States must take a cue from the second cheating scandal in Tamil Nadu and use more technology to curb cheating.
Although government exams are to test applicants on their innovativeness, in Tamil Nadu, aspirants are becoming innovative in a rather different fashion. According to a Times of India report, 99 applicants, 39 of whom secured top 100 positions, for Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) were found cheating in the exam. The students, in this case, used invisible inks to fill the MCQ exam, which was later completed by one of the employees. The problem is that when the government found that most of these candidates belonged to two centres, it initiated a CB-CID enquiry, which found more instances of cheating.
While these 99 have been disqualified, it is not clear how long this has been going on, or how many candidates have gotten selected using such means. Nor is it clear, if such a practice has been taking place at other centres. But, it surely puts Tamil Nadu at the centre of the controversy. Last year, it was found that students from Tamil Nadu were using impostors to appear for NEET. Only six cases were discovered, but the Madras High Court had ordered an enquiry highlighting there may be many more. The order further claimed that it might not be limited to just Tamil Nadu.
Surprisingly, the state has also been opposing the use of computers for such examinations, on the pretext that applicants in rural areas may not be well-versed with technology. While computers do not guarantee protection from cheating, they do ensure that episodes like TNPSC do not happen again. More important, in cases like CAT, where there are multiple levels of checks, they can ensure better compliance. States would do better to follow such models as also allow verification of students using Aadhaar data. Otherwise, they risk diluting the quality of government officials.