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Amid controversies over irregularities in major entrance exams like NEET and UGC-NET, the Uttar Pradesh government is planning to introduce a new law to prevent disclosure of records and crack down on 'solver gangs'.

The new law provides for severe penalties for those involved in document publishing and gangs. It provides for heavy fines, harsh measures and even prison sentences for the perpetrators.

The Yogi Adityanath-led government announced the new law soon after the National Testing Agency (NTA) cancelled the UGC-NET (University Grants Commission – National Eligibility Test) exam. The Union Education Minister revealed that the exam papers were leaked on the dark web.

Moreover, the NEET is under scrutiny for alleged irregularities. In response, the Uttar Pradesh government has announced a new law to ensure the integrity of the examination process.

In addition, the government has introduced a new policy to prevent paper leakage. Each examination shift will include at least two different sets of examination papers printed by different agencies. Paper coding procedures will also be organized more systematically.

Examination centres will be set up only in government secondary schools, colleges, universities, polytechnics, technical colleges, medical colleges or well-funded educational institutions with clean records. These centres will be equipped with CCTV systems and four separate agencies will manage different aspects of conducting recruitment tests.

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

The Provincial Civil Service Examination can be conducted in a single shift. To prevent tampering of results, the OMR papers will be scanned by the Commission and the Board. The question papers will have secret codes on each page and security measures like unique barcodes, QR codes and serial numbers to ensure traceability.

The examination papers are transported in tamper-proof, multi-layered packaging. Sufficient time is allowed for the production of the examination papers and the printing works are regularly inspected by the examination supervisor.

The selection of printing companies is strictly confidential. Visitors are checked and must show identification. Outsiders are not permitted to enter the printing company.

Smartphones and cameras are not allowed in the printing shop. Video surveillance cameras will be installed throughout the premises and the recordings will be kept for one year.

The NEET-UG exam was held on May 5 at 4,750 centres and around 2.4 million candidates took part in it. The results were scheduled to be announced on June 14 but were announced only on June 4 on the grounds that the evaluation of answer sheets had been completed earlier.

67 students secured the perfect score of 720, which is unprecedented in the history of NTA. Six students from a centre in Faridabad (Haryana) were on the list, raising suspicions of irregularities. It is alleged that preferential marks contributed to 67 students sharing the first position.

NEET-UG exam is conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) for admission to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has refused to stop the counselling process for NEET-UG 2024 and issued a notice to the National Testing Agency (NTA) to this effect. The court has merged the new petitions with the existing ones and scheduled a hearing for July 8.

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