Police officals
- CMD of the TV channel
- Mining Mafias
- Local MLA
- Local People
- Chief Minister
Options with Ashoka with Merits and Demerits
Options Merits Demerits A. Follow the advice of CMD
1. Salary hike and promotion.
2. Soft loan will be passed for treatment of son’s chronic disease.
1. Loss of conscience.
2. Injustice with the SP.
3. Loss of free media.
B. Make the report public
1. Ashok’s popularity as a journalist will increase.
2. Justice will be given to SP and his family.
1. May be loss of job.
2. May face death threat from mafia.
3. May be expelled from the job.
C. Resign and find other avenues
1. Ashok’s conscience won’t be dead.
2. He can publicize the report through YouTube.
1. No money for son’s health treatment. Even he could die.
2. He may be unemployed for some time.
Ethical dilemmas being faced by Ashok
1. Personal growth vs Social justice- He will get salary hike and promotion, but it will injustice to the SP’s family. The criminals will never be punished.
2. His son’s wellbeing vs Free Media- He will get soft loan for his son’s health treatment, but democracy’s 4th pillar will be dead.
3. Corruption vs Justice to SP’s family- The nexus between corrupt politicians and mafias will further grow. In future, police officials will feel under-confident in taking harsh actions.
4. Nexus vs Morality- The morality and ethics of Ashok will be dead. In future, more mafias will emerge.
Most Appropriate Option for Ashok
- Option C is most appropriate for Ashoka. He should resign from his post and make the report public by starting his YouTube channel.
- Besides that, he should also apply for job in other media channel also.
- In this way, the truth behind the nexus of media channel, corrupt politicians, civil officals and sand mafia will come to the surface.
Type of training for police officers posted to such districts
- Vehicle driving training module in difficult terrain.
- Training for usage of modern technologies such as drones for surveillance.
- Modern weaponry and training should be provided.
- Standard Operating Procedures for raiding at such sites.
- 24x7 Full support and communication channels from central control room should be there.
India is a democratic country and media is said to be the 4th pillar of democracy. Hence, it is the responsibility of the media to publish the true reports and expose the corrupt people. Media is the one who brings out evidence and only after that judiciary can give judgements.
8. You are Vice Principal of a degree college in one of the middle-class towns. Principal has recently retired and management is looking for his replacement. There are also feelers that the management may promote you as principal. In the meantime, during annual examination the flying squad which came from the university caught two students red-handed involved in unfair means. A senior lecturer of the college was personally helping these students in this act. This senior lecturer also happens to be close to the management. One of the students was son of a local politician who was responsible in getting college affiliated to the present reputed university. The second student was son of a local businessman who has donated maximum funds for running of the college. You immediately informed the management regarding this unfortunate incident. The management told you to resolve the issue with flying squad at any cost. They further said that such incident will not only tarnish the image of the college but also the politician and businessman are very important personalities for the functioning of the college. You were also given hint that your further promotion to Principal depends on your capability in resolving this issue with flying squad. In the meantime, you were intimated by your administrative officer that certain members of the student union are protesting outside the college gate against the senior lecturer and the students involved in this incident and demanding strict action against defaulters.
(a) Discuss the ethical issues involved in the case.
(b) Critically examine the options available with you as Vice Principal. What option will you adopt and why?
The above issue is the involvement of crony capitalism, grim reality of education system despite increases in budgetary allocation as well as the prevalence of maladministration and inducement for making short term gain.
In this context, various stakeholders involved in the case:
- Myself as Vice Principal
- Senior lecturer (responsible for helping by unfair means)
- Local businessman and politician (helping college by way of affiliation and funding)
- Flying squad
- Management of college at large
(a) Ethical issues involved:
- Probity: The senior lecturer has not abided by honesty and truthfulness as well as test of integrity in the form of own interest vs professional duty.
- Value: Whether the Vice Principal should act in a way that ensures promotion to the post of Principal or get the values of justice, probity and impartiality reflect in reality.
- Impartiality: Conduct of examination should be fair to all. Therefore, showing favour to some students will show disfavour towards others.
