When Nagaraj, the young and ever smiling hair dresser at the Club told me about his experience while he took his wife for a job recruitment examination conducted by the State Government, I was in a shock. Just like many hapless millions who are unemployed, the lady who was a rank holder in her post-graduation in Economics (in spite of the fact that she belonged to the ‘under privileged’ sections of the society), had applied for some advertised posts in the government. Just before the examination, three persons came to the examination hall and inquired with the candidates whether they were willing to pay money for getting the post. If they agree, their roll numbers will be noted and they would be ‘taken care of’ while awarding the marks for the written examination. A few of them went near to those job brokers and whispered their ‘offers’ secretly in public view. As expected, Nagaraj’s wife could not get selected for any of the posts as she never had the resources to make monetary investment in the job trade. It was not job recruitment but job-bidding!
The other day, another young man came with sweets to share his joy. He said, he got selected to a high ranking entry level post in one of the state government departments. From the information I gathered from my hair dresser Nagaraj, I asked this gentleman: ‘How much you had to shell out for getting the post?’ He said, ‘Nothing. Since I secured highest marks among all the candidates, they had to select me. But they ‘demanded’ another strange proposal from me if I needed a ‘plum’ posting like revenue collector or ‘Tehsildar’ (Head of local administration, much below a District Collector). The demand was my consent to get married to the daughter of any of the listed political functionaries belonging to my caste. I said ‘No’, and I got a post which is not very ‘lucrative’ ‘.
I relished the sweet of this contented young man.
Criminal Investigation Division of Government of Karnataka, India is probing the ‘jobs for marriage scam’ in the state. (Click to see a news report)
Karnataka: Rs 1 crore for government jobs, allege toppers
Deepa Balakrishnan, CNN-IBN | Updated Jun 12, 2013 at 08:21am ISTBangalore: A crore or more for a government job - that's the going rate in Karnataka. In March 2013, Dr HPS Mythri got a high rank in the recruitment exam for the Karnataka Administrative Service. She was confident of a top job until she went for her personality test.Dr Mythri said, "I got a call from the KPSC member saying I'm the topper in ST category and I should go and meet the member for a negotiation. Since I'm ST woman, the price is concessional, or else it would be Rs 1 to Rs 1.5 crore."Dr Mythri didn't pay. She was given a low score on the personality test. The girl who got 70 marks lesser than her got a boosted score on the same test.Even Ajay, her batchmate's rank slipped from 34 in the written exam to 157 after the personality test. G Ajay said, "They spoke to my father and said if we're aiming at Assistant Commissioner Post, the cost is Rs 1 crore or more. It's a huge amount and we didn't want to buy a job."Mythri and Ajay are just two of the 200-odd of the candidates who've complained to the government in protest about the blatant corruption for a government post. "I've seen many candidates crying in front of the commission when they see the marks though they have done well in the main exam," said Dr Mythri.
When the seed of corruption is planted even before a person applies for a career and nurtured it strategically all along his career in the name of better posting, transfer, promotion etc., the system in fact becomes a fertile ground for ‘criminal’ servants to thrive and it weeds out the servants who tend be ‘civil’. Add to this, governments incur huge expenditure and substantial time to formulate anti-corruption laws and establish large machinery to curb, investigate and punish the corrupt officials.
The economic slowdown has resulted in increased unemployment among the skilled manpower. There are thousands of technical professionals who stay at home without any meaningful employment. In such a scenario, there are people who are willing to take shortcuts to get into a career, especially in the government sector. However, a person who pays huge sums to get a job would definitely try to misuse his position to get back his ‘returns’ with ‘interest’. The political masters who granted jobs for people after taking huge amounts would close their eyes on the large scale corruption at every levels of government machinery. Ultimately, the ordinary citizen is forced to pay money to get things done. Thus, the root of corruption in government service is at the recruitment stage itself.
This does not mean that all those who got selected to a government department without paying money would not take bribes. In an environment of corruption, some of those who got into the job on merits also demand bribes for providing service to the public.
Fortunately, no malpractices are reported at the stage of recruitment of Civil Services Officers in India (the premium cadres in Government Service). But there are a few instances of large scale corruption even at senior levels and the postings and transfers are not always fair. In view of the corrupt environment in which young civil services recruits are posted, one more paper on ethics and values has been added to the Civil Services (Main) Examination from this year. Will this end corruption? Unless, the entire recruitment upto the lowest levels in government service are done in a fair and transparent manner, the corruption cannot be wiped off from the Government Service.
Comments are welcome. Views are personal
© Sibichen K Mathew