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New Delhi: Aadhaar, the 12-digit unique identification number, could become the base for all key examinations in a move to check fraud, including impersonation.
The Union government is planning to link entrance examinations, including the Common Admission Test (CAT) conducted by the Indian Institute of Management, the unified National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical colleges and the University Grants Commission’s National Eligibility Test (NET), with Aadhaar, two government officials said.
This comes after the government last month made Aadhaar mandatory for registration of candidates for the joint entrance examination JEE-Main—the first of the two-tier entrance examination system for entry into Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and other top engineering and technology schools.
“After JEE-Main, other high-stake entrances will get Aadhaar-linked,” said one of the two officials, both of whom declined to be named. “It will happen in 2017.”
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“CAT, NEET, NET entrances will be seeded with Aadhaar,” said the second official, adding that since the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is conducting the JEE-Main with Aadhaar linkage, the CBSE Class XII board exam may also see Aadhaar playing a role.
While CAT is the gateway to entering the elite Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), NET is the qualifying exam for lectureship in colleges and universities, and NEET is the medical entrance exam that is set to become the only entrance for entry into private and government medical colleges.
How will it happen? Candidates will need to submit their 12-digit UID number while filling up forms or the 28-digit Aadhaar registration receipt.
During the exam, through a biometric attendance system, their fingerprints can be collected and matched with the one stored with the Aadhaar server.
“It takes just a few minutes to verify whether he or she is the right candidate or not. It’s easy and safe,” the first official said, adding that the JEE-Main exam is experimenting with Aadhaar along similar lines.
“Like JEE-Main, both NEET and NET are being conducted by CBSE and replicating the success should not be a problem,” the second official said.
Aadhaar linkage has several benefits. It is expected to curb fake enrolment and impersonation and thus reduce malpractice. It can also help track the educational progress of candidates and help build the digital academic repository move.
The digital repository, where the 12-digit UID number would play a key role, is expected to help employers verify education credentials to reduce job application frauds.
Individual formal notifications will be issued for each of the exams and the Aadhaar requirements over the next several months.
The second official played down any fears over privacy.
“Aadhaar verification is largely safe. Even, income tax department has been using it for e-verification of tax payers. We believe that will not infringe the privacy of individuals. We all know that Aadhaar is already a law, though some still point to the grey areas of its legal status,” the official said.
In March, the 12-digit UID number got a statutory status via the Aadhaar Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services Act, 2016.
However, cases are pending in the Supreme Court over whether Aadhaar can be made mandatory for all government schemes and allied services.
On 11 August 2015, the Supreme Court had questioned the mandatory status of Aadhaar for delivery of certain government schemes, and in September 2016, it had stayed the mandatory usage of UID for scholarship schemes for minority students.