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Day 35 – Q 1. Examine the concept and application of ‘probity in governance’.

1. Examine the concept and application of ‘probity in governance’.    

‘शासन में संभाव्यता’ की अवधारणा और अनुप्रयोग की जांच करें।


Probity is the act of strict adherence to highest principles and ideals (integrity, good character, honesty, decency) rather than avoiding corrupt or dishonest conduct. It balances service to the community against the self-interest of individuals. Probity in public life requires adherence to high moral and ethical standards like integrity, honesty, impartiality, commitment to constitutional principles, dedicated and selfless public service on the part of all public servants.


Probity has been described as a risk management approach ensuring procedural integrity. It is concerned with procedures, processes and systems rather than outcomes.

The principle of probity in public life is the cornerstone of good governance. It is the sine qua none of democracy and sustainable development. Probity in public life is at the centre-stage of the United Nations millennium development goals and sustainable development goals. A well-functioning civil service helps to foster good policy making, effective service delivery, accountability and responsibility in utilizing public resources which are the characteristics of good governance.

According to Second Administrative Reforms Commission, apart from the traditional civil service values of efficiency, integrity, accountability and patriotism, it is necessary for civil servants to inculcate and adopt ethical and moral values including probity in public life, respect for human rights and compassion for the downtrodden and commitment to their welfare.

Probity in governance is the antithesis of corruption in public life. Probity is emphasised by the UN Convention against corruption. Probity is the evidence of ethical behaviour in a particular process

There are several generally accepted probity principles. They are:

  1. Accountability
  2. Transparency
  3. Confidentiality
  4. Management of Conflicts of Interest

Need for probity in governance is

  • To prevent unethical practices like misconduct, fraud and corruption in governance. It will bring the lost public trust back.
  • To ensure public interest and cooperation in governance which is the essence of participatory governance
  • To cater to the needs of all sections of society. So that inclusive growth is achieved.
  • To ensure the equitable distribution of resources
  • To bring strong image of country around the globe
  • To bring in good governance (Accountability, transparency, integrity, Confidentiality etc.)
  • To ensure compliance with processes;
  • The probity is closely linked to societal values. Probity ensures that a public servant is not influenced by those societal values which are unethical. Eg: When a corruption case is brought against a politician or bureaucrat, then the whole target is the ‘individual’. The society to an extent shapes his values. A person who lives in a society which gives social standing/respect to a person who has more money, in turn will work to gain money by all means.
  • The probity of governance is closely related to “equality before law”. Eg: it is not wrong if a file before government is cleared within two days if all citizens with similar file status can get it cleared in two days. Here the concern is compliance with processes. Only a government that is based on probity can ensure that a normal citizen is not discriminated when someone powerful comes for the same.
  • Something is legally right’ doesn’t always mean it is right. The law may be interpreted in ways that are suited. Probity of the public servant plays a crucial role in identifying the actual purpose of interpretation in such a manner and to act against it if it affects the larger public interest.


  • Corruption
  • Evils of coalition government
  • Absence of transparency and accountability
  • Unrealistic code of conduct
  • Toothless laws and institutional arrangements
  • Unholy politician bureaucratic businessman nexus
  • General disintegration of ethics in the society
  • Growth of materialism as a result of globalization
  • Slow and tardy case disposals and justice delivery.


  • Reforming public service.
  • Legally enforceable Code of conduct and code of ethics
  • Combating corruption
  • Strengthening social audit
  • Empowering civil society (effective and efficient citizen charter, RTI etc.)
  • Presence of vibrant and proactive media
  • Promoting work culture etc.
  • Framing effective laws, rules and regulations governing every aspect of public life and, more important, an effective and fair implementation of those laws, etc.
  • The education should evolve as a system where morals, ethics, non-violence, truth, brotherhood, honesty, integrity and uprightness become part of the curriculum. Aim should be to channelize the youth in the right direction so as to establish an orderly society. An orderly society brings probity in public life and thus it becomes a norm.
  • Revisiting the pledge of ’97: At the Golden Jubilee of Independence, parliamentarians took a pledge to carry out meaningful electoral reforms to cleanse public life, ensure greater transparency, probity and accountability, so as to make legislative bodies balanced and effective instruments of democracy. This pledge is yet to be fulfilled. Parliamentarians should take initiatives wholeheartedly to fulfill the pledge and should set an example for other organs of the government.

Probity in governance is an essential and vital requirement for an efficient and effective system of governance and for socio-economic development. Ensuring probity in public sector activities is part of every public official’s duty to adopt processes, practices and behaviour that enhance and promote public sector values and interests.

Best Answer: DP

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