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This article is written by Divya Kathuria, a student of Raffles University. 

Introduction

The process of finding and hiring the best-qualified candidate for any job, in a timely, fair and cost effective manner constitutes the recruitment system. Recruitment may be by interviews or even by written examinations. This system will include the recruitments in all the departments of government like police officers, doctors and so on. Vyapam Scam is a scam related to admissions and recruitments in state of Madhya Pradesh where Vyapam (Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal) is a government body responsible for conducting several entrance tests in the State. These entrance tests are especially for the government jobs and admissions to the educational institutions in the state. The scam involves politicians, businessmen, senior officials who allegedly took bribe for passing and recruiting the undeserving candidates. This is not the first time that any such scam has come to the cover. Latest was the scam related to recruitment of JBT teachers in Haryana for which the former CM of state Mr. Chautala is behind bars. Such scams are deep rooted cancer in the country which direly needs a chemo therapy of transparency as soon as possible otherwise; the day is not far when our system will be nothing better than a corpse.

What is Vyapam?

The Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board was initially set-up as Pre Medical Test Board by Government of Madhya Pradesh in the year 1970. Later, in the year 1981, Pre Engineering Board was constituted. Soon after, in the year 1982 both these Boards were amalgamated and named as Professional Examination Board (P.E.B.). Professional Examination Board by Govt. Order No.1325-1717-42-82 dated 17.04.1982 has been assigned the responsibility of conducting entrance tests for admission to various colleges in the state.[1]

The Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board is a self-financed, autonomous incorporated body of State Govt. The Government has re constituted the Board of Directors for taking decisions on policy and organizational matters through Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board Act. 2007. The Board is a body corporate by the name of the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board and has perpetual succession and a common seal with power to acquire and hold property both movable and immovable and has the power to transfer any property held by it and to contract and do all other things necessary for the its constitution and may sue or sued in its corporate name.[2]

What is scandalous about Vyapam?

There is nothing scandalous about Vyapam; it is just that whole Vyapam system of recruitment has been working as a scam just like hundreds of other scams in India. So, it’s just a silly matter according to our honorable law minister- Mr. Gowda.[3] But, unfortunately, the silly issue has affected the lives of countless deserving candidates and moreover, has undoubtedly affected the functioning of government departments those were recruiting the candidates by choosing the undeserving candidates. So, the issue needs to be paid some heed if not by Mr. P.M. then, at least by law abiding citizens like us who can be the victim of such scandals any moment if the issue continues to be treated as silly.

One of the first complaints about it were registered way back in 2000, but it was only by 2007 that the scam came to fore as a fully fledged professional racket. Investigations and arrests started in 2013 after new details emerged.[4] The Vyapam scam pertains to manipulation in the selection process for government jobs conducted by MPPEB which came to light after a report by the Madhya Pradesh Local Fund Audit office for 2007-08 found alleged financial and administrative irregularities, including unauthorized disposal of application forms, the audit found a difference of about Rs 4 crore in revenue earned from sales of application forms by the MPPEB or ‘Vyapam’.[5] From 2000-2012, there have been around 55 cases of impersonation in exams filed in MP. On July 7, 2013; Indore Crime Branch registered an FIR after arresting 20 impersonators.[6]

This is basically a well planned racket which now to avoid the lifting of veil over its face is leading to various deaths, murders and suicides. Since the investigation into the scam began, 35 people have died. They include witnesses, accused, those assisting the investigation and a journalist who was covering the scam. Since August 2013, the investigation has been handled by a Special Task Force of the Madhya Pradesh police. Now, Chief Minisiter Chouhan has asked for the CBI to take over.[7] While the updates of more death tolls and progress of making arrests will definitely be given by all our leading dailies, here it is important to unfold the reason behind such scams and the arising need of transparency and accountability for these.

Why such scams?

“Common citizens of the country pay a bribe of Rs. 21,068 crores while availing one or more of the eleven public services in a year. As high as 62 percent of citizens think that the corruption is not a hearsay, but they in fact had the firsthand experience of paying bribe or “using a contact” to get a job done in a public office.”[8] This study even makes it clearer that corruption and runs through our veins more than the blood itself. It’s quite simple that when somebody is recruited by paying the bribe, he does so because he sees great prospects of getting his money back in many folds after getting the job from under the table and then, this vicious circle goes on for eternity.  That is what the situation of bureaucracy is in our country.

