Probity in Governance | Ethics | UPSC

 Probity in Governance | UPSC (Ethics) | GS-4

What is Probity?

Probity simply means maintaining integrity, uprightness and honesty in professional capacity. Maintaining probity in governance involves more than simply avoiding corrupt or dishonest conduct. It requires ethical behaviour that upholds public values and ensures impartiality, accountability and transparency which, in turn, increases people's confidence to participate in the Governance process.

Thus probity can be defined as :

Probity 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. 

Probity in Governance :

Probity in Governance requires more than the conventional civil service values of performance, integrity and patriotism. Civil servants need to adopt as well as undertake ethical and integrity values, which includes dedication to the service, inner-compulsion for welfare works, respect for human rights, morality in public life and compassion for the downtrodden.

Candidates must note that the topic of probity in Governance is crucial for UPSC, and multiple questions are asked.

Probity in Governance | Ethics | UPSC

Probity in Governance seeks to fulfil the following purposes:

  • It preserves public confidence in Government and administrative processes. Ensuring that the public or the citizens of the country do not lose their faith in machinery  of the government.
  • Probity upholds strong moral principles and qualities like honesty and integrity in public services.
  • It creates an accountable public service, who works with transparency and openness. Accountability in Governance is a vital part of the government system.
  • It invokes a sense of procedural integrity. Hence compliance with different processes of government is ensured.
  • Probity seeks to avoid the potential for any misconduct, fraud or corruption at any levels.
  • These functions and purposes are fundamental to the UPSC Ethics syllabus and must be read thoroughly.

    Measures to Ensure Probity in Governance :

    Probity in Governance is a vital for executing an efficient and effective governance system and bringing socio-economic development. Lack of probity in governance has become one of the biggest menaces of society. To inculcate probity & adherence to ethical practices among them certain strides could be taken:

    1. A dedicated unit, both at centre and state levels, to oversee the violation of Code of ethics & Code of conduct by government officials must be set up.
    2. Information regarding various functions of the government and duties of the officials to ensure the fulfillment of these functions must be made available to common public through websites.
    3. There should be a mandatory declaration of assets and liabilities by government employees, accompanied by proper auditing.
    4. Establishment of an empowered and independent Anti-Corruption Agency to reduce and eradicate government officials’ high levels of corruption and fraud.
    5. Citizens Advisory Boards need to pay proper attention to incorporate ideas of common public in improving governance.
    6. A mandatory Social Audit of all government programs is vital, for example: Meghalaya has passed a law for social audit of government programs.
    7. These measure are insufficient until a behavioural change in government employees is brought so that they can easily empathize with the problem of common mass. Awareness amongst government employees and officials must be raised regarding the problem corruption causes to society.
    8. A special unit could be established which will look into the ground of behavioural changes amongst these employees, which will help in increasing the level of empathy between them and the common mass. 

    Probity in Governance is an essential provision required by the Indian government, which ensures the government’s proper functioning. It is set to execute the governance system properly and ensure the development in the socio and economic aspects of the government.


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