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Rakesh is a responsible district level officer, who enjoys the trust of his higher officials. Knowing his honesty, the government entrusted him with the responsibility of identifying the beneficiaries under a health care scheme meant for senior citizens.
The criteria to be a beneficiary are the following:
(a) 60 years of age or above.
(b) Belonging to a reserved community.
(c) Family income of less than 1 Lakh rupees per annum.
(d) Post-treatment prognosis is likely to be high to make a positive difference to the quality of life of the beneficiary.
One day, an old couple visited Rakesh’s office with their application. They have been the residents of a village in his district since their birth. The old man is diagnosed with a rare condition that causes obstruction in the large intestine. As a consequence, he has severe abdominal pain frequently that prevents him from doing any physical labour. The couple has no children to support them. The expert surgeon whom they contacted is willing to do the surgery without charging any fee. However, the couple will have to bear the cost of incidental charges, such as medicines, hospitalization, etc., to the tune of rupees one lakh. The couple fulfils all the criteria except criterion ‘b’. However, any financial aid would certainly make a significant difference in their quality of life.
How should Rakesh respond to the situation? (250 words)

Rakesh, as a responsible district level officer, has been entrusted with the responsibility of identifying beneficiaries for a health care scheme meant for senior citizens. The criteria for identifying beneficiaries are clear and objective, but Rakesh is faced with a situation where an old couple, who do not meet one of the criteria, is seeking financial assistance to cover the cost of medical treatment. In this situation, Rakesh needs to consider the following options:

Option 1: Stick to the criteria

  • Rakesh could choose to strictly adhere to the criteria and reject the couple’s application.
  • This approach would ensure that the scheme is implemented objectively and fairly, and that the limited resources are used effectively.

Option 2: Exercise discretion

  • Rakesh could choose to exercise discretion and provide financial assistance to the couple.
  • This approach would enable Rakesh to help the couple in need, but it would also raise questions about fairness and transparency in the implementation of the scheme.

Option 3: Seek clarification

  • Rakesh could seek clarification from his superiors about the criteria and whether any exceptions can be made.
  • This approach would enable Rakesh to seek guidance from his superiors and ensure that his decision is consistent with the goals and objectives of the scheme.

In considering these options, Rakesh needs to ensure that his decision is based on ethical principles and is consistent with the goals and objectives of the health care scheme. Rakesh needs to consider the following:

  • Transparency and fairness in decision-making
  • The need to use limited resources effectively
  • The duty to assist those in need

Based on the above considerations, Rakesh should choose option 3, seeking clarification from his superiors. This approach would enable Rakesh to seek guidance and ensure that his decision is consistent with the goals and objectives of the scheme. Rakesh could also use this opportunity to advocate for a review of the criteria to ensure that they are responsive to the needs of the community.

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