[Ethics] E3/P1: Aptitude for Civil Services & Foundational Values: Integrity, Probity, Objectivity


[Ethics] E3/P1: Aptitude for Civil Services & Foundational Values: Integrity, Probity, Objectivity

  1. E3/P1: Video Lecture by Kavan Limbasiya (Rank-198/UPSC-2014)
  2. Attitude vs Aptitude: What’s the difference?
    1. Aptitude vs skill, ability & Interest
    2. Baswan committee
  3. Civil service values
    1. Why do we need foundational values?
    2. Nolan committee (UK-1996)
    3. 2nd ARC: “Ethics in Governance”
  4. Value#1: Integrity vs. honesty and probity
    1. Integrity @Intellectual, Professional and Org. Level
    2. How to inculcate integrity?
  5. Value#2: Objectivity
    1. How to inculcate objectivity?
  6. Value#3: Dedication to public service

UPSC Mains GS4 paper has eight topics, out of them two we’ve finished (E1): Human interface and (E2) Attitude. Now moving on to the third pillar-

E3/P1: Video Lecture by Kavan Limbasiya (Rank-198/UPSC-2014)

UPSC Topper Kavan Limbasiya lecture on ethics
Youtube Link: youtu.be/Tvtj8RSZjOs

Attitude vs Aptitude: What’s the difference?

Attitude Aptitude
  • It is your positive/negative feeling towards a person, object, event, idea, environment.
  • Latin Word “Aptus” meaning fitness or adeptness
  • Innate, inborn potential. But not cast in stone. It can be from nature, it can be nurtured.
Associated with character Associated with competence.
  • Attitude determines How people arrive at correct judgment, how they’ll perform a given task?
  • e.g. If an officer has negative attitude towards minorities, he may delay passing their scholarship files.
  • It determines whether Person will develop the skills to perform a particular task?
Examples of attitudes 

  • Confidence
  • Cautious
  • tolerant
  • pessimism
  • responsible
Examples of aptitude 

  • Quantitative aptitude
  • Verbal aptitude
  • Reasoning aptitude
  • Finger dexterity
  • Visual memory
  • Only mental.
  • Surviving terminal disease depends on your attitude towards life rather than ‘aptitude’ in physical training.
Both physical and mental. E.g. 

  • To become an officer in defense or police services, you need to have both physical and mental aptitude.
  • Aptitude of hand and eye coordination : Good cricketer.
  • In India, most people pickup profession without seeing whether they’ve the ‘aptitude’ for it or not?
  • They choose a profession by change and not choice.
  • So, they make a living from their career, but don’t derive job-satisfaction e.g. Most Engineers,  pharmacist and IT graduates.
A Civil servant must have 3 aptitudes 

  1. Intellectual aptitude.
  2. Emotional aptitude.
  3. Moral aptitude.

Aptitude vs skill, ability & Interest

aptitude, attitutude, skill, interest, ability difference explained


  • Things you can do. e.g. “I can do addition, subtraction, division and multiplication”.
  • Ability + Practice = Skill.
  • All of us can drive. But we’re not skilled drivers like Michael Schumacher.
  • Same way you’ve basic “ability” to do 4 fundamental operations of mathematics- if you practice long enough you’ll be skilled at Maths and Data interpretation portion of the CAT exam.
  • Later, if you teach multiple batches, you’ll become a “skilled trainer/faculty” for CAT coaching classes.
  • Thus, skill is the proficiency you gained with repeated activity.
  • Things you can do in future, if you were trained.
  • Clearing UPSC with high rank certifies that you’ve “aptitude” to be an IAS.
  • Later you’re trained at LBSNAA and at District so you gain new skills and abilities to perform the duties as an assistant collector.
  • Time + Effort = Learning => Learning helps gaining aptitude for new things.
Intelligence Aptitude is not same as intelligence. Two people with same intelligence quotation (IQ),  may have different aptitudes e.g. one to become scientist and another novelist.
Interest Things you’ll do without your skill/aptitude. E.g. every teenager is interested to become Sachin, Shahrukh or Shaan the singer. (sometimes simultaneously all three.)

Baswan committee

another Committee whose recommendations will not be implemented

Another Committee whose recommendations will be mostly ignored just like its predecessors

Over the years, government has setup many committees to reform UPSC examination process so that candidates with right ‘aptitude‘ can be selected.
Latest is, DoPT’s committee under B S Baswan (Ex-IAS) to revisit patten of UPSC civil service examination. It’ll look into following:

  1. For IAS, IPS and other jobs, each requires separate set of skills,  so…
    1. Whether to make changes in the present exam pattern?
    2. Whether to have separate papers for IAS/IPS candidates?
    3. How to ensure inclusiveness in the selection process I.e. candidates from different academic disciplines and different walks of life are selected?
  2. How to use ICT technology to reduce the time for completing one cycle of UPSC exam?
  3. Update the eligibility criteria for UPSC candidates- age and attempt limit?
  4. Review the eligibility of toppers re-appearing in the exam to improve their rank (I.e. IAS/IFS can’t re-appear without resigning from job, should same rule be applied to toppers allotted in other jobs?)

Sidenote: Earlier, same Baswan chaired a Committee to look at the requirement of IAS officers over a longer timeframe- mostly pertaining to the vacancies in various state-cadres.

Civil service values

  • Values are the standards on which, we evaluate things.
  • For every situation we don’t have time to ‘test’ the case on ethics theories such as utilitarianism.
  • Values provide time saving short-cut in such situation.
  • For example, “political neutrality” is one value of civil service.
  • Question: Should an IAS officer participate in a political rally?
  • To answer this question, we need not waste time in testing the premise on utilitarianism or refined egoism theory.
  • we know that political neutrality is desirable value, therefore it’ll be wrong for an IAS to participate in a political rally. End of discussion.
  • Thus, Value means a set of standards, on basis of which, we’ll judge things.
  • Values have hierarchy. For Gandhi highest value was truth >> then non-violence.
  • For a judge, value hierarchy should be Justice >> then mercy.
Value orientation examples
End (goal) oriented socio-economic-political justice.
Means (process) oriented Empathy, impartiality, integrity, discipline etc.

Why do we need foundational values?

  • Under New public management (NPM), the concept of public services is fast changing.
  • Bureaucrat has become directly accountable to citizen-customer. He has to respond to moral universe of the citizens.
  • He has discretionary powers, therefore he must be provided with guiding principles to prevent abuse of power.
  • The foundational values provide these guiding principles. (remember otherwise, he’ll have to test every primse on ethics theories- time consuming process. Values will help him take shortcut to arrive at right decision)
  • Various committees have recommended foundational values for civil services. The two big names are (1) Nolan committee (2) second ARC: “ethics in governance” report.

Nolan committee (UK-1996)

Listed seven foundational values

  1. Leadership
  2. Honesty
  3. selflessness
  4. Openness
  5. accountability
  6. Integrity
  7. objectivity
  • We’ll not go into details of Nolan because they’re self-explanatory.
  • We didn’t we copy Nolan report recommendations for India and instead setup our own administrative reform commissions. WHY?
  • Because Weberian model considered bureaucracy uniform. But in ethics, the value system is culture specific. Hence it’ll be unwise to adopt western model directly.
  • Selflessness: we hardly require this, because we’re a collective society.

Let’s focus on 2nd ARC report.

2nd ARC: “Ethics in Governance”

Their ‘bottom line’ is- prepare code of ethics and code of conduct for various departments. We’ll discuss that during the lecture on probity and corruption.
2nd ARC reports can be downloaded free of cost from (http://arc.gov.in).
For the moment let’s only focus on list of values that mentioned in the UPSC  GS4 Syllabus topic number 4 viz.

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