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The Political Context & its significance for Public Administration

The Political Context & its significance for Public Administration

  • The political leadership, whether in power or outside the power-domain, is perhaps the single most potent influence on the mores and values of citizens.
  • The rulers do rule the minds, but in a democracy particularly, all political parties, pressure groups and the media also influence the orientation and attitudes on moral questions.
  • If politicians act as authentic examples of integrity, as happens in the Scandinavian countries, or as examples of gross self-interest, as found in most South Asian countries, the administrative system cannot remain immune to the levels of political morality. The Political Context & its significance for Public Administration
  • The election system in India is considered to be the biggest propeller to political corruption. Spending millions on the elections ‘compels’ a candidate to reimburse his expenses through fair or foul means—more foul than fair.               The Political Context & its significance for Public Administration
  • While fair has limits, foul has none. It is generally argued that the administrative class — comprising civil servants at higher, middle as well as lower levels — emerges from the society itself.
  • Naturally, therefore, the mores, values and behavioural patterns prevalent in the society are likely to be reflected in the conduct of administrators. To expect that the administrators will be insulated from the orientations and norms evidenced in the society would be grossly unrealistic.
  • The argument, propounded here, has a convincing logic, yet there can be a counter­point that the rulers are expected to possess stronger moral fibre than the subjects.
  • Since there are hardly any instrumentalities to protect and nurture administrative morality vis-a-vis the general social morality; such an expectation remains at the most an elusive ideal. Hence, there is an obvious need to go into deeper into the problem.
  • The behaviour of politicians has a demonstration effect on civil servants. Besides, the capacity of the less honest political masters to control civil servants is immense.                      The Political Context & its significance for Public Administration
  • It is ironical that the moral environment in a country like India is designed more by its politicians than by any other social group. The primacy of the political over the rest of systems is too obvious to be ignored.
  • If the media is objective and fearless, its role in preventing corruption can be effective. It can yen act as a catalyst to the promotion of ethical behaviour among administrators.
  • Hence, those who own and manage the media should understand their wider social and moral responsibilities.
  • The trend in this direction is visible now with many television channels regularly airing their ‘exposé’ on malpractices in the system. This role of the media is important if performed with intent of social responsibility rather than sensationalism.          The Political Context & its significance for Public Administration

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ETHICS LECTURES

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