Managing conflicts of interest in both the public and private sectors has become a major governance issue world-wide. Discuss in context of India, how such conflict can be resolved.

Conflict of interest is a situation in which a person is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in their official capacity. The deteriorating standards of governance have been a cause of concern for India.
Corruption, nepotism, lack of transparency in both the public and private sectors has led to the abuse of the official position by individuals for the personal gain. The abuse of powers by the officials of PNB bank in granting of letter of understanding to Nirav Modi and the board room conflict in the Tata group are some of the examples of the conflict of interest resulting in deteriorating governance in the public and private sector.
To address the issues of conflict of interest various measures like passing of lokpal bill, e-governance and various committees by SEBI like Uday Kotak committee were constituted.
Such conflicts can be resolved through: 

  • Behavioral integrity: Integrity promotes the convergence between what you think, what you say and what you do. This behavior of integrity will aid individuals in resolving conflict of interest.
  • Codifying ethics: Second administrative reforms commission had called for establishing code of ethics. Code of ethics can act as deterrent against the conflict of interest actions.
  • Objectivity in governance: The reduced discretion and enhanced objectivity will aid in establishing quantitative criterions for accessing the governance standards. This will aid in establishing behavior of integrity.
  • Accountability: When people are held accountable for their actions there will be a behavior with responsibility. This would aid in eliminating lax behavior and addressing conflict of interest.
  • Transparency in governance: As it is said that sunlight is the biggest disinfectant to the system, Transparency in governance will act as deterrence against abuse of power for personal gains.

Conflicts of interest are not wrong in themselves, but they should be properly identified and declared, and effectively and transparently managed to prevent situations of anarchy.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Managing conflicts of interest in both the public and private sectors has become a major governance issue world-wide. Discuss in context of India, how such conflict can be resolved. (150 words, 10 Marks)

Published: April 2, 2018 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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