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Day 57 – Q 2.Can legally enforced accountability measures be successful if the appropriate ethical drive is absent? Critically examine.

2. Can legally enforced accountability measures be successful if the appropriate ethical drive is absent? Critically examine. 

यदि उपयुक्त नैतिक ड्राइव अनुपस्थित हो, तो क्या कानूनी रूप से लागू जवाबदेही के उपाय सफल हो सकते हैं? समालोचनात्मक से जांच करें।


Accountability ensures those in position of power or decision making are held responsible and answerable for their actions.


Ethics and accountability are closely related topics, however there lies significant difference. Accountability without ethical drive may not be successful.

May not be successful:

  • Strictly following the rules to ensure accountability might not always help the poor/needy. Consider an example of a public official, assigned with the task of distributing wheel chairs to disabled old people in a village. But, his senior official informs him to distribute it only to those holding Aadhar card. So, he might not be able to provide wheelchair to few, who don’t have Aadhar card despite knowing their condition. Hence, the accountability is not successful in such scenarios.  
  • Accountability without compassion, will affect the public trust on government officials and this can also affect the self-accountability of the official.
  • Accountability alone cannot ensure efficiency and effectiveness, it needs to be supplemented with transparency, empathy, honesty, integrity etc.
  • Accountability affects the free will of the individual. Free will gives space of innovation or creativity without the interference of the state.
  • Accountability might act as a deterrent, as acknowledged by ARC reports. The fear of consequences might lead to inactivity from decision makers.
  • Accountability sometimes may give way to red tapism and implementation delay, which could turn the action plan futile in certain cases. 

However, this isn’t the case always: 

  • Accountability in itself promotes ethical governance and principles such as impartiality, honesty etc. An example- Pubic disclosure of names of beneficiaries of any scheme is an accountability mechanism that prevents government from selecting beneficiaries on the ground of favouritism or nepotism.
  • The provision of dispute resolution would ensure better quality of decision making. Civil servants are held accountable through code of conduct which prevents transgression of decision making capacity. The public official is not under any influence and will act in an unbiased manner. 
  • Accountability addresses issues like conflict of interest, partisanship etc in a better way. This will ensure professionalism, dedication and source of motivation.
  • Accountability brings in many actors such as the governed and the governing. Provisions such as RTI, Social audit would ensure its effectiveness.


Overall, accountability isn’t the silver bullet to ensure efficient decision making and implementation. It must be aided with ethical values and governance to ensure better effectiveness and efficiency of public policy.

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