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State PCS

Probity in governance

6 Solved Questions with Answers
  • 2016

    2. (a) What do you understand by the terms ‘governance’, ‘good governance’ and ‘ethical governance’? (2016)

    Governance can be described as the process of decision making and the process by which decisions are implemented. Government is one of the actors in governance apart from interest groups, NGOs and civil society organizations etc. Governance is government in action.

    Good governance is a form of governance which is:

    1. Participatory
    2. Consensus oriented
    3. Transparent
    4. Accountable
    5. Responsive
    6. Effective and efficient
    7. Follows rule of law
    8. Inclusive and equitable

    It helps in holistic and integrated human development.

    Ethical governance implies absence of corruption in governance. Ethical governance is driven by values such as honesty, integrity, public welfare, fairness, selflessness etc.

    For governance to be good in the long-run, it is critical that it be ethical governance.

  • 2019

    2. (a). Effective utilization of public funds is crucial to meet development goals. Critically examine the reasons for under-utilization and mis-utilization of public funds and their implications.

    Effective utilization of funds for welfare services is one of the key tenets to ensure social and economic justice and meet developmental goals. However, as former Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi had remarked, “only 15 paise for every 1 rupee spent on public welfare actually reaches to the masses”, thereby highlighting the gravity of ineffective utilization of funds in our country.

    Public servants are the trustees of the hard earned public funds, therefore it becomes their moral and legal responsibility for their effective utilization. The various reasons due to which these funds are under-utilized and mis-utilized are given below:

    • Under-Utilization:
      • High administrative cost and procedural delays in government offices which keeps the funds tied in administrative tangles and bureaucratic loopholes.
      • Inappropriate budgetary allocation, for example: use of guillotine voting
      • Lack of sufficient staff in government offices
      • Improper technological penetration at grassroot level
      • Ineffective decentralization of financial power
    • Mis-Utilization:
      • Corruption leading to diversion of funds to unauthorised sources.
      • Poor accountability mechanism preventing their effective monitoring and utilization.
      • Lack of coherence in planning.
      • Ineffective decentralization of power
      • Populist politics in the country.
      • Corporate impact on policy makers i.e crony capitalism
      • Favouritism and misuse of office i.e favouring someone over others while allocation of government projects.
      • Expenditure rush during the month of March, popularly known as ‘March Rush’, which leads to unplanned and improper fund expenditure, to prevent lapsing of funds that have remained unutilized.
      • Diversion of funds to other purposes.


    • Social: Violation of the rights and entitlements of the masses. It leads to social problems like inequality, illiteracy, poor health and sanitation, increased animosity among different communities etc.
    • Political: Misallocation and underutilization has led to unequal development in the country, increased corruption and inequality within different states. This has created the problems of regionalism, naxalism, and separatism.
    • Economic: India’s continuous struggle with poverty and inability to build on its demographic dividend has been the major impact. Inspite of having a potential of double digit growth, our growth story still revolves around 7%, along with inadequate improvement in infrastructure, human indices, employment etc.
    • Ethical: Breach of ‘Doctrine of Public Trust’ which lays responsibility on public servant for judicious use for the benefits of the masses.

    No matter how good the policy we frame, its impact drastically depends on the allocation and effective utilization of funds. Therefore, to realize the ethical and moral duty incorporated in Directive Principles of States Policy to maximize welfare measures and prevent concentration of wealth in few hands, it is important to take appropriate policy measures to realize the goals of national development.

  • 2019

    4. (a). Explain the basic principles of citizens charter movement and bring out its importance.

    Citizen’s Charter is a document of voluntary commitments made by a government organization to the citizens/client groups in respect of the services/schemes being provided to them or to be provided to them.

    The main objective of Citizen’s Charter is to improve the quality of public services. The aim of the exercise is to build bridges between citizens and administration and to streamline administration in tune with the needs of citizens. This is done by letting people know the mandate of the concerned Ministry/ Department/Organisation, how one can get in touch with its officials, what to expect by way of services and how to seek a remedy if something goes wrong.

    Principles of Citizen Charter

    • Quality: improving the quality of services
    • Choice: for the users wherever possible
    • Standards: specifying what to expect within a time frame
    • Value: for taxpayers money
    • Accountability: of the service provider (individual as well as organisation)
    • Transparency: in rules, procedures, schemes and grievance redressal
    • Participative: consult and involve


    • It is helpful in making administration more transparent and accountable.
    • It is citizen-centric in nature and makes the administration more citizen friendly.
    • It promotes good governance
    • It improves service delivery to the citizens.
    • It provides a pathway for grievance redressal.

    A Citizen Charter cannot be an end in itself, it is rather a means to an end- a tool to ensure that citizens always remain at the heart of any service delivery model.

  • 2019

    4. (b). There is a view that the Officials Secrets Act is an obstacle to the implementation of RTI Act. Do you agree with the view? Discuss.

