Saturday, September 6, 2008

Free hiring

With about two and a half million personnel, the Indian Army is among the largest in the world. Even with that large number, the army faces a shortage of manpower at all levels. Recruitment of enlisted men is more or less an ongoing process, with regular open rallies at the recruiting headquarters. For many of the entry level soldier positions, the minimum qualification is a high school certificate - and there would be hundreds of thousands of such candidates, for whom a job in the army is a ticket to a steady income, not to mention some pride and honour back in the villages.

Where there is demand, there are middlemen. Young men desperate to join the army land up at the big cities every day. For many of them, this visit to the city is their first experience of a world beyond their village. As with any scam, this one too would start small; say Rs.10/- to fill up the form in a way that betters the chance of being selected; and would then go on to a few thousand rupees to guarantee a job as a soldier.

The army tries to warn them - with the Chennai Recruiting Zone covering the states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, this warning sign has its message in 4 languages; English, Tamil, Hindi and Telugu. One hopes that potential soldiers are not so daring as to chance the possibility of being taken for a ride!

No comments: