Basavaraj Rayareddy tearing the ‘old marks’ cards? Marks cards from MSIL won’t be issued until further notice; UGC wants marks cards to be uniform and have security features State Universities are in a fix after the higher education department has asked them to stop printing and procuring marks cards and degree certificates from Mysore Sales International Limited (MSIL). The universities had already purchased marks cards worth several lakhs of rupees from MSIL ever since the government had mandated it in 2017. The State Department of Higher Education has also asked the universities to not issue marks cards that have Near Field Communication (NFC) chips inserted in it. A committee will study the technologies before any further marks cards are printed. The marks cards from MSIL were mandated ever since the University Grants Commission (UGC) had insisted on uniformity and safety features in the marks cards issued by the university, to prevent tampering. However, the decision of the State government has irked several universities as it comes in the wake of another UGC order demanding the same. The May 24, 2019 order states, “All universities are requested to introduce security features in the mark sheets and certificates issued to the students enrolled in different programmes of study. While such features are useful for the purposes of verification and curbing duplication, they also help in maintaining uniformity across the system of higher education in the country.” The UGC has also asked the universities to introduce identification mechanisms like photograph of the student, hologram of the institute and Quick Response (QR) code in students’ certificate. An expert said, “The universities have already purchased marks cards with these features, but the government has taken an about turn without giving any solution.” A senior official from the higher education department said, “Now, we have the order from the UGC to go ahead with National Academic Depository (NAD) so that all the marks cards and degree certificates be made available online. Already all State universities have registered under NAD and are in the process of converting all the marks cards in digital format. The students can download these marks cards anywhere and anytime.” Earlier, Bangalore University (BU) also purchased MSIL marks cards but have not put those to use. The university officials said that they will utilise it for repeaters. A senior official from the department said, “We will think about what to do with the marks cards that have already been purchased. As of now everything is on NAD. We can take a decision only after the committee submits the report on MSIL and NFC marks cards.”