Importance of ethics


The article, “Teaching ethics to aspiring civil servants” (November 7), clearly expresses the anguish and the shame felt by a retired officer. There is an age-old saying in India that habits of childhood last for a lifetime. Therefore, teaching ethics should start from childhood. Many people who pass the civil service examination and other demanding tests often feel on top of the world and have little inclination to listen to any talk on ethics.

I joined a public sector enterprise back in the 1960s as an executive trainee, and during the selection we had a session with a psychometrician. A candidate ahead of me came out in two minutes saying that after two questions, the psychometrician called him a liar and sent him out. That did not mean that all those who got selected were honest later.

Many pay commissions, both Central and State, have awarded hefty pay hikes to government employees justifying it on the ground of encouraging honesty, but forgetting that there is no ceiling to greed. Corruption can be tackled by teaching ethics from a young age.

Mathew Gainneos,


There is a great erosion of ethics in our bureaucracy. The ‘Ethics’ paper introduced in 2013 for the civil service mains examination must be given more weightage and backed by a practical test at the interview stage. Probationers and experienced bureaucrats must be put under a ‘continuous evaluation on code of conduct’ to deter malpractices. There must be stringent punishment for the wrong-doers.

Anjali B.,


What does one do when an officer scores high marks in ‘Ethics Integrity and Aptitude’ and later turns out to be a bad apple? This raises questions on whether the socialisation that we go through inculcates some sense of ethics within us. Can we undo what we learn over a period of time at a later stage? Why can’t we introduce ethics at the primary education level?

Atul Kriti,

New Delhi

Moral integrity is the bedrock of the civil service. Civil servants are like steel pillars and help give strength to policy framework and its implementation. They are also the torch-bearers of major transformations. In short, there is a need to push for virtuousness in budding public officials during their training. We must ensure that every individual who undergoes training as a probationary officer must emerge as a person with sustained integrity throughout his/her service. For this, the government has to come up with all measures and reforms in the training methods.

Diksha Pant,

Dehradun, Uttarakhand

Training is only the beginning and initiation to the job a civil servant is about to execute. The guidance of senior officers is absolutely necessary in every field of administration. But in today’s scenario, integrity is always sacrificed at the altar of power politics. Ultimately, it all depends on the moral fabric of the individual. We only wish that people at the helm of affairs follow the dictum, Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.

A. Panneerselvam,


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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 10:22:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/importance-of-ethics/article19999862.ece

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