Crippling Costs of Corruption 

Why recent allegations of fraud vis-à-vis JKSSB examinations serve as a wake-up call

By Shakir Malik 

RECENTLY, Jammu and Kashmir Service Selection Board came under scanner for alleged irregularities with regard to the JKPSI examination. After results were declared on 4th of June, students called out suspicious discrepancies in the list of selected candidates. Many identified a cohort of selected candidates having identical surnames. This sibling selection suspicion soon found a voice through the news. Following reports, soon students started calling out the possibility of fraud in other examinations as well. Many students also questioned the results of the examination held for the post of Finance Account Assistant.

So far, the government has formed a committee to look into JKPSI  examination ‘fraud’ which is supposed to submit the report by 24th of this month.Many are hinting at the possibility of a full-fledged JKSSB scam. Right now, as the matter is under investigation, it is premature to declare any judgements. However, if true, the scam will only be reminiscent of many such scams like the 2013 JKBOPEE scandal.

Such instances aren’t isolated cases of fraud in our society. Corruption has been so rampant in Kashmir that all would have heard of instances of their acquaintances landing roles through favors or fraud. In public offices, the situation is more worrying. A devil’s advocate may argue that government employees normally do not get a lucrative six-figure salary, so they resort to corruption to eke out a luxurious living. Occasionally, influential people like to mess with rules to feed their own hubris. The moral and systematic cost that such abhorrent actions carry trumps every argument.

Why should we swiftly endeavor to end corruption? Because, in the end, it is only meritocracy that pays off. Aristotle would say that flutes be given to the best flute players to fulfill their one true purpose — making the best music. Corruption which paves the way for the undeserving to important administrative positions, in effect prevents the best amongst us from coming forward to serve us through their services, thereby thwarting the progress of the society. If someone endures countless pains and tribulations to achieve a goal, it is by no means fair that undeserving individuals should by dint of corruption negate all of their hard work.

Fairness in these matters benefits all. If someone skilled in basketball wants to be Michael Jordan, such a person can rise from the ashes, in a society with an egalitarian access to opportunities and fair play. Then in the court, by playing exceptionally well, they will not only make their community proud but also  incentivize other young kids to hone their talents to reach greater heights regardless of their social background.

Unfortunately, corruption, by making an undeserving exception ensures that talent languishes in darkness. It shatters all hopes, expectations and dreams of well-meaning citizens. And, rest assured, there will be no Michael Jordans anywhere; we will be damned to see empowered touts and cheaters all around us.

Corruption doesn’t stop at affecting the meritorious by depriving them of well deserved positions. It stays festering in the system. It becomes a norm when it permits into our institutions, the corrupt, the corrupted and the possible corruptors. This ensures that the cycle of illegal practices continues and keeps disempowering our institutions by corrupting their potential for progress.

How will such unscrupulous entries contribute to the betterment of society? The only logical outcome of this is a group of self-serving corrupt public officials enjoying positions of power. Rather than justifying the need for good behavior we can simply say a person should behave well out of duty. But, the unscrupulous lot with a deep sense of cynicism might, on the  contrary, perceive daily thefts as their prerogative.

If bad-faith actors get off scot-free, our society suffers.

Views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial stance of Kashmir Observer 

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