National informatics Centre—a vital arm of the Union Government's Information Technology Department providing network backbone and e-Governance support to Central and State Governments as well as different Government bodies— has refused to shoulder the responsibility of conducting Allahabad University's (AU) Under Graduate Admission Test (UGAT).
Varsity's first ever national-level UGAT is scheduled to be held at Allahabad, Bangalore, Bhubneshwar, Delhi and Guwahati on June 1 and June 2. The NIC's refusal is believed to have taken the AU officials completely by surprise and, if sources are to be believed, they have now begun earnest consultations with different organisation for the mega task.
However if no other agency, technically capable and trustworthy of undertaking the responsibility, is found in time, the varsity may have to undertake the challenge of conducting the admission test on its own shoulders as the forms for the UGAT-2007 will start selling at different State Bank of India (SBI) branches from April 16 itself.
The NIC's stand is a worry as it is for the very first time that AU top bosses have taken a decision to have a single admission test for under graduate admissions to the varsity as well as eight of its 10 constituent colleges.
In an attempt to attract the best of the students from all over the country, holding true with the varsity's aim of attaining a national standing, the AU officials also took the decision to host UGAT at Allahabad, Bangalore, Bhubneshwar, Delhi and Guwahati simultaneously.
The AU Vice-Chancellor in February held a meeting and formed a core-committee comprising Prof NR Farooqui as convenor and Prof SD Dwivedi (AU), Dr Bechan Sharma (AU) and Dr SN Srivastava (CMP Degree College) as members to supervise the conduct of UGAT-07. AU Registrar was given the responsibility of holding talks with NIC regarding the technical as well as networking requirements that the varsity would need for the mega maiden exercise. The VC himself took the charge as chairman of the core committee.
Sources say the Registrar visited Delhi and met NIC officials in the last week of February and later in March too. However, the NIC finally conveyed its inability to conduct the UGAT for it. While some claim that the NIC backed out stating that a test being conducted in just five cities is not a national-level test, others point out that the lack of adequate preparation time as the real reason for NIC's refusal.
AU Registrar Firdous A Wani, on being contacted, confirmed that NIC would not be conducting the UGAT and that varsity was in touch with some other agencies in this regard. He, however, refused to further comment on the issue before the admission test terming it "extremely confidential".
Similarly, Member of AU UGAT Core Committee Prof NR Farooqui conceded that NIC has indeed refused to conduct the test due to unavailability of adequate time gap for preparations. He, however, said that NIC has actually agreed to shoulder the responsibility from the next year if the varsity so desires.
As for who would now conduct the admission test, Prof Farooqui too, cited the confidential nature of the information as the reason for being unable to reveal more in this regard.