CAG Audit Report on Assam’s NRC
- A recent report by India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) update exercise in Assam has uncovered serious irregularities, including “haphazard development” of software for the exercise, making it vulnerable to data tampering, and uncovered unauthorised profits worth crores amassed by the system integrator (SI) by breaking the Minimum Wages Act.
- In a compliance report titled “Logistical arrangements for NRC update project in Assam” that was presented to the Assam Assembly on December 24, the auditor raised certain red flags.
About the NRC:
- To identify people born in India and immigrants from the former East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, an NRC was first established in Assam in 1951.
- The Supreme Court instructed the Center and State to start a project in Assam to update the 1951 register in 2013.
- An NGO by the name of Assam Public Works filed the petition upon which the ruling was based.
- The final list, released in 2019, includes persons who could prove their Indian citizenship by being Assamese inhabitants or descended from Assamese people who were in the region before March 25, 1971, the deadline for deporting foreign nationals under the terms of the Assam Accord from August 1985.
- At that time, the NRC upgrade procedure had a February 2015 completion deadline after beginning in December 2014 and the estimated project cost was Rs. 288.18 crore. However, by March 2022, the cost had multiplied by five because it would have taken longer and the update software would have changed.
- However, the report stated that “the final form of the document was published in August 2019 and the project cost soared to Rs 1,602.66 crore (expenditure of Rs 1,579.78 crore was reported)”.
- It said that a preliminary review of the data had found inconsistencies in the use of funds, including “excess and improper payment to suppliers.”
Source The Hindu
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