Think Learn & Perform (TLP)

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Day 99 – Q 1.

1. Sunaina joined the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) and got awarded the prestigious Gold Medal for academic excellence during her training. Later she attended many training programmes related to taxation on Government budget. In her sixth year of service, she got admitted to a foreign university and also got departmental funding for pursuing higher education for two  years. Her career took a new shape and she started to feel even more confident. In her final two months of study, she started receiving job opportunities from global tax law firms who were ready to pay thirty times more than her current salary. Some firms proposed to even reimburse her tuition fee to the Government to take care of her bond obligations. She can stay in the same foreign country and lead a much better life. 

Should Sunaina leave the service and join any of the big law firms offering her a much higher package and luxurious lifestyle? If she does so, will it not be unethical to have taken advantage of the country and then abandon it for want of better pay and life? Critically analyse. What would be your decision in this scenario? Why? Substantiate. 

Demand of the question: 

It asks students to write whether Sunaina should leave the service or not. In the second part student should write about the ethicality of the decision made by Sunaina and third part asks students to write their own response and reasons behind it.


Sunaina being the distinguished talent in civil service, government tried to provide her best training in the world. At the end of her training, she might face dilemma between personal aspirations and the public service. The situation before her put civil services values like selflessness, integrity, responsibility and commitment in question.


Sunaina has two options to choose, either leave public service to join global tax law firms or continue to serve in public service. Sunaina should not leave the civil services:

  • If she decides to continue in public service, she eventually upholds the foundational value of selflessness in civil services. Though, she had the right to choose thirty times more salary job and better lifestyle in foreign country after paying dues to government. It will be a courageous decision as she could have afforded better life not only for herself but her family also. Her decision indicates that she has put national interest before her private interests.
  • She might lose to work with government of such fast growing major economy, various opportunities of diversified challenges, role of policy implementation at such large scale and policy formulation at certain point. She might lose the satisfaction of doing public service while fulfilling her duty of job and strength of decision to change lives of thousands of people. It might be lose-lose situation for her on the front of private interest also considering the personal career challenges and experience.

It will be difficult to call her decision as unethical as there are so many unknowns about motives behind her decision and calling her decision as outright unethical might be oversimplification.

  •  Legally it is allowed to take independent decision. Legality is also one of the important public service values.
  • She might have lost the zeal of public service and no longer enjoying the public work as before.
  •  She might have the necessity of better financial security which might not be the case in her government salary.
  •  At least she is not using the path way of corruption to fulfil her increasing financial needs. 
  • It is good to leave service rather than serving under the pressure or burden that government played important role in being person she is now. 
  • She might face cognitive dissonance and value conflict after leaving such huge opportunity to work in big global law firm.

I would like to continue in public service irrespective of the opportunities in the private sector.

  • Values are for difficult times and sacrifice of personal interests over public interest is important civil service trait. Values are tested in difficult times.
  •  Better pay and better lifestyle are certainly important for every working person however, decision to choose civil services in the first place was informed decision and it will be unwise to leave the security of public service over the greed of thirty times salary. Decision based on attractions will be example of lack of professional and personal integrity.
  •  It is well informed to the civil servant that in democratic country with huge under poverty population and huge development needs, it will not be possible to give high remuneration matching standards of private sector.
  •  Though it is allowed legally, my conscience will not allow me to leave the service at such juncture where skills are perfectly shaped for maximum benefit of common people. Even with the utilitarian theory it will be greatest good of greatest numbers.
  •  Long term benefits at personal level in public service rather than current attraction in private sector. Public service is win-win for both personal aspiration and public service motives.


Public service requires self-regulation, self-control and subordination of private interests to the public interest and public trust. There is need to understand the spirit and motive of government to spend public money on cutting edge training facilities, mere payment of required bond dues will not be able to fill the vacuum of talent and competence generated by leaving the public service.

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