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The online repository is expected to benefit 2 million people a year who undergo vocational training in 11,000 industrial training institutes and other skill development centres. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
The online repository is expected to benefit 2 million people a year who undergo vocational training in 11,000 industrial training institutes and other skill development centres. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

Labour ministry unveils certificate repository in move to curb fraud

Database will allow employers to check the credentials of graduates of skill-training centres run by the ministry

New Delhi: The labour ministry on Monday launched an online repository that will allow potential employers to check the credentials of students who have graduated from skill development centres run by the ministry.

The database, delayed by some four years, is expected to benefit 2 million people a year who undergo vocational training in 11,000 industrial training institutes (ITIs) and other centres.

“This is the next step to transform the ITIs and bring transparency in the skills sector for both job-seekers and job-givers," labour secretary Shankar Agarwal said.

For the government’s Make in India programme to succeed, it’s vital to transform the ITIs, which provide the skilled workforce the manufacturing sector needs, according to Agarwal.

From exam management to electronic certificates, the new initiative is expected to be a comprehensive platform that will be part of the larger labour market information system that the government intends to introduce. The ministry will link the repository to the revamped employment exchanges once they are ready to bring jobs and job-seekers on to one platform.

The development happened even as the human resource development (HRD) ministry has been considering a similar system for the past five years, with a bill to this effect under consideration in the HRD ministry.

Labour minister Bandaru Dtttatreya said his ministry has a mandate to train 10 million people by 2017. The repository will help transparency, improve the visibility of trained manpower and apprenticeship services, and catalyse demand through better market information and advocacy.

With the country focusing on skill development and companies talking about job-ready manpower, such a system would help companies to verify the credentials of job-seekers, according to Alok Kumar, director general of employment and training.

An employer just needs to scan the code printed on the e-certificate and all information of the candidate shall be displayed on the computer, including grades, Kumar said. This will cut down fraud.

In 2011, Delhi University unearthed a fake certificate racket. In 2012, the Indian Institutes of Technology were faced with a similar situation after several hundred applicants submitted fake certificates to gain the benefits of reservation for other backward classes.

According to a 2014 report by background-screening company First Advantage, 10% of all applications in sectors such as travel, hospitality and retail had discrepancies. Of all education-related discrepancies, 66% comprise fake documents, the report said.

Nearly 150,000 education credentials of ITI graduates have already been uploaded and two million more would be uploaded in the next three days, ministry officials said on condition of anonymity.

Earlier it used to take years to get a certificate after completing an ITI course, said Tulendra Prasad, who had taken a programme at the Delhi ITI.

“If a student can print his marksheet and certificates from home, unwanted hassle of running around will come to an end. Companies often don’t take students seriously without the certificates and ask too many questions. Hopefully, now the standing of students will improve while seeking a job," said Prasad, who was among the first to get an e-certificate from the labour minister on Monday.

The repository will help ITI graduates get apprenticeship training and those eligible for cash benefits under the new apprenticeship scheme can get it directly in their bank account.

The repository shall provide better analytics for decision-making, both by the government as well as during hiring by companies, said Anita Mittal, principal consultant at National Institute of Smart Governance, an organization that helps improve e-governance models.

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