Probity is essential for an effective system of governance and socio-economic development (2023/150 Words)
Probity: An Essential Pillar for Effective Governance and Socio-economic Development in India
Aspirants of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examinations are aware it is more than just a test of knowledge – it also assesses the candidates’ understanding of various personal qualities important for public servants. One such virtue is probity – the quality of having strong moral principles, honesty, and decency. Probity, indeed, is an essential commodity for establishing an effective system of governance and bringing about socio-economic development in a country.
Parliamentarians, bureaucrats, and public servants must adopt an unwavering stand on moral and ethical standards to ensure probity in governance. From an Indian context, the significance of probity becomes utmost considering the diversity and socio-economic challenges faced by the country.
Probity can have a rippling effect on governance and socio-economic development through transparency, accountability, and ethical decision-making. Let’s delve into how:
1. Transparency: Transparency is a foundation stone of probity. When public servants act with transparency, it shows they have nothing to hide and are taking candid decisions. For example, the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, is an instrument of transparent governance in India, facilitating the citizens’ right to question, scrutinize, and understand the workings of the government.
2. Accountability: Probity empowers accountability. When public servants are honest and uphold the highest standards of probity, they willingly submit themselves to the judgment of the public and their colleagues. It becomes easier to hold the said person accountable for his/her actions if things go astray. The introduction of Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, in India is a significant step to ensure public servants’ accountability, thereby enhancing governance’s probity.
3. Ethical Decision-making: Probity directly reflects in the decisions made by public servants. It encourages them to act in the public’s collective interest rather than subjective, personal, or parochial interests. This leads to just and equitable decisions, a pre-requisite for socio-economic development in a diverse country like India.
Now, let’s examine some instances where probity has played a significant role in improving governance or socio-economic development in India.
Case 1– Auction of Telecom Spectrum: The auction process of the Telecommunication Spectrum, kick-started in 2015, based on open, transparent bidding, showcased probity in action. It not only avoided massive losses that earlier marked the telecom sector but also garnered substantial revenue for the government.
Case 2 – Tata Power’s Mundra plant: The decision-making process in Tata Power’s ultra mega power project at Mundra set a precedent for ethical decision-making. The company demonstrated probity by transparently addressing the issue of increased costs and seeking tariff revisions based on factual data, with the larger goal of project sustainability and stakeholder interests.
Case 3 – Aadhaar for Direct Benefit Transfer: The government, exhibiting probity, ensured direct benefit transfer to the beneficiary’s account by linking Aadhaar numbers to bank accounts. This eliminated intermediaries, reduced corruption, and increased efficiency.
To sum up, probity is not just desirable but indispensably essential for effective governance and socio-economic development in a diverse and developing country like India. It transcends personal virtues of honesty and integrity and becomes a testament of one’s commitment to public service.
As future civil servants, UPSC aspirants should understand and imbibe this critical trait, which can significantly impact governance and socio-economic development quality in India.