- What factors influence probity? And how does the deterioration of public institutions impact probity levels? (Answer in 150 words)
- “The essence of happy life and peaceful society lies in one sentence: What can I give?”—APJ Abdul Kalam. (Answer in 150 words)
1. What factors influence probity? And how does the deterioration of public institutions impact probity levels? (10 Marks)
- Probity is the quality of having strong moral principles, honesty and decency being among them. Probity in governance is a cornerstone for good governance.
- Probity in governance is determined by the value system and moral stature of public servants and politicians. Ethical leadership can inspire change from the top down, by
leading in an exemplary manner. Eg. Nehru who took stern action against corrupt Parliamentarians despite law having loopholes to accommodate them.
- Code of conduct defines the level and nature of probity expected. Effective enforcement of the code turns out to be the main determinant. Because just having a code is meaningless, it must also be enforced.
- In practical terms, personnel management factors like rewards, promotions also encourage probity.
- Finally, the level of demand for probity from people has a strong role. The rise in transparency due to RTI improved probity which is an outcome of people’s efforts for the same.
- Thus, we can understand in a larger manner the strength of probity is dependent on the strength of the institutions.
Institutional decay therefore endangers probity in two ways:
- Internal decay of institutions leads to leakage of funds, compromise of norms (lack of enforcements of model codes), corrupt and ineffective leadership which turns into poor work culture, widespread corruption and shirking responsibility.
- External forces of decay due to political interference, bribery and physical and material threats to compromise standards. Further, allure of the spoils system to have yes men in institutions affect the impartiality and neutrality of these offices.
- Separation of powers and checks and balances meant to control deviation from probity would become unworkable with decay of institutions.
- This decline in probity affects the final delivery of services to the citizens. Thus decay of public institutions directly affects the standard of living of the population.
2. “The essence of happy life and peaceful society lies in one sentence: What can I give?”—APJ Abdul Kalam. (10 Marks)
- A honeycomb does not work unless each bee does what is needed for a comb, rather than doing what it needs. We are often confused why society is degraded, inefficient and facing a crisis. The main reason is as social animals we fail in our main role: giving back to society.
- Social altruism or responsibility is an act of contributing our time and resources for the good of society. It involves doing charity, paying taxes, making inventions to solve social issues, etc. This builds social capital.
- Happy society needs upliftment of downtrodden by charitable activity eg. akshaya patra.
- When Steve Jobs was extremely poor, one good meal a week helped him survive. This meal was from Hare Krishna Trust in the USA, thus the role of NGOs in helping the deprived is necessary.
- Happy society also needs reforms and progress which needs our time and ideas. If Raja Ram Mohan Roy did not give his time, the pervasive effects of patriarchy would have deepened. If Edison did not experiment 1000 times selflessly we would have been in perpetual darkness.
- Thus philanthropy is a cornerstone of a happy society and public spiritedness is needed to remove pain from the society.
- When we think about giving, we become selfless and start to love the society that creates fraternity and builds peace. It ensures human oneness which is the ultimate path we need to tread for a peaceful existence. If Israel can think how much land it can give for stateless Palestinians it will end the violence in the Arab world. We start to practise mutual helpfulness and build communitarian attitudes.
- Due to excess materialism and individualism, we focus much on ‘I’. We feel we don’t owe anything to society and see it as a hanging sword on our freedom. We need to realise, we cannot be what we are without society, Aristotle said, If a man can exist outside the state he should be a beast or angel. When we give, society survives which is the stepping stone for our survival.