Besides domain knowledge, a public official needs innovativeness and creativity of a high order as well, while resolving ethical dilemmas. Discuss with suitable example.

Sample Answer


Ethical Dilemma is a state of indecision when a person is caught in the battle to choose one ethical value over the other.


Domain knowledge is important in resolving ethical dilemmas. Civil servants with domain expertise are able to understand nuances and dynamics of particular field and effect of a particular decision on citizens. This helps in resolving clash between conflicting values, ethical dilemma and crisis of conscience. For example:

  • E. Sreedharan, metro man of India, is a civil engineer by education.
  • Vinod Rai
  • Sanjiv Chaturvedi – Sanjiv Chaturvedi, an Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer, has been transferred 12 times between 2005 – 10, in the aftermath of his campaign to expose the corruption in Haryana’s forest department.

However innovativeness and creativity is required to increase the potential of bureaucracy. They open new dimensions and possibility to resolve the ethical dilemma:

  • The possible’s slow fuse is lit by the Imagination – Emily Dickenson
  • Logic can take you from ‘A’ to ‘B’ but imagination can take you anywhere. – Albert Einstein
  • The flight of imagination is the virtue, exclaims Immanuel Kant, that allows freedom from the usual. It makes you think in alternate universe and thus is a real form of intelligence.
  • Examples – Harjinder Singh Kukreja built chocolate Ganesha – will be immerged in milk and distributed to children.
  • As Parmeswaran Iyer despite being a civil servant reflected the highest virtue of cleaning the toilet pit himself.
  • Of how Swarochist Somanwanshi removed his air condition in office and implanted in the nutrition center where children needed more than him reflects that a civil servant choose public interest over his own interest.


The effective resolution of these ethical dilemmas also showcases a person’s strength of character and the dedication he has towards the public life where the welfare of the people is regarded highly of.

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