A 2009 survey of the leading economies of Asia, revealed Indian bureaucracy to be not only the least efficient out of Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, China, Philippines and Indonesia, but also that working with India’s civil servants was a “slow and painful” process.[9]

It is normal tendency of any human being to choose the easiest path. So, it is quite normal  for a candidate with contacts with political parties or with certain political alliances would choose to bribe the officials or politicians who are sitting ready to accept it with their mouths wide open to gulp public’s money than working hard for their recruitment. This makes the recruitments sham and leads to the appointment of undeserving candidate which would definitely hamper the growth of the particular department and in turn, the growth of country.

I do not here intend to provide philosophical reasons but, actually the basic reasons. I mean to say here that these scams might appear to be quite technical and typical, but actually the reason is as simple as anything. The question is that human tendency is universal, so why such scams in India and not in other countries like Singapore? The answer is transparency and nothing else. Obviously, when I know everybody is watching me taking or giving bribe, I would never ever do it. The circumstances should be such that one must not get a chance to cheat.

Even caste is prevalent factor in job recruitments in our country. A person of same caste can be easily contacted to and bribed in the name of same caste to get you recruited. However, this is different from reservation.

Then the other reason is prevailing nepotism in all the departments of government. Every other official who has power in hand thinks of recruiting his/her own kin to the vacancy. It is high time that such practices of nepotism must be shed away. When nepotism is high in the pillar of state itself that is, in Legislature itself then, what can we expect out of other departments. A shocking 100% of Indian MPs under the age of 30 are hereditary in our country.[10] There is a dire need to formulate anti-nepotism policies for every department of government and no initiatives should be given to the working staff of educational institutions to get their relatives or children admitted because it is always done by disregarding the right of a more deserving candidate.

Lack of effective corruption treatment is another reason. That means, instruments which are in use, are not running properly. For example Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 came into force on 9th September, 1988. But corruption is still flourishing. Why? Because of weak actions and proceedings towards corrupt people. People don’t have any fear of this act and the court. The act may thus be revised for its better implementation.[11]

The factor as to what facilitates and what is exactly the reason behind such scams can never be compiled but, whatever are the reasons, the cure is one that is transparency and accountability.

How do we achieve it?

This is the question that would have obviously arisen in readers’ mind while proceeding with the article and is also very pertinent to be answered. RTI is one way through which endeavors have been made to make the system transparent but, this too has not come a very long way. Recent example of this is when Haryana Government To bring in transparency in the selection process, fixed the limit of interview marks in any recruitment in the state government to 12 while fixing 88 marks for written examinations to decide the merit[12] as there are more chances of practicing nepotism and bribing while interviews than the written examinations. There can never be concrete criteria on as to achieve transparency but, for every kind of job, some new methods must be formulated as per the nature of process of recruitment.

Conclusion

There is nothing to panic at all! Our country ranks highest for the tolerance levels, she has survived numerous of such scams and would survive this one too, I believe. Just keep your fingers crossed and wait and make efforts to make the recruitments transparent. Making efforts includes being honest and pledging to never give bribe or subject to methods like nepotism for getting recruited and also never to take it after you get recruited with your hard, sincere and honest efforts.

[1] http://www.vyapam.nic.in/e_default.htm

[2] Ibid

[3] http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/vyapam-scam-union-minister-sadananda-gowda-says-pm-narendra-modi-need-not-answer-on-silly-issues-a-day-after-rajnath/article1-1366657.aspx last accessed on 8th July, 2015

[4] http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/what-vyapam-scam-and-who-are-implicated-explainer-31869 last accessed on 8th July, 2015

[5] http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-irregularities-worth-crores-of-rupees-in-mppeb-audit-report-1992723 last accessed on 8th July, 2015

[6] http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/across-the-board-vyapams-spread/ last visited on 8th July, 2015

[7] http://www.ndtv.com/cheat-sheet/vyapam-scam-900-arrested-are-students-or-candidates-for-government-jobs-779324

[8]https://web.archive.org/web/20130811123343/http://www.iri.org.in/related_readings/India%20Corruption%20Study%202005.pdf ; TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL INDIA, India Corruption Study to improve governance, Volume 1: Key Highlights, Jun 2005

[9] http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report-indian-bureaucracy-asias-most-inefficient-survey-1391150

[10] http://www.theindiasite.com/family-politics/family-politics-how-nepotistic-is-the-indian-parliament/ last accessed on 8th July, 2015

[11] http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2010/08/5-ways-to-reduce-corruption-and-5-places-where-it-exists/ last accessed on 8th July, 2015

[12] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/For-transparency-in-government-jobs-Haryana-cuts-interview-marks/articleshow/47218439.cms last accessed on 8th July, 2015

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