Ethics Case Study – 13

In the initial years after Independence, relations between Ministers and civil servants were characterized by mutual respect and understanding of each other’s respective roles, with neither encroaching upon the other’s domain. However, in subsequent years, matters started changing for the worse. While some civil servants did not render objective and impartial advice to their Ministers, often some Ministers began to resent advice that did not fit in with short-term political interests.

There was also a tendency for some Ministers at the Union and the State levels to focus more on routine administrative matters such as transfers in preference to policymaking. At the same time, some civil servants learned the art of ‘manoeuvring’ for favors in return for pliability in their decision making. This trend was further accentuated by rising materialism and acquisitiveness in society as well as a decline in values across the board. As a result, ‘Civil Services Neutrality’ which was the hallmark of the civil service in the pre-Independence era as well as in the period right after Independence, was gradually eroded. These trends led to the phenomenon of ‘politicisation of the civil service’ in India.

  1. What do you understand by Civil Services neutrality?
  2. What are the benefits of this value in civil services?
  3. What are the disadvantages if neutrality is not observed?

20 marks / 250 words.

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