[Answered] “The major challenge faced by civil servants is to maintain their integrity and efficiency while serving in a system that deals with power play and corruption.” Comment.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Immense Powers and responsibilities of civil servants. Why integrity is important and a challenge in civil services?
Conclusion. Way forward.

Integrity is often equated with courage. Courage to stay with morals and values when one have immense power in hands and when  system can turn into corrupt system. Integrity may also be interpreted as work ethic, to get the right things done for the community.

Immense Powers and responsibilities of civil servants:

  1. In India’s democracy, the ultimate responsibility for running the administration rests with the civil servants. They are expected to deal personally with the manifold problems of modern administration.
  2. Civil servants are empowered with security of tenure and provided with powers of decision making for community welfare.
  3. They have powers to make important appointments and maintain law and order at local level.
  4. They have power to implement policies at ground level for welfare of the people.
  5. They are provided with powers to monitor financial resources wrt monitoring and implementing policies on the ground.
  6. Among the members of the civil services are administrators in the central government and state government, emissaries in the foreign missions/embassies, tax collectors and revenue commissioners etc. with immense powers.
  7. Civil servants are the actual makers of Indian law and policy. They work on behalf of the elected government. It is mandatory for them to form certain rules and policies according to the government’s views and interests.
  8. They cannot be removed by any state or central government, but can only be retired.

Why integrity is important and a challenge in civil services?

  1. Integrity is the fundamental moral concept in civil services. It is an important basis of ethical behaviour and ethical competency.
  2. With such immense powers it often leads to conflict of interest between personal gains and benefits.
  3. Often with power of financial resources, low integrity lead to corruption.
  4. It is associated with the value of being honest and maintain strong moral principles.
  5. Integrity includes financial integrity, professional integrity and intellectual integrity.
  6. The notion of integrity has to do with perceived steadiness of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcome.
  7. They stand up for their best judgement within a community of people trying to discover what in life is worth doing.
  8. With reference to accountability, integrity serves as a measure of willingness to adjust value system to maintain or improve its consistency when an expected result appears incongruent with observed outcome.

For an individual, it is professional duty and obligation which determine his professional integrity. This means conducting professional relationship and activities fairly, honestly, legally, and in conformance with the professional code of ethics. Thus integrity is the about fostering the ethical behaviour throughout an institutions through personal example, management practices and ethical training.

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