Home > UPSC IAS (Mains) Exam

UPSC IAS (Mains) Exam / 05 Jan 2024

Study Material For UPSC (Paper - V: General Studies - IV) IAS Mains Exam


Syllabus: Paper-V: General Studies - IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)


Definition: The obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner. It also includes the responsibility for money or other entrusted property.

Example: When an employee is given the task of making sure a project goes right and knows she will be blamed if it doesn’t, she can be said to have accountability for the project.

Application: Recently Kerala finance minister announced that the state government will soon enact a comprehensive Accountability Act, that will hold elected representatives and bureaucracy accountable for not performing their roles properly, as Kerala is witnessing grassroots level corruption where bribe amounts are divided among administrators from top to bottom.


Definition: The definition of a responsibility is an obligation or duty. It is the trait of being answerable to someone for one’s conduct.

Example: An example of responsibility is, having to take out the trash every night.

Application: Under the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), it is the responsibility of producers and importers of electrical or electronic equipment, for channelization of e-waste to ensure environmentally sound management of such waste.

Accountability v/s Responsibility

Accountability Responsibility
In ethics and governance, accountability is answerability, blameworthiness, liability, and the expectation of account-giving. Responsibility may refer to: being in charge, being the owner of a task or event.
Formal concept Informal concept
Comes after decision Largely comes before decision
Legal & procedural Moral & ethical
mechanisms are well defined based on self-defined standards
External Internal


Definition: Duty is something that you have to do because people expect you to do it. It might be required by one’s religion, job, position or the laws. It is the social force that binds you to the courses of action demanded by that force. When you’ve done your duty, you’ve done what you’re supposed to and met your responsibilities.

Example: An example of a duty is the act of students completing homework assignments. Your sense of duty as a citizen might compel you to vote.

Application: Eight policemen were suspended in Patna for negligence of duty. Three of them were gossiping while the others were engaged in social media networking instead of vehicle checking.