Ethics & Public Administration Strategy by Prabhat Malik AIR 68

Hi, I am Prabhat Malik and my rank in this year’s Civil Services Examination is 68.  Last year I got into Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax). I would like to share my strategy of General Studies and Public Administration Optional.

Since I have received maximum number of requests regarding my preparation for Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude paper, I shall begin with the same. My score in Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude paper is 123 marks.

In my first attempt, I did not take any coaching for this paper. I was just going through the study material of various institutes and got 93 marks.

For this year, I went to Pavan Kumar Sir from whom I have taken classes for Public Administration in my previous attempt. I have attended his classes for Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude and must say that it has benefited me. Here are the following tips for Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude which I have learnt from his classes and put into practice in the examination.

Ethics Integrity And Aptitude Paper Preparation

It is one paper that requires least amount of preparation and that can help us in getting maximum marks. What it requires is our ability to understand what is needed from examination point of view.

I have seen students reading hundreds of philosophers and getting literally drowned in it. It is our insecurity that makes us to do such things.

When I took classes, Sir had asked me to remove all my previous notions and ideas about this paper. It is one of those papers introduced by UPSC with the objective of testing the aptitude of candidates for Civil Services.

Civil Services require different kind of attitude and aptitude compared to other professions. Civil Servants are expected to be pro-active, dynamic, willing to take up challenges, lead the followers with high amount of honesty and integrity.

UPSC through this paper is trying to test whether we have those qualities or not. If we look at this year (2014) and previous year (2013) questions, it is very much clear that there is no structured preparation for this examination.

It does not require any in-depth knowledge of either philosophers or philosophies. Nor do we need to study psychology. It expects us to have basic understanding of the contributions of some important philosophers and more importantly it is our ability to use the knowledge in our day-to-day life.

For example, a civil servant is expected to be honest, have integrity and work selflessly. If we have to write the same thing in the examination, we will mention important philosophers like Emanuel Kant and others who strongly advocated that human beings should look for ultimate happiness and it can be gained only through selfless work and with right intentions.

Or we can talk about Mahatma Gandhi who strongly believed that means are as important as ends.

What really matters is not our knowledge of those philosophers or philosophies but our ability to link them to the questions that are asked in the examination. Pavan Sir’s contribution lies in the fact that he has dealt with these things in such a simple manner that it becomes very easy for us to put them into practice.

As far as the case studies are concerned, Sir has strongly mentioned that it is not about doing 100 case studies or 1000 case studies. It is about our ability to come out with solutions irrespective of what the case study is. He has given us a structure on how to tackle them.

Because of time and space constraint, I am not able elaborate them in an extensive manner but I can say that for every case study, we should look at it from three different dimensions viz.

  • Administrative dimension,
  • philosophical angle and
  • psychological impact.

With this we can come out with best solution any of the case studies.

Here are some important tips for Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude Paper

  1. Ethics is not about reading 100 philosophers or philosophies.
  2. It is about having right aptitude and attitude.
  3. It is not about doing 100 case studies.
  4. It is about understanding situations and responding to them.
  5. It is one subject which requires least amount of effort.
  6. It requires a good heart than an intelligent brain.
  7. It is not about efficiency but about having right kind of values. Because values can ensure efficiency and not vice versa.
  8. It requires administrative aptitude.
  9. Knowledge of administration is necessary.
  10. It is about understanding the soul of administration.

Public Administration

Since many have written extensively about Public Administration, I believe that I don’t have to repeat everything that has already been written. Here I am, for the convenience of students, providing the links to the blogs of Anay Dwivedi and Rahul Pandy who have extensively written about Public Administration. I also have seen the write-up of Arpit Sagar also.

  1. Anay Dwivedi blog:
  2. Rahul Pandey blog:
  3. Arpit Sagar:

Apart from the above, I would like to mention the following about Public Administration.

  1. Paper I of Public Administration is not about thinkers but about their thoughts.
  2. It is not possible to remember all thinkers either new or old or in between.
  3. What is required in answering questions is our ability to understand the statement and explaining it in as simple language as possible.
  4. It is a fallacy that we should write only what the thinkers have said, what UPSC expects from us is our ability to interpret their ideas and not reproduce them blindly.
  5. The statement may be about one thinker but we must be in a position to link his thoughts to other thinkers also.
  6. We should always remember that UPSC gives us marks for applying their thoughts to Indian Administration.
  7. Linking the thoughts to current events in Indian Administration is what is required for this examination. We must have complete hold over current developments in polity, administration, economy, culture, development and international institutions and finance.
  8. Answer writing is key to success. One must practice answer writing and it is not about writing more answers or attending more Test Series. It is about improving quality of answers.
  9. Always write in points. It is easy to ensure that you are not repeating yourself in your answers.
  10. Read less number of books with more clarity.

I hope the above should help the students in preparing well for this paper.

I am happy to receive feedback and try to answer as many questions as possible. For your information, I will be meeting aspirants in Pavan Sir’s institute on Sunday, 30th August for a Seminar on Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude & Public Administration. You can come and directly interact with me there in the seminar.

Wishing all of you best of luck!

Prabhat Malik.

AIR 68

Disclaimer: The views, tips and strategy provided  in this article strictly belong to the author.

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