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Day 59 – Q 3.What is ‘probity’? Why is it a desirable attribute to have for a civil servant? Examine.

3. What is ‘probity’? Why is it a desirable attribute to have for a civil servant? Examine. 

‘प्रोबिटी’ क्या है? सिविल सेवक के लिए यह एक वांछनीय विशेषता क्यों है? जांच करें।


Probity is the act of strict adherence to the 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. Moreover, Probity has been described as a risk management approach ensuring procedural integrity. 


According to the Second Administrative Reforms Commission, apart from the traditional civil service values of efficiency, integrity, accountability and patriotism, civil servants must inculcate and adopt ethical and moral values including probity in public life.

Importance of probity in civil services:

  • To prevent unethical practices like misconduct, fraud, favouritism, criminalization of governance, self-centred functionaries and corruption in governance.
  • To ensure public interest and cooperation in governance for participatory governance. Probity will bring the lost public trust back.
  • To cater to the needs of all sections of society. So that inclusive growth is achieved.
  • To bring in good governance (Accountability, transparency, integrity, Confidentiality etc.)
  • To ensure the equitable and just distribution of resources.
  • To ensure compliance of civil servants with laws, processes and codes.
  • Probity is closely linked to societal values. Probity ensures that a public servant is not influenced by societal values which are unethical. 
  • Probity ensures “equality before the law”. Ex: File clearance of a common citizen and a mighty politician is the same for the civil servant.
  • Probity in governance is the antithesis of corruption in public life.
  • Civil servant maintaining probity avoids corrupt or dishonest conduct, as it involves applying values such as impartiality, accountability and transparency.
  • The principle of probity in public life is the cornerstone of good governance. It is the sine qua none of the democracy and sustainable development.


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

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