MHA instructs states to gather data on foreign students

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) have instructed the Bengal government to gather details on foreign students studying in the state, in a bid to strengthen internal security infrastructure.

“We received a letter from the Center on October 12. All the universities have been informed about the Home Ministry’s letter through the higher education department,” a state home department officer said.

“Neither the Center, nor the state government have any centralised database of the students coming to the state to pursue higher studies. These days, there is a major threat to internal security and anything can happen from anywhere. The Centre is trying to design a mechanism which will help the government to have detailed data about the foreign students,” he added.

Mission mode project

The programme taken up by the MHA, known as the Mission mode project on immigration, visa and foreigners registration & tracking (IVFRT), was launched at 12 cities.

According to the letter written to the state government, the ministry “plans to improve facilities provided to foreigners and enhance security. The project will ensure creation of a central database for foreign students and monitor their activities/performance.”

A software module has been developed by the National Informatics Center to help institutions file details like the students’ academic activities in a prescribed format, online.

Other cities to be covered in the first phase of the project are Chennai, Bangaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Amritsar, Kolkata, Kochi, Kozhikode Thiruvananthapuram, Lucknow and Goa.The first phase of the project is supposed to be completed by November end, while the entire project will be wrapped up by March, 2013, sources said.

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