Indian Education system is a large and growing system with approximately 55 school boards, 359 state universities, 123 deemed universities, 47 central universities and 260 private universities. Apart from these, there are 107 other institutions such as IISc/IITs/IIMs/NITs/IISERs/IIITs/NITIE and 12 other centrally funded institutions. These institutions issue academic awards to students including degrees, diplomas and certificates along with mark sheets and evaluation reports. Apart from these, institutions under various Ministries/Departments and other skill based institutions also dispense certificates, diplomas and advanced diploma.
Those who are entering into employment or pursuing higher studies require a credible, authentic and convenient mechanism for access, retrieval and validation of such academic awards. Academic records maintained in paper form are susceptible to hazards such as spoilage and forgery. Students often face difficulties in obtaining copies of their certificates/mark-sheets whenever they are lost or destroyed. Maintaining academic awards in a digital depository would enable educational institutions, students and employers online access/retrieval/verification of digitised academic awards and shall eliminate fraudulent practices such as forging of certificates and mark-sheets.
Academic awards maintained in an electronic depository would provide benefit to educational institutions, students and employers by enabling online access of academic awards.
The Union Cabinet has approved establishing a digital depository of academic awards called National Academic Depository (NAD) in its meeting held on 27th October, 2016. The National Academic Depository aims at ensuring a credible and convenient mechanism for online lodging, verification and authentication of the academic awards issued by various educational institutions.
Soon after the launch of NAD by the Hon’ble president of India on 9th July, 2017 the Government in exercise of powers conferred under section 20(1) of University Grants Commission Act, 1956 has designated University Grants Commission (UGC) as an authorised body to enter into a tripartite agreement with NSDL Database Management Limited (NDML) and CDCL ventures Limited (CVL) on 22.11.2016 for a period of three years. The period of Tripartite agreement signed between UDG, CVL and NDML ended on 22.11.2019 and further it has been decided that the NAD Scheme will be implemented by DigiLocker, an entity owned by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. A notification F.No.8-2/2019-U.Policy dated 18.03.2020 was released by Ministry of Human Resource Development regarding implementation of NAD scheme through DigiLocker.
The purpose of this document is to provide an introduction to NAD using DigiLocker and introduce the process to adopt NAD by academic institutions, verifier organizations and students. The DigiLocker NAD can be accessed at https://nad.digitallocker.gov.in/
What is DigiLocker?
DigiLocker is a flagship initiative of Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY) under Digital India programme. DigiLocker aims at ‘Digital Empowerment’ of citizen by providing access to authentic digital documents to citizen’s digital document wallet. The issued documents in DigiLocker system are deemed to be at par with original physical documents as per Rule 9A of the Information Technology (Preservation and Retention of Information by Intermediaries providing Digital Locker facilities) Rules, 2016 notified on February 8, 2017 vide G.S.R. 711(E). DigiLocker aims at promoting Paperless Governance by issuing authentic digital documents issued by various issuers to citizens’ locker account. DigiLocker system is hosted in NIC National Data Centre in Delhi and Pune. As of today majority of State/UT Education Boards are providing digital educational certificates from DigiLocker. Additionally other agencies such as NIOS, NSDC and NCVT are also providing digital skills certificates via DigiLocker.
NAD Governance Structure
Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is the parent ministry of NAD. MHRD has appointed UGC as nodal agency for implementation of NAD scheme through DigiLocker. DigiLocker is a flagship project of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India and is executed by National e-Governance Division (NeGD).
The NAD ecosystem comprises of the Academic Institutions, Students, Verifying Partners, NAD Repository, DigiLocker application. The Verifying Partners (Employers, Banks, VISA Consulates, other Academic Institutions etc.) can easily verify academic awards of the Students through the system by obtaining the consent of the student.
North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) will issue digital Awards to students through National Academic Depository. NEHU issuing the awards is the custodian of these awards and manages the lifecycle of the award. The University (NEHU) is termed as Academic Institution (AI).
A student may share his/her academic certificates with a potential employer while seeking a job or with a bank as a proof of date of birth or with an Academic Institution for further studies. Such employer, banks, visa consulates and other academic institutions who wants verification of the academic certificates submitted to them by students are termed as verifiers. The Verifiers can verify students’ academic credentials with students’ consent.
DigiLocker provides a secure dedicated repository service to AIs to host their awards data and is available at https://nad.digitallocker.gov.in/ NAD portal provides an easy and intuitive workflow to upload and publish the academic records from this repository. An authorized person from AI can upload, publish and maintain the academic awards of the AI in this repository. This repository service is free of charge.
DigiLocker web/mobile application acts as the student facing interface of NAD. Students can access their digital academic certificates hosted on NAD through their account on DigiLocker. Students can also share their certificates with other DigiLocker partner organizations while availing their services. More information about DigiLocker can be found by visiting the website https://digilocker.gov.in
North-Eastern Hill University
Shall provide the templates of Academic Awards, master data, student identity details etc. to DigiLocker NAD. Shall review and confirm the master data, Award Images and Award data lodged on NAD portal. Shall ensure the accuracy of the data of academic awards and student’s identity.
Students are the beneficiaries of this scheme who can view, access and share their digital academic awards with other Academic Institution or potential employers.
Students are advised to open DigiLocker accounts (if not already done) by visiting the DigiLocker NAD portal https://nad.digitallocker.gov.in/students
NEHU created NAD Cell vide Notification No.F.1-129/Admn/NAD(Cell)/2020-701 dated 14/12/2020 to look after the NAD activities in the University.