The quashing of the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) 2015 conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education on June 3, and the resulting order for fresh examination within four weeks by the Supreme Court has caused an uproar in the country, and indeed has caused much inconvenience to more than 6 lakh students aspiring to take up medicine as their profession. The incident, though unfortunate has been long in the making, and is not totally unexpected. The rapidly spreading and growing level of sophistication of operation by various gangs engaged in supplying questions and answers for exorbitant amounts on the one hand, and the increasing number of individuals who are prepared to shell out whatever it takes to get hold of the questions, and probably the answers as well on the other have created a platform for a number of opportunistic and unscrupulous individuals who have no qualms about breaching the system to develop an illegal yet highly lucrative market which caters to the demand. There had been similar instances in the past, and not only for AIPMT, but also for almost every competitive examination. The continuing revelations have proved without a shred of doubt that there is exists a nexus between these unscrupulous elements supplying question papers, and those who are providing them their requirements from the sources. This again points to the complicity of various individuals with authority and influence within the departments or controlling organizations conducting these competitive examinations. A few of these offenders have been apprehended in the past, but such rackets have multiplied and flourished- proof that too little is being done to discourage or deter the practice. When this lacuna is being highlighted, as had been done in the past, the understandable reaction of the government had been to get into a practiced huddle and announce the formation of an investigating committee. This has been the standard response, and yet nothing concrete have been taken up, despite the glaring examples of such widespread malpractices and the existence of a sophisticated and highly connected network which only serves to embolden and improve the modus operandi of the criminals.
A radical approach to weed out such operators needs to be drawn up and implemented without further ado. Such crimes not only disrupts the smooth functioning of the proper system, but more importantly undermines the integrity and quality of administration and governance, as well as pose a threat to the health, safety and security of the public at large. Officials who are complicit to such unlawful schemes should be slapped with the gravest possible punishment permissible under the law of the land. Desperate times calls for desperate measures. It would be fooling ourselves to think otherwise. Perhaps owning up to our own mistakes and shortcomings would be the best way to start off.