Applicants submit their appeals after the release of final NRC list at an election office, in Tezpur. File. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has detected large-scale anomalies in the updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.

The Supreme Court-monitored NRC exercise was started after bureaucrat Prateek Hajela was appointed the State Coordinator in October 2013. The complete draft of the list of citizens was published in August 2019, excluding 19.06 lakh people out of a total of 3.3 crore applicants.

The CAG report ending March 31, 2020, submitted to the 126-member Assam assembly on December 24, said 215 software utilities were added in a haphazard manner to the core software used for the updating exercise due to the lack of proper planning.

“These were done without following the due process of either software development or selection of vendors through eligibility assessment following a national tendering,” the report said, noting that highly secure and reliable software was required for such an exercise.

The haphazard development of software and utilities for the NRC data capture and correction posed the risk of data tampering without leaving any audit trail. Consequently, the intended objective of preparing a valid and error-free NRC was not met, the CAG report said.

The report pointed out that the project cost for the NRC escalated from ₹288.18 crore to ₹1,602.66 crore due to the time taken to undertake the exercise.

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