Bioethics is a field of applied ethics which involves ethical issues related to living beings and concerns three broad areas namely medical ethics (health care, health science, and health policy), animal ethics, and environmental ethics. It involves not just doctors, but patients,scientists, activists and policy makers and public at large. The increase of the importance of bioethics can be attributed primarily to parallel and exponential increase of science and
technology that allows for interventions at biological levels that are at the same time highly ambitious and startling. Technologies like CRISPR which enable gene editing can give humans the power to optimize the genetic makeup of their progeny like editing an image on photoshop (in aesthetic detail). The skepticism and self-reflective pondering arising out of such power created the increased space for the discipline of bioethics. Another reason for the increase is the information revolution propelled by cybernetics that can spread awareness about things faster than ever before, it allows for organization of people across different communities and societies creating active organizations like PETA and International Bioethics Committee. Some of the protests that we often witness against the use of genetic
crops and the thriving of a niche market catering in ‘organic foods’ is a manifestation of such activity, though the demands made by such groups may sometimes be anti-scientific and irrational.
One bio ethical issue of eminence in recent times has been abortion in special circumstances when conditions of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 are not
allowing abortion. The matters have gone to court and the judgments have been widely reported in press. In one case, a 24-week pregnant woman facing danger to her life due to abnormality in fetus was granted permission to terminate her pregnancy. As per Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, a woman has right to terminate her pregnancy till 20 weeks if certified by doctor to do so in interest of mother / fetus. Beyond 20-week permission in this case was based on the doctor’s report which said that there was very little chance of survival of the fetus and the lady’s life would have engendered if it was not aborted. The court interpreted the same as right of the petitioner to preserve her life. Thus, courts have taken a different stance in case of abortion by minors on case to case basis. We also see that the topic of abortion occupies a lot of debate space in political communities in countries like USA and Ireland.
For any country to survive and prosper there should be a continuous growth, optimal utilization of resources using state of the art technology and reduction of economic disparities so that all sections and regions of the country contribute to its growth. It is even more a necessity for a country like India where a sizable population lives under poverty line,there are problems related to basic amenities and there are disparities between sections and regions. The panacea to all these problems is sustainable inclusive growth where the government has an important role to play. To achieve this purpose, efficient, honest and dedicated working of the State machinery is necessary. Growth is possible and sustainable only if there is the presence of ‘good governance’ and one most basic requirement of good governance is corruption free working in public offices.
There are two fundamental ways to ensure probity Intrinsic motivations: The value of probity can be permanently instilled through the intense activity of inculcating true inspiration in an officer to work for the well-being and upliftment of the people who have been placed under his responsibility and the people at large. One must be genuinely motivated to overcome the narrowness of one’s individual interests and desires and see oneself as carrying out important work of nation building the incentives of which are well-being and gratitude of posterity.
Extrinsic motivations: Other steps which include ensuring transparency, accountability and answerability of the officer can be ensured by making a procedural and legislative system of checks and balances which minimize corruption e.g. RTI, Lokpal, E-governance, Prevention of Corruption Act, CAG, CVC. Improvement in incentives and remuneration are further steps to ensure probity. Technological advancements also can be utilized strategically to achieve the abovementioned objectives. The officers will be encouraged to participate in a systemic exercise of probity if they feel that the system acknowledges and appreciates their effort rather than blocking it out, thus the personnel should be attended with comradeship in times of distress by her colleagues.
You are the Secretary of a State IAS Officers Association(SIOA). Recently, a
senior IAS Officer posted as Chairman of the State Staff Selection
Commission was arrested in connection with a question paper leak scam.
Following his arrest, many IAS officers have approached you to organize a
collective action to seek justice for him. They are proposing that an
emergency meeting of all members of the SIOA be convened and a
systematic plan be formulated to help the senior officer before he suffers
further victimization at the hands of the politicians and police. Suggestions
being made include an appeal to the Governor, forming a human chain at
the Raj Bhavan etc.
How would you approach this situation and what would be the main
elements of your suggested solution?
(200 words – 20 marks)
I would strongly discourage the officers from taking any such steps and urge
them to let the law take its course. They must not forget that a scam has occurred
and that it is their duty to cooperate with the authorities to ensure that
accountability is enforced.
The main elements of my actions would be:
i) The allegations regarding victimization of the arrested officer at the hands of
the politicians and police reflects a lack of trust in the IAS cadre towards
parallel institutions of the State. This further weakens public trust in the govt.
ii) If their concerns regarding the harassment of the officer are justified, it is their
duty to ensure that institutional changes are incorporated in the govt. to
ensure that nobody, including him, can be similarly victimized. However, they
have no right to interfere in or manipulate the due process of law.
iii) The proposals being made reflect an unhealthy bias by the IAS cadre towards
its own personnel, on extremely subjective grounds. It would be pertinent to
point out that similar suggestions are not made when the trial of a dishonest
officer is being unduly delayed or diluted.
A close friend of your joins a reputed construction firm. He is assigned to a
project under which the company is building a flyover in a metropolitan
In his very first week on the job, as he inspects the construction designs,
he realizes that there is a potentially dangerous flaw in the design, which so
far has gone unnoticed. He informs his immediate superior about this, who
agrees with his assessment. But since it was the superior who had passed
the design in the initial stages, he tells your friend not to reveal this to
anyone else otherwise the company would punish him severely. He further
assures your friend that his silence and cooperation in this matter would be
handsomely rewarded in the future.
