UPSC CSE Mains Examination, General Studies Paper 4, i.e., Ethics Integrity and Aptitude often frighten aspirants. But trust me it is not a subject to get frightened, rather it is a subject to enjoy and it is the only subject that you practice in your daily life to in one or other ways.
The syllabus of Ethics Integrity and Aptitude has been divided into two parts:
- a) Section A: Theory
- b) Section B: Case Studies
So, more are less one can easily solve the theory part as this is not applied, or one can say it is the static part. But if we have to talk about Case studies, then it startles the aspirants. The reason for the same is, there is not a single approach to solve the Case studies, there are some common frameworks but not a single approach.
Case studies are basically a situation where one is stuck, what should be the decision. As for solving a problem there could be multiple solutions, but here as it is the part of ethics, so while solving the Case Studies, considering the ethical angle is must. Though there is no common rule for solving the case studies but some points that should be kept in mind are:
- First of all, try to know the subject matter of your case study, and try to define it in 2-3 lines in the introduction of your case study itself.
- Every case study run around some stake holders, try to write down those stake holders after the introduction. For example: Land needed for mining, dams and other large-scale projects is acquired mostly from Adivasis, hill dwellers and rural communities and are the district collector in the area.
Stake Holders: Yourself, Affected Families, Land Miners, Government, investors, Gram Pradhan etc.
- Then you should write about the ethical issues involved. This is most important part of your case study. Take for instance the above case involves the development v/s deforestation of forest conservation dilemma, public interest v/s protection of tribal rights, economic growth v/s equitable distribution etc.
- Then next part comes, here you do write about the options available. Then the question involves only ethical options one need to choose or simply any solution one can give.
- Yes, it is right that ethics should be the cornerstone of your thought process but your options should be practical. So, choose 2-3 possible options and explain their pros and cons. Your options could also consider some extreme options too even though they are generally avoided as your choice.
- After writing all the possible solutions you will have to write about the option you would choose. Here you would write about the course of action which can be a combination of the above-mentioned options.
- It should be followed by clear articulation of your arguments (more on this below) along with quotes and examples to substantiate your point of view. The best option to choose in any given situation is not the most original but the most practical.
For example: In the above given example the decision to put a complete ban or a moratorium on mining in your district is impractical and sub-optimal.
By prohibiting any form of mining, you will not help the cause of tribals who would have benefited from the new employment opportunities in the region. So, choose an option in which you balance competing interests.
- But whatever the option you have taken, you need to reason out why you chose a particular option and elaborate on the further of course of action. More than the option, it is the reasoning that led you to choose that particular option that matters more. So try to back your solution with any of the given theory or philosopher’s point of view or any mythological reason or constitutional framework or legal reason.
- Let your solutions try to balance conflicting options as much as possible. (Caution – such balancing may not happen always).
Articulation is one of the important part in ethics case study answer writing. So, answering a lot of these beforehand will give you a sense of confidence to tackle any type of question. So join any of the good test series to practice, for me EDEN IAS Ethics Test Series worked out.
Good Luck……Happy Reading and Writing!!!!!