(b) Options available to me as a Vice Principal:
- Option 1: Go according to the wish of school management, without any action against the students.
- No blockage of funding for the college in near future.
- No harm to the dignity of college in the meanwhile.
- Chances of me becoming principal will become more obvious.
- Unfair to all other students of the college.
- Procedural sanctity may be compromised.
- My professional conduct would be at stake.
- Won’t give good message in the long run.
- Students protest to aggravate further more.
Option 2: To let the authorities take strict action.
- Credibility of the college will be maintained in the long run.
- Restrain the teacher/lecturer to take this action in future.
- Will lead to right conduct.
- College may face financial issues in future.
- Endangerment to the future of two children.
- May harm recent admissions to the college.
- My chances of promotion will reduce significantly.
I will go by the second option. Even though, it might bring a bad name to the college and may hinder chances of my promotion, it is the right step because:
- College is a platform where students study moral principles. This choice will emphasise the importance of ethical behavior to students.
- The presence of a senior lecturer in the incident stresses the need for bold action.
- As achieving advancement through unethical means will violate the principle of integrity, it will be a violation of the chastity of means.
- This approach will be equitable to all students who wrote their tests honestly.
- This option will assist in quelling student protests.
8. The Chairman of Bharat Missiles Ltd (BML) was watching a program on TV wherein the Prime Minister was addressing the nation on the necessity of developing a self-reliant India. He subconsciously nodded in agreement and smiled to himself as he mentally reviewed BML’s journey in the past two decades. BML had admirably progressed from producing first generation anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) to designing and producing state of the art ATGM weapon systems that would be the envy of any army. He sighed in reconciliation with his assumptions that the government would probably not alter the status quo of a ban on exports of military weaponry.
To his surprise, the very next day he got a telephone call from the Director General, Ministry of Defence, asking him to discuss the modalities of increasing BML production of ATGMs as there is a possibility of exporting the same to a friendly foreign country. The Director General wanted the Chairman to discuss the details with his staff at Delhi next week.
Two days later, at a press conference, the Defence Minister stated that he aims to double the current weapons export levels within five years. This would give an impetus of financing the development and manufacture of indigenous weapons in the country. He also stated that all indigenous arms manufacturing nations have a very good record in international arms trade.
(a) As Chairman of BML, what are your views on the following points?
(b) As an arms exporter of a responsible nation like India, what are the ethical issues involved in arms trade?
List five ethical factors that would influence the decision to sell arms to foreign governments.
Ethical Issues involved in arms trade:
- The primary use of weapons is to kill other humans. The earnings made from the arms trade are like blood money. Killing is inherently wrong and it is against humanity which is one of the central ideas of the Indian way of life.
- India has been a land of Gautam Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi. They have advocated non-violence. But by indulging in arms trade, India will be endorsing violence, but in a different region of the world.
- Article 51 of the Directive Principle of State Policy says that the government should aim for promotion of international peace and security.
- By indulging in arms trade, India might be endorsing the actions and policies of foreign governments by which India may not stand. For example, selling weapons to autocratic countries and regimes known to suppress dissenting voices. In India, the government is accountable to parliament and weapons should be sold to democratic countries so that users can be held accountable.
- While engaging in arms trade, India should ensure that arms exported are not being used to suppress dissent or subvert democracy or invasion of peaceful neighbours. India should ensure use of exported weapons in self-defence and also not against India’s own interest short term or long term.
Ethical factors that would influence the selling of arms to foreign governments are:
- Responsible Nations: The nations to which arms are being exported, should be a democratic and rational actor in international relations. There should be accountability for the actions of the government as governance is based on democratic ethics.
- Upholding Human Rights: Some nations simply deny their people certain basic rights, while many actively harm those under their control for political or religious reasons. If the foreign government has a proven past record of human rights violation, then it is advisable that weapons either must not be sold or sold only after a strict scrutiny.
- Use of Weapons: It should be preferred that weapons are being used in self-defence as defined under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. Weapons must not be used for invasion of another nation or suppressing dissent or protests of people within the nation.
- Military Values: Indian Defense Forces have a long tradition of upholding human rights, respecting prisoners of wars, respect for international law in the battlefield. But if the military of a nation has a record of routinely taking civilians in the battlefield as prisoners, forcing young men to serve, even allowing children to be soldiers. Such factors must be considered.
- International Law: While exporting critical technologies, it must be noted that the recipient nation is following the norms made by the International Export Groups such as Australia Group, Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Wassenaar Arrangement.
8. Ramesh is State Civil Services Officer who got the opportunity of getting posted to the capital of a border State after rendering 20 years of service. Ramesh's mother has recently been detected cancer and has been admitted in the leading cancer hospital of the city. His two adolescent children have also got admission in one of the best public schools of the town. After settling down in his appointment as Director in the Home Department of the State, Ramesh got confidential report through intelligence sources that illegal migrants are infiltrating in the State from the neighbouring country. He decided to personally carry out surprise check of the border posts along with his Home Department team. To his surprise, he caught red-handed two families of 12 members infiltrated with the connivance of the security personnel at the border posts. On further inquiry and investigation, it was found that after the migrants from neighbouring country infiltrate, their documentation like Aadhaar Card, Ration Card and Voter Card are also forged and they are made to settle down in a particular area of the State. Ramesh prepared the detailed and comprehensive report and submitted to the Additional Secretary of the State. However, he has summoned by the Additional Home Secretary after a week and was instructed to withdraw the report. The Additional Home Secretary informed Ramesh that the report submitted by him has not been appreciated by the higher authorities. He further cautioned him that if he fails to withdraw the confidential report, he will not only be posted out from the prestigious appointment from the State capital but his further promotion which is due in near future will also get in jeopardy.
(a) What are the Department options available to Ramesh as the Director of the Home Department of the bordering State?
(b) What option should Ramesh adopt and why?
(c) Critically evaluate each of the options.
(d) What are the ethical dilemmas being faced by Ramesh?
(e) What policy measures would you suggest to combat the menace of infiltration of illegal migrants from the neighbouring country?
The given case study pertains to a seemingly recurring issue that the officers in the bureaucracy face. This case study essentially represents the issue of following the orders from the superiors and adhering to organisational hierarchy vs taking the appropriate action.
(a) Ramesh has a few options available to tackle the situation mentioned in the question.
- Ramesh can withdraw the report following the instruction of his superior officer.
- He can also try involving his superiors by bringing the issue at hand to their notice and persuade them to take appropriate action.
- He can also forward the report directly to the Union Home Ministry and highlight (a) the issue of illegal immigration and (b) the non-cooperative attitude of his superiors at the state level.
- He can share the report with the media for compelling the higher authorities to address the issue.
(b) Out of the options mentioned above. Ramesh can choose the following options depending on their feasibility and practicality.
- Ramesh can withdraw the report as per the instruction of his superior and ensure that his career is not jeopardised in the long run.
- Ramesh should try to persuade the Addl. Home Secretary to accept his report since it would (a) not jeopardise his career and (b) ensure that the issue is addressed at the appropriate stage.
- He can also try involving the more senior officers by bringing this issue to their notice in an informal manner to (a) avoid antagonising his immediate superiors and (b) resolve the issue.
- Further, he can forward his report directly to the Chief Secretary of the State or even the Union Home Ministry to (a) ensure the redressal of the issue at the highest levels and (b) highlight the issue of non-cooperation of senior officers at the state level.
(c) A critical evaluation of the options available to Ramesh is also required.
- Withdrawal of report
- Respect for bureaucratic hierarchy
- Goodwill of his superior(s)
- Smooth career growth and progress
- Lack of moral courage
- Could lead to a further rise in instances of illegal immigration
- Forwarding of the report to higher authorities, i.e., Chief Secretary and/or Union Home Ministry.
- Display of moral courage
- Ability to take a stand
- Ensure the redressal of the issue
- Displays a lack of emotional quotient
- Against the Code of Conduct
- Involving the media
- Compel the authorities to act due to the resultant pressure
- Against the Service Rules and Code of Conduct
- Possibility of misuse due to the critical nature of the information
(d) Ramesh faces the following ethical dilemmas:
- Code of Conduct and Service Rules vs Dedication towards Duty: Choice between doing his duty or not do his duty in favour of adhering to the codes of conduct and service rules.
