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Mrunal Ethics (E3/P1): Civil Services Aptitude, Integrity, Objectivity

09/10/15 12:28 pm

- Mrunal - -

[Ethics] E3/P1: Aptitude for Civil Services & Foundational Values:

Integrity, Probity, Objectivity
Posted ByMrunalOn 08/10/2015 @ 8:45 pm In Ethics | No Comments
1. E3/P1: Video Lecture by Kavan Limbasiya (Rank-198/UPSC-2014)
2. Attitude vs Aptitude: Whats the difference?
1. Aptitude vs skill, ability & Interest
2. Baswan committee
3. Civil service values
1. Why do we need foundational values?
2. Nolan committee (UK-1996)
3. 2nd ARC: Ethics in Governance
4. Value#1: Integrity vs. honesty and probity
1. Integrity @Intellectual, Professional and Org. Level
2. How to inculcate integrity?
5. Value#2: Objectivity
1. How to inculcate objectivity?
6. Value#3: Dedication to public service
UPSC Mains GS4 paper has eight topics, out of them two weve finished (E1): Human interface and
(E2) Attitude. Now moving on to the third pillar-

E3/P1: Video Lecture by Kavan Limbasiya (Rank-198/UPSC-2014)

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Mrunal Ethics (E3/P1): Civil Services Aptitude, Integrity, Objectivity

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Youtube Link:

Attitude vs Aptitude: Whats the difference?

It is your positive/negative feeling
towards a person, object, event, idea,
Associated with character
Attitude determines How people arrive
at correct judgment, how theyll perform
a given task?
e.g. If an officer has negative attitude
towards minorities, he may delay
passing their scholarship files.
Examples of attitudes

Latin Word Aptus meaning fitness or
Innate, inborn potential. But not cast in stone. It
can be from nature, it can be nurtured.
Associated with competence.

It determines whether Person will develop the

skills to perform a particular task?

Examples of aptitude
Quantitative aptitude
Verbal aptitude

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Mrunal Ethics (E3/P1): Civil Services Aptitude, Integrity, Objectivity


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Reasoning aptitude
Finger dexterity
Visual memory
Both physical and mental. E.g.

Only mental.
Surviving terminal disease depends on
your attitude towards life rather than
aptitude in physical training.

To become an officer in defense or police

services, you need to have both physical and
mental aptitude.
Aptitude of hand and eye coordination : Good
In India, most people pickup profession without
seeing whether theyve the aptitude for it or
They choose a profession by change and not
So, they make a living from their career, but
dont derive job-satisfaction e.g. Most
Engineers, pharmacist and IT graduates.
A Civil servant must have 3 aptitudes
1. Intellectual aptitude.
2. Emotional aptitude.
3. Moral aptitude.

Aptitude vs skill, ability & Interest

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Mrunal Ethics (E3/P1): Civil Services Aptitude, Integrity, Objectivity

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Things you can do. e.g. I can do addition, subtraction, division and


Ability + Practice = Skill.

All of us can drive. But were not skilled drivers like Michael Schumacher.
Same way youve basic ability to do 4 fundamental operations of mathematicsif you practice long enough youll be skilled at Maths and Data interpretation
portion of the CAT exam.
Later, if you teach multiple batches, youll become a skilled trainer/faculty for
CAT coaching classes.
Thus, skill is the proficiency you gained with repeated activity.


Things you can do in future, if you were trained.

Clearing UPSC with high rank certifies that youve aptitude to be an IAS.
Later youre trained at LBSNAA and at District so you gain new skills and abilities
to perform the duties as an assistant collector.
Time + Effort = Learning => Learning helps gaining aptitude for new things.


Aptitude is not same as intelligence. Two people with same intelligence quotation (IQ),
may have different aptitudes e.g. one to become scientist and another novelist.
Things youll do without your skill/aptitude. E.g. every teenager is interested to become
Sachin, Shahrukh or Shaan the singer. (sometimes simultaneously all three.)

