UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing (14-10-2022)

UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing

Questions

Case study 1: Mrs Rashmi is a tycoon in the diamond industry from Surat and is also a social activist known for her work during the recent pandemic. Because of her contribution, she is selected for Padma Shri.

You are an IRS officer posted in Gujarat. You got a tipoff that Mrs Rashmi laundered crores of black money through her charitable institutions which is a violation of Income Tax Act. Because she has political clout, your quest for investigation got a cold shoulder from superiors.

Sections of the media have also created rumors about you, and you got a message from higher authority to give her a clean chit. The justification was that her philanthropy has helped tribal educational programmes. Also, she is already selected for an award and any such investigation will put the government under suspicion.

What will be your response? Justify your decision.     (20 marks)

Case Study 2:
You are an SDM and your District Collector has delegated you a task to fill vacancies of a cook in schools of your area for mid-day meals. This year only one vacancy needs to be filled and eligibility conditions include class 5 for women. You got 110 applications but your District Collector has recommended a woman personally.

She is an acid attack survivor and has four children. District Collector gives you three options and asks you to choose one:

  • Alter eligibility criteria to Class 8 and recruit the referred women because only she has completed Class 8 out of 110 applicants.
  • Shortlist two people as it is your discretion and then recruit one woman personally recommended.
  • Use grounds of compassion to select the recommended candidate as other applicants are not acid attack survivors.

Give merits and demerits of each option and tell which option you will select and for what reasons?          (20 marks)


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Model Solutions

Case Study 1:
Mrs Rashmi is a tycoon in the diamond industry from Surat and is also a social activist known for her work during the recent pandemic. Because of her contribution, she is selected for Padma Shri.
You are an IRS officer posted in Gujarat. You got a tipoff that Mrs Rashmi laundered crores of black money through her charitable institutions which is a violation of Income Tax Act. Because she has political clout, your quest for investigation got a cold shoulder from superiors.
Sections of the media have also created rumors about you, and you got a message from higher authority to give her a clean chit. The justification was that her philanthropy has helped tribal educational programmes. Also, she is already selected for an award and any such investigation will put the government under suspicion.
What will be your response? Justify your decision. (20 marks)

Model Structure
Introduction

  • This is a dilemma for the central government and my office. Dilemma for me is whether to proceed with action without succumbing to pressure or to give heed to the government carrying public mandate and abide by Civil Services rules.

Main Body

  • Options available are-
    • Ignore the tax evasion and not take any action.
    • Declare only suspicion which is not proved beyond reasonable doubt.
    • Show at my own risk that the account book is correct and give a clean chit.
    • Take action as per law and uphold values of objectivity and impartiality.
  • Of all the options available, I will take the following course of action-
    • I will draft a factually correct report without any changes and follow all legal procedures to avoid any misdemeanor.
    • Any amnesty scheme if available will be explored so that one chance of improvement is provided and criminal charges are annulled.
    • As businesses take bank loans and a situation like this has the potential of NPAs, it will be ensured that any outstanding loan is paid.
    • Also, many cases have occurred where wealthy businessmen have left the country to evade penal provisions. To ensure this doesn’t happen, a look out notice will be issued.
    • If fines and taxes are paid, then there is no scope for criminal charges and she will be released.
    • Now due to lack of any criminal charges, the government can go ahead by honoring her with the award.
    • All this will be done behind closed doors so that the government’s image is protected. And if my seniors and political authority prevents me from this course of action, I will take in writing so that due diligence is taken care of.

Conclusion

  • Businessmen, entrepreneurs and wealth creators are essential for national growth and development. Any wrong action by them must be handled amicably rather than reacting and thinking of criminal action as the only way out.

Case Study 2:
You are an SDM and your District Collector has delegated you a task to fill vacancies of a cook in schools of your area for mid-day meals. This year only one vacancy needs to be filled and eligibility conditions include class 5 for women. You got 110 applications but your District Collector has recommended a woman personally.
She is an acid attack survivor and has four children. District Collector gives you three options and asks you to choose one:

  • Alter eligibility criteria to Class 8 and recruit the referred women because only she has completed Class 8 out of 110 applicants.
  • Shortlist two people as it is your discretion and then recruit one woman personally recommended.
  • Use grounds of compassion to select the recommended candidate as other applicants are not acid attack survivors.
    Give merits and demerits of each option and tell which option you will select and for what reasons? (20 marks)

Model Structure
Introduction

  • This is also a case of ethical dilemma between upholding rule of law by following recruitment rules or being compassionate to help acid attack survivor. With less focus on the Weberian model of rule based bureaucracy and more modernization with changing times, scope of discretion has increased.

Main Body

  • The stakeholders whose interests are affected in this case includes-
    • Myself as SDM and the District Collector.
    • Woman recommended by Collector.
    • Other applicants.
    • State government.
    • Society at large.
  • Merits and Demerits of each option:
    • Option 1-
      • Merits:
        • It will help employ the woman referred by the district collector thus helping me maintain good and cordial professional terms with the collector.
        • Her four children will have a better life thus good education and health.
        • Speedy process as compared to other methods.
      • Demerits:
        • If challenged in court, it will be struck down thus delaying the recruitment process also.
        • Violation of principles of natural justice due to retrospective amendment of rules.
        • Violation of objectivity and impartiality.
    • Option 2-
      • Merits:
        • Shows compassion and concern for weaker sections.
        • Making the process elaborate just to ensure it is not violating rules shows due diligence.
        • Shortlisting an extra employee can be given training and recruited next year thus saving time on process for next year.
      • Demerits:
        • Shows financial impropriety and is against Code of Conduct.
        • Shortlisting an additional employee will burden the public exchequer.
        • Violates tenets of transparency and accountability.
    • Option 3-
      • Merits:
        • Better option if the matter is taken to the courts.
        • Avoids any potential violation of law and retrospective amendments.
        • Social assistance demands help in case of such accidents and also shows compassion.
      • Demerits:
        • Other applicants might also be a victim of some kind.

I will choose option 3 because it avoids violation of rules and makes the recruitment compassionate and empathetic. Also, equality of opportunity is different from equality of outcomes. Article 15 also calls for special measures to protect women and children. For a long term, I will write to concerned authorities to amend rules and include vulnerable women like acid attack survivors, widows etc to get first preference.

Conclusion

  • John Rawls gave his difference principle which applies to this case, any special treatment is allowed if it can benefit the most disadvantaged person of a group.

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