- Personal Interest vs National interest: Personal interests and career prospects more important or the national interests.
- Accountability towards the Senior(s) vs Accountability towards People: Choice between serving the interests of his superior(s) or the people.
- Moral courage vs Adherence to Hierarchy: Choice between taking a stand for the correct action vs adhering to hierarchy and earn the superior(s)’ goodwill.
(e) The following measures can be adopted to deal with illegal immigration:
- Improvement of critical border infrastructure (roads, fences, lights etc.).
- Deployment of additional personnel for border guarding and monitoring duties.
- Zero-tolerance towards corruption in matters of illegal immigration.
- Use of technology (drones, satellite imagery, etc.) for efficient border management and surveillance.
- Effective implementation of Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) and Border Electronically Dominated QRT Interception Technique (BOLD-QIT) projects.
7. Sunil is a young civil servant and has a reputation for his competence, integrity, dedication and relentless pursuit of difficult and onerous jobs. Considering his profile, he was picked up by his bosses to handle a very challenging and sensitive assignment. He was posted in a tribal dominated district notorious for illegal sand mining. Excavating sand from river belt and transporting through trucks and selling them in black market was rampant. This illegal sand mining mafia was operating with the support of local functionaries and tribal musclemen who in turn were bribing selected poor tribals and had kept the tribals under fear and intimidation.
Sunil being a sharp and energetic officer immediately grasped the ground realities and the modus operandi followed by the mafia through their devious and dubious mechanism. On making inquiries, he gathered that some of their own office employees are in hand and glove with them and have developed close unholy nexus. Sunil initiated stringent action against them and started conducting raids on their illegal operations of movement of trucks filled with sand. The mafia got rattled as not many officers in the past had taken such strong steps against the mafia. Some of the office employees who were allegedly close to mafia informed them that the officer is determined to clean up the mafia’s illegal sand mining operations in that district and may cause them irreparable damage.
The mafia turned hostile and launched counter-offensive. The tribal musclemen and mafia started threatening him with dire consequences. His family (wife and old mother) were stalked and were under virtual surveillance and thus causing mental torture, agony and stress to all of them. The matter assumed serious proportions when a muscleman came to his office and threatened him to stop raids, etc., otherwise, his fate will not be different than some of his predecessors (ten years back one officer was killed by the mafia).
(a) Identify the different options available to Sunil in attending to this situation.
(b) Critically evaluate each of the options listed by you.
(c) Which of the above, do you think, would be the most appropriate for Sunil to adopt and why?
The above case is about the contemporary issue of illegal sand mining, exploitation of tribal people by a few groups as well as prevalence of corrupt practices in the administrative domain.
Various stakeholders which can be identified are:
- Sunil (a young civil servant)
- Sand mafia group
- Local functionaries and tribal musclemen (helping sand mafia)
- Sunil’s family
(a) The different options available to Sunil are:
- Option 1: Take actions against the mafia, local functionaries, his corrupt employees. He can ask for adequate protection by the police personnel.
- Option 2: Withhold steps and can continue his work in the office without doing anything stringent.
(b) The above options can have the following consequences:
- Option 1
- Action as per law is ensured in the tribal dominated district.
- Act as check and balance to administrative corruption prevalent in government office/department.
- Adequate security by police personnel to his family may give him a sense of security.
- Danger to Sunil’s family may aggravate.
- Involvement of some employees of his office may hinder the progress of the case.
- Reduction of fear from the sand mafias as Sunil withheld further action.
- It will come at the cost of degrading the law of the land.
- Propensity of illegal sand mining will further damage the environment.
- Goodwill of Sunil amongst his officer will drastically reduce.
- Boost up the morale of tribal musclemen and local functionaries.
(c) Sunil should adopt the first option. This is owing to the following reasons:
- The decision will be in accordance with the provisions of the Panchayats (Extension of Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 and Forests Rights Act, 2006.
- This will ensure that he does his duty with utmost sincerity while checking corruption.
- It will also protect the environment as well as the issue of local tribals.
