Aarti Dhar

NEW DELHI: The government on Tuesday announced a proposal to establish a national database of academic qualifications to be maintained in an electronic format by a registered depository.

The system will help in eliminating fraudulent practices such as forging of certificates and marksheets. This will be facilitated by online verification.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said dematerialised certificates would ensure confidentiality, authenticity and fidelity enabling online verification and easy retrieval of academic qualifications.

At present, the National Securities Depository Limited (NDSL) and Central depository Services (India) Limited are registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and one of the two would be entrusted with the job of creating and maintaining the academic database.

Immense benefit

Holding of academic qualifications in an academic depository would provide immense benefit to educational institutions, students, alumni and employers by enabling online access of certificates and mark sheets, eliminating the need for approaching educational institutions of obtaining transcripts or verification as well as reducing the need for institutions to preserve records of students over a long time, Mr. Sibal explained.

Academic certificates from school to graduate, postgraduate level, including professional degrees, will be mandatorily registered with the depository through the Boards, Universities and other institutions once the necessary legislation is passed. The information can be retrieved on payment, Mr. Sibal said. Those who have already passed out can also register with the depository on payment, the Minister said.

Task force

The Ministry has set up a task force to work out the details of the project that will submit its report by March 31. Headed by Sanjay Dhande, Director, IIT Kanpur, the other members of the task force are Debashis Chatterjee, Director IIM, Kozhikode; S. S. Mantha, Chairman, All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE); Ved Prakash, Vice-Chairman, University Grants Commission: Vineet Joshi, Chairman, Central Board of Secondary Education; a nominee of the Department of Financial Services; Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser, Ministry of Human Resource Development; and a nominee of the Planning Commission and Joint Secretary Higher Education (who will be the convener of the task force).

The task force will prepare a road map for implementation of the concept of electronic depository of academic qualifications in dematerialised form, identify a registered depository to whom the work would be entrusted, and draft an appropriate legislation to provide legal mandate to the holding of academic qualifications in an electronic depository.