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Ethical Values – Pranab Mukherjee

GS Paper 4

Syllabus: Contributions of Moral Thinkers and Philosophers from India and the World


Source: PIB

 Context: The President of India, Smt Droupadi Murmu, paid floral tributes to Shri Pranab Mukherjee, former President of India, on his Birth Anniversary.


About Pranab Mukherjee:

  • He initiated his parliamentary journey through the Rajya Sabha in 1969.
  • He became India’s youngest finance minister of India in 1982 at the age of 47. From 2004, he went on to head three crucial ministries—external affairs, defence, and finance—and became the first occupant of the Rashtrapati Bhavan to have this distinction.
  • He will also go down in the history as the only non-prime minister who was the leader of the Lok Sabha for eight years.
  • Known for his political acumen and ability to form consensus across party lines, Mukherjee was heading 24 of 39 GOMs (groups of ministers) when he became president in 2012.


Ethical values that can be learned from Pranab Mukherjee:

At the Individual level:

  • Tolerance for pluralism, compassion for all, and love for the motherland are core civilizational values of India where hundreds of languages and all major religions live under one system.
  • He made it easier for common people to visit the Rashtrapati Bhavan.


At the societal level:

  • After the infamous Nirbhaya rape case, he cautioned society to reset its “moral compass”.
  • He also termed universities as “bastions of free thinking” and “reasoned debate” in the backdrop of the media onslaught on JNU and DU students. It was never allowed to be centralized and there has existed a “Guru Shishya Parampara” or student-teacher tradition.

Against terrorism:

  • In contrast to the eye for eye and tooth for tooth approach, Indian civilization gave humanity the message of ‘Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah’ (May happiness be to all).

Public Life:

  • Media Ethics: Expressing concern over “aberrations” like ‘paid news’ which have crept into the media, he said: “Sensationalism should never become a substitute for objective assessment and truthful reporting. Gossip and speculation should not replace facts. Every effort should be made to ensure that political or commercial interests are not passed off as legitimate and independent opinion.”
  • Against ordinance: He cautioned the government against using the ordinance route to bring in a law, saying it should be used only in a compelling situation and not taken recourse to in monetary matters.
  • Good Governance: According to him two basic elements of good governance are ‘transparency’ and ‘accountability’


He defined transparency as:

  • The availability of information to the general public and clarity about the functioning of governmental institutions.
  • Transparency enhances predictability as it helps government organizations to function more objectively.
  • It also enables and encourages the common man to effectively participate in the governance process.


Insta Links:

Pranab Mukherjee


Mains Link:

Q. Identify ten essential values that are needed to be an effective public servant. Describe the /ways and means to prevent non-ethical behaviour in public servants. (UPSC 2021)


December 2022

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