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Unacknowledged Bias

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Even today, for large sections of Indian people, government jobs are considered the only ones worth having. This is not surprising because there is safety of tenure, a pension and provident fund, dearness and other allowances, various kinds of leaves and other kinds of perks, as also social status. There is also the near limitless opportunity to take bribes and get away with it if one is of that inclination. Those who actually want to serve the people and the nation can also do so in many ways. If not so inclined, one can comfortably complete one’s years in the job with doing absolutely the barest minimum. Nothing could be cushier than that.

In contrast, the private sector and self-employment can provide mind-boggling returns on effort for many, but the average salaries and other perks are much below the comfort levels of government employment. So it is that one hears of engineers and even PhDs applying for class four government jobs. As a result, there is tough competition in the various examinations held by the various public service commissions. And, many are willing to pay big to cheat in various ways.

This explains the strong reaction that has been experienced in Uttarakhand to the various scams that have been exposed in the selection process to almost the entire spectrum of government jobs. It would seem from the political perspective that the state government has erred in taking strong corrective measures. It appears that the entire eco-system was more than comfortable with the way things were being done, and the prospect of future selection on the basis of merit has unsettled many. So many ‘undeserving’ persons would get in! In hindsight, it would perhaps have been better to cover up the entire scandal and focus more on ‘adjusting’ one’s kith and kin!

What other conclusion can one arrive at from the protests launched by youth belonging to the ‘Berozgar Sangh’ against the government’s efforts to clean up the system? Why are they asking that all recruitment be halted till such time that inquiries are completed into the various scams, preferably by the CBI? Is it the belief that the revamped recruitment system as planned by the government would be differently skewed and favour just one lot of candidates? Clearly, disruption of the ‘established’ system has bothered a lot of people. The proposed reform threatens some social equation that certain sections of the people are comfortable with, a hidden reservation of sorts that politicians should not have unthinkingly undone. It will be interesting to see how the government will settle an issue that cannot even be openly acknowledged?