Unmasking corruption: A closer look

Monday Musing

[ Junroi Mamai ]

Starting from the APPSC scam, our state has been witnessing a continuous unfolding of similar cases of nepotism and cash-for-job scandals in recent years. Most recently, the Special Investigation Cell arrested a total of eight persons, including Tirap DDSE Igo Doye and other staffs of the education department from Changlang, Longding and Anjaw districts, in connection with the illegal appointments scam in the education department. These worrying developments reflect the existence of an endemic deeper malaise in our system which is omnipresent and all-pervasive across the government departments and districts. In this particular case, over 78 suspicious appointments were made in Changlang district, which included trained graduate teachers, primary teachers, upper divisional clerks, lower divisional clerks and multitasking staff within 2020-2022. The fact that it took the education department four years to realise such unscrupulous activities taking place right under its nose is both astounding and incredulous. Moreover, a total of 255 illegal appointees were later issued en masse termination letters by the education department in November 2023. The numbers are unprecedented and people are raising serious questions over the issue.

What is to be done in these times and state of affairs? Though the state government has already taken steps to overhaul the job recruitment system with assistance from various social organisations, we are yet to witness its implementation on the ground.

The abetment to crimes like bribery and favouritism springs from the lack of transparency in government job vacancies. It should be the duty of all HoDs concerned to report, if any, such illegal practice, to the appropriate authorities and they shall disclose it in the public domain. What the people need is a thorough investigation, right from the top to the bottom of the issue, and not sparing those involved in such practices, be it high-ranking officials or low-ranking staffs. People need full disclosures on the whole list of scams that have hit our state, in order to put a stop to such systematic injustice. Merely punishing the nondescript low-ranking clerical staffers or babus of an establishment in the periphery is not enough.

Moreover, the court and the Indian legal system has many lacunae in its adjudication of such cases and the accused take all the benefits of our complicated legal process and escape without facing any consequences. The Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), 1988 is not an exception to this rule. According to National Crime Records Bureau data published in 2022, the PCA has one of the lowest conviction rates in the country among others.

Today, Arunachal is rapidly moving from a rural to a semi-urban economy state, where service and tertiary sectors will be playing an important part in the overall progress and development of the people. If we do not check this issue now, this might prove to be a mighty challenge for all of us in the future. We have to see whether our civil societies and social vigilantes will be able to alleviate and overcome this conundrum while our state legislature has already passed the Lokayukta bill.