Menu Close

2021 Ethics Case Studies

Que 1]

Sunil is a young civil servant and has a reputation for his competence, integrity, dedication and relentless pursuit of difficult and onerous jobs. Considering his profile, he was picked up by his bosses to handle a very challenging and sensitive assignment. He was posted in a tribal-dominated district notorious for illegal sand mining. Excavating sand from the river belt and transporting it through trucks and selling it in the black market was rampant. This illegal sand mining mafia was operating with the support of local functionaries and tribal musclemen who in turn were bribing selected poor tribals and had kept the tribals under fear and intimidation. Sunil being a sharp and energetic officer immediately grasped the ground realities and the modus operandi followed by the mafia through their devious and dubious mechanism. On making inquiries, he gathered that some of their office employees are in hands and gloves with them and have developed a close unholy nexus. Sunil initiated stringent action against them and started conducting raids on their illegal operations of movement of trucks filled with sand. The mafia got rattled as not many officers in the past had taken such steps against the mafia. Some of the office employees who were allegedly close to the mafia informed them that the officer was determined to clean up the mafia’s illegal sand mining operations in the district and may cause them irreparable damage. The mafia turned hostile and launched a counter-offensive. The tribal musclemen and mafia started threatening him with dire consequences. His family (wife and old mother) were stalked and were under virtual surveillance and thus causing mental torture, agony, and stress to all of them. The matter assumed serious proportions when a muscleman came to his office and threatened him to stop raids, etc., otherwise, his fate would not be different than some of his predecessors (ten years back one officer was killed by the mafia).

Identify the different options available to Sunil in attending to this situation.

Critically evaluate each of the options listed by you.

Which of the above, do you think, would be the most appropriate for Sunil to adopt and why? (Answer in 250 words)

Que 2]

You are the Vice Principal of a degree college in one of the middle–class towns. The Principal has recently retired and management is looking for his replacement. There are also feelers that the management may promote you as Principal. In the meantime, during the annual examination, the flying squad came from the university and caught two students red-handedly involved in unfair means. A senior lecturer of the college was personally helping these students in this act. This senior lecturer also happens to be close to the management. One of the students was the son of a local politician who was responsible in getting the college affiliated to the present reputed university. The second student was the son of a local businessman who had donated maximum funds for running of the college. You immediately informed the management regarding this unfortunate incident. The management told you to resolve the issue with the flying squad at any cost. They further said that such incidents will not only tarnish the image of the college but also the politicians and businessmen are very important personalities for the functioning of the college. You were also given hint that your further promotion to Principal depends on your capability to resolve this issue with the flying squad. In the meantime, you were intimated by your administrative officer that certain members of the student union are protesting outside the college gate against the senior lecturer and the students involved in this incident and demanding strict action against defaulters.

Discuss the ethical issues involved in the case.

Critically examine the options available to you as Vice Principal. What option will you adopt and why? (Answer in 250 words)

Que 3]

An elevated corridor is being constructed to reduce traffic congestion in the capital of a particular state. You have been selected as project manager of this prestigious project on your professional competence and experience. The deadline is to complete the project in the next two years by 20 June 2021, since this project is to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister before the elections are announced in the second week of July 2021. While carrying out the surprise inspection by the inspecting team, a minor crack was noticed in one of the piers of the elevated corridor possibly due to poor material used. You immediately informed the chief engineer and stopped further work. It was assessed by you that a minimum of three piers of the elevated corridor have to be demolished demolished and reconstructed. However, this process will delay the project minimum by four to six months. However, the chief engineer overruled the observation of the inspecting team on the ground that it was a minor crack that would not in any way impact the strength and durability of the bridge. He ordered you to oversee the observation of the inspecting team and continue working with the same speed and tempo. He informed you that the minister does not want any delay as he wants the chief Minister to inaugurate the elevated corridor before the elections are declared. Also inform you that the contractor is far relative of the minister and he wants him to finish the project. He also gave you a hint that your further promotion as an additional chief engineer is under consideration with the ministry. However, you strongly felt that the minor crack in the pier of the elevated corridor would adversely affect the health and life of the bridge and therefore it would be very dangerous not to repair the elevated corridor.

Under the given conditions, what are the options available to you as a project manager?

What are the ethical dilemmas being faced by the project manager?

What are the professional challenges likely to be faced by the project manager and his response to overcome such challenges?

