Why are ethical and moral values important in civil service? What is the role of ethics and moral values in good governance? What efforts has the government made to enhance the ethical standards of governance? To learn more about it, read further.
The overall goal of ethics is to provide effective governance with a focus on moral values, conduct, and principles. The definition of governance is the attitude an organization has toward itself as well as the systems and structures it employs to achieve its objectives.
The relationship between organizations, how they interact with individuals, and how citizens are given a voice are all key aspects of governance.
Strengthening ethical and moral values in governance is fundamental for fostering trust, accountability, and transparency in public administration. The integration of ethical principles contributes to the development of a responsible and responsive government, promoting the well-being of society.
Why are ethical and moral values important in civil service?
Implementing social contracts fairly and effectively is a key responsibility of governance. Therefore, it necessitates a very capable, knowledgeable administration.
Government institutions are envisioned as becoming creative, and interactive, and possessing a significant amount of sound policy formation, openness, and distinct citizen orientation.
The advancement of ethics and moral values in good governance suggests the legality of government action, rationality in policy and decision-making, evolving a sense of responsibility, ensuring accountability, and strengthening work commitment.
It also enhances creating excellence, facilitating a spirit of individual and organizational goals, developing responsiveness, showing compassion, protecting the national interests, protecting the spirit of justice, bringing transparency, and elevating integrity.
The role of ethics and moral values in good governance
The importance of ethics and moral principles in fostering good governance cannot be overstated. There are several approaches to improving moral principles in government.
Principle of Selflessness
Officers of public offices should only consider the general welfare when making decisions. They should refrain from taking any action that will benefit themselves, their family, or their friends materially or financially.
Holders of public office should avoid putting themselves in any kind of debt to outside parties or organizations that could influence how they carry out their official duties.
Holders of public office should base all decisions on merit when conducting public business, including public appointments, contract awards, and recommending people for rewards and benefits.
Public officeholders ought to be as transparent as possible about all their choices and activities. They should document the rationale behind their choices and only impose information restrictions where the larger public interest requires it.
Holders of public offices must disclose any private interests that may clash with their official responsibilities and take action to resolve any disputes in a way that safeguards the public’s interests.
- Holders of public offices should promote and support these principles by way of leadership and examples.
- Sense of belongingness with the Public: Elected representatives such as village Panchayat members, Block Samiti members, Zilla Parish members,
- Elected members of the local bodies, MLAs, and MPs should establish a sense of belongingness with voters of their constituencies; and listen to and address their grievances by visiting them regularly to implement ethics in governance.
- Between the two, there shouldn’t be any communication gaps.
Responsible and Responsive Civil Servants
A senior-level bureaucrat who serves as a conduit between the people and the government oversees each ministry. These senior officers ought to provide the responsible Minister with accurate feedback regarding the issues experienced by the public and recommendations for workable steps that can be made to address the issue within the bounds of the law. If at all possible, they might also advise changing the law to adequately handle the issue.
Friendly relations with people
Governance will change into good governance if there are friendly relationships between the government and the people at various levels. If one of their critical demands is not met for any technical reason, the public will feel like they are a part of the administration and will better understand the government’s position.
Secure Reporting Channels: Establish confidential reporting mechanisms for whistleblowers to report unethical practices without fear of retaliation.
Legal Protections: Enact and enforce legislation that provides legal protections for whistleblowers, encouraging a culture of openness and accountability.
The steps taken by the government to improve ethical values in governance
- eGovernance and digitization to reduce red tape, streamline paperwork, and promote accountability and transparency. Example: PRAGATI, MyGov portal
- RTI enables citizens’ right to know, improving the integrity of government.
- To ensure there is no corruption, there are strict rules including the Prevention of Corruption Act and the CVC.
- Civil service codes and various Service Rules to ensure honesty and integrity. Example: Civil Service Conduct Rules.
- Citizen charters and citizen-oriented governance to better address feedback, and grievances. Example: CPGRAMS, Jan Sunwai.
- In 2006, the Department of Personnel drafted a Public Service Bill which enumerated fundamental values of Public Services, a Code of Ethics, a Management Code, etc. to develop public services. The bill didn’t make much headway and is in cold storage etc
- Witness protection scheme to safeguard the witness from victimization.
More steps to strengthen ethical and moral values
- Implementation of citizen charters successfully.
- Eliminating political meddling and the politicization of governance.
- Code of Ethics and Public Service Bill introduction.
- The following strategies have been recommended by the Second Administrative Reforms Commission:
- Codifying ethics will guarantee that public employees adhere to the very minimum requirements.
- Effective vigilance mechanisms guarantee that corruption is eradicated from the source. CVC, the Whistleblowers Act, Lokpal, etc. are a few examples.
- Mechanisms for social audits must be improved and standardized.
- The future of governance must be centered on the people, and that means digitization and e-governance. One place where clients can pay all of their bills is UMANG, for instance.
- If instilled early on through education, values like selflessness, honesty, integrity, and objectivity would eventually result in ethical leadership.
- Public officials should receive sensitivity training and value-oriented training.
- Auditing should be done ethically.
- Every organization should ensure that work and responsibility are delegated, and citizen charters should be used to codify the accepted practices.
To ensure the best service delivery and citizen-centric governance, it is essential to strengthen ethical and moral values in governance.
Strengthening ethical and moral values in governance is an ongoing process that requires commitment, continuous effort, and collaboration. By prioritizing transparency, accountability, and citizen engagement, governments can foster a culture of ethical governance that enhances public trust and promotes the well-being of society. Integrating ethical principles into governance practices contributes to the establishment of a just, fair, and responsible government.
Article written by Aseem Muhammed