“Public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people and to the nation.” – Margaret Chase Smith
Ethics can be defined as the moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity. Morals are the normally acceptable standards and principles of the right and the wrong. The public servants are the government’s employees who are working for the welfare of the people of the country. The public servants are expected to adhere to ethical norms and values while fulfilling their duties. Although the government and our law lay down the guidelines and regulatory criteria for them, these cannot be imposed on an individual. These have to be guided by one’s own conscience which comes from within.
The Constitution expects the civil servants to be fair and transparent in their public dealings. They need to act without any prejudices while implementing the policies of the state. All the citizens of the country should be equal in their eyes irrespective of their social stature. It is important for them to reflect, understand their roles and responsibilities and align them with their ethics and morals. The public servants are the guardians of the sensitive and confidential information of the people and government. It is their duty to keep it safe and not disclose until it is important and unavoidable. A public servant needs to display exemplary courage to stand for something which is morally correct. This may invite strong protests and opposition from the different dominating sections of the society but they need to stay strong and committed towards their duties. The role and duty of a public servant is under a constant scrutiny from the people and government. A public servant has the power to take the decisions which have direct impact on the lives of the people. While taking the decisions, they need to keep the benefits of a larger section of the society in mind. The personal biases and choices must be kept separate from the welfare of the people. The decisions must be taken rationally. With the changing times, the role of public servants has evolved. Their roles have become significant in the socio-economic development of the country. They have an important role in maintaining India’s democratic set up and at the same time nurturing the economic and social well-being of the people and the country.
The government has appointed the public servants for the welfare of people. In fact, the people of the society also look up to them for the same. They are an important part of the nation building activities. There are umpteen numbers of young people who are aspiring to join the public service department. The public service department is known by the group of people who are working for it. The reputation and success of the governance depends upon the conduct of the public servants and public’s perception about them. Thus, it becomes important for them to be fair and just in their public dealings. Their personal interests need to take back seat in front of the interests of the masses.
In the past few years, the issues of corruption and nepotism have dominated the system. The practice of nepotism involves the appointment of relatives, friends and acquaintances to the public service department irrespective of their merit and credibility. This is weakening the roots of the system as the people tend to lose their faith in the bureaucracy. The impact of the actions of the public servants on the masses is so significant that the people have adopted the same ideology. They are resorting to unfair means to get their work done. The people are ready to bribe the persons in order to get the right work done at the right time. This is how the vicious cycle of corruption has entered our system.
Strong morals and ethics protect the individuals from becoming vulnerable and falling prey to greed and desires. They are the guiding light of the individual in the dark times. It is true that bending the rules and principles will pave way for quick professional success. But the actual professional success of a public servant is measured on the basis of his services, values and integrity. The public officials and departments form the cornerstone of the development of a country. It is high time that they value the power and position conferred to them. They need to use these constructively to make our country a truly developed economy.