The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on Saturday submitted a report during the ongoing session of the Assam Assembly highlighting massive anomalies in the process of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.
The CAG submitted a report for the year ended in 2020 which pointed out that improper planning led to as many as 215 software utilities to be added in a haphazard manner to the core software.
The CAG report read, “Due to lack of proper planning in this regard, to the extent of 215 software utilities were added in a haphazard manner to the core software. It was done without following the due process of either software development or selection of vendors through eligibility assessment following a national tendering.”
Highly secure and reliable software should have been used in the updating process, CAG further mentioned in the report.
According to the report, the improper development of the software and utilities for NRC data capture and correction provided the risk of tampering with the data without leaving any audit trail.
It said that the audit trail could have ensured accountability for the veracity of NRC data, however, the objective of a valid error-free NRC could not be met.
Moreover, the CAG also said that the project cost for the NRC went up from an initial Rs 288.18 crores to Rs 1602.66 crores due the time taken from what had been initially conceptualized.
It may be noted that the former NRC coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma had filed a complaint with the Chief Minister’s Special Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Cell that had accused his predecessor Prateek Hajela to have been involved in corruption and money laundering.
The process of updating the NRC was initialized so as to remove illegally residing immigrants in the state. The draft list had been published in July 2018 which excluded 19.06 lakh out 3.30 crore applicants due to the lack of proper documents to establish their Indian citizenship.