The fourth report of the 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) highlights that corruption and the lack of public welfare stem directly from the absence of ethics within the administration. Consequently, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of civil services has become a focal point for significant reforms in recent times. These reforms encompass both the enhancement of administrative skills and the cultivation of ethical values to establish a distinctive identity for serving officers.
To foster this objective, various strategies such as the formulation of a Code of Conduct and Citizen Charters have been devised. Nevertheless, it is equally imperative to internalize professional ethics and integrity within civil services to make them more attuned to the needs of citizens.

Key Values Implicated:
• Ethical integrity among civil servants.
• Uprightness in governance.
• Moral disposition of civil servants.
• Accountability and duty.
• Transparency and engagement of citizens.

a) Measures to Tackle Major Issues Highlighted:
• Foreseeing Specific Threats to Ethical Standards and Integrity in Civil Services:
• Streamlining Bureaucratic Procedures: Eliminating unnecessary administrative complexities that hinder effective service delivery.
• Dispelling the Culture of Secrecy: Ensuring transparent and open decision-making by civil servants and public officials, accompanied by clear rationales for official choices.
• Enhancing Grievance Redressal Systems: Establishing robust mechanisms for timely resolution of public complaints and constructive feedback provision to enhance public organizations’ performance.

b) Enhancing Ethical Competence of Civil Servants:
• Simulated Environment: Subjecting civil servants to training scenarios mirroring real-life challenges they might face during their tenure, evaluating both their skill and ethical prowess and offering guidance if needed.
• Instilling Moral Obligation: Creating awareness among civil servants about their societal and organizational responsibilities, tapping into the emotional dimension associated with ethics and integrity.
• Training and Performance Evaluation: Creating incentives through training and performance assessments to motivate honest civil servants, making them role models for their peers.
• Recognitions and Awards: Introducing rewards and honors to infuse healthy competition among civil servants, fostering innovation in public service solutions.
• Promotion of Inclusive Work Culture: Diluting rigid hierarchies to encourage collaboration among public officials and bolster service effectiveness.

c) Developing Administrative Procedures and Practices that Promote Ethical Values and Integrity in Civil Services:
• Human Resource Management Strategies: Implementing merit-based remuneration, lateral entry, and multi-phase training to enhance the efficiency and quality of public service.
• Establishment of Internal and External Committees: Ensuring a mechanism for addressing grievances of civil servants and the public, improving the work environment and aligning behavior with desired civil service values.
• Enforcing Code of Conduct Rules: Ensuring impartial and non-partisan conduct from public servants.

Promoting ethical conduct and integrity among civil servants and revitalizing public administration is crucial to ensuring the effective implementation of social welfare policies. Therefore, the civil service profession presents a unique opportunity to enhance citizens’ lives, underscoring the significance of officers’ awareness of the ethical dimensions of their roles and the maintenance of the dignity associated with their official positions.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish April 4, 2024