What can be the consequences of overlooking the observation raised by the inspecting team? (Answer in 250 words)

Que 4]

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has quickly spread to various countries. As on May 8th, 2020, in India, 56342 positive cases of corona had been reported. India with a population of more than 1-35 billion had difficulty in controlling the transmission of coronavirus among its population. Multiple strategies became necessary to handle this outbreak. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India raised awareness about this outbreak and took all necessary actions to control the spread of COVID-19. Indian Government implemented a 55-day lockdown throughout the country to reduce the transmission of the virus. Schools and colleges have shifted to alternative modes of teaching-learning evaluation and certification. Online mode has become popular during these days. India was not prepared for the sudden onslaught of such a crisis due to limited infrastructure in terms of human resources, money, and other facilities needed to take care of this situation. This disease did not spare anybody irrespective of caste, creed, or religion on the one hand and have and have not on the other. Deficiencies in hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, ambulances, hospital staff, and crematorium were the most crucial aspects You are a hospital administrator in a public hospital at a time when coronavirus had attacked large numbers of people and patients were pouring into hospitals day in and day out.

What are your criteria and justification for putting your clinical and non-clinical staff to attend to the patients knowing fully well that it is a highly infectious disease and resources and infrastructure are limited?

If yours is a private hospital, whether your justification and decision would remain the same as that of a public hospital? (Answer in 250 words)

Que 5]

A Reputed food product company based in India developed a food product for the international market and started exporting the same after getting the necessary approvals. The company announced this achievement and also indicated that soon the product will be made available for domestic consumers with almost sane quality and health benefits. Accordingly, the company got its product approved by the domestic competent authority and launched the product in the Indian market. The company could increase its market share over a period of time and earn substantial profit both domestically and internationally. However, the random sample test conducted by the inspecting team found the product being sold domestically at variance with the approval obtained from the competent authority. On further investigation, it was also discovered that the food company was not only selling products that were not meeting the health standards of the country but also selling the rejected export products in the domestic market. This episode adversely affected the reputation and profitability of the food company.

What action do you visualize should be taken by the competent authority against the food company for violating the laid down domestic food standard and selling rejected export products in the domestic market?

What course of action is available with the food company to resolve the crisis and bring back its lost reputation?

Examine the ethical dilemma involved in the case. (Answer in 250 words)

Que 6]

Pawan is working as an officer in the State Government for the last ten years. As a part of a routine transfer, he was posted to another department. He joined in a new office along with five other colleagues. The head of the office was a senior officer conversant with the functioning of the office. As a part of the general inquiry, Pawan gathered that his senior officer carries the reputation of being a difficult and insensitive person having his own disturbed family life. Initially, all seemed to go well. However, after some time Pawan felt that the senior officer was belittling him and at times unreasonable. Whatever suggestions given or views expressed by Pawan in the meetings were summarily rejected and the senior officer would express displeasure in the presence of others. It became a pattern of the boss’s style of functioning to show him in a bad light highlighting his shortcomings and humiliating him publicly. It became apparent that though there were no serious work-related problems/shortcomings, the senior officer was always on one pretext or the other and would scold and shout at him. The continuous harassment and public criticism of Pawan resulted in the loss of confidence, self-esteem, and equanimity. Pawan realized that his relations with his senior officer were becoming more toxic and due to this, he felt perpetually tensed, anxious, and stressed. His mind was occupied with negativity which caused him mental torture, anguish, and agony. Eventually, it badly affected his personal and family life. He was no longer joyous, happy, and contented event home. Rather without any reason, he would lose his temper with his wife and other family members. The family environment was no longer pleasant and congenial. His wife who was always supportive to him also became a victim of his negativity and hostile behavior. Due to harassment and humiliation suffered by him in the office, comfort and happiness virtually vanished from his life. Thus it damaged his physical and mental health.

What are the options available to Pawan to cope with the situation?

What approach Pawan should adopt to bring peace, tranquillity, and a congenial environment in the office and home?

As an outsider, what are your Suggestions for both boss and subordinate to overcome this situation and for improving the work performance, and mental and emotional hygiene?

In the above scenario, what type of training would you suggest for at various levels in the government offices? (Answer in 250 words) 

UPSC Prelims PYQ Book Image
UPSC Prelims PYQ Book
  • Collection of more than 3200 Previous Year Questions (1995-2023)
  • All questions divided into 10 Subjects
  • Subject further sub-divided into more than 75 topics
  • All answers according to official answer key
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments