The Ministry of Education constituted a high-level committee of seven experts to ensure transparent, smooth and fair conduct of examinations. The move to form the expert panel came amid controversy over the alleged irregularities in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) exam 2024.

“The committee will make recommendations on reforming the mechanism of the examination process and improving data security protocols and the structure and functioning of NTA [National Testing Agency],” the Ministry of Education said in a press release. 

The NTA is an autonomous body that conducts several entrance exams including NEET and UGC-NET.

The committee will have to submit its report to the ministry within two months.

Who are the expert panel members?

Koppillil Radhakrishnan, the former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman and Chairman BoG, IIT Kanpur, will head the high-level committee of experts to ensure transparent, smooth and fair conduct of examinations. 

Who is K Radhakrishnan? Radhakrishnan is the former chairman of the Indian space agency ISRO. He was born on August 29, 1949 in Kerala’s Irinjalakuda. He assumed the concomitant responsibilities of Chairman of Space Commission and Secretary, Department of Space, Government of India as well as the Chairman of ISRO Council (Chairman, ISRO) on November 1, 2009.

According to details shared by the ISRO, Radhakrishnan started his career as an Avionics Engineer in Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre. He held several decisive positions in the ISRO in the domains of space launch systems, space applications and space programme management.

Radhakrishnan held the post of the Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre. He was also the director of the National Remote Sensing Agency.

In his brief stint (2000-2005) in the Ministry of Earth Sciences, he was the Founder Director of Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) and the first Project Director of Indian National Tsunami Warning System.

Other members of the panel include:

> Dr. Randeep Guleria, Former Director, AIIMS Delhi.

> Professor B J Rao, Vice Chancellor, Central University of Hyderabad.

> Professor Ramamurthy K, Professor Emeritus, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras.

> Pankaj Bansal, Co-Founder, People Strong and Board Member- Karmayogi Bharat.

> Professor Aditya Mittal, Dean Student Affairs, IIT Delhi

> Govind Jaiswal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Education, government of India

What’s the role of the committee?

The expert panel has been formed to make recommendations on:

1. Reform in mechanism of examination process: The panel has been tasked to analyse the end-to-end examination process and suggest measures to improve efficiency of the system and to forestall any possible breach. It will also conduct a thorough review of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)/Protocols of the National Testing Agency (NTA).

2. Improvement in Data Security protocols: The panel must evaluate the existing data security processes and protocols of NTA and recommend measures for its improvement. It will also examine existing security protocols related to the paper-setting and other processes for different examinations and make recommendations to enhance robustness of system.

3. Structure and functioning of National Testing Agency: The Committee will make recommendations on the organisational structure and functioning of the NTA. It will clearly defined the roles and responsibilities of functionaries at every level. The panel will also assess the current Grievance Redressal Mechanism of the NTA, identify areas of improvement and make recommendations for enhancing its efficiency.

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