Millennium Post

Govt okays academic depository to check fake degree rackets

In a move aimed at putting a check on forfeiting of certificates, the Union Cabinet on Thursday approved establishment of National Academic Depository (NAD). Under the NAD initiative of Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, all the certificates would be stored in digital format and available for verification by employers of both public and public sector. A fund of Rs 60 crore has also been allocated for operationalisation of the depository.

The national academic depository is set to come up in the next three months on the lines of a securities depository. It will act as digital store of all types of school certificates, degrees and other academic awards of institutions of higher education. The depository would be rolled out throughout the country in 2017-18.

The Finance Minister’s Budget speech in February had incorporated the commitment to establish a Digital Depository for school learning certificates, degrees and other academic awards of higher education institutions, on the pattern of a Securities Depository, a statement issued after the Cabinet meeting said here.

“The decision aims at bringing another dimension and enhancement of the vision of Digital India,” the statement said.

The NAD would be operationalised by NSDL Database Management Limited (NDML) and CDSL Ventures, Limited (CVL) – two of the wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Depositories registered under Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Act, 1992.

Academic institutions would be responsible for the authenticity of data digitally uploaded by them into the system.  The depositories will ensure the integrity of the data in the NAD. The NAD will register educational institutions, boards, eligibility assessment bodies, students and other users such as verifying entities like banks, employer companies, government agencies and academic institutions.

Requests for access to academic awards from potential employers, and academic institutions would be only on the basis of consent of the student. It will provide digital or a printed copy of the academic award with security features to the students or other authorised users. NAD will verify academic awards online on the same day of request initiated by any authorised user.

The NAD will maintain the authenticity, integrity and confidentiality of its database. It will also train and facilitate academic institutions to efficiently lodge academic awards in the database.
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