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Now, mobile-phone jammers to check cheating at exam centres

Now, mobile-phone jammers to check cheating at exam centres

  • 2016-01-26

In order to prevent hi-tech cheating, statutory examination-conducting bodies have been allowed to use mobile-phone jammers.

In a new policy notified by the cabinet secretariat – the nodal authority for granting permission and clearance for use and procurement of jammers – examination bodies have been allowed to take the equipment on a lease basis.

However, unlike security agencies, they cannot procure or own the jamming equipment.
Last year in May, the Bihar police arrested 13 students using hi-tech blue-tooth devices for copying in the Bihar Combined Entrance Examination Board (BCEB) exams.

In 2014, some 100 people who were helping candidates through electronic tools during the written test for police recruitment were nabbed outside examination centres.

The notification says that in order to guard against random proliferation of jammers as well as to ensure that they don't unduly interfere with existing mobile-phone networks, a permission from secretary (security) in the cabinet secretariat has been made mandatory.

Among the bodies allowed to procure jammers include state police forces, jail authorities and central government agencies like Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

Though no official was willing to come on record, it is believed that defence forces have been excluded from the list, following the controversy around the now-defunct Technical Support Division (TSD) procuring jammers in the past under the instructions of then army chief and now Union minister VK Singh.

The jammers imported by TSD for evaluation purpose could not be accounted for after the government decided to close the unit.

Last year, the Delhi government decided to install jammers to stop cheating in examinations for government jobs. It used them on a pilot basis for a clerk-level exam.

That experiment hit a controversy with the Union government as the state government invited applications from service providers for procurement of jammers.

The cabinet secretariat has now come out with detailed policy guidelines. One of it is that the examination body can deploy jammers in sensitive examination centres after seeking approval in an approved proforma.

They can as well send examination calendars in advance, so that their requirement can be processed and a consolidated clearance can be granted on annual basis.

Examination bodies can take jammers only on a lease basis from vendors. Also, they should be approved and manufactured by either the Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) or Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).

The operation of jammers should be the responsibility of the concerned vendor to avoid any local tampering at the examination centre. The jammers effectively disable cellular phones. They transmit on the same radio frequencies as mobile phones, thus disrupting the communication between the phone and the mobile phone base station in the tower.
In May last year, the Supreme Court had directed the Centre to install phone jammers at exam centres to prevent paper leaks and other malpractices. The directive had come after alleged cheating in the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT). Many aspirants had sim cards stitched to their shirts and had blue-tooth devices. Over 350 calls were made to the various exam centres.(from dnaindia.com)

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