    Right to Information (RTI), 2005 is a path breaking legislation that brought in an era of transparency in Indian governance system. It empowered the masses in the following ways:

    • Making information accessible to the masses
    • Increased accountability of government for their decisions
    • A tool to ensure curb on corruption
    • It enhanced public trust on the government
    • Efficient working of Government employees.
    • Ensured Impartiality

    However, The Officials Secret Act (OSA) enacted by the British Government in 1923, to curb down its Enemy States, acts contrary to provisions of RTI. Not only is it anachronistic and lacks usage in a liberal, modern day democracy , it creates obstacles in the implementation of RTI, in the following ways:

    • Colonial era act.
    • Majorly used by government to withhold information from citizens by citing security concerns.
    • also used to cover up government impropriety.
    • Used as a draconian weapon of threat against Journalists and activists to unearth governmental shortcomings.
    • Used to silence specific investigations undertaken by citizens or civil society.
    • May lead to wrongful suspicion of spying on citizens eg: S Nambi Narayan,an eminent ISRO scientist, was investigated in the ISRO spy case. He faced a criminal trial under OSA and acquitted now after 24 long years.


    • Liberal and modern democracy runs on complete participation of citizens in each and every Government decision.
    • There would be no espionage if every information is already available in public domain.
    • Why should government be afraid/concerned, if there is nothing to hide?
    • Why only government get to decide what needs to be kept secret, in a democracy?

    However, Complete transparency is neither possible nor desirable due to security concerns, especially when India is faced with multifaceted threats on account of being placed in a hostile neighbourhood.

    • Classified and sensitive documents on national security issues like Nuclear Installations, Movement of Troops etc. is of little use to the public and also jeopardise the safety of the nation.
    • Espionage concerns cannot be ruled out. Recent theft of design plan of Scorpene Class Submarine is one such example.

    Despite, Section 22 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act explicitly stating that it overrides the OSA by forbidding the Government to deny access to a document demanded through an RTI question just on the sole ground that it has been marked secret under the OSA, there needs to be a firmer system in place to differentiate between the use and misuse of OSA. Now, that we have systems like Lokpal at place, so giving an Independent committee the responsibility to curb government’s autonomy on deciding what qualifies as “secret” will be a welcome change.

    Hence, there is a need to balance secrecy and transparency. As, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (SARC) Report, 2006, suggested that a culture of secrecy breeds confidentiality, making disclosure a rarity.

  • 2019

    5. (a). What do you understand by probity in governance? Based on your understanding of the term, suggest measures for ensuring probity in government. (150 words)

    Probity in Governance is a vital need for executing the governance system and socio-economic development. It is defined as adherence to ethical and moral values like honesty. Integrity, rectitude, uprightness etc. It is the presence of procedural integrity with high standards of ethical behaviour.

    Probity in Governance additionally elucidates that rather than the conventional civil service values of performance, integrity and patriotism, it’s vital for civil officials to adopt as well as undertake ethical and integrity values, which includes respect for human rights, morality in public life and compassion for the downtrodden and dedication to their welfare.

    Probity in Governance seeks to fulfil the following purposes:

    • It preserves public confidence in Government processes
    • It maintains integrity in public services
    • It ensures accountability in governance
    • It ensures compliance with processes
    • It seeks to avoid the potential for misconduct, fraud and corruption

    Measures to Ensure Probity in Government

    Lack of probity in governance has become one of the biggest menaces of society. To inculcate probity & adherence to ethical practices among them certain strides could be taken:

    • A dedicated unit to oversee violation of Code of ethics & Code of conduct by government officials be set up both at state and centre level.
    • Information must be made accessible to common public through websites.
    • Mandatory declaration of assets and liabilities of government employees, accompanied by proper auditing.
    • Establishment of Independent Anti-Corruption Agency
    • Citizens Advisory Boards to incorporate ideas of common public in improving governance.
    • Mandatory Social Audit of all government programs, for example: Meghalaya has passed a law for social audit of government programs.

    Apart from laws and policies, the government should also focus on bringing behavioural change in government employees so that they can easily empathize with the problem of common mass so as to fulfil the democratic goal of “government by the people, for the people and to the people”.

  • 2017

    7. (b) Increased national wealth did not result in equitable distribution of its benefits. It has created only some “enclaves of modernity and prosperity for a small minority at the cost of the majority.” Justify. (2017)

    According to a recent research paper by Thomas Piketty, the eminent French economist,  top 0.1% of earners in India captured a higher share of the total growth than the bottom 50%. This shows that there has been no ‘inclusive growth’ in India.

    The skewed income distribution patterns depict that the policy making in India has neither favoured the ‘utilitarian approach’ nor the ‘common goods; approach. The nexus between the politicians and corporate (‘crony capitalism’) and the resulting corruption has led to concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a small minority.

    Rather than assuming the role of trustees of wealth, as Gandhi prescribed, there is an absolute lack of empathy and values like altruism and philanthropy. Due to the general degradation in the moral fibre of the society, there is unwillingness among the ‘haves’ to part with the wealth and power for the benefit of the majority.

    Consequently, India is witnessing the phenomena of ‘enclaves of modernity and prosperity for a small minority at the cost of the majority’.

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