a quick glimpse at corruption in Arunachal
-by Roto Chobin
Until a few years ago, corruption particularly in the job market is unheard of. But by the end of twentieth century, it has taken a shape of epidemic form in Arunachal. And the rot is so deep-rooted that I can see no way out. As of now, according to BBC report, Arunachal is most corrupted state in Indian subcontinent. If we look for the reasons that engender the corruption, the first and foremost thing that comes to mind is the absence of industrial development and private enterprise. For most of the people in the state, enterprise means retail shop - to rent a premise and pile it up with couple of stuff here and some more stuff there. Lo and behold! You have become an entrepreneur in hinterland called Arunachal Pradesh. And having said that I cannot disaffirm the Hobson’s choice we have been offered. Even if one wishes to make a foray as an entrepreneur, there’s virtually no fund at all to help the person with perfect credentials except “the deficient Prime Minister Rozgar Yojana (PMRY) fund”. Who gets the PMRY loan and how the beneficiary uses it - is another story. Under the PMRY scheme, a person is granted a loan of Rs. 100, 000/- (1 lakh) through State Bank of
As a result, the demand for the government job has soared very high. Now, for every vacant post, there are uncountable candidate who vie for job. Paradoxically; in past years, circa 1951, I’m told that there used to be plethora of job but the workforce were so scarce that the people from Apatani villages were coerced to work for government against their will as it happened while leveling a land for an airfield at Old Ziro. Even in the eighties, jobs were given merely by seeing the pass certificate from high school and it lasted until around 1996. Then, before one could say Jack Robinson, the picture of job scenario started to look grim and entire job opportunities went into hibernation. And it instantly appears as the economic liberalization of 1990s was the cause, but it wasn’t. The liberalization, privatization and globalization of economy have little to do with Arunachal, its government and their machinery. I was in the final year at college when Arunachal Pradesh Civil Services (APCS) advertised some administrative job in 1996 which was to resurface after a lapse of six years in 2001. I dare not to apply for second time - for fear of parting with my hard earned pocket-money. Later on, I heard so many malicious tales about the exam that I thanked God profusely for sparing me the exam. Whatever the fact may be, they (APCS) still owe me my money that I sent to them during my college days in the form of Indian Postal Order (IPO). Similarly, three years ago, I applied for the vacant post that was advertised by Civil Secretariat in the local daily. I remitted my entire photocopied academic certificate with attestation (attestation of your certificate by gazette officer [sic] is a must in Arunachal if, by any chance, you’re applying for a job in Arunachal) from first class officer, passport size photograph and the fee as well. But I was never intimated regarding the interview they were supposed to conduct nor did I hear anything about rescheduling or cancellation of that interview. It seemed to me as if they had duped me again. Not only me, but thousand of candidates out there. I possibly had gave Rs. 45/- as examination fee. And perhaps there were more than thousand aspirants who applied for that post. So if we multiply 1000 by 45, the figure we get is 45,000 which mean we have been robbed of Rs. 45,000 before our very eyes. There could be many more such scam that had managed to give my eyes a slip. Besides, no one opposed, and life goes on.
At present, working in a government department is being seen as part of privileged and fortunate class. Hence, everyone wants to have a share of cake. Why? I suppose, the security of monthly salary in government job is secondary things for most. The government job is so tempting because of the power that comes with government job. With prestige and power comes a helluva lot of money in Arunachal, especially for engineering department. But the nepotism (sifarish, as they say in Hindustani language) plays a pivotal role in the process of gobbling up the jobs. And the deserving candidature often lay off in this process which, I think, will affect the functioning of administration sooner or later in the entire state. I am least worried about the brilliant and talented student; as they will find a niche for themselves one way or other. So what should the not-so-deserving candidature do? Grease the palm of bureaucrat at top echelon and politician, of course. Thus, the people are ready to cough up a huge amount of money even for some lowly position. In doing so, they prompt corruption and take it to a new height, and they themselves sink deep down in the quagmire of corruption - become a part of vicious circle - where they in turn want to regain their money manifold and quickly by resorting to fradulent, easy and corrupt means. I came across quite a few people who pawn their little belongings for money - to pass on as kickbacks to authorities. The kickbacks could be anywhere from Rs. 300,000 (three lakhs) to Rs.1, 200,000 (twelve lakhs). I'm afraid the demand and supply of kickbacks will go higher and higher in near future.
Everyone including our politician is aware of the rot and unequivocally speaks of curbing and eliminating it. Even Mr. Dorjee Khandu, chief minister of Arunachal, has been speaking of corruption-free state and abolishing the corruption in the state. I don’t know how. He didn’t say how. If he really apprehends the rot around him, he himself had to come clean and set an example for his ministers, and then incarcerates (Has the proposed jail been built? Maybe, Arunachal is the only state in
The corruption in job-market is just the tip of the iceberg but as massive as other bureaucratic and political corruption. The menace of corruption is here to stay unless people at all level stop glorifying bribe-takers as a hero. Moreover, if we ceased to be dependent wholly on the government, and if trained personnel like engineer and doctor would start their own workshops and business. That may not bring an end to the menace of corruption, but that could certainly break the immunity of the people at the top echelon. Who knows! It may bring the corruption to an end in the long run. The future (to build or ruin the society) is in our hands.