2014’S PAPER WAS LITTERED WITH CORRUPTION THEMED QUESTIONS
Many candidates couldn’t complete the paper on time, or had to compromise with content or quality in the last 3-4 questions.
Many found the paper to be boring and tedious because ~40-50% of the paper centered on just single theme of ‘corruption-probity’, so they had to repeat and recycle the same points throughout paper.
Personal opinion or experience
What does happiness mean to you?
How do you apply teachings of an eminent personality?
How will you improve your ethical competence?
How will you make yourself trustworthy?
Patriotism in civilian life?
Why ethics important?
Why probity difficult?
Proverbs / Quotes
integrity vs. knowledge
means vs. ends
feasible strategies for sustainable Development
why people migrate
case1:your friend preparing UPSC
case2:Rameshwar the uptight UPSC topper.
case3:no bribe no contract.
case4:corrupt subordinates file bogus rape complaint against you.
Poverty leads to corruption?
Meaning of accountability in public service?
Caste system and contrasting attitudes
How to stop sexual-violence against women
UPSC Mains Ethics Paper (GS4): 2013 vs. 2014
Comparison of 2013 and 2014’s papers
In this Ethics paper, UPSC didn’t follow uniform word length rule (i.e. 1 mark=20 words). Instead, for some questions 10 marks=150 words, for others 200 words and so on. There is one case study even requiring 300 words for 25 marks.
Uniform rules followed.
Every descriptive question worth 10 marks and 150 words.
Every case study worth 250 words.
you’re asked to comment on quotes by great thinkers- Gandhi, Lincoln, Aristotle
Quotes are given but no specific thinker name given.
Six Case studies worth 125 marks.
Six case studies but marks reduced to 120.
“Term vs definition” type questions for five marks each.
10 marks shortnotes on importance of ethics and obstacles against probity.
25% of questions were copied from the sample paper uploaded by UPSC, before mains.
from the same sample paper, UPSC asked following questions:
Which great Indian personality has inspired you the most as a role model….? 10 marks.
favorite theme of “finish on Deadline” and “reporting sick” questions found in both CSAT decision making as well as Mains case studies.
At least that lunacy is over. No questions or case studies on finish deadline or report sick. But then again, it’s now replaced with ‘corruption’ themed questions and case studies.
You’re CEO, your marketing guy doing sexual harassment of a colleague.
Yourself facing a bogus sexual harassment complaint.
Instructions for Mains Ethics 2014 paper
Time Allowed : Three Hours Maximum Marks : 250
QUESTION PAPER SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS (Please read each of the following instructions carefully before attempting questions)
There are FOURTEEN questions divided in two Sections and printed both in HINDI and in ENGLISH.
All questions are compulsory.
The number of marks carried by a question/part is indicated against it.
Answers must be written in the medium authorized in the Admission Certificate which must be stated clearly on the cover of this Question-cum-Answer (QCA) Booklet in the space provided. No marks will be given for answers written in medium other than the authorized one.
Word limit in questions, wherever specified, should be adhered to.
Any page or portion of the page left blank in the Question-cum-Answer Booklet must be clearly struck off.
Answer questions in NOT MORE than the word limit specified for each in the parenthesis. Content of the answer is more important than its length.
SECTION—A (Bol-bachchan Questions) 130m
Each of the following question is worth 10 marks and 150 words.
All human beings aspire for happiness. Do you agree? What does happiness mean to you? Explain with examples.
What does ethics seek to promote in human life? Why is it all the more important in public administration?
In the context of defence 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.
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?
“Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, but knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.” What do you understand by this statement? Explain your stand with illustrations from the modern context.
“Human beings should always be treated as ‘ends’ in themselves and never as merely `means’.” Explain the meaning and significance of this statement, giving its implications in the modern techno-economic society.
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.
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 wide-ranging impact on society and environment. What steps have you taken to improve your ethical competence to handle such responsibility?