- It will also strengthen Sunil image of a young and energetic officer who upholds the law.
7. Rajesh Kumar is a senior public servant with a reputation of honesty and forthrightness, currently posted in the Finance Ministry as Head of the Budget Division. His department is presently busy organizing the budgetary support to the states, four of which are due to go to the polls within the financial year.
This year’s annual budget had allotted Rs. 8300 crores for the National Housing Scheme (NHS), a centrally sponsored social housing scheme for the weaker sections of society. `775 crores have been drawn for the NHS till June.
The Ministry of Commerce had long been pursuing a case for setting up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in a southern state to boost exports. After two years of detailed discussions between the centre and state, the Union Cabinet approved the project in August. The process was initiated to acquire the necessary land.
Eighteen months ago, a leading Public Sector Unit (PSU) had projected the need for setting up a large natural gas processing plant in a northern state for the regional gas grid. The required land is already in possession of the PSU. The gas grid is an essential component of the national energy security strategy. After three rounds of global bidding, the project was allotted to an MNC, M/s XYZ Hydrocarbons. The first tranche of payment to the MNC is scheduled to be made in December.
Finance Ministry was asked for a timely allocation of an additional Rs. 6000 crores for these two developmental projects. It was decided to recommend re-appropriation of this entire amount from the NHS allocation. The file was forwarded to the Budget Department for their comments and further processing. On studying the case file, Rajesh Kumar realized that this re-appropriation may cause inordinate delay in the execution of NHS, a project much publicized in the rallies of senior politicians. Correspondingly, non-availability of finances would cause financial loss in the SEZ and national embarrassment due to delayed payment in an international project.
Rajesh Kumar discussed the matter with his seniors. He was conveyed that this politically sensitive situation needs to be processed immediately. Rajesh Kumar realized that diversion of funds from the NHS could raise difficult questions for the government in the Parliament.
Discuss the following with reference to this case:
(a) Ethical issues involved in re-appropriation of funds from a welfare project to the developmental projects.
(b) Given the need for proper utilization of public funds, discuss the options available to Rajesh Kumar. Is resigning a worthy option?
Ethical issues involved in re-appropriation of funds
- Economic Development vs Social Justice:
- By setting up a Special Economic Zone and natural gas processing plant, economic development would help in the region’s economic growth and eventually lead to the overall development of society and people.
- However, finances’ non-availability would cause a financial loss in the SEZ and national embarrassment due to delayed payment in an international project.
- Social justice, as re-appropriation may cause undue delay in the execution of the National Housing Scheme and may hamper the welfare of vulnerable sections of the society.
- Empathy vs Professional Duty:
- As a senior public servant, Rajesh Kumar’s responsibility is to exhibit empathy and compassion for society’s downtrodden section’s upliftment and welfare.
- Further, Rajesh Kumar is the head of the Budget Division in the Finance Ministry. Thus, his primary responsibility is to act with an objective analysis of demand without getting influenced by the political situation.
Diversion of Entire Amount
- It will help in boosting exports and help increase clean energy accessibility.
- It will help in economic development and eventually lead to a trickle-down of benefits to society.
- It may cause undue delay in the execution of the NHS and may leave the poor section of society vulnerable.
- It could set a wrong precedent of fund utilisation.
Reject the proposal
- It will uphold the principle of social justice and help the poorer section of society.
- It will meet the populist demands that majorly influence political decisions.
- Would cause financial losses in the SEZ and may bring national embarrassment due to delayed international project.
- Delay in gas project would have implications on energy availability and subsequent employment generation.
Partial re-appropriation of Funds
- It will help in balancing the twin goals of economic development and social justice.
- Partial re-appropriation of funds will require time for calculating the modalities.
- On the contrary, due to the politically sensitive situation, funds’ re-appropriation needs to be processed immediately.
Conclusion: The Final Course of Action
- Thus, given the long-term implications of SEZ and the associated issue of national embarrassment (if delayed), Rajesh Kumar should recommend re-appropriating funds for SEZ projects only as an exceptional measure.
- He shall recommend that money for gas project can be mobilised through market bonds.
