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DigiLocker designated as sole National Academic Depository, authorised to store digitised education records

DigiLocker has been designated as the sole National Academic Depository (NAD) by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD), essentially allowing educational institutions under the ministry to store digital copies of academic awards, mark sheets and certificates on the cloud-based service. The University Grants Commission (UGC) will implement NAD as a “permanent scheme” within Digilocker. UGC, among other things, will have to ensure that reports on various parameters such as registrations, academic award uploads, and verification completed are provided to MHRD, “as and when called for by the Ministry”.

Digilocker is an Aadhaar-based cloud-based locker in which users can store electronic versions of important documents like birth certificates, voters ID cards, University documents, PAN cards, and more. Initially, E-documents are shared through a registered repository, which ensures that the documents are authentic. It was launched by the Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DeitY) in 2015. DigiLocker currently has 156 issuer organisations, including CBSE, and state education boards of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, among others.

“This notification paves the way for nationwide digitization of academic awards, certificates & marksheets in the education sector via DigiLocker for all institutions under MHRD,” DigiLocker said.

MHRD decided not to go ahead with NDML, CVL: Before this, NDML (NSDL Database Management Limited) and CVL (CDSL Ventures Limited) acted as the NAD, for a period of 3 years. The agreement between UGC, NDML and CVL ended in November 2019, and the ministry decided not to implement NAD through NDML and CVL, without specifying a reason behind the decision.

Other responsibilities of UGC: Apart from submitting reports to MHRD, UGC will have to finalise technical issues, and formats for uploading of academic awards, creation of student accounts, mapping of academic awards, procedure for verification, etc. in consultation with Digilocker. It “may” enter into a MoU with Digilocker for the implementation of the NAD, outlining rights and responsibilities among them (MEITY and MHRD will have to be kept informed about this).

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