Ethics Previous Year Questions with Answers PDF Download Year Wise (2023-2013)

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Solving Ethics Previous Year Questions for the UPSC Mains exam will help the aspirants to understand the Ethics exam pattern. Ethics is studied under the GS-4 Paper Syllabus. Ethics was introduced in the UPSC Syllabus in 2013 with the aim of educating civil service aspirants about society’s ethical aspect and its leadership. Thus, aspirants appearing for the Mains Exam must possess a better understanding of the topic.

The number of Ethics questions in the IAS Exam is not fixed. As per the expert’s advice, going through the Ethics Previous Year Question Papers will help the aspirants to get to know about the types of questions asked in the exam. Aspirants appearing for the Mains examination can review the 10-year Ethics previous year questions given below in this article.

Ethics Previous Year Questions

The questions raised in the GS-4 of the UPSC Mains exam vary with the year. Before 2018, a total of 14 questions were asked from the Ethics GS-4 Syllabus. However, with the increased complexity of the UPSC Exam, the total number of questions asked from the topic has been reduced.

Ethics Previous Year Questions are divided into two sets in the GS-4 Paper of the Mains Exam. These are:

  • Case studies – The case studies question judges about the concepts and situations related to politicians, candidates, pressure groups, the public, and others;
  • Theoretical Questions – The theoretical questions test the concepts related to integrity and aptitude, and ethical issues.

Ethics Previous Year Questions with Answers PDF

Two to three questions have been raised in section A of the exam (Theory based questions) and similarly, two to three questions are asked from the Case study section.

Ethics Previous Year Questions with Answers PDF

Candidates can download the Ethics Previous Year Questions Topic Wise PDF (2022 to 2013) from the link provided. Save the PDF and use it during the revision process to analyze your level of preparation.

Ethics Questions UPSC 2022

The GS Paper 4 question paper of UPSC Mains 2022, along with theory-based and case-study is given below. Go through the Ethics questions to understand the UPSC exam pattern nicely before appearing for the exam.

Ethics PYQ UPSC 2022 (Theory-Based)

Question 1: Russia and Ukraine war has been going on for the last seven months. Different countries have taken independent stands and actions keeping in view their own national interests. We are all aware that war has its own impact on the different aspects of society, including human tragedy. What are those ethical issues that are crucial to be considered while launching the war and its continuation so far? Illustrate with justification the ethical issues involved in the given state of affairs. (Answer in 150 words)

Ethics PYQ UPSC 2022 (Case Study) PDF

Question 2: Write short notes on the following in 30 words each: (i) Constitutional morality, (ii) Conflict of interest, (iii) Probity in public life, (iv) Challenges of digitalization, (v) Devotion to duty

Ethics Previous Year Questions 2021

According to the subject experts, two questions of medium difficulty were asked from the theory-based Ethics portion, while three questions of low difficulty were asked in the UPSC 2021 Mains Question Paper of GS Paper 4 (Ethics), which are listed below:

Ethics PYQ UPSC 2021 (Theory-Based):

  • Question 1: Identify five ethical traits on which one can plot the performance of a civil servant. Justify their inclusion in the matrix. (Answer in 150 words)
  • Question 2: Identify ten essential values that are needed to be an effective public servant. Describe the ways and means to prevent non-ethical behavior in public servants. (Answer in 150 words)

Ethics PYQ UPSC 2021 (Case Study):

The three moderate-level questions from section B of the GS-4 UPSC Mains Exam 2021  are attached in the snippet below:

Ethics PYQ UPSC 2021 Ethics PYQ UPSC 2021 Ethics PYQ UPSC 2021

Ethics PYQ UPSC 2020

Two moderate-level questions were raised from the Theory based section of Ethics, and three good-level questions were raised from the case study section. These questions are as follows:

Ethics PYQ UPSC 2020 (Theory-Based):

  • Question 1: Discuss the role of ethics and values in enhancing the following three major components of Comprehensive National Power (CNP), viz. human capital, soft power (culture and policies), and social harmony.
  • Question 2: Distinguish between laws and rules. Discuss the role of ethics in formulating them.

Ethics PYQ UPSC 2020 (Case Study)

The case studies question judges about the concepts and understanding of an individual appearing in the UPSC Exam. The case study Ethics PYQ UPSC 2020 is presented in the image below.

Ethics PYQ UPSC 2020 Ethics PYQ UPSC 2020

You can also refer to the following links on topic-wise UPSC Previous Year Question Papers to score well in the IAS Exam:

UPSC Ethics Previous Year Questions 2019

The Ethics syllabus is designed to judge the ethical approach of an individual and his attitude toward integrity-related issues in society. The difficulty of the questions differs with the changing year.

Ethics PYQ UPSC 2019 (Theory-Based):

Question 1: What is meant by the term ‘constitutional morality’? How does one uphold constitutional morality?

Ethics PYQ UPSC 2019 (Case Study)

Question 1: An apparel manufacturing company having a large number of women employees was losing sales due to various factors. The company hired a reputed marketing executive, who increased the volume of sales within a short span of time. However, some unconfirmed reports came up regarding his indulgence in sexual harassment at the workplace.

After some time, a woman employee launched a formal complaint to the management against the marketing executive for sexually harassing her.

Faced with the company’s indifference in not taking cognizance of her grievances, she lodged an FIR with the police. Realizing the sensitivity and gravity of the situation, the company called the woman employee to negotiate. In that, she was offered a hefty sum of money to withdraw the complaint and the FIR and to give in writing that the marketing executive was not involved in the case.

  • Identify the ethical issues involved in this case.
  • What options are available to the woman employee?

