IAS (Admin.) IAS Mains GS Paper 4 (Ethics): Questions 1 of 2

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» Civil Service Values and Ethics in Public Administration » Status and Problems

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Differentiate between wisdom and knowledge. For a public servant, which one of these two is more important? Justify.




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  • Knowledge is to be aware through information gathered by studying or observing. Its only when the knowledge is critically evaluated that we realize the relative importance and application of different aspects of knowledge. This we label as wisdom which is enriched by experiences and exposure.

  • Though both knowledge and wisdom seem so deeply intertwined, for a public servant wisdom must take precedence. In the long career of an IAS officer, its quite common to find him/her leading departments concerning very diverse matters. One cannot possibly be the master of them all. Still he is entrusted to lead for his wisdom.

  • To elucidate further, consider a complaint lying on DM’s desk. It says Doctor A at a PHC strongly advised the patient against using Generic drugs that the State Government is providing for free. He instead wrote a prescription for another pill from a big pharma company. While a novice may expect the DM to take stringent action against the Doctor right away, the DM’s wisdom prompts him to delve deeper.

  • He finds that there are media reports about how ineffective the generic drugs are. Also the PHC’s drugs inventory has expired. The PHC has a provision of 3 doctors but only one is posted there. DM decides to address the issues of new appointments and replenishing the drugs inventory instead of suspending the Doctor in a knee-jerk reaction to the complaint

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