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 the personal level to make yourself trustworthy?
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.
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?
What does ‘accountability’ mean in the context of public service? What measures can be adopted to ensure individual and collective accountability of public servants?
We are witnessing increasing instances of sexual violence against women in the country. Despite existing legal provisions against it, the number of such incidences is on the rise. Suggest some innovative measures to tackle this menace.
SECTION—B (Stupid case studies) 120m
Case: Environment degradation (20m)
Now-a-days, there is an increasing thrust on economic development all around the globe. At the same time, there is also an increasing concern about environmental degradation caused by development. Many a time, we face a direct conflict between developmental activity and environmental quality. It is neither feasible to stop or curtail the development process, nor it is advisable to keep degrading the environment, as it threatens our very survival.
Discuss some feasible strategies which could be adopted to eliminate this conflict and which could lead to sustainable development.250 words
Case: Ethics not essential (20m)
Suppose one of your close friends, who is also aspiring for civil services, comes to you for discussing some of the issues related to ethical conduct in public service. He raises the following points :
In the present times, when unethical environment is quite prevalent, individual attempts to stick to ethical principles may cause a lot of problems in one’s career. It may also cause hardship to the family members as well as risk to one’s life. Why should we not be pragmatic and follow the path of least resistance, and be happy with doing whatever good we can?
When so many people are adopting wrong means and are grossly harming the system, what difference would it make if only a small minority tries to be ethical? They are going to be rather ineffective and are bound to get frustrated.
If we become fussy about ethical considerations, will it not hamper the economic progress of our country? After all, in the present age of high competition, we cannot afford to be left behind in the race of development.
It is understandable that we should not get involved in grossly unethical practices, but giving and accepting small gratifications and doing small favours increases everybody’s motivation. It also makes the system more efficient. What is wrong in adopting such practices?
Critically analyze the above viewpoints. On the basis of this analysis, what will be your advice to your friend? 250 words.
Case: Bogus rape complaint (20m)
You are a no-nonsense, honest officer. You have been transferred to a remote district to head a department that is notorious for its inefficiency and callousness. You find that the main cause of the poor state of affairs is the indiscipline of a section of employees. They do not work themselves and also disrupt the working of others. You first warned the troublemakers to mend their ways or else face disciplinary action. When the warning had little effect, you issued a show cause notice to the ringleaders. As a retaliatory measure, these troublemakers instigated a woman employee amongst them to file a complaint of sexual harassment against you with the Women’s Commission. The Commission promptly seeks your explanation. The matter is also publicized in the media to embarrass you further. Some of the options to handle this situation could be as follows :
Give your explanation to the Commission and go soft on the disciplinary action.
Ignore the Commission and proceed firmly with the disciplinary action.
Brief your higher-ups, seek directions from them and act accordingly.
Suggest any other possible option(s). Evaluate all of them and suggest the best course of action, giving your reasons for it.
Case: give bribe or end career (20m)
Suppose you are the CEO of a company that manufactures specialized electronic equipment used by a government department. You have submitted your bid for the supply of this equipment to the department. Both the quality and cost of your offer are better than those of the competitors. Yet the concerned officer is demanding a hefty bribe for approving the tender. Getting the order is important both for you and for your company. Not getting the order would mean closing a production line. It may also affect your own career. However, as a value-conscious person, you do not want to give bribe.
Valid arguments can be advanced both for giving the bribe and getting the order, and for refusing to pay the bribe and risking the loss of the order. What those arguments could be? Could there be any better way to get out of this dilemma? If so outline the main elements of this third way, pointing out its merits.250 words.
Case: disillusioned UPSC topper (20m)
Rameshwar successfully cleared the prestigious civil services examination and was excited about the opportunity that he would get through the civil services to serve the country. However, soon after joining the services, he realized that things are not as rosy as he had imagined.