Ethics UPSC Previous Year Questions (2018-2013)

Ethics is one of the easily scoring subjects but this doesn’t mean that only low-difficulty level questions are asked in the exam. Before appearing for the exam, students should examine Ethics UPSC Previous Year Questions (theory-based) from 2013 to 2018 from the two different sections of the Ethics Syllabus given below:

Year Theory-based Questions
Ethics Previous Year Questions 2018 Q1 What is meant by conflict of interest? Illustrate with examples, the difference between the actual and potential conflicts of interest.

Q2 Suppose the Government of India is thinking of constructing a dam in a mountain valley bonded by forests and inhabited by ethnic communities. What rational policy should it resort to in dealing with unforeseen contingencies?

Ethics Questions UPSC 2017 Q1 One of the tests of integrity is complete refusal to be compromised. Explain with reference to a real-life example.

Q2 Corporate social responsibility makes companies more profitable and sustainable. Analyse.

Q3 The crisis of ethical values in modern times is traced to a narrow perception of the good life. Discuss.

Ethics PYQ UPSC 2016 Q1 Explain how ethics contributes to social and human well-being.

Q2 Analyse John Rawls’s concept of social justice in the Indian Context.

Q3 Law and ethics are considered to be the two tools for controlling human conduct so as to make it conducive to civilized social existence. Discuss how they achieve this objective. Giving examples show how the two differ in their approaches.

Q4 Anger is a harmful negative emotion. It is injurious to both personal life and work life.

Discuss how it leads to negative emotions and undesirable behaviors. How can it be managed and controlled?

Ethics UPSC Previous Year Questions 2015 Q1 What is meant by ‘environmental ethics? Why is it important to study? Discuss any one environmental issue from the viewpoint of environmental ethics.

Q2 Differentiate between the following:

Law and ethics, Ethical management and management of ethics, Discrimination, and preferential treatment, Personal Ethics and Professional Ethics

Q3 How do the virtues of trustworthiness and fortitude get manifested in public service? Explain with examples

Q4 Social values are more important than economic values. Discuss the above statement with examples in the context of the inclusive growth of a nation.

Ethics Previous Year Questions 2014 Q1 All human beings aspire to happiness. Do you agree? What does happiness mean to you? Explain with answers.

Q2 What does ethics seek to promote human life? Why is it all the more important in Public Administration?

Q3 Which eminent personality has inspired you the most in the context of ethical conduct in life? Give the Gist of his/her teachings. Giving specific examples describe how you have been able to apply these teachings for your own ethical development.

Q4 There is a heavy ethical responsibility on the public servants because they occupy positions of power, handle huge amounts of public funds, and their decisions have a wide-ranging impact on society and the environment. What steps have you taken to improve your ethical competence to handle such responsibility?

Q5 The current society is plagued with a widespread trust deficit. What are the consequences of this situation for personal well-being and for societal well-being? What can you do at a personal level to make yourself trustworthy?

Q6 It is often said that poverty leads to corruption. However, there is no dearth of instances where affluent and powerful people indulge in corruption in a big way. What are the basic causes of corruption among people? Support your answer with examples.

Q7 We are witnessing increasing instances of sexual violence against women in the country. Despite existing legal provisions against it, the number of such incidences is on the rise. Suggest some innovative measures to tackle this menace.

Ethics PYQ UPSC 2013 Q1 What do you understand by ‘values’ and ‘ethics’? In what way is it important to be ethical along with being professionally competent?

Q2 Some people feel that values keep changing with time and situation, while others strongly believe that there are certain universal and eternal human values. Give your perception in this regard with due justification.

Q3 “The good of an individual is contained in the good of all.” What do you understand by this statement? How can this principle be implemented in public life?

Q4 It is often said that ‘politics’ and ‘ethics’ do not go together. What is your opinion in this regard? Justify your answer with illustrations.

Ethics Topic Wise Questions in UPSC Mains

Here is a table showing the trend analysis of the type and number of questions raised from the Ethics subject between 2020 to 2018. Try to understand the pattern of the questions raised from the Ethics Syllabus and prepare for the subject accordingly.

Category 2018 2019 2020
Private organization 19 0 0
Public organization 30 50 10
Family and society 10 40 60
Work and office 20 0 0
Basics and thinkers 50 40 60
Case Studies 120 120 120

Ethics Previous Year Questions UPSC – Preparation Tips

Ethics is considered one of the most scoring subjects in the UPSC Mains Syllabus. For a better understanding of the types of questions that will be asked during the exam, it is advised that students review past years’ ethics questions and answers. You need to come up with a proper strategy with a robust study plan to ace the Ethics GS 4 Paper.

Here are a few tips that will help you in scoring well in the UPSC Mains Ethics GS 4 Question Paper:

  • Get familiar with the Ethics Syllabus and the best books;
  • Define your syllabus into the most and least important topics;
  • Write 150 to 200 words for all the micro topics like honesty, Probity, integrity, compassion, etc.;
  • Try making short Notes on Ethics as per your understanding and never skip revision;
  • Choose your UPSC Books wisely for preparation of Ethics;
  • Focus on topics like Probity in governance reports, citizen’s charter, ARC Report, RTI, and Code of Conduct.
UPSC Articles
Polity Mains Questions Agriculture PYQ UPSC Mains
Modern History PYQ UPSC Mains Art and Culture Mains Questions
Best Pen For UPSC Mains UPSC Booklist for GS Paper 1, 2, 3, and 4
Compulsory Indian Language Paper Economy UPSC Mains Questions
Geography UPSC Mains PYQ Indian Society PYQ UPSC Mains
Our Apps Playstore
SSC and Bank
Other Exams
GradeStack Learning Pvt. Ltd.Windsor IT Park, Tower - A, 2nd Floor, Sector 125, Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201303
Home Practice Test Series Premium