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Corruption and Fraud in Entrance Exams

Over the past week, claims have been made that the papers of the assistant review officer and review officer exams conducted by the Uttar Pradesh Police Recruitment and Promotion Board and the Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission (UPPSC) have been leaked

Niraj Krishna

When Gandhi was a young boy, his teacher asked him to copy the spelling of his neighbor in an exam, but he did not do so because he believed that having good character is more important than obtaining more marks. A new trend has emerged in the field of education. The cornerstone of educational institutions, that is, “honesty,” is under serious attack from all sides.

For the past few years, the credibility of competitive exams has been surrounded by questions. The most worrying aspect of this is that attempts at cheating are now being made with highly organized and modern techniques. Even the role of high-level officials is being doubted. The future of talented students is at risk. Reports of cheating in exams and manipulation during exams not only dampen their enthusiasm and morale, but what makes it even more alarming is the number of deaths related to scams.

Over the past week, claims have been made that the papers of the assistant review officer and review officer exams conducted by the Uttar Pradesh Police Recruitment and Promotion Board and the Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission (UPPSC) have been leaked. More than 57 lakh candidates have appeared for these two recruitments. Amidst this, there is turmoil among candidates preparing for government jobs and among those who took these exams. Those who filled out forms for these recruitments have to face disappointment. Due to irregularities at exam centers, the leaking of question papers has become a kind of joke.

This is not the first scam related to education and the job sector. The inflated CAT score scam and the leak of CBSE medical entrance question papers also raise questions about the accountability and transparency of state as well as central government organizations.

Merit, credibility, and authenticity are considered fundamental principles in the recruitment process for government services. Every day, papers for one exam or another are leaked. Using Bluetooth devices in competitive exams to catch examinees, paper leaks, and fake students appearing for exams has become common. Paper leaks not only harm the government but also jeopardize the future of millions of students.

Unemployed youth keep an eye on newspapers, thinking that the government might not have created any job positions. Even to get employment on a contractual basis, young people have to go through many formalities. They are forced to stand in lines to make several documents in court. They have to travel several kilometers to exam centers.

The government treasury is being filled with fees charged in the name of conducting exams, but the pockets of the youth are getting empty. The government and administration should also understand the pain of the youth. It’s not just the youth but also parents who are worried about the irregularities in recruitment. The financial burden falls on the parents. If youth fail exams, they also fall into depression. There are jobs in the private sector, but the salaries are not adequate. Jobs in the private sector are not secure for a long time, nor is there social security. That’s why the first preference of youth is a government job. The salaries in government jobs are good, and the job is secure. Respect is maintained in society. That’s why everyone wants a government job, whether it’s a clerk’s or an officer’s.

Due to the large scale of illicit activities, it is very clear that there is a powerful nexus of wealthy parents, politicians, and officials. Corrupt politicians and officials entrap greedy parents who want to keep their children in better positions. This ruins the careers of hard-working candidates. Widespread unemployment in the country is also largely responsible for this. It creates a market for backdoor jobs, which makes candidates incompetent.

Due to the lack of opportunities, candidates start developing a lack of self-confidence, which leads them towards an unethical mentality, where they start seeking other ways to enter the system, whether it be education or employment. Due to staying in this mindset, the applicant enters the weakest phase, which weakens his self-confidence. To lure him, the roles of brokers, politicians, nepotism, and prevalent corruption come into play. Candidates choose this shortcut to escape from pressures created by society, family, and friends and leap into the world of corrupt systems, which gives them desired results in exchange for favors like favoritism, wealth, etc.

In the past several years, there hasn’t been any recruitment that hasn’t been questioned for its impartiality. Consequently, doubts have completely surrounded the impartiality and transparency of the institutions conducting the exams. Even the credibility of the prestigious Public Service Commissions of states has been questioned. Earlier, occasionally only interviews or manipulating scores for favorites used to happen, but now the impartiality of all exams has been lost. No institution can claim to conduct recruitment exams with transparency anymore; thus, the credibility of the entire system has been lost. Finally, the youth aspiring for government jobs have accepted this as their fate.

Overall, the future of the country’s youth is in crisis. The mafia has gone rogue without any government control, or rather, under the patronage of the ruling party, the mafia is carrying out its operations. In such a scenario, deserving candidates who were actually eligible for jobs are left out, and incompetent people are selected. Society has to bear the consequences of selecting incompetent civil servants. The question of how the functioning of the system of those civil servants selected through illegal means will be remains most worrying. Selecting civil servants through corrupt means will undoubtedly promote corruption.

Leaking papers, providing fake documents, and conducting interviews where desired scores are given instead of assessing the candidate’s capabilities, the mafia involved in such recruitment processes is causing immense damage to the entire system, putting a heavy burden on the government. Surely, there is an urgent need for strict laws against this paper mafia in the country, while all recruitments in the past years need to be investigated by an impartial agency to find out how many people have been selected through the wrong means. If the government does not take timely action and does not rectify the system of government recruitment, then the day is not far when the unemployed youth will revolt against the system in distress.

The situation will pose a threat to education, health, and especially law and order. It will be a serious setback for the country’s research programs, innovations, and creativity, as skilled individuals will find it difficult to enter the mainstream. Corruption will run rampant, and empowering the poor will remain a dream. Malpractice and the forgery of documents will become much easier. There is a need for honest officials, politicians, citizens, netizens, whistleblowers, and the media to come forward and work together to bring transparency and create awareness among the people.

Corruption is prevalent at all levels in our country, as seen in competitive exams at both state and national levels. Corruption in the recruitment and education systems has increased inefficiency in the workforce. Corruption needs to be addressed comprehensively, not just limited to bribery. Any unethical, immoral, illegal, or unjustly beneficial activity falls under the category of corruption.

It’s heartening to see vigilant media and courageous whistleblowers stepping forward and exposing these scandals. On the other hand, state governments should ensure impartial competency-based education systems, which are the backbone of modern India.

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