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Amid ongoing controversies over irregularities in major entrance exams like NEET and UGC-NET, the Uttar Pradesh government has announced plans to introduce a new law to prevent disclosure of records and curb the activities of data-spying gangs.

The bill provides for strict measures against those involved in such offences, including severe penalties, bulldozing measures and prison sentences.

This step of Yogi Adityanath-led government follows the recent cancellation of the UGC-NET exam by the National Testing Centre (NTA) after the question paper was discovered on the dark web. In addition, NEET is under scrutiny due to similar allegations of irregularities.

In response, the Uttar Pradesh government plans to protect the integrity of the examination process through several measures. These include implementing a new policy to avoid problems in counting examination papers by printing at least two different sets of examination papers from different agencies for each shift. Paper coding procedures will also be organized in a more systematic manner.

The examination centres will be government secondary schools, colleges, universities, polytechnics, engineering colleges, medical colleges or reputable and well-funded educational institutions with a clean record. These centres will be equipped with video surveillance systems and four different agencies will be responsible for conducting the recruitment tests.

Candidates must take the exams outside their home division, except for disabled people and women. If the number of candidates exceeds 400,000, the exam will be conducted in two phases.

A single shift may be introduced for the Provincial Civil Service Examination. To prevent manipulation of the results, the scanning of the OMR papers will be done directly by the Commission and the Board. The question papers will have secret codes and confidential security elements such as unique barcodes, QR codes and serial numbers on each page to ensure traceability.

The exam papers are sent in tamper-proof, multi-layered packaging, with sufficient time being allowed for the preparation of the exam papers. The printing works are regularly inspected by the head of the exam.

The selection of printing houses is carried out in the strictest confidentiality. Visitors to the printing house are checked, ID cards are mandatory and access for outsiders is prohibited. In addition, smartphones and cameras are completely prohibited in the printing house. Surveillance cameras are installed around the printing house and their recordings are stored for a year.

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