He found a number of malpractices prevailing in the department assigned to him. For example, funds under various schemes and grants were being misappropriated. The official facilities were frequently being used for personal needs by the officers and staff. After some time, he noticed that the process of recruiting the staff was also not up to the mark. Prospective candidates were required to write an examination in which a lot of cheating was going on. Some candidates were provided external help in the examination. Rameshwar brought these incidents to the notice of his seniors. However, he was advised to keep his eyes, ears and mouth shut and ignore all these things which were taking place with the connivance of the higher-ups. Rameshwar felt highly disillusioned and uncomfortable. He comes to you seeking your advice.
Indicate various options that you think are available in this situation. How would you help him to evaluate these options and choose the most appropriate path to be adopted? 250 words.
Case: Why villagers migrate? (20m)
In our country, the migration of rural people to towns and cities is increasing drastically. This is causing serious problems both in the rural as well as in the urban areas. In fact, things are becoming really unmanageable. Can you analyze this problem in detail and indicate not only the socio-economic but also the emotional and attitudinal factors responsible for this problem? Also, distinctly bring out why—
Educated rural youth are trying to shift to urban areas;
Landless poor people are migrating to urban slums;
Even some farmers are selling off their land and trying to settle in urban areas taking up petty jobs.
What feasible steps can you suggest which will be effective in controlling this serious problem of our country?
None. I discontinued [Ethics] series a long time ago (Mrunal.org/ethics) and have don’t see anything asked from there. There are enough [Wikipedia-cut-paste] books in the market to get you the basic coverage for thinkers and fodder for descriptive questions + blogs likeGaurav Agrawal, to get the idea of how to write answers for case studies. visitMrunal.org/downloadfor more papers.
Economic survey summary, budget announcement about 3P India.
Moderate To Difficult
Randomly surfaced during budget, Road safety bill.
FDI in defense
TheHindu had gone crazier than usual about this issue. So did all the communists- because of Israeli and American companies.
science career not lucrative
Same as above. Been repeatedly in Hindu columns, after Government made scientists teach a few hours in school every year, INSPIRE scheme etc.)
As such topic emerged in 2010s- when Lancet journal blamed “superbug” on India’s lax antibiotic regime. later in 2011 due to MDR-TB, then in late 2013s when Government’s move to make compulsory prescription rules for antibiotics. Topic resurfaced again in Mid-2014 whenWHO said its big problem,and expertsdemanded separate body.
IPR, Copyrights, Trade secret
Easy To Moderate
theory topic but resurfaced in current after Modi’s Make in India policy promised to reform all three of them.
साला इतना डिटेल में कोन प्रिपेर करता है? [Who prepares in this much detail?] As such points can be ‘invented’ but question requires specific discussion on the said guidelines. Survey and Budget speech mentioned El-Nino preparedness but they mostly threw factual statistics hard to recall in exam.
EIA for pithead plants
in Mid to late 2013, topic was in news because CIL demanding Government permission from this while states demanding free power from such units, saying pithead plants = pollution, fly ash content, health hazards.
But overall no hardcore points. Candidates have to ‘invent’ the points during exam hall
Been in news after ISIS & Al-Qaeda threat to India and US report on counter-terror measures in India
The context of “space above airspace” is China’s anti-satellite missile testing in July 2014 (and previously in 2007). But difficult to assemble points because question framed from legal-academic point of view.
Been in news for a long time due to election speeches of Modi and issue of Rohingya migrants
Talks were on going since mid-2013s, but official launch news appeared in 1st Dec’14 Hindu. Moral of the story: one should keep reading it even if exam is near
Only one question from theory. 19 questions are of current / contemporary nature, and majority of them appeared in theHindu. Therefore, one should keep habit of reading newspaper on daily basis and maintaining notes out of it, particularly the ‘fodder’ type points from columns.
Majority of questions, essay-ish type with moderate to difficult level- requiring you to brainstorm for points.
