Friday, September 24, 2010

Make the process of recruitment free of corruption

A couple of weeks ago there was a news story in the Times of India about a young auto-rickshaw driver in Delhi who by working day and night saved a sum of Rs.4 lac and used that amount to get jobs in the army for himself and his brother. The story highlighted his stamina, determination and single-mindedness to get what he had set his sight on and which, to the author, justified his name, Sikander. But for me the most noteworthy feature of the story was Sikander’s and his brother’s recruitment in the army in exchange for Rs.2 lac each. That there is rampant corruption in the recruitment of Class III and IV civilian government employees including police constables and sub-inspectors, government teachers and junior engineers is well known. Even some, if not all, of the state public service commissions are not above selling jobs. But the report that the malady has spread to the army was shocking – pay Rs.2 lac for a chance to give up your life on the border or fighting sundry terrorists and insurgents. We, as a nation, may not have reached the nadir yet but we can not be far from it.

What kind of idealism, patriotism or commitment to his job and to his fighting unit can be expected from a soldier who had joined the army in the first place by bribing the recruiting officers? And the constable, who perhaps had paid a princely sum of Rs.5 lac to buy himself a place in the police, would he not be justified in resorting to all sorts of corrupt and criminal practices to first recover the amount he had paid and then for financially securing his and his children’s future? This type of employees in whatever government departments can never be faithful to their jobs; born through greed, they are condemned to live their life in greed and ignominy and bring nothing but disaster to their organizations.

It is, therefore, imperative that the process of recruitment of employees at all levels be kept transparent and fair. The government, including the defence forces, should entrust the task of selecting new employees to its best and most honest officers and other ranks, and not to those who could be easily dispensed with. When the selection is on merit and according to the laid down criteria, new recruits would appreciate it and take pride in their success and such persons could even be inspired and trained to give off their best to the organization. If the government is really concerned with reducing the governance deficit in this country cleaning up the recruitment process is one of the sure ways to go.

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