- 1. This answer has been written for the purposes of explanation; Hence, it may not adhere to word limit. For examination purposes, phrases instead of full sentences could be used.
- 2. There can be many approaches to answering a question in ethics and this may not be the only correct approach. The Readers are welcome to approach the question in other ways which are principally correct
ANSWER: The case involves the situation of a cloudburst with people having different extent of vulnerabilities trapped in the area. My role as a civil services officer is to prioritise the rescue operations and use the resources at my disposal in an efficient and effective manner.
- For this, I would use the following principles to determine the order in which I would rescue these people-
- The people trapped in the area have different levels of vulnerability and hence, different levels of priority. The more vulnerable need to be rescued first and the least vulnerable later.
- As an officer of the civil services, I need to ensure that rescuing the persons in the state machinery is given primacy. This is necessary in view of the contribution they are likely to make to the rescue and relief efforts once rescued themselves. Also, it is necessary to maintain the public perception that the administration is capable and trustworthy.
- Hence, order of priority in rescuing the people is as follows:
- The people from the state machinery i.e. the ruling party’s President and his family and the additional chief secretary of the neighbouring state need to be rescued. This is in view of the effective role that these functionaries will play in the disaster management efforts. Also, these people will have well defined locations which would make rescuing them easier too.
- A high level of priority must be accorded to persons who are unable to help themselves due to various reasons. Hence, the patients in hospitals and prisoners in jail who are incapable to helping themselves in any way must be rescued primarily.
- Further, the rescue of senior citizens, women and children must be given importance. They are quite vulnerable and their capacity to resist the harsh conditions is limited.
- Finally, the hikers and tourists need to be rescued. They had relatively lesser levels of vulnerability. Also, hikers would have the necessary equipment and means to survive in harsh conditions.