M A I N   N E W S

Storing degrees electronically to make fake certficates
a thing of the past
Now, D-Mat accounts for academic degrees
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 12
Educational degrees and certificates from school to university level will soon be available in the electronic format, online.

With an eye on fake certificate and the rackets involving fake institutions, the government is in the process of D-Matting academic degrees on the lines of share certificates. A suitable registered electronic depository would be identified for the purpose and assigned the task of converting old degrees and certificates from physical into electronic form and store the new ones as they come into the national database, which would work through individual account numbers and passwords, to be assigned to students.

Simply put, students can now look forward to degree-holding on the lines of share-holding through D-Mat accounts. Those who want old degrees stored electronically can simply apply to the depository for conversion of certificate into electronic format.

“Just like physical shares, once converted electronically, are cancelled, academic degrees, once stored electronically would be preserved on the national database forever. This would save institutions the task of preserving degrees for a long time. The problem of lost certificates would also be resolved,” Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal today said, before leaving for the UK to study the higher education and school system there.

The practice would weed out fake certificates in circulation and check de-recognised institutions. The greatest benefit would accrue to students, who would no longer have to stand in queues to obtain transcripts of qualifications from their colleges or undergo the harassment of attestation.

They will be assigned account numbers for the corresponding D-Mat accounts and can simply intimate these to their respective institutions, which can then send their certificates to the electronic depository chosen for the job.

It would be the depositor’s job to verify certificates and store them or reject the spurious ones.

The job of electronic storage of degrees would be done by either of the two existing depositories - the National Securities Depository Limited and the Central Depository Services Limited, both registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India. These currently deal in share certificates stored in D-Mat accounts through the principal depositories and also through banks and sub-brokers, which work as sub-depositories.

To lead the project of electronic storage of academic degrees, the government has constituted a task force under the Director, IIT, Kanpur, Prof Sanjay Dhande. The task force will identify a registered depository for the job and draft a law that would have to go through Parliament for electronic degrees to become legal.



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