Facts, figures, salient features are important for CSAT but gave negligible benefit for Mains-2014.
Verbose questions. For example:Environmental impact assessment studies are increasingly undertaken before project is cleared by the government.Discuss the environmental impacts of coal-fired thermal plants located at Pitheads.
It could be simply asked as “Discuss the environmental impacts of coal-fired thermal plants located at Pitheads.” Opening statement of the statement (shown above in bold) is redundant. Same in many questions. UPSC could save a lot of paper by avoiding such bol-bachchan-giri.
2013 vs 2014
Some continuity while lots of changes
25 questions, 250 words each
20 questions, 200 words each. Length reduced, at least in theory.
Economy question less complicated. Just have to rewrite the mugged up points for FRBM, GST, Companies act etc.
Required broad grasp and brain-storming for points. e.g. strategies for urban transport, using technology for agriculture finance and so on.
two questions related to economy laws: companies bill, and FRBM
Just one- land acquisition act.
Questions on budget and taxation worth 30 marks.
impact of liberalization asked
FDI in multibrand retail asked for 10 marks
FDI in defense asked for 12.5 marks
Public health:Fixed drug combination, Glivec.
Public health:Antibiotic resistance. Although Ebola not asked.
Science tech portion focused on factual awareness such as 3D printing, FRP composite material, Umpire decision review system.
Essay-ish questions asked this time.
Nothing from ISRO-MARS, IRNSS-C and truckload of other inventions and gadgets.
Nothing from cropping pattern, irrigation system
nothing from e-technology for farmer
nothing from ‘economics of animal rearing’
nothing from linkages of organized crime with terrorism
nothing from ‘mandates of various security forces’
Ignored despite all the election speeches, G20 BEPS, Supreme court SIT, P-notes, Hedge funds. But then again, 2013’s question asked entire overview, so hardly anything new left to ask.
Internal security in 50 marks.
Weightage and complexity both increased- questions like space above airspace, high risk piracy. and even latest current affairs
anyways, let’s check the paper.
INSTRUCTIONS for General studies paper-3 (GS3)
Duration 3 hours. Total marks 250.
There are TWENTY (20) questions printed both in HINDI and ENGLISH.
Answer the questions in NOT MORE THAN 200 words each. Contents of the answer is more important than its length. All questions carry equal marks.
All the questions are compulsory.
Answers must be written in the medium authorized in the Admission Certificate which must be stated clearly on the cover of this Question-cum-Answer (QCA) Booklet in the space provided. No marks will be given for answers written in a medium other than the authorized one.
Word limit in questions, wherever specified, should be adhered to.
Any page or portion of the page left blank in the answer book must be clearly struck off.
Economy (5 Qs | 62.5 marks)
Normally countries shift from agriculture to industry and then later to services, but India shifted directly from agriculture to services. What are the reasons for the huge growth of services vis-a-vis industry in the country? Can India become a developed country without a strong industrial base?
While we found India’s demographic dividend, we ignore the dropping rates of employability. What are we missing while doing so? Where will the jobs that India desperately needs come from? Explain.
The right to fair compensation and transparency land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement act, 2013 has come into effect from 1 January 2014. What implication would it have on industrialization and agriculture in India?
Capitalism has guided the world economy to unprecedented prosperity. However, it often encourages shortsightedness and contributes to wide disparities between the rich and the poor. In this light, would it be correct to believe and adopt capitalism driving inclusive growth in India? Discuss. (Statement lifted from Business-world column, 27thJune 2014)
Foreign direct investment in the defence sector is now said to be liberalized. What influence this is expected to have on Indian defence and economy in the short and long run?
Explain how private public partnership agreements, in longer gestation infrastructure projects, can transfer unsuitable liabilities to the future. What arrangements need to be put in place to ensure that successive generations’ capacities are not compromised?
National urban transport policy emphasizes on moving people instead of moving vehicles. Discuss critically the success of various strategies of the government in this regard.
