[Solved] ) What do you understand by probity in governance? Based on your understanding of the term, suggest measures for ensuring probity in government ( UPSC GS-4 Mains 2019)
The quality of having strong moral principles; honesty and decency can be understood as probity. But there’s a slight difference, whereas on one hand honesty is about being truthful and transparent, not hiding facts and not lying, probity on the other hand is when there comes an outwards orientation to it, when one attempts to appear to be honest, when one makes sure that people get to know that one is not dishonest or simply it is the evidence of ethical behaviour in a particular process.
Probity in governance is an essential requirement for efficient and effective delivery of socio economic development and governance through strict adherence to code of ethics based on honesty, integrity and impartiality, confidentiality and transparency. An important requisite for ensuring probity in governance is absence of corruption.
The other requirements are effective laws, rules and regulations governing every aspect of public life and, more important, an effective and fair implementation of those laws, etc. Indeed, a proper, fair and effective enforcement of law is a facet of discipline.
There are several Objectives of probity in governance: • To ensure accountability in governance
• To maintain integrity in public services
• To ensure compliance with processes
• To preserve public confidence in government processes • To avoid the potential for misconduct, fraud and corruption Probity in governance is basic requirement for successful operation of governance. It is defined as a risk management approach ensuring procedural integrity. It is concerned with procedures, processes and systems rather than outcomes. It requires people to act ethically, impartially, honestly and with fairness. To make probity governance effective, government has to eliminate corruption. The other requisites of probity are effective laws, rules and regulations governing every feature of public life and an effective and reasonable implementation of those laws.
For ensuring probity in governance, several measures are necessary, some of which are mentioned herein below:
• Need for enforcing section 5 of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 • Necessity for a law providing for confiscation of illegally acquired assets of public servants • Enactment of a Public Interest Disclosure Act – strengthening of whistleblower act, RTI act etc.
• Necessity for enacting a Lok Pal Bill in addition to the Central Vigilance Commission Act • Strengthening of the Criminal Judicial System • Sense of Discipline- instilled by head of organisations and leaders of society. Example: Lal Bahadur Shastri used to pay when his sons used official car.
• Behavioral change in bureaucrats through training, performance appraisal, inculcation of values like empathy and compassion.
• E-Governance- use of ICT for transparency. It would also help in anonymous complaint against public servants by ordinary people.
Probity (Satyanishtha in Hindi) literally means a complete and confirmed integrity; having strong moral principles. Probity in Governance is defined as adherence to ethical and moral values like honesty, Integrity, rectitude, uprightness etc. It is the presence of procedural integrity with high standards of ethical behaviour. It is vital for executing the governance system and socio-economic development.
Probity in Governance seeks to fulfil the following purposes: It preserves public confidence in Government processes It maintains integrity in public services
It ensures accountability in governance
It ensures compliance with processes
It seeks to avoid the potential for misconduct, fraud and corruption Measures for ensuring probity in government: Moral education: Moral education is a must to ensure probity in governance. To make an individual high on integrity, it is necessary to provide him with ethical training that will inspire him to improve governance. The moral education will surely ensure that this takes place. For example, training on the importance of avoiding bribes.
Accountability: Accountability reduces chances of malpractices in governance. When an individual is expected to give answers to higher authorities, he/she avoids performing acts that will reduce his/her position. This will translate into good governance. For example, Social audits ensures accountability and thus lead to probity.
Information Sharing and Transparency in Governance: Sharing information and transparency are indispensable pillars of good governance that compel the state and civil society to focus on results, seek clear objectives, develop effective strategies, and monitor and report on performance.
Access to information:Many laws were enumerated to bring probity in governance for sharing information to the public by putting information in the public domain and which includes the following: Right to information Act.
Ombudsman Office in the local/state level.
Accountability bill for disclosure of Income and Assets.
Records Management laws.
Grievance redressal: Easy access of government officials to the public is important for grievance redressal. It can be ensured through: Availability of Contact numbers of senior servants to Public Details in Departmental websites
Facilitation counters for citizens
Assessment and Monitoring
Code of conduct: Probity is maintained by formulating and employing model code of conduct for ministers, bureaucracy, judiciary, and civil society groups.
Institutional reforms: Introducing public delivery of service agreements by executive agencies for ensuring accountability, objectivity and transparency. Allowing stakeholders like citizen committees to participate in various decision making processes and encouraging and facilitating public participation through the following: Public Hearings.
Citizen Advisory Boards.
Government Contract Committees.
Public Watchdog Groups.
Independent Anti-Corruption Agencies.
Capacity building of citizens and civil society groups.
Probity is a crucial feature of governance which endows government to act ethically and perform its duty as per the norms only. It is significant for the government to follow the rules and regulations as well as adopt policies of impartiality, to gain confidence from the public. When government becomes its system streamline as well as transparent, then the public and government employees concerned to it follow the same criterion. Hence, no corruption, fraud, and irresponsibility will happen.
Need for probity in governance
The governing structure experiences lots of challenges that not only tests administrative skills but also moral values. To successfully navigate the difficult phase, an individual must have probity regarding his beliefs.
Uphold sanctity of the office
The office of administration has a sense of respect and needs to be maintained. For upholding the respect of the office, the individuals occupying it will have to be integrally strong.
Measures to ensure probity in governance
To make an individual high on integrity, it is necessary to provide him with ethical training that will inspire him to improve governance. The moral education will surely ensure that this takes place.
Ex: Training on importance of avoiding bribes.
Accountability reduces chances of malpractices in governance. When an individual is expected to give answers to higher authorities, he/she avoids performing acts that will reduce his/her position. This will translate into good governance.
Ex: Social audit.
Transparency is similar in nature to accountability. When actions and decisions taken regarding governance are easily in public domain, there are low chances of a person risking his job by carrying out malpractices.
Ex: RTI Act.
So, a mixture of adequate rules and regulations, creating conducive administrative processes and development of ethical competence is needed to ensure probity in governance. Too much dependence should not be on external mechanisms because this always keeps a possibility of breach but focus should be ultimately to create men of strength and character who uphold such values on their own.
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