Articles GS Previous Years questions

GS 4 PREVIOUS YEARS QUESTIONS

This article will provide you with the set of GS 4 Questions asked in UPSC Mains from the year 2014-2019 in the IAS Exam.

GENERAL ETHICS AND MORALS: GS 4 QUESTIONS

Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, Determinants, and Consequences of Ethics in – Human Actions; Dimensions of Ethics; Ethics – in Private and Public Relationships. Human Values – Lessons from the Lives and Teachings of Great Leaders, Reformers and Administrators; Role of Family Society and Educational Institutions in Inculcating Values.

Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, Determinants, and Consequences of Ethics in – Human Actions

  • What is meant by the term ‘constitutional morality’? How does one uphold constitutional morality? 2019
  • What is meant by ‘crisis of conscience’? How does it manifest itself in the public domain? 2019
  • With regard to the morality of actions, one view is that means is of paramount importance and the other view is that the ends justify the means. Which view do you think is more appropriate? Justify your answer. 2018
  • The crisis of ethical values in modern times is traced to a narrow perception of the good life. Discuss. 2017
  • Increased national wealth did not result in inequitable 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
  • Explain how ethics contributes to social and human well-being. 2016
  • Social values are more important than economic values. Discuss the above statement with examples in the context of the inclusive growth of a nation. 2015
  • (a) All human beings aspire for happiness. Do you agree? What does happiness mean to you? Explain with answers. 2014

(b)What does ethics seek to promote in human life? Why is it all the more important in Public Administration? (150 Words) (10 M)

  • In the context of defense services, ‘patriotism’ demands readiness to even lay down one’s life in protecting the nation. According to you, what does patriotism imply in everyday civil life? Explain with illustrations and justify your answer 2014
  • “Human beings should always be treated as ‘ends’ in themselves and never as ‘means’.” Explain the meaning and significance of this statement, giving it’s implications in the modern techno-economic society. 2014
  • Which eminent personality has inspired you the most in the context of ethical conduct in life? Give the Gist of his/her teachings. Giving specific examples describe how you have been able to apply these teachings for your own ethical development. 2014
  • The current society is plagued with widespread trust-deficit. What are the consequences of this situation for personal well-being and for societal well-being? What can you do at a personal level to make yourself trustworthy? 2014

GS 4 Ethics – in Private and Public Relationships.

  • What are the basic principles of public life? Illustrate any three of these with suitable examples.  2019

Lessons from the Lives and Teachings of Great Leaders, Reformers, and Administrators;

Contributions of Moral Thinkers and Philosophers from India and the World.

  • What do each of the following quotations mean to you? 2019

(a) “An unexamined life is not worth living”. – Socrates(150 words) 10

(b) “A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes.” – M.K. Gandhi(150 words) 10

(c) “Where there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in the character. When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, there is order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world” – A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (150 words)

2) What do each of the following quotations mean to you in the present context? 2018

(a) “The true rule, in determining to embrace, or reject anything, is not whether it has any evil in it; but whether it has more evil than good. There are few things wholly evil or wholly good. Almost everything, especially of governmental policy, is an inseparable compound of the two; so that our best judgment of the preponderance between them is continually demanded. ”Abraham Lincoln ( 150 words)

(b) “Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding. “ _ Mahatma Gandhi (150 words)

(c) “Falsehood takes the place of truth when it results in unblemished common good.” _ Tirukkural (150 words)

3) (a) “Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte. 2017

Stating examples mention the rulers (i) who have harmed society and country, (ii) who worked for the development of society and country. (150 Words, 10)

(b) “If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. they are father, the mother and the teacher.” – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. Analyse. (150 Words, 10)

3) Discuss Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of seven sins. 2016

4) Analyse John rawls’s concept of social justice in the Indian Context.  2016   

5) Given are two quotations of moral thinkers/philosophers. For each of these bring out what it means to you in the present context. 2015

(a) “The weak can never forgive; forgiveness is the attribute of strong.” (10) (150 words)

(b) “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light

Role of Family Society and Educational Institutions in Inculcating Values.

