The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) will now accept online orders for its textbooks and have them delivered right at the buyer’s doorstep. School education secretary Anil Swarup on Wednesday launched an online portal dedicated to taking orders directly from schools and even students. Although the new academic session is still months away, Swarup said the early launch will help NCERT be bettered prepared and provide books on time.

“We want to address the apprehensions regarding unavailability of NCERT textbooks. The portal, for now, is open to schools to indicate their textbook requirement for next academic year. This will give NCERT a fair idea of the demand and help them prepare six months in advance so that there is no shortfall when the new session begins,” he told reporters at the launch on Wednesday.

Schools will be able to log into http://www.ncertbooks.ncert.gov.in with their respective school Board affiliation numbers. The portal will accept orders for the 2018-19 session till September 8. Payment for the textbooks can be made just before the books are ready to be delivered, said NCERT director Hrushikesh Senapaty.

“The portal will eventually also be open to students and individual buyers, but right now only schools can place orders for a month so that we can get a sense of the existing demand,” Senapaty said.

Swarup, however, clarified that the government has no intention of making NCERT textbooks compulsory for private schools. “We just want to ensure proper and timely supply of (NCERT) textbooks so that parents are not forced to buy more expensive alternatives,” he said.

NCERT publishes 364 textbook titles in Hindi, English and Urdu annually and delivers them through 680 authorised vendors across the country. The Council is trying to increase the number of vendors and printers in anticipation of increased demand after the online portal’s launch.