Baswan committee
Over the years, government has setup many committees to
reform UPSC examination process so that candidates with
right aptitude can be selected.
Latest is, DoPTs committee under B S Baswan (Ex-IAS) to
revisit patten of UPSC civil service examination. Itll look
into following:

Another Committee whose

recommendations will be mostly

1. For IAS, IPS and other jobs, each requires separate set of
skills, so
a. Whether to make changes in the present exam pattern?
b. Whether to have separate papers for IAS/IPS candidates?
c. How to ensure inclusiveness in the selection process I.e.
candidates from different academic disciplines and different
walks of life are selected?
2. How to use ICT technology to reduce the time for completing
one cycle of UPSC exam?
3. Update the eligibility criteria for UPSC candidates- age and
attempt limit?
4. Review the eligibility of toppers re-appearing in the exam to
improve their rank (I.e. IAS/IFS cant re-appear without

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Mrunal Ethics (E3/P1): Civil Services Aptitude, Integrity, Objectivity

ignored just like its predecessors

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resigning from job, should same rule be applied to toppers

allotted in other jobs?)

Sidenote: Earlier, same Baswan chaired a Committee to look at the requirement of IAS officers over a
longer timeframe- mostly pertaining to the vacancies in various state-cadres.

Civil service values

Values are the standards on which, we evaluate things.
For every situation we dont have time to test the case on ethics theories such as utilitarianism.
Values provide time saving short-cut in such situation.
For example, political neutrality is one value of civil service.
Question: Should an IAS officer participate in a political rally?
To answer this question, we need not waste time in testing the premise on utilitarianism or refined
egoism theory.
we know that political neutrality is desirable value, therefore itll be wrong for an IAS to
participate in a political rally. End of discussion.
Thus, Value means a set of standards, on basis of which, well judge things.
Values have hierarchy. For Gandhi highest value was truth >> then non-violence.
For a judge, value hierarchy should be Justice >> then mercy.
Value orientation
End (goal) oriented
socio-economic-political justice.
Means (process) oriented Empathy, impartiality, integrity, discipline etc.

Why do we need foundational values?

Under New public management (NPM), the concept of public services is fast changing.
Bureaucrat has become directly accountable to citizen-customer. He has to respond to moral
universe of the citizens.
He has discretionary powers, therefore he must be provided with guiding principles to prevent
abuse of power.
The foundational values provide these guiding principles. (remember otherwise, hell have to test
every primse on ethics theories- time consuming process. Values will help him take shortcut to
arrive at right decision)
Various committees have recommended foundational values for civil services. The two big names
are (1) Nolan committee (2) second ARC: ethics in governance report.

Nolan committee (UK-1996)

Listed seven foundational values


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7. objectivity
Well not go into details of Nolan because theyre self-explanatory.
We didnt we copy Nolan report recommendations for India and instead setup our own
administrative reform commissions. WHY?
Because Weberian model considered bureaucracy uniform. But in ethics, the value system is
culture specific. Hence itll be unwise to adopt western model directly.
Selflessness: we hardly require this, because were a collective society.
Lets focus on 2nd ARC report.

2nd ARC: Ethics in Governance

Their bottom line is- prepare code of ethics and code of conduct for various departments. Well discuss
that during the lecture on probity and corruption.
2nd ARC reports can be downloaded free of cost from (
For the moment lets only focus on list of values that mentioned in the UPSC GS4 Syllabus topic
number 4 viz.


Integrity, objectivity
Dedication to public service.
Empathy, tolerance, Compassion towards the weaker section
Impartiality, non-partisanship

Value#1: Integrity vs. honesty and probity

In terms of broadness: Probity << Honesty << Integrity (highest and most comprehensive.)
lack of corruption- just financial propriety.
Honesty you should be truthful to your actions, thoughts and behavior. Doing your duty faithfully.


if youre a person of integrity, youll not do the duties your conscience doesnt agree
with. E.g. Policeman ordered to fire on unarmed peaceful protestors. Honest
policeman will obey the order. Policeman of integrity, will refuse to fire.

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In integrity, youre not blindly following duties. Only if your conscience permits,
youll do it.
1. Value system should match with your behavior. Your C-A-B component should be consistent.
Often in India, we believe in one thing, but do something else e.g. Corruption- all believe that its
bad, yet all indulge in it. All religions favor abstinence, yet we do them with guilt, yet we wont
change our behavior.
2. Your value system should be internally consistent: you believe in capitalism and youre
supporting new land ordinance, then there is conflict. Because capitalism rests in free market,
consent and private property. But in land ordinance the consent portion is diluted in land
3. Often people have 2 set of moralities: one for themselves, second set for the others. E.g.
Hygiene- wed keep our homes clean but not public places. All religions says women are to be
respected. Youngsters would respect their mothers and sisters, yet indulge in eve-teasing. Such
person is always in a state of guilt or cognitive dissonance.
4. Value system in itself should be rational: There can be a value system that matches with your
conduct, and it is internally consistent, but it may not be rational. E.g. Creationism.
5. Example of rational value system: utilitarianism, middle-path.

Integrity @Intellectual, Professional and Org. Level


False attribution error:- if you succeed, youd say you worked hard. If
someone else succeeds, youd attribute it to his good luck / external factors.
That shows lack of intellectual integrity, because youre not evaluating
everything on same parameter.
Same happens during prejudice.

for Doctors, pharmacists, chartered accountants etc. It is enforced by their regulatory
e.g. Facebooks value connecting people.

How to inculcate integrity?

Through Training.
Through Institutional structure: laws, rules, regulation- with carrots and sticks approach.
2nd ARC recommends setting up code of ethics for all departments of the government. Itll have
broad principle- that all participants have to follow and its reports will be given and evaluated by
the HoD.
E.g. Speaker will monitor how many times parliament was disrupted, a committee will moniter it
and report will be published.
But itll not have any penal provision. Its just to create public / social / peer pressure.
Integrity testing: select random sample (officer) and try to bribe him. This is not same as
CBI/ACB raid, they want to flush out corrupt people. But integrity testing is done to establish
honesty. CBI raid is done once in a while, but integrity testing done more frequently. (as in New

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York police department. Hence deterrent value high because all officers afraid theyll be subjected
to it.)
If young recruits first posting is made under honest officer, then hes more like to remain honest
for the rest of his life because of mentoring by a good role model.

Value#2: Objectivity
It is the opposite of subjectivity. You must not make decision on your values, emotions.
Policy based / rule based decisions are examples of objective decision because youre doing them
as per the prescribed policy/rule.
Objectivity is most crucial in following process
Selection of right agency for contract/tendering.
Selection for Bharat Ratna, Padma-awards etc.
Daily administrative work.

How to inculcate objectivity?

Again- Training
Critical thinking: 013: ASI began gold hunting in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh, on order of a union
minister who believed a baba. They showed lack of critical thinking by blindly following
dictates of higher authority.
Right to review decisions: within judicial / administrative procedure, there should be mechanism
for appellate board e.g. in taxation, land acquisition etc.
Right to be heard: often officers dont hear the complaint or opinion of people properly and just
do the things that are in their mind. Hence new schemes should have social audit / public
hearing components.
Information management: if you dont have hardcore information /statistics, you cant take
objective decisions. e.g. sustainable development goals (SDG) have 17 goals and 169 targets.
Previously in Millennium development goals (MDG), we had 18 indicators, yet we lacked proper
statistical databases to compare performance. Lack of data, prevents us from finding the faults and
fixing them.
Transparency: e.g. right to information act. Bureaucrat will think twice before taking
subjective/discretionary decisions, fearing that hell have to answer it if someone files an RTI.

Value#3: Dedication to public service

Mostly bol-bachchan topic, so not much point writing about this value
If youre a judge, what is the main interest of public from your organization? Ans. Justice.
So justice has to be your primary interest and you must show perseverance in ensuring justice
all the time.
You must then stop other things from interfering e.g. Mercy. if judge gives lenient punishment
to a convict, because of his poor socio-economic background, then he has deviated from public
service of delivering justice.

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In the next part (E3/P2), well look at second set of foundation values- empathy, compassion towards
weaker section.
Visit for more study material on Ethics.
Article printed from Mrunal:
URL to article:
Copyright 2014 Mrunal. All rights reserved.

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