Lucknow: Hoping to clamp down on cheating in the Uttar Pradesh board examinations, the state government will this year take help from the Special Task Force (STF) and local intelligence agencies to keep an eye on the "education mafia".
The objective is "copying-free examinations" and preventing the education mafia from doing mischief, Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma said.
"Police is on the job and those taking contracts for ensuring copying in examinations centres will land in jail," Mr Sharma told PTI in an interview.
He said the government has taken the help of the STF and local intelligence agents in doing away with education centres infamous for mass cheating.
Examinations centres have come down from over 12,000 to 8,500.
It has also been ensured that the centres have enough space to accommodate students and adequate facilities.
"Copying mafias have been identified. Local education officers have also been asked to take help of local intelligence during examinations to keep an eye on their activities," Mr Sharma said.
The government has made it mandatory for examination centres to have CCTV cameras, he said.
The deputy chief minister, who also holds the portfolio of the secondary education department, said the government has made its stand clear -- no unfair means would be tolerated and anyone found copying or promoting it would be dealt with strictly.
"We have studied all the possible ways and means of unfair means during the examinations. Those appearing in an exam impersonating someone else or involved in changing answer sheets before they reach evaluation centres will not be able to do so. Effective measures have been taken," Mr Sharma said.
"I want to assure students that they will get a good atmosphere. They should study hard and appear for the exams without any pressure," he said.
The measures to prevent cheating include frisking students before they enter the examination halls, dividing centres in sectors, appointing administrative officers as sector magistrates and issuing prohibitory orders within 100 metres of the centre.
The UP Board examination for Classes 10 and 12 starts February 6 and will continue till March 12.
A total of 66,37,018 students have registered to appear in this year's examinations -- 36,55,691 for Class 10 and 29,81,327 for Class 12.
Last year, 1,862 students were caught cheating.
In 2017, the overall pass percentage for Class 10 was recorded at 81.18 per cent and 82.62 per cent for Class 12.