Tuesday, July 13, 2010

HRD Ministry to consider E-certificates to check misuse

India's premier investigation agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), asked to investigate fake marksheet cases across Maharashtra by the Bombay high court, on Monday recommended that the Centre store marksheets in tamper-proof electronic format. Responding to CBI's request, Human Resource Development minister Kapil Sibal said his ministry is willing to consider the recommendation. He also said the ministry has set up a task force under IIT-Kanpur Director S. G. Dhande to work on de-materialization of certificates. Its a concept which resembles demat shares, said P. Kandaswamy, CBIs head of Mumbai zone.

According to Kandaswamy, CBI found 1,576 fake marksheets issued in the name of 10 universities across the state. Of these, 659 fakes were issued in the name of University of Mumbai and another 729 by the Pune University.
Kandaswamy suggested HRD ministry consider e-certificates with ways to check their misuse. A body can be formed to store the marksheets and update as and when a person acquires a fresh degree. Any prospective employer can ask for marksheet related data from educational institutions or the regulatory body for a fee. Each person can be issued a unique code or biometrics for access, he said. The transfer certificate issued after Class X will contain other details of the person. K. Ramkumar of Central Depository Services (India) Ltd. helped the CBI in working out a draft framework.

According to CBI, none of the universities informed law enforcement agencies when fake marksheets were sent to them for verification by prospective employers. Kandaswamy said the cases that came to light are only the tip of an iceberg. All the cases have been handed over to the police who will carry out detailed investigation, he said. The CBI identified three groups as involved in the scam. They charged anything from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 5,000 for a fake marksheet.

Investigation revealed that most of the marksheets were in commerce and economics, Kandaswamy said. The Medical Council of India did not provide any figure of fake MBBS marksheets floating around in the market, said Kandaswamy. Our job ended with submitting a report to the court and suggesting corrective measures, he said.

Source: The Times of India, July 13, 2010

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