Centre notifies rules under anti-paper leak law, mandates National Recruitment Agency to prepare SOPs for tests : The Tribune India

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Centre notifies rules under anti-paper leak law, mandates National Recruitment Agency to prepare SOPs for tests

The Act has provisions for a minimum of 3 to 5 years of imprisonment to curb cheating

Centre notifies rules under anti-paper leak law, mandates National Recruitment Agency to prepare SOPs for tests

Photo for representational purpose only. File



PTI

New Delhi, June 24

The Centre on Monday made public the rules under the recently-notified anti-paper leak law, mandating the National Recruitment Agency (NRA) to prepare norms, standards and guidelines for the computer-based tests among others.

The rules were notified within days of operationalising The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024 -- the first-ever national law against the use of unfair means to rig recruitment exams conducted by various public bodies.

The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024 was passed by Rajya Sabha on February 9 and Lok Sabha passed it on February 6.

President Droupadi Murmu gave approval to the Bill on February 12, turning it into a law.

The Act aims to prevent unfair means in the public examinations conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), the Staff Selection Commission (SSC), the railways, banking recruitment examinations and the NTA among others.

It has provisions for a minimum of three to five years of imprisonment to curb cheating and those involved in organised crimes of cheating will face five to 10 years of imprisonment and a minimum fine of Rs 1 crore.

The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Rules, 2024, dated June 23 and made public on Monday, has provisions for “engagement of services of other government agencies by public examination authority”, “preparations of norms, standards and guidelines” and “reporting of incidents of unfair means or offences” among others.

“The National Recruitment Agency, on behalf of the central government, shall in consultation with the stakeholders, prepare norms, standards and guidelines for the computer-based test mode of examination, which shall be notified by the central government,” read the rules.

These should cover “standard operating procedure for registration of public examination centres”, “space requirement within the computer based test centres”, “layout of the seating arrangement”, “specifications and layout of computer nodes”, “specifications for the server and network infrastructure” and “specifications for electronic platform for conduct of computer based test” among others.

Pre-examination activities, such as pre-audit for the examination readiness of the public examination centres, candidate check in, biometric registration, security and screening; seat allocation; question paper setting and loading; invigilation in the examination; post examination activities and guidelines for providing scribes will also be part of the drafted norms.

The NRA is mandated to conduct online exams to screen government job aspirants. India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) Chairman and Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola, who was on Saturday assigned additional charge of the controversy-ridden National Testing Agency (NTA), was in March 2022 appointed the NRA chairman.

The new rules allow the public examination authority to avail services of serving or retired employees of “the central government, state government, public sector undertakings, public sector banks, government universities, autonomous bodies and other government organisations for assigning duty as centre coordinator or any other public examination related duties”.

They also mention provisions for reporting of incidents of unfair means or offences and “procedure to be followed in respect of public servant”.

“The public examination authority, on receipt of report of regional officer or otherwise, regarding the actions of a public servant deputed for conduct of public examination shall examine whether anything done in conduct of public examination by the public servant was in good faith...,” it said.

A committee may be constituted by the public examination authority for this purpose, “which shall be headed by an officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary or equivalent and shall comprise of one senior officer from the public examination authority and an expert to be nominated by the public examination authority”, the rules said.

The committee shall examine all relevant information and submit its findings to the public examination authority, it added.

The rules have provisions for having a format for reporting of unfair means or offence by the venue in charge.

The personnel ministry had on June 21 notified the date on which the provisions of The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, would come into force.

Meanwhile, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is looking into the allegations of malpractice in UGC-NET (University Grants Commission-National Eligibility Test) and in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (Undergraduate) (NEET-UG) exams.


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