Agriculture (2 Qs | 25 marks)
There is also a point of view that agriculture produce market committees (APMCs) set up under the state acts have not only impeded the development of agriculture but also have been the cause of food inflation in India. Critically examine.
“In the villages itself no form of credit organisation will be suitable except the cooperative society.” – All Indian rural credit survey. Discuss this statement in the background of agriculture finance in India. What constrain and challenges do financial institutions supplying agricultural finances? How can technology be used to better reach and serve rural clients?
Science Tech (3 Qs | 37.5 marks)
Can overuse and the availability of antibiotics without doctor’s prescription, the contributors to the emergence of drug-resistant diseases in India? What are the available mechanisms for monitoring and control? Critically discuss the various issues involved.
Scientific research in Indian universities is declining, because a career in science is not as attractive as our business operations, engineering or administration, and the universities are becoming consumer oriented. Critically comment.
In a globalised world, intellectual property rights assume significance and are a source of litigation. Broadly distinguish between the terms – copyrights, patents and trade secrets.
Environment (3 Qs | 37.5 marks)
Should the pursuit of carbon credit and clean development mechanism set up under UNFCCC be maintained even through there has been a massive slide in the value of carbon credit? Discuss with respect to India’s energy needs for economic growth. Issue discussed inBusiness world 21st January 2014, and sufficient bullets available
Drought has been recognized as a disaster in view of its party expense, temporal duration, slow onset and lasting effect on various vulnerable sections. With a focus on the September 2010 guidelines from the National disaster management authority, discuss the mechanism for preparedness to deal with the El Nino and La Nina fallouts in India.
Environmental impact assessment studies are increasingly undertaken before project is cleared by the government. Discuss the environmental impacts of coal-fired thermal plants located at Pitheads.
Security (5 Qs | 62.5 marks)
The diverse nature of India as a multi-religious and multi-ethnic society is not immune to the impact of radicalism which has been in her neighborhood. Discuss along with the strategies to be adopted to counter this environment. (Been in news after Al-Qaeda threat to India and US report on counter-terror measures in India).
International civil aviation laws provide all countries complete and exclusive severity over the airspace above the territory. What do you understand by airspace? What are the implications of these laws on the space above this airspace? Discuss the challenges which this poses and suggests ways to contain the threat.
How illegal transborder migration does pose a threat to India’s security? Discuss the strategies to curb this, bring out the factors which give impetus to such migration. (Been in news for a long time due to election speeches of Modi and issue of Rohingya migrants.)
In 2012, the longitudinal marking of the high-risk areas for piracy was moved from 65° East to 78° east in the Arabian Sea by International Maritime organisation. What impact does this have on India’s maritime security concerns? (Statement resurfaced Hindu14/Jan/14but not much hardcore points. Same withNewIndianexpress)
China and Pakistan have entered into an agreement for development of an economic corridor. What thread does it dispose for India’s security? Critically examine. (Talks were on going since mid-2013s, but official launch news appeared in 1stDec’14 Hindu. Moral of the story: one should keep reading it even if exam is near.)
Since UPSC did not ask straightforward questions such as salient features of agro-forestry, Mars missions, IRNSS-C, cyclone hudhud, biotechnology, tonnes of stupid IT-electronics and space inventions. Hence a Lot of hard-labour gone to waste from my side in writing, and from your side in memorizing them.
But in economy-agriculture-security portion, there was good amount of material scattered around.
first question has two sub-questions:
Why services fare better than (mfg) industries.
Can India become developed without focusing on industries?
Nachiket identifiedthe problems faced by financial institutions: (1) debt waiver making farmers indisciplined, (2) the ‘middleman’ model failed (3) March rush (4) loans cornered by rich farmers in rich states benefiting. (5) and Rajan bhai identified banking correspondence agentsplaying mischief, hence can’t trusted with loan papers.
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