Is this the time to introduce ‘Code of ethics’ for Civil servants in our country?

As we know, today India is on the way to becoming one of the largest economies in the global competition. In India, our Constitution follows federal system with unitary features for governance. So, the bureaucracy plays a crucial role in governance. To reach the position of the largest economy in the world, we have a long path to travel. And in this journey, one of the main challenges that we have to face can be the politicization of civil servants or the corruption in the administrative system. And somewhere to control it, some steps should be taken.

From my point of view, the Government has already taken the first step towards it by issuing a revised code of conduct for bureaucrats in 2017. It requires civil servants to be politically neutral, honest, impartial and to maintain high ethical standards.

So, is it the time to take the second step i.e. to introduce ‘Code of Ethics’ in our country where ethics and morals have unavoidable importance. Some people can say what is the need of ‘ Code of Ethics’ separately we already have it in the form of ‘Code of Conduct’. So, here we need to know what is the difference between both.

We use the terms ‘Code of Conduct’ and ‘Code of Ethics’ often Interchangeably, and the chaos starts here. ‘Code of Conduct’ contains the conduct rules, code of behavior and general norms for actions to be taken. And ‘Code of Ethics’ is the set off principles of right conduct such – comprising of values and principles which guide behavior, choices and decisions. So, in general we can say that, Code of conduct are ethics which govern actions while Code of ethics are ethics which govern decision making.

To administer the country effectively, to take actions on the laws which are formed in the Parliament, our Administration must have to be effective and this step can make a difference towards betterment of society. Also, residents of the country must be able to trust the system and have confidence in the integrity of the Civil Service decision making process. Introducing ‘Code of Ethics’ can help to achieve both this goals. It must be taken in mind by legislatures, so that they can take steps accordingly.