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Assam NRC final list vanishes from official website

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on February 12, 2020 Published on February 12, 2020

Data went offline as cloud service contract with Wipro expired, say authorities

The record of the final list of citizens in Assam, as per the National Register of Citizens (NRC), has disappeared from the official website. The Union Home Ministry, however, told a media agency that the data is safe. The Ministry assured that it is looking into the matter, which will be resolved soon.

According to media reports, NRC authorities have claimed that the data disappeared because of the failure to renew a contract, related to the website, with IT firm Wipro.

TheNRC exercise took place in Assam in August 2019. The final list was was uploaded on the State’s official website “www.nrcassam.nic.in” on August 31. The website contains complete information on the exclusion and inclusion of bonafide Indian citizens. Around 19 million people were excluded from the final list.

Expired cloud contract

NRC State Coordinator Hitesh Dev Sharma told media that the cloud service on which the data was stored was provided by Wipro. The contract with Wipro expired on October 19 last year. Prateek Hajela, former State Coordinator for the exercise, did not renew the contract, and hence Wipro suspended its service on December 15, leading to the data going offline

Sharma further told the media that he assumed chargeonly on December 24.

He stated that theState committees had convened a meeting on January 30 to renew the Wipro contract. He mentioned that once the contract gets renewed, Wipro will make the data accessible online again and it will be available for the public. Sharma hoped that people would be able to access the data within 3-4 working days.

According to a source cited in an NDTV report, Prateek Hajela was transferred last October, . weeks after media reports found loopholes in the NRC exercise. A delay in the appointment of his successor affected the functioning of the department, including the failure to renew the cloud service subscription with Wipro.

Another source from Wipro told NDTV that efforts are now being made to "fast-track" the renewal of the cloud service.

Congress’ concerns

The Congress, which is the main Opposition party in Assam, sees this development as a mysterious and "malafide act".

This development comes even as the final NRC list in Assam is yet to be officially notified by the Registrar General of India.

The NRC list has left the 19 million people who failed to prove their citizenship stranded. However, the Centre has given direction to not to declare the excluded people ‘foreigners’ until all legal options are exhausted.

Congress leader, Debabrata Saikia, wrote to the Registrar General of India citing his concerns over the “missing data.” He had requested the Registrar General to address the matter urgently. He further mentioned that the disappearance of data before the start of appeal process is a matter of concern and is a “deliberate violation of the directive issued by the Supreme Court,” reported NDTV.

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Published on February 12, 2020
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