Examine the relevance of the following in the context of civil service citing examples.: a)Probity ; b)Taking Accountability; c)Delegation; d)Developing Others; e)Consultation and Consensus Building (250 Words)

Mentor’s Comments:
Similar question was there in 2017. These values have been mentioned repeatedly in PM’s speeches and various government reports. Such values and many more need to be covered in good detail.

Answer

a) Probity
Probity is the indication of ethical behaviour in public life. It entails integrity, uprightness and honesty. It is the evidence of ethical behaviour, and can be defined as complete and confirmed integrity, uprightness and honesty.
Probity in governance is an essential and vital requirement for an efficient and effective system of governance and for socio-economic development. Requisites for ensuring probity in governance is absence of corruption, effective laws, rules and regulations, fair implementation of those laws, etc.
This requires discipline and unfortunately in India, discipline is disappearing fast. It is important to develop greater respect for laws and institutions while in public offices and not misuse them which seems to be a trend. Lack of probity gives rise to a culture of indiscipline and untruth.

b)Taking Accountability
Accountability refers to taking responsibility for the success and failure of initiatives.
As evident from many reports, from Ministers to Bureaucracy are reluctant to take up new initiatives due to the fear of activism by 4 Cs – CBI, CVC, Courts and CAG. This can come to an end if taking ownership for outcomes while addressing performance issues fairly and promptly becomes a norm rather than an exception. Accountability is very important when it comes to public servants. Accountability ensures that
-> Decisions are not made in a random fashion but have some reason behind them.
-> A civil servant must be able to justify all the decisions he takes.
-> Limits and controls discretionary powers.
-> Ethical conduct and prevents corruption.

For eg: Satish Dhawan was the chairman of ISRO during the first launch of SLV, the mission failed. He took the responsibility for failure. In the next attempt, when the launch was successful, he gave full credit to the team that had worked for it. Similarly, public servants need to take accountability for the actions done by them.

c)Delegation
Delegation refers to the transferring of responsibilities and tasks to others. Its basis is the principle of subsidiarity which holds that whatever can be done at a lower level must be done at that level and no higher level. Delegation has many advantages – it prevents concentration of power, leads to a more even distribution of responsibilities, acknowledges the importance of everyone in the ecosystem and leads to a culture where everyone is continuously learning and developing.
Many reports have highlighted that the bureaucracy fails to understand the importance of delegation and also the process of how to bring about it. Delegation of functions and responsibilities is important in civil services for effective and efficient functioning.
The biggest eg. of the same is the lack of devolution of funds, functions and functionaries in the Panchayati Raj. Instead of using the institutional structure already created, parallel structures have been created.

d)Developing Others
The attitude of not seeing oneself in isolation but as a part of a system which performs better if everyone in it upgrades their values and skills is the need of the hour.
As highlighted by various reports, lack of incentives and job security leads to complacency among government employees especially at the lower ranks .
Guidance and mentorship are one of the key elements that can turn employees into learners for life.
Leaders who genuinely believe in others’ capabilities to develop and take personal responsibility for their development. Creates a positive environment for continuous learning and provides developmental opportunities for individual and team.
Civil servants have to work in team. They should work as a part of team and work in a coordinated manner in order to achieve the desired objectives. The public servants through qualities like guidance and leadership can help others to be part of the system and thus work together.

e) Consultation and Consensus Building
Consultation, consensus building, deliberation, bottoms-up planning and participatory approach are the core values of a healthy democracy. It is a matter of great concern today that the institutions whose very foundation was deliberation are now mired in petty fights and avoidable logjams.
An approach that facilitates conversation, helps every stakeholder understand the other and appreciate the diversity is the need of the hour. Adherence to these principles are easier said than done.
1.Above all, they require patience.
2.Having the ability to listen and understand unspoken feelings and concerns of others.
3.Communicating in a language that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.
4.Non-partisanship.

Imbibing these qualities can produce tremendous results. From the passage of GST to the incidence where the Magistrate promoted caste harmonies are eg. of wonders that such tasks can achieve.

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