There are three Ds that drive India. The Prime Minister often speaks of these in his public meetings – Democracy, Diversity and Demography. The last ‘D’ is significant as it speaks about our social, economic and political capabilities. It tells the world that we are a young country with a whopping population under the age of 25 ready to enter the workforce and drive the engine of growth quickly. It asserts the fact that we are a country ready to take on giants like China and Japan. The young lads with brains and brawns and endowed with technology are often expected to be the flag-bearers of an unprecedented ‘growth story’ in India.
But, then you see the recruitment processes and realise that the young generation, apart from fighting the battle through pens, papers, erasers and logic in the examination room, also needs to protest to fight with the recruitment agencies – through fasts and dharnas, through speeches and assertions, through media and associations. Do you really believe that a country that is one of the largest economies, besides wielding a considerable power at the world stage (given its stances on hard and soft power), can fail to have a reliable, credible and transparent machinery to conduct competitive examinations?
People are largely agitated by the alleged scam that has happened during the time of the Staff Selections Commission (SSC) examination, but the fact is that apart from the SSC, there are also a number of recruitment processes in India that are devoid of transparency. State recruitment bodies, in particular, seem to be very dull and lethargic when it comes to conducting the examination process in time. Often, there’s no set time-frame within which the examinations will be conducted and the allotments will be made.
At the central level, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts one of the toughest of examinations and lakhs of students sit across the country to pursue their dreams. But the UPSC always succeeds in conducting a transparent exam in a given time-frame.
On the other hand, state public service commissions in particular areas often seem to be highly lethargic, and they often take years to complete an examination cycle. It not only leads to a drop in the morale of students preparing for the exam but also ends up creating an unfair competition.
Suppose, Ramesh has given the preliminary examination of a state public service commission exam in 2013. Without announcing the results of this exam, the state puts out a notification for conducting the exam for the next batch, say in 2014. Now, since Ramesh is unsure about his chances in the previous attempt, he’ll again appear for the exam in 2014. The students who have started preparing after Ramesh would obviously be at a disadvantaged position. This only leads to more people filling up forms to get into the services. The only thing that benefits from the whole exercise is the state treasury.
The SSC scam is only the tip of the iceberg. If government is serious about their intention to help the students, they should not just stop at conducting an enquiry in the alleged scam. They must also investigate into the causes for the delay and the reasons behind corruption in other recruitment bodies. There’s a need to clear the mess that has engulfed the examination system. The state recruitment bodies clearly need a revamp.
At the time of writing this, it was almost confirmed that the NDA has 21 states in its clutches. So, it should now relinquish its strategy of blaming the past and do something for the benefit of the nation’s future and its students.