Conflict of interest in the public sector arises when (a) official duties, (b) public interest, and (c) personal interest are taking priority one above the other. How can this conflict in administration be resolved? Describe with an example. 

Conflict of interest in the public sector involves a tenuous balancing act between official duties, public interest, and personal interest. In India, this is often observed in government tendering processes where officials might be swayed by personal gains over public good.

Types of Conflicts

  • Official Duties: Responsible for implementing policies and public services.
  • Public Interest: The common well-being that public servants are obligated to promote.
  • Personal Interest: Individual benefits, financial or otherwise, that could conflict with public duties.

Identifying Conflicts

  • Transparency: Making the decision-making process visible to the public.
  • Audit Trails: Keeping detailed records to justify choices.

Addressing Conflict

  • Code of Conduct: Instituting ethical guidelines for behavior.
  • Whistleblower Protections: Encourage reporting of unethical behavior.
  • External Oversight: Third-party monitoring to prevent conflicts.
  • Training: Regular ethics training for officials.
  • Sanctions: Penalties for conflict of interest to deter future issues.
  • Public Participation: Involving the citizenry in decision-making processes through public consultations.


  • Commonwealth Games Scandal: In 2010, Suresh Kalmadi, then Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee, was charged with corruption. External audit found financial irregularities.
  • Resolution: Arrests and legal action were taken, showcasing the role of judiciary and investigative agencies in checking conflicts.

Managing conflicts of interest requires a multi-pronged approach involving transparent procedures, ethical guidelines, and robust oversight mechanisms. India’s experience with high-profile scandals like the Commonwealth Games case emphasizes the importance of these elements in safeguarding public interest over personal or official priorities.

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