New Delhi, Nov 10: The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday approved the creation of National Testing Agency (NTA)  to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions. The agency will be registered as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organization under the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860.

The agency would initially conduct those entrance examinations which are currently being conducted by the CBSE. Other examinations will also be taken up gradually after NTA is fully geared up. The entrance examinations will be conducted in online mode at least twice a year, thereby giving adequate opportunity to candidates to bring out their best.

Establishment of the agency will benefit about 40 lakh students appearing in various entrance examinations. It will relieve CBSE, AICTE and other agencies from the responsibility of conducting these entrance examinations, and also bring in high reliability, standardized difficulty level for assessing the aptitude, intelligence and problem-solving abilities of the students.

In order to serve the requirements of the rural students, the agency would locate the centres at sub-district/district level.

Reflecting on the constitution of the agency, the cabinet said the agency will be chaired by an eminent educationist. He will be appointed by Ministry of Human Resources Department (MHRD). The CEO will be the Director General who will be assisted by 9 verticals headed by academicians/ experts. There will be also a Board of Governors comprising members from user institutions.

The agency will be given a one-time grant of Rs.25 crore from the Government of India to start its operation in the first year. Thereafter, it will be financially self-sustainable.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech of 2017-18 had announced setting up of a National Testing Agency (NTA) as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organization to conduct all entrance examinations for higher educational institutions.