Millions of applicants in Assam have not been able to check their National Register of Citizens (NRC) status lately because of disruption in the cloud service hosted by an IT giant, a senior official said.
The clarification came in the wake of a letter by the Leader of Opposition in Assam Assembly on Tuesday which questioned how the data has vanished.
“Wipro is responsible for the cloud service which enables the public to see NRC (status) on the internet. The cloud service was discontinued before Hitesh Dev Sarma took over as the new state coordinator of the NRC (on December 15),” said a top NRC official in Guwahati on condition of anonymity citing the gag order from the Supreme Court which has been monitoring the exercise.
On Tuesday, Leader of Opposition in Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, wrote a letter to Sarma and the Registrar General of India questioning the “suspicious” development. “It is a mystery as to why the online data should vanish all of a sudden, especially as the appeals process has not even started due to the go-slow attitude adopted by the NRC Authority,” Saikia wrote in the letter.
“There is, therefore, ample scope to suspect that the disappearance of online data is a malafide act. Indeed, the deletion of data from the NRC website at a time when the appeals process is yet to start is prima facie a deliberate violation of the directive issued by the Hon’ble Supreme Court,” the letter reads.
The NRC official said the cloud services have been disrupted since November. “Wipro has been directed to continue the services. Hopefully, it will be resumed,” the official said.
The NRC list was published on August 31 excluding over 1.9 million people. Those excluded from the list still await their rejection orders which would form the basis of their appeals to the foreigners' tribunals where they will have to prove they are Indian citizens.
Wipro was hired as the system integrator of the over Rs 1600 crore exercise which has been criticised and questioned from various quarters including the ruling BJP who have claimed that it left out many genuine citizens and while many who were ineligible have been included. The software giant on its website, however, claims the exercise has been foolproof. “Wipro partnered with the Government of Assam to update the National Register of Citizens, leading to 100% enrolment of Indian citizens,” it says on its website.