- Further, the firms engaged in SEZ and gas projects can be asked to fund housing projects under Corporate Social Responsibility.
Lastly, resigning cannot be considered a good idea. Resigning may reflect the escapist mindset and may set a bad example for other fellow civil servants. Being a public servant, it is the duty and moral responsibility to act in public service, following objective standards and without being influenced by vindictive politics.
- Economic Development vs Social Justice:
7. Prabhat was working as Vice President (Marketing) at Sterling Electric Ltd., a reputed multinational company. But presently the company was passing through the difficult times as the sales were continuously showing downward trend in the last two quarters. His division, which hitherto had been a major revenue contributor to the company's financial health, was now desperately trying to procure some big government order for them. But their best efforts did not yield any positive success or breakthrough. His was a professional company and his local bosses were under pressure from their London-based HO to show some positive results. In the last performance review meeting taken by the Executive Director (India Head), he was reprimanded for his poor performance. He assured them that his division is working on a special contract from the Ministry of Defence for a secret installation near Gwalior and tender is being submitted shortly.
He was under extreme pressure and he was deeply perturbed. What aggravated the situation further was a warning from the top that if the deal is not clinched in favour of the company, his division might have to be closed and he may have to quit his lucrative job. There was another dimension which was causing him deep mental torture a and agony. This pertained to his personal precarious financial health. He was a single earner in the family with two school-college going children and his old ailing mother. The heavy expenditure on education and medical was causing a big strain to his monthly pay packet. Regular EMI for housing loan taken from bank was unavoidable and any default would render him liable for severe legal action. In the above backdrop, he was hoping for some miracle to happen. There was sudden turn of events. His secretary informed that a gentleman-SubhashVerma wanted to see him as he was interested in the position of Manager which was to be filled in by him in the company. He further brought to his notice that his CV has been received through the office of the Minister of Defence. During interview of the candidate-Subhash Verma, he found him technically sound, resourceful and experienced marketeer. He seemed to be well-conversant with tendering procedures and having knack of follow-up and liaising in this regard. Prabhat felt that he was better choice than the rest of the candidates who were recently interviewed by him in the last few days. Subhash Verma also indicated that he was in possession of the copies of the bid documents that the Unique Electronics Ltd. would be submitting the next day to the Defence Ministry for their tender. He offered to hand over those documents subject to his employment in the company on suitable terms and conditions. He made it clear that in the process, the Sterling Electric Ltd. could outbid their rival company and get the bid and hefty Defence Ministry order. He indicated that it will be win-win situation for both-him and the company. Prabhat was absolutely stunned. It was a mixed feeling of shock and thrill. He was uncomfortable and perspiring. If accepted, all his problems would vanish instantly and he may be rewarded for securing the much awaited tender and thereby boosting company's sales and financial health. He was in a fix as to the future course of action. He was wonder-struck at the guts of Subhash Verma in having surreptitiously removing his own company papers and offering to the rival company for a job. Being an experienced person,he was examining the pros and cons of the proposal/situation and he asked him to come the next day.
(a) Discuss the ethical issues involved in the case.
(b) Critically examine the options available to Prabhat in the above situation.
(c) Which of the above would be the most appropriate for Prabhat and why?
Various possible stakeholders in the above discussed case study-
- Prabhat as a vice president (Marketing) at Sterling Electric Ltd.
- Interest of Sterling Electric Ltd.
- Subhas Verma vs unique electronics ltd.
- Prabhat and his serious family responsibility.
- Ministry of Defence and its contract (National security).
(A) -Ethical Issues involved in this case-
- Professional ethics vs personal ethics-Professional ethics demands to stick over the rules of professionalism. Subhas Verma's offer of handing over secret document is violation of professional ethics as well as personal integrity. If Prabhat accepts the offer, then it will also be considered as violation of professional ethics and personal ethics.
- Integrity and trust issue with Subhas Verma-if Subhas Verma can cheat with his current company for the gain of managerial post, then what is guarantee that he will not cheat this company for further higher gains?