  • Our attitudes towards life, work, other people and society are generally shaped unconsciously by the family and the social surroundings in which we grow up. Some of these unconsciously acquired attitudes and values are often undesirable in the citizens of a modern democratic and egalitarian society. (a) Discuss such undesirable values prevalent in Today’s educated Indians (b) How can such undesirable attitudes be changed and socioethical values considered necessary in public services be cultivated in the aspiring and serving civil servants? 2016
  • What is meant by ‘environmental ethics’? Why is it important to study? Discuss any one environmental issue from the viewpoint of environmental ethics 2015
  • Attitude: Content, Structure, Function; its Influence and Relation with Thought and Behaviour; Moral and Political Attitudes; Social Influence and Persuasion
  • Young people with ethical conduct are not willing to come forward to join active politics. Suggest steps to motivate them to come forward. 2017
  • How could social influence and persuasion contribute to the success of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan? 2016
  • What factors affect the formation of a person’s attitude towards social problems? In our society, contrasting attitudes are prevalent about many social problems. What contrasting attitudes do you notice about the caste system in our society? How do you explain the existence of these contrasting attitudes? 2014

CIVIL SERVICES AND GOVERNANCE: GS 4 QUESTIONS

  • Emotional Intelligence-Concepts, and their Utilities and Application in Administration and Governance.
  • “Emotional Intelligence is the ability to make your emotions work for you instead of against you”. Do you agree with this view? Discuss. 2019
  • How will you apply emotional intelligence in administrative practices? 2017
  • Anger is a harmful negative emotion. It is injurious to both personal life and work life. (a) Discuss how it leads to negative emotions and undesirable behaviors. (b) How can hit be managed and controlled? 2016
  • Aptitude and Foundational Values for Civil Service, Integrity, Impartiality and Non-partisanship, Objectivity, Dedication to Public Service, Empathy, Tolerance and Compassion towards the weaker-sections.
    • What do you understand by the term ‘public servant’? Reflect on the expected role of public servant. 2019
    • In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And if they do not have the first, the other two will kill you.” – Warren Buffett

What do you understand by this statement in the present-day scenario? Explain. 2018

  • Examine the relevance of the following in the context of civil service: 2017

(a) Transparency

(b) Accountability

(c) Fairness and justice

(d) Courage of conviction

(e) Spirit of service

  • Why should impartiality and non-partisanship be considered as foundational values in public services, especially in the present day socio-political context? Illustrate your answer with examples. 2016
  • How do the virtues of trustworthiness and fortitude get manifested in public service? Explain with examples 2015
  • Public/Civil Service Values and Ethics in Public Administration:Status and Problems;
    • State the three basic values, universal in nature, in the context of civil services and bring out their importance. 2018
    • What is mean by public interest? What are the principles and procedures to be followed by the civil servants in public interest?  2018
    • Max Webar said that it is not wise to apply to public administration the sort of moral and ethical norms we apply to matters of personal conscience. It is important to realize that the state bureaucracy might possess its own independent bureaucratic morality.” Critically analyse this statement.  2016
    • Differentiate between the following (10 marks) (200 Words) 2015
      • Law and ethics
      • Ethical management and management of ethics
      • Discrimination and preferential treatment
      • Personal Ethics and Professional Ethics
    • Two different kinds of attitudes exhibited by public servants towards their work have been identified as bureaucratic attitudes and democratic attitude. 2015

(a) Distinguish between these two terms and write their merits and demerits.

(b) Is it possible to balance the two too create a better administration for the faster development of our country?

6) What does ethics seek to promote in human life? Why is it all the more important in public administration? 2014

Ethical Concerns and Dilemmas in Government and Private Institutions:

  • What is mean by conflict of interest? Illustrate with examples, the difference between the actual and potential conflicts of interest. 2018
  • Explain the process of resolving ethical dilemmas in Public Administration. 2018
  • Conflict of interest in the public sector arises when

(a) official duties,

(b) public interest, and

(c) personal interest

are taking priority one above the other.

How can this conflict in administration be resolved? Describe with an example. 2017

  • Public servants are likely to confront with the issues of “Conflict of Interest”. What do you understand by the term “Conflict of Interest” and how does it manifest in the decision making by public servants? If faced with the conflict of interest situation how would you resolve it? Explain with the help of examples. (10 Marks) (150 words) 2015

Laws, Rules, Regulations and Conscience as Sources of Ethical Guidance:

  • “In doing a good thing, everything is permitted which is not prohibited expressly or by clear implication”. Examine the statement with suitable examples in the context of a public servant discharging his/her duties.  2018
  • Without commonly shared and widely entrenched moral values and obligations, neither the law, nor democratic government, nor even the market economy will function properly.

