The exposé of a job scam in the Army is a matter of concern. Regarded as an august institution with strict rules which are meant to be complied with, the involvement of its personnel, besides private individuals, is a serious matter. There are allegations of bribery and irregularities in the recruitment of officers and persons of other ranks through the Service Selection Board. The Army holds the CDS and NDA exams through the UPSC which are followed by rigorous physical, psychological and medical tests. The Army also holds recruitment rally for lower ranks for which too there are clear guidelines. The charges mention the involvement of serving personnel in accepting bribes for clearance of medical review of temporarily rejected officer candidates which is serious as it involves compromising the quality of manpower required in the armed forces through arbitrary relaxation in rules.
The pandemic and the lockdown had cast their shadow on Army recruitment also. Not only had the process to be halted temporarily, but also recruitment had to be made in compliance with Covid-specific norms. Registration was done online and candidates were warned to beware of mediators or touts assuring success in the recruitment process. Aspirants were required to bring a Covid-asymptomatic certificate signed by a competent authority and take precautionary measures while taking part in the recruitment process. Laxity in enforcing all this should be ascertained and corrective action taken.
Facing a shortage, the Army had been finding itself unable to attract adequate and quality manpower because of the availability of alternative remunerative career options. An institution that claims to care well for those serving it was finding it difficult to meet its requirements because of the service conditions and risk perception. But circumventing rules is no solution to get the required manpower for a demanding career, especially at a time when the country is involved in a tense standoff on its borders. A CBI inquiry apart, the Army should take action at its own level to fix such lapses.