The Union Cabinet cleared the proposal for the creation of a self-governing body, National Testing Agency (NTA) to conduct all entrance tests in India, which are currently being conducted by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). The entrance examinations will be conducted online at least twice a year, to give a fair opportunity to the candidates appearing for the tests. “The NTA would initially conduct those entrance examinations that are currently being conducted by the CBSE. Other examinations will be taken up gradually by the NTA,” said an official statement. The move has lauded and called ‘historic’ by the Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar. 

The establishment of NTA would be beneficial for about 4 million students appearing in various entrance examinations. It will relieve agencies such as CBSE, AICTE, IITs, IIMs and other agencies from their responsibility of conducting entrance tests, thus enabling them to focus more on their core mandate. The agency will also be focusing upon standardised difficulty level to assess the aptitude, intelligence and problem-solving abilities of the students. To make the entrance examinations more accessible and universal, the agency would locate their examination centers at the sub-district/district level and conduct hands-on training for the students in order to serve the requirements of the rural students.

The governing body of NTA will comprise of a chairman (appointed by HRD ministry), a CEO serving as the director general (appointed by the Centre) and a board of governors comprising members from various institutions. The director general will be assisted by nine verticals headed by academicians and experts. The agency will receive a one-time grant of Rs 25 crore from the Centre to start its operation after which it will function on a self-sustaining model. 

National Testing Agency (NTA) as a Society has been registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860. In view of the need to have a specialized body in India like the most advanced countries, the Finance Minister in the Budget speech of 2017-18 had announced setting up of the agency as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organization to conduct all entrance examinations for higher educational institutions.