Your friend is very worried about what to do next and approaches you for
a) What arguments can you advance to show him that keeping quiet is not
b) What course of action would you advise him to adopt and why?
(200 words- 20 marks)
I would tell my friend that keeping quiet in these circumstances is not only morally
wrong but also amounts to a dereliction of duties, given that any damage to the
flyover could cost precious human lives. I would advice him not to keep quiet
i) It amounts to a violation of public trust, since he is knowingly placing their
lives at risk.
ii) It reflects moral corruption, since any such action would be in expectation of
career benefits for himself.
iii) It is vital to enforce accountability on the superior, since there may be other
projects that have been similarly compromised- due diligence must be
ensured there too, which can be initiated only when this serious error is
Thus, I would advice him to begin by explaining to his superior that no damage
has been done so far. At the moment, it is only a design flaw, which can be
rectified with the investment of time and money. The superior may earn a
reprimand or penalty from the company. But any such punishment would be
considerably mild compared to the punishment he can expect if the flyover
collapses and people die. Further, admitting that he erred right now may earn him leniency in any disciplinary proceeding, but wilful deception is likely to increase the nature of penalties.
If the superior refuses to cooperate or attempts to threaten my friend, I would
advice him to approach the superior’s superior with the facts and ask him to
intervene. If he faces opposition from the firm’s senior management too, he has
the option of bringing the matter to the attention of the concerned govt authorities
and seeking corrective action.
A jawan in the Indian Army is extremely disillusioned with his present
working conditions. Stationed at a high-altitude border post, he struggles
with the hostile weather, the risk of enemy gunfire and the stress of
constantly being in a state of high alertness. Such stress if further
compounded by the poor living conditions and a very meagre, often
He approaches his seniors on multiple occasions, but they offer him only
superficial assurances, with no concrete solution to any of his problems. In
a moment of frustration, he makes a video wherein he describes the
hardships being faced by the soldiers and the apathy of the higher officials.
He then posts the video online, where it soon goes viral, attracting
international viewership and attention.
i) Do you believe he was correct in releasing this video in the open public
ii) What are the ethical issues involved in this case?
iii) What corrective actions would you suggest to prevent any such
incidents in the future?
(300 words – 25 marks)
No, he was not correct. I sympathize with the hostile working environment he
works in and the indifference he faces from his superiors. But given the fact that
his action may be seen as representative of the sentiments of all armed forces
personnel, it was a potentially disastrous step to take.
The error of his actions can be better understood by considering the ethical
issues involved in his action:
i) It has a detrimental impact on the morale of all armed forces personnel,
accentuating their dissatisfaction and dampening their willingness to do their
ii) It dilutes the authority of senior officers in commanding their forces and may
even lead to increased incidents of fratricide.
iii) It shakes public trust/confidence in the dedication and abilities of the armed
iv) It provides fodder to the propaganda machinery of other nations, to use in
further demoralizing our troops.
However, it would not be fair to assess the ethical issues without considering
them from the perspective of the senior officers of the army. These include:
i) A self-centered and apathetic attitude of the officers in ignoring the plight of
their own subordinates, leaving them with no option but to take drastic steps.
ii) The apparent lack of an appropriate grievance redressal mechanism through
which jawans can voice their problems and expect a meaningful resolution.
In these circumstance, the corrective actions that can be suggested
i) Disciplinary action against the jawan for a breach of duties. This is especially
important to discourage similar actions by others in the future.
ii) Strict enquiry and action against officers whom this jawan had approached, who
chose to dismiss his concerns with sheer indifference.
iii) A thorough review of the working and living conditions of our jawans, with timebound implementation of appropriate improvements.
iv) Establishment of an appropriate grievance redressal mechanism so that similar incidents can be promptly identified and addressed.
Dynamic pricing is a pricing strategy wherein the price is not firmly set; instead it changes based on changing circumstances, such as increases in demand at certain times, type of customer being targeted or changing marketing conditions.
The fundamental concern w.r.t. dynamic pricing strategies is the availability of
viable alternatives. This ensures that any such mechanism provides benefits to
the organization but not at the expense of customer welfare.
Therefore, dynamic pricing by the private sector poses relatively fewer risks since
the risk of customer exploitation is offset by the presence of competition and
impartial regulation by the govt. offset. As such, the customer now pays willingly
to get access to a service that has limited supply and perceives this as a
However, since the govt. functions as a monopoly in many services, such actions
can be perceived as exploiting the citizen’s helplessness. The concerns that arise
i) The perception that it is an attempt to compensate for the govt’s inefficiencies
by imposing a burden on the citizens.
ii) Concerns about a conflict of interest since the govt is the service provider as
well as the regulator.
iii) For vital services, there is no value addition for the customer. Yet, he is
compelled to pay the additional charge that is levied.
The Nolan Committee provides 7 Principles which state that holders of public
i) Selflessness: act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in
order to gain financial or other benefits for themselves, their family or their
ii) Integrity: Not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside
individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance
of their official duties.
iii) Objectivity: should make choices on merit in carrying out public business,
including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending
individuals for rewards and benefits.
iv) Accountability: hold themselves accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
v) Openness: be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they
take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only
when the wider public interest clearly demands.
vi) Honesty: declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take
steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
vii) Leadership: promote and support these principles by leadership and example.