Q. Vinod is an honest and sincere IAS officer. Recently, he has taken over as Managing Director of the State Road Transport Corporation, his sixth transfer in the past three years. His peers acknowledge his vast knowledge, affability and uprightness.
The Chairman of the State Road Transport Corporation is a powerful politician and is very close to the Chief Minister. Vinod comes to know about many alleged irregularities of the Corporation and the high-handedness of the Chairman in financial matters.
A Board Member of the Corporation belonging to the Opposition Party meets Vinod and hands over a few documents along with a video recording in which the Chairman appears to be demanding bribe for placing a huge order for the supply of QMR tyres. Vinod recollects the Chairman expediting clearing of pending bills of QMR tyres.
Vinod confronts the Board Member as to why he is shying away from exposing the Chairman with the so-called solid proof he has with him. The member informs him that the Chairman refuses to yield to his threats. He adds that Vinod may earn recognition and public support if he himself exposes the Chairman. Further, he tells Vinod that once his party comes to power, Vinod’s professional growth would be assured.
Vinod is aware that he may be penalized if he exposes the Chairman and further be transferred to a distant place. He knows that the Opposition. Party stands a better chance of coming to power in the forthcoming elections. However, he also realizes that the Board Member is trying to use him for his own political gains.
(250 words and 20 Marks)
(a) As a conscientious civil servant, evaluate the options available to Vinod.
(b) In the light of the above case, comment upon the ethical issues that may arise due to the politicization of bureaucracy.
The above case-study deals with issue of political interference compromising the independence of functioning of civil servants.
(a) Options available to Vinod
(i) Acting on the evidence, exposing the Chairman publicly.
- Upholds integrity and transparency by exposing corruption.
- Potentially gains public support and recognition for his actions.
- Risk of retaliation, including punishment posting.
- Risk of becoming embroiled in partisan politics.
(ii) Secretly reporting to the higher authorities within the department about the situation.
- Allows for a more discreet investigation within the government.
- Maintains confidentiality of evidence.
- Uncertainty about the fairness of the internal investigation, given the Chairman’s political connections.
- Risk of retaliation or cover-up within the organization.
(iii) Verify the authenticity of video, seek legal opinion, gather additional evidence, avoid partisan politics and act on the video.
- Upholds the core civil service values.
- Protects himself from political vindictiveness.
- Might not be suitable for career, but he is already transferred frequently.
(b) Ethical issues arising out of politicization of bureaucracy.
- It leads to a spoilt system which degenerates into nepotism and corruption, further eroding the public trust.
- Adversely impacts the neutrality and impartiality of civil servants.
- This gives rise to conflict of interest, duty should be done for the duty’s sake as per Kant.
- Meritocracy becomes compromised, as the pliable civil servants are given significant postings.
- As per 2nd ARC, the politicisation of bureaucracy firmly blocks the passage of attitudinal change and bureaucracy becomes unresponsive and apathetic to public issues.
- The hydra of corruption becomes a constant companion of administration as there is no fear of prosecution in the minds of civil servants.
Hence, to ensure the neutrality and efficacy of civil servants, there is a need to create a civil services board.
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