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What’s Wrong In India – All 8,000 Fail Goa’s Exam To Be Government Accountants

There is one way of looking at this little story, which is that education in India isn’t what we might all hope it will be. All 8,000 candidates for jobs in the Goan government as accountants managed to fail the exam. Not one single applicant managed to pass it. This does not speak well for the standard of education in the country:

As many as 8,000 candidates appeared for an examination conducted for 80 posts as accountant in the Goa government, but all failed the test.

No, really, not a good look. The exam itself seemed to cover the right sort of things too:

The five-hour examination included a 100 marks paper on English, general knowledge and accounts-related questions, the official said.

Well, yes, those are the sorts of things we’d like people to know before they become accountants in an English language government body really. It is possible to wonder whether the test wasn’t a good one, given that it didn’t do any selecting at all. We might even think that it’s better that Goa gets the least bad accountants rather than none at all. However, here’s the real illumination into what is wrong in India:

Goa’s director of accounts, in a notification issued yesterday, said none of the candidates, who appeared for the initial recruitment examination held on January 7 this year, secured the minimum qualifying marks required to get through.

The directorate of accounts had advertised 80 posts of accountant in the common account cadre in October last year.

The process was started in October last year. Here we are at the end of August 10 months later. And we’ve still managed to get no closer at all to hiring any accountants.

Now, one good thing about the Indian civil service is that it carries on the old British practice of entry being by competitive examination. This at least loosens the possibility of influence and bribery determining who gets hired. But now think of the incompetence with which the process is being carried out. We’ve at least 7 months here just to mark the exam papers!

And that is really what ails India. The snail’s pace of the bureaucracy. It would actually be far better if the place had near no government rather than the one it has. Anarchy is indeed preferable to a system which allows near nothing to happen officially. Because what happens when a bureaucracy is so slow that it strangles the ability to do anything legally is that it is all done in illegal anarchy anyway. Some 85% of the Indian economy is over in the unregistered, untaxed and informal sector. Precisely and exactly because the official sector is run by that bureaucracy that cannot even hire the occasional accountant. A bonfire of the babus would improve the place immeasurably.

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5 years ago

How on earth did they get such a strangling beaurocracy? Surely we can’t have given it to them, I seem to remember the India Office was run by a dozen people and a couple of typists.

John Galt
5 years ago

This being Goa (i.e. previously Portuguese India) at least the British can’t be directly blamed for the snails pace bureaucracy. Maybe it’s just in the nature of any bureaucracy staffed and managed by ethnic “indians”. It should also be recognised that the political entity of “India” is mostly a modern construct, having little real representation of the makeup of the underlying people, language, culture and traditions. This is not just because of the previous colonial approach of divide and rule (which probably didn’t help and may have even exacerbated the situation), but the Western colonial governments found the place like… Read more »

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