New Delhi: The Union cabinet on Thursday approved the setting up of national academic depository (NAD) to digitize all education records from school onward.

The move, announced in the Union budget, will enable companies to e-verify documents and also clamp down on education frauds.

Like company shares, education records will converted to de-mat format by National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL) and Central Depository Services Ltd (CDSL), a government spokesperson said after the cabinet meeting in New Delhi. NSDL Database Management Ltd (NDML) and CDSL Ventures Ltd (CVL) are two depositories reduced with the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

NAD will be in place in next three months and would be extended to the entire country by the next academic year beginning June 2017.

Once in place, educational institutes and employers will be allowed to access the students’ data but with their permission for verification of education credentials at a time of escalating job related frauds.

The move comes more than five years after the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) initiated the idea. It however remained a non-starter as the associated legislation failed to clear Parliament.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance will establish NAD through an executive order.

NAD will verify academic awards online within a day of request initiated by any authorized user, the cabinet statement said.

“It will provide digital or printed copy of academic record with security features to the students or other authorized users (like a bank, private company or a higher educational institutions where a student seeks admission)," a government spokesperson said.

A so-called “discrepancy analysis" by First Advantage, a global background screening company, found that the rate of discrepancies in 2015 were at a five-year high with some 11.5% of job-seekers in India having fudged some of their data last year.

The discrepancy trend for the previous four calendar years—2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014—showed an average of 10% discrepancy in the first three years, rising to 10.5% in 2014.

Academic institutions would be responsible for the authenticity of data digitally uploaded by them into the system, the cabinet statement said. “The depositories will ensure the integrity of the data in the NAD. The NAD will register educational institutions/boards/eligibility assessment bodies, students and other users/verifying entities like banks, employer companies, government agencies and academic institutions," the cabinet statement added.