Transparency and technology seem to be the new mantra of the state prison department when it comes to recruiting wardens or sepoys. For, it has decided to do away with traditional procedures like interviews and strap-on timers for physical tests.
Changes were made after questions were raised about the functioning of prisons following the infamous tunnel episode at Sabarmati central jail early last year. The incident also questioned the ability of the jail staff to handle such situations or prevent them from happening in the first place.
So, the prison department decided to employ new methods to recruit jail staff.
And, the first step in that direction was to maintain complete transparency in recruitment. Recently, the jail staff recruitment board invited applications for 750 male and 63 female posts of sepoys.
Instead of preparing the exam paper, the board roped in Gujarat State Education Board (GSEB) to prepare the question paper, having 100 objective questions.
“This is the first time that an outside agency has been roped in to prepare our question paper. So, no one can doubt our recruitment process now. Not just preparations, GSEB also handled the entire examination process, where candidates were given OMR sheets to answer questions.
Later, board officials assessed the papers and sent the final results to us,” said PC Thakur, state director general of police and additional DGP, prisons.
After acquiring the result data, it was uploaded on the website as well as on OJAS website.
According to Thakur, National Informatics Center (NIC) was also roped in for Net-related work.
“This has further increased the credibility of the exam as candidates were able to see their own answer sheets. We have also allowed them to apply for re-assessment. As many as 32 such candidates have written to us and their queries have been sent to the education board,” he said.
To avoid allegations of nepotism in selecting final candidates, the prison department took the drastic step of doing away with interviews. “Normally, people think that candidates with influential backgrounds can manipulate the selection during interview. So, we have removed interview from the recruitment process to maintain total transparency,” assured Thakur.
Thus, candidates are selected only on the basis of how they have fared in the 100-marks written test. Additionally, there was a provision to add marks based on the certificates. “We have decided to give two marks to those having NCC ‘C’ certificates and five to those who passed their certificate course with distinction from Raksha Shakti University,” said Thakur.
The authorities were desperate to maintain transparency in the physical tests, too. So, instead of manually checking time during the running test, candidates were given strap-on devices first seen during the 2011 Sabarmati marathon.
“The digital sensor tied to a candidate’s ankles gives the precise time of their run when they reach the finish line. We have also installed state-of-the-art machines to measure their height and weight to ensure zero cheating during physical tests,” added Thakur.