What do you understand by this statement? Explain with illustration in contemporary times. 2017

  • Law and ethics are considered to be the two tools for controlling human conduct so as to make it conducive to civilized social existence. (a) Discuss how they achieve this objective. (b) Giving examples, show how the two differ in their approaches. 2016
  • “A mere compliance with law is not enough, the public servant also have to have a well developed sensibility to ethical issues for effective discharge of duties” Do you agree? Explain with the help of two examples where (i) an act is ethically right, but not legally and (ii) an act is legally right, but not ethically. 2015

Accountability and Ethical Governance:

  • The Right to Information Act is not all about citizens’ empowerment alone, it essentially redefines the concept of accountability. Discuss. (150 words) 2018
  • What do you understand by the terms ‘governance’, ‘good governance’ and ‘ethical governance’? 2016
  • What does ‘accountability’ mean in the context of public service? What measures can be adopted to ensure individual and collective accountability of public servants? 2014

Strengthening of Ethical and Moral Values in Governance:

  • Our attitudes towards life, work, other people and society are generally shaped unconsciously by the family and the social surroundings in which we grow up. Some of these unconsciously acquired attitudes and values are often undesirable in the citizens of a modern democratic and egalitarian society. (a) Discuss such undesirable values prevalent in Today’s educated Indians (b) How can such undesirable attitudes be changed and socioethical values considered necessary in public services be cultivated in the aspiring and serving civil servants? 2016
  • There is a heavy ethical responsibility on the public servants because they occupy positions of power, handle huge amounts of public funds, and their decisions have a wide-ranging impacts on society and the environment. What steps have you taken to improve your ethical competence to handle such responsibility? 2014

Ethical Issues in International Relations and Funding:

  • Strength, peace and security are considered to be the pillars of international relations. Elucidate. 2017
  • At the international level, bilateral relations between most nations are governed on the policy of promoting one’s own national interest without any regard for the interest of other nations. This lead to conflicts and tension between the nations. How can ethical considerations help resolve such tensions? Discuss with specific examples. 2015

 Corporate Governance: GS 4 QUESTIONS

Corporate social responsibility makes companies more profitable and sustainable. Analyze 2017

  • Probity in Governance: Concept of Public Service; Philosophical Basis of Governance and Probity;
    • What do you understand by probity in governance? Based on your understanding of the term, suggest measures for ensuring probity in government.  2019
    • What do you understand by ‘probity’ in public life? What are the difficulties in practicing it in the present times? How can these difficulties be overcome? 2014

Information Sharing and Transparency in Government: GS 4 QUESTIONS

Right to Information

  • There is a view that the Official Secrets Act is an obstacle to the implementation of Right to Information Act. Do you agree with the view? Discuss. 2019
  • Some recent developments such as the introduction of the RTI Act, media and judicial activism, etc. are proving helpful in bringing about greater transparency and accountability in the functioning of the government. However, it is also being observed that at times the mechanisms are misused. Another negative effect is that the officers are now afraid to take prompt decisions. Analyze the situation in detail and suggest how the dichotomy can be resolved. Suggest how these negative impacts can be minimized.

Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct: GS 4 QUESTIONS

  • Distinguish between “Code of ethics” and “Code of conduct” with suitable examples 2018
  • Discuss the Public Services Code as recommended by the 2nd Administrative Refroms Commission 2016

Citizen’s Charters: GS 4 QUESTIONS

Explain the basic principles of the citizens’ charter movement and bring out its importance. 2019

Work Culture: GS 4 QUESTIONS

  • Discipline generally implies following the order and subordination. However, it may be counter-productive for the organization. Discuss.2017

Quality of Service Delivery: GS 4 QUESTIONS

Utilization of Public Funds, Challenges of Corruption.

  • 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. 2019
  • “Non-performance of duty by a public servant is a form of corruption”. Do you agree with this view? Justify your answer. 2019
  • “Corruption causes misuse of government treasury, administrative inefficiency and obstruction in the path of national development.” Discuss Kautilya’s views. 2016
  • Today we find that in-spite of various measures of prescribing codes of conduct, setting up vigilance cells/commissions, RTI, active media and strengthening of legal mechanisms, corrupt practices are not coming under control. (10 Marks) (150 words)

(a) Evaluate the effectiveness of these measures with justifications

(b) Suggest more effective strategies to tackle this menace in 2015

  • It is often said that poverty leads to corruption. However, there is no dearth of instances where affluent and powerful people indulge in corruption in a big way. What are the basic causes of corruption among people? Support your answer with examples. 2014

 

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