- Issues of corporate ethics violation- if Prabhat accepts the Subhas's secret documents and offer him as Manager post. Then this will be the case of serious violation of corporate ethics. This violation is entitled to legal battle if these things disclosed in public.
- Issue of conflict of conscience with Prabhat- Responsibility of two school going children and old ailing mother are prime concerns of Prabhat. Pressure of Job insecurity and serious family responsibility creates a conflict situation in his conscience.
- End vs Means –if Prabhat accepts subhas Verma's secret documents then it will be the clear case of achieving the end goal by using wrong means.
- Self- Interest vs Morality- Subhas Verma's offer of handing over the secret document to Prabhat for gaining managerial post is an act of selfishness at the cost of public morality.
B) Options available to Prabhat-
1.Prabhat can appoint Subhas Verma as Manager and submit tender bid with the help of Subhas's secret documents
- Prabhat's company can be awarded much awaited tender.
- Sales and financial health of Prabhat's company can be improved.
- Prabhat’s lucrative job would be safe and secure. He can get further promotions.
- There will be no hardness in the life of Prabhat's old ailing mother and his two school going children.
- Subhas Verma can get a managerial job.
- There are integrity and probity issues with Subhas Verma. Prabhat's trust in Subhas Verma can create potential future risk to company.
- If the activity leakage of secret documents disclosed anyhow then legal case can be imposed on Prabhat along with his company and Subhas Verma.
- The reputation and image of Prabhat’s company can be damaged if exchange of documents things disclosed in public.
- This is critical defence project, so any wrongdoing and document fraud in tender can entitled to serious national security risk.
2. Prabhat can reject Subhas Verma's application and submit bid with outmost probity and wait for result. He should appoint a quick response team to search new opportunities to boost up company’s financial health as a plan B.
- Prabhat can save himself and his company from future potential risk.
- Prabhat and his company can be safe and secure from possible legal issues.
- Prabhat would set an example of excellent corporate ethics and outmost probity.
- Prabhat can save nation from potential national security risk by rejecting Subhas Verma's offer.
- Prabhat’s company can fail to secure much awaited tender.
- Prabhat’s could lose his lucrative job, so his school going children and old ailing mother can face some hardships due to job loss.
- Sales and the financial health of his company could be poorer.
3. Prabhat can apply for leave
If leave granted, then
- He can save himself from conflict of conscience.
- His accountability and answerability can be shifted.
- If tender fails, then his department can be closed and he can lose his job.
- His company’s financial health and sales can be poorer.
- His family can face hardships.
4. Prabhat can search for new job options
If get instant job offer, then
- He can work with outmost probity and without any job insecurity pressure.
- Citing trust issues, he can softly reject the Subhas Verma’s offer.
- He can set an excellent example of upholding the corporate ethics standards and personal integrity.
- He can save his family from facing any hardship in future.
- It will pose question about his loyalty towards company in needy time.
- It can be the case that he might not get as lucrative job as he is in now.
- Company can stay his saving and other emoluments which are held under company's possessions.
c) Most appropriate option for Prabhat-
Prabhat can reject Subhas Verma's application and submit bid outmost probity and wait for result and He should appoint a quick response team to search new opportunities to boost up company’s financial health as a plan B.
Citing some trust and integrity issue with Subhas Verma, Prabhat should reject the offer of Subhas Verma and his candidature as a managerial post. He should send a strict warning to subhas Verma and tell him about possible course of legal action can be taken against him.
Prabhat should work very hard to get tender, because tender bid is in very nascent phase so he should not reach any conclusion. He should do all possible research and work harder to submit his tender with all sets of professionalism. Then wait for result. As plan B he can appoint a quick response team to swiftly search some new opportunities to boost up financial health of his company. He should convey this plan and strategy to his higher officials. If tender results do not come in favour, then he can introduce plan B.
It will help in many ways-
- He can set an example of outmost professionalism and personal integrity.
- He can save nation from possible potential national security risk.
- He can stick to the wisdom of right means for right Goal.
- Morality will win over self-interest.
Although Prabhat is single earner in his family of two school going children and old ailing mother along with serious economic concerns in life but he should choose integrity, probity, morality and national interest over greed, wrong means and self-interest.