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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Government exam paper leak: In UP, youth frustration grows over repeated test fraud

In March 2024, the India Employment Report 2024 brought out by the Institute for Human Development (IHD) in partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) found that youth participation in the labour market was on a long-term decline mainly because of greater participation in education

Basant Kumar Mohanty Karhal (UP) Published 08.05.24, 05:48 AM
Anees Kumar and Prince Dubey. 

Anees Kumar and Prince Dubey.  Basant Kumar Mohanty

Anees Kumar, 22, is one of the 48 lakh candidates who applied for the 60,000 constable posts advertised by the Uttar Pradesh government in December 2023. He took the written test in February but it was cancelled after it was found that the paper had been leaked. No new date has been announced yet.

"I had done proper preparation for the examination. Now, there is no clarity on when it will be held. It is very frustrating for a candidate like me," Anees said.

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A dozen examinations have been cancelled in Uttar Pradesh in the last few years, leaving candidates helpless, clueless and frustrated. Their anger is against the state government agencies that conduct the examinations.

"The responsibility lies with the state government. This is not the only paper that had been leaked. A series of examinations has been cancelled in the last few years," said Prince Dubey, 24, of the same village who had taken the same examination and met a similar fate.

In March 2024, the India Employment Report 2024 brought out by the Institute for Human Development (IHD) in partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) found that youth participation in the labour market was on a long-term decline mainly because of greater participation in education.

Highly educated youths are predominantly employed in regular salaried jobs and tend to actively engage more in high-productivity sectors such as business, telecom, finance and information technology. The less-educated youths are more likely to be employed in the primary (agriculture) and secondary sectors (manufacturing and construction). Youths with technical degrees and graduate diplomas are involved more in the tertiary sector, the report stated.

Both Anees and Dubey are BSc graduates and they no longer find the family profession of farming lucrative. They do not meet the industry requirements for technical or managerial jobs.

"There is no income from farming. There are no other job opportunities in this region. For me, a government job is the only option," Anees said.

The list of examinations cancelled in the last few years in Uttar Pradesh includes the ones for the post of inspectors in 2017, tubewell operators in 2018, the Teacher Eligibility Test in 2021 and for village development officers in 2018.

In Mainpuri, Aman Yadav, 25, said paper leaks were a crime against genuine candidates.

"Candidates spend 12 to 14 hours a day studying. If a paper gets leaked and the examination gets cancelled, serious candidates feel frustrated. I did not apply for any other recruitment test of the UP government," said Yadav, who had cleared the constable recruitment examination of Delhi police. He, however, decided not to join but rather start a small factory of electronic goods in Mainpuri.

Over the past few years, paper leaks have been a nationwide problem.

Mukul Mishra, a BEd-qualified candidate from Lucknow, travelled to Purnea in Bihar to appear for the teacher recruitment examination in March this year. That too was cancelled because the paper was leaked. "I travelled 700km and stayed there for a night. I spent 3,000 for transport and stay. It is a lot of money for me," Mishra said.

The Bihar government has decided to conduct the examination again in June.

Isolated cases of malpractices have surfaced in some of the exams conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA). The CBI is investigating a case of malpractice in Joint Entrance Examination-Main 2021. According to the complaint, a private firm hacked the computers of candidates who were appearing for the test and helped them externally to crack it. The test centre was in Haryana and their aides were operating from Jharkhand.

Parliament has passed the Public Examination (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, which provides for imprisonment up to 10 years and a fine of 1 crore for those responsible for leaking papers. The law covers entrance examinations held by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), Staff Selection Commission (SSC), Railway Recruitment Board (RRB), banking examinations and the entrance tests conducted by the NTA.

The candidates demanded similar laws to be passed at the state level.

"We want the state government to bring a law and implement it strictly to check the malpractices in recruitment tests. It must fill all the vacant posts," Dubey said.

A youth who was hired for a group-D railway post said a few candidates are to be blamed for the leaks.

"Those who have money, they think they have rights over the jobs. They have connections. They try to bribe and corrupt the system. The government has minimal responsibility in this," he said, adding: "Those who bribe and get a job can recover the amount through dowry."

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