Amid NEET, UGC-NET exam mess, UPSC moots AI-based CCTV surveillance to prevent cheating | Education - Hindustan Times

Amid NEET, UGC-NET exam mess, UPSC moots AI-based CCTV surveillance to prevent cheating

PTI | , New Delhi
Jun 24, 2024 06:53 PM IST

The UPSC recently floated a tender to invite bids from experienced public sector undertakings to devise two tech solutions to prevent cheating.

Amid the raging controversies involving alleged irregularities in NEET, and NET exams, the country's premier recruitment body UPSC has decided to use facial recognition and Artificial Intelligence-based CCTV surveillance systems to prevent cheating and impersonation in its various tests.

The UPSC is mulling to install AI-based CCTV surveillance to prevent cheating. (Representative image/HT file image)
The UPSC is mulling to install AI-based CCTV surveillance to prevent cheating. (Representative image/HT file image)

It has recently floated a tender to invite bids from experienced public sector undertakings to devise two tech solutions -- "Aadhaar-based fingerprint authentication (else digital fingerprint capturing) & facial recognition of candidates and QR code scanning of e-admit cards" and "Live AI-based CCTV surveillance service"-- to be used during the examination process.

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), a Constitutional body, conducts 14 major exams -- including the prestigious civil services examination to select officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), and Indian Police Service (IPS) -- besides a number of recruitment tests, interviews every year for induction to Group ‘A’ and Group ‘B’ posts of the central government.

An estimated 26 lakh candidates are expected to appear in such recruitment, conducted at a maximum of 80 centres in Leh, Kargil, Srinagar, Imphal, Agartala, Aizawl, and Gangtok, among other major cities.

"The UPSC attaches great importance to the conduct of its examinations in a free, fair, and impartial manner. In its endeavour to fulfil these objectives, the Commission intends to make use of the latest digital technology to match and cross-check the biometric details of the candidates and to monitor various activities of the candidates during the examination to prevent cheating, fraud, unfair means, and impersonation," read the tender document dated June 3, 2024.

Accordingly, the Commission has desired to incorporate Aadhaar-based fingerprint authentication (else digital fingerprint capturing) and facial recognition of candidates, scanning of QR Code of e-admit cards, and monitoring through live AI-based CCTV video surveillance, it said.

The move is aimed at strengthening the examination process and eliminating the possibility of malpractice by the candidates.

Also read: NEET, UGC Exam row: Should NTA be restructured? Here's what experts think of what needs to be done

The selected service provider will use the data provided by the UPSC for Aadhaar-based fingerprint authentication of candidates and facial recognition during the exam, according to the scope of work mentioned in the tender document.

"Provision should be made for a real-time attendance monitoring system through a secured web server. The system should have provision for real-time monitoring of the enrolment activity along with GPS coordinates against every enrolment and time stamp to ensure that enrolment is done during the stipulated shift," it said.

The Commission said that facial recognition should be performed in a completely stateless transaction of two images -- one provided during the online registration and the other captured on the day of the exam.

Also read: NEET-UG row: Over 2 dozen students detained during march to Parliament

The UPSC said that it has decided to implement CCTV/video surveillance with recording and live broadcast systems to monitor various activities of the candidates and other persons deployed to conduct the Commission's examinations at the various centres/venues across the country under a secure environment.

"The service provider has to install an adequate number of CCTV colour cameras in every classroom (minimum 1 CCTV camera for 24 candidates), entry/exit gate, and control room (where pre-examination sensitive material will be kept and opened and post-examination sensitive material will be packed) of every examination venue," the document said.

Also read: CTET Centre City slip for July 2024 exam released at, here's how to download

The UPSC said that the service provider will install one CCTV camera for every 24 candidates at each exam hall/room “subject to the condition that at least 1 CCTV camera is installed in every room irrespective of candidates being less than 24.”

In case of the exam hall/room having more than 24 candidates, one CCTV camera for every 24 candidates shall be installed ensuring that the CCTV camera to candidate ratio is not less than 1:24 and that there are zero blind spots, it added.

The AI-based video system needs to be capable of generating alerts "if any movement is detected at entry/exit gates during examination," and “if the furniture inside the classrooms is not properly arranged.”

It will also alert the authorities "if the cameras are offline or are tempered (sic) by a masking or black screen," "if there is any movement in classrooms 1 hour before or after the exam" and "if the Invigilator is not moving even after the specified time/inactivity is detected in Invigilator's movement," the tender document said.

The AI should raise red flags at incidents that would indicate cheating, unfair means, absence of invigilators, etc, it added.

The date of closure of the bid document is July 7, 1 pm. The bid will be opened on the same day at 1.30 pm.

The development by the UPSC assumes significance as the Central government faces heat over the alleged irregularities in the conduct of UGC-NET -- (University Grants Commission-National Eligibility Test) -- which determines the eligibility of Indian nationals for Assistant Professor and Junior Research Fellowship -- and in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (Undergraduate) or NEET-UG, a medical entrance.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is looking into the allegations of malpractice in both the UGC-NET and NEET-UG exams conducted by the National Testing Agency.

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