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399 viewsAll GS PapersGS Paper 4
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Approach :

  • Very briefly introduce the facts of the case.
  • Mention the ethical issues involved.
  • Mention the options available – pros & cons.
  • Mention final course of action with reasons.

The case pertains to widespread corruption in the Land department, wherein most employees are involved in gross corruptive behaviour, differing in degrees. Also, there is instance of collusive corruption in auctioning a land within the mineral belt, which falls in the ecologically sensitive area, the illegal mining & quarrying of which poses great risk for the local ecosystem.

This points to moral turpitude. The ethical issues involved are :

(a) shows lack of aptitude and grossly compromises professional integrity, honesty and the spirit of public service;

(b) reflects loss of objectivity and dereliction of duty, leading to economic losses for the government;

(c) lack of accountability displayed in improper land-records keeping & in illegal auctioning;

(d) negates environmental ethics by hampering preservation of local ecosystem.

Options Available:

  • Report to your senior and seek advice : Senior’s experience can give insightful knowledge on how to effectively deal with the situation.
  • Identify the miscreants : this will help to pinpoint the main persons involved in gross misdoings. Departmental enquiry can be initiated against them, sending a stern warning to others to refrain from corruption.
  • Confiscate the illegally auctioned land : this will help to immediately pause the illegal mining & quarrying activities taking place. Also, government’s property will be restored.
  • Bring to books the local land mafias : this can restrict the operation of cartels, thus bringing in transparency in the land-revenue system. However, this runs the risk of inviting political ire, which may be damaging both personally & professionally.
  • Ignore the matter and go with the flow : this is untenable, since, it will not only compromise professional ethics & integrity, but it will mean an indifferent attitude towards wrongdoings, thus, encouraging its continuance. It can raise questions on my credibility, sending a wrong message to the public at large.

Final Course of Action:

  • After identifying the key office miscreants, they will be summarily suspended from service pending departmental enquiry. Also, cooperation from the police department will be sought to hunt down the local land mafias, and criminal proceedings initiated against them under suitable sections of law. This will not only deter future corruption, but will bring transparency in the department’s functioning. Nabbing the land cartels will improve the law & order situation too, besides stopping illegal mining & quarrying.
  • A nodal officer will be appointed to go through & record the other illegal land assignments and/or purchases lying unidentified and also recover the missing documents. Such other lands, when identified, will be confiscated immediately, and revenue losses incurred by the government will be legally extracted from such unlawful occupiers or miners.
  • A central registry on-line will be expediently created wherein all records of purchase, sale, lease, etc. will be catalogued. This will streamline documental record-keeping.
  • Seniors’ advice will be solicited, gaining useful insights.
  • The previous ADM will be asked to tender his explanation, as, this will give clarifications on what grounds he gave approval to the auctioning. If the explanation is found unsatisfactory, due legal process by appropriate authority can be initiated against him.
  • Furthermore, Environmental Impact Assessment must be ensured before any mining & quarrying activities. Also, to restore public faith and bring in accountability, public display of Charter will be done mentioning all details related to the projects.
  • Periodic training modules to invoke spirit of public service & integrity among employees at all levels will be done. This will be complemented by appointing an Ombudsman officer. This will uphold workplace ethics.
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