Millennium Post

MHA asserts NRC data safe; Wipro says officials didn't renew contract

New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday sought to allay concerns over data of the contentious Assam NRC going offline, asserting that the dossier is safe though there are some technical issues while IT major Wipro said its service contract for the project was not renewed after it expired last October.

NRC data was not available for a couple of days and it created panic, mostly among the people excluded from the list as the rejection certificates were yet to be issued.

"The NRC data is safe. Some technical issues are in visibility on cloud. These are being resolved soon," a home ministry spokesperson said here.

Bengaluru-based Wipro was appointed as the system integrator for the National Register of Citizens (NRC) project in Assam in 2014 "after a rigorous tender process".

In a statement, Wipro said it had continued to pay the hosting service fee until January-end "as a gesture of goodwill" and that it is willing to continue providing these services if the agreement is renewed by the authorities.

"The project was commissioned by the Registrar General of India and the Ministry of Home Affairs, and was monitored by the Honourable Supreme Court of India.

"As an IT services provider, Wipro was tasked with providing the technical architecture and technology solutions for the project," it said.

"The IT Services contract was not renewed by the authorities upon its expiry in October, 2019. However, as a gesture of goodwill, Wipro continued to pay the hosting service fee until January-end, 2020," Wipro said.

However, the company did not comment on the quantum of dues or whether discussions were underway to resolve the issue. The company's statement comes hours after the central government said the NRC data in Assam is safe.

NRC State Coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma on Tuesday accepted that the data has been made offline, but refuted the allegation of any "mala fide" intent in it.

The cloud service for the huge set of data was provided by IT firm Wipro and their contract was till October 19 last year. However, this was not renewed by the previous coordinator.

So, the data got offline from December 15 after it was suspended by Wipro, Sarma had said.

He said the state coordination committee had decided to do necessary formalities in its meeting on January 30 and wrote to the Wipro during the first week of February.

"Once Wipro makes the data live, it will be available for public. We hope people will be able to access it in the next 2-3 days," Sarma said.

The complete detail of exclusion and inclusion of bona fide Indian citizens in the NRC was uploaded on its official website after the final list was published on August 31, 2019.

The final NRC was published by excluding 19,06,657 people. A total of 3,11,21,004 names were included out of 3,30,27,661 applicants.

After the earlier NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela relinquished the charge on November 11 following his transfer to home state Madhya Pradesh on a direction from the Supreme Court, Sarma was appointed in his place on November 9.

Meanwhile, an RTI application was filed on Wednesday with the National Informatics Centre, seeking details of the pact with the IT firm.

Senior journalist-cum-RTI activist Saket Gokhale filed the RTI application with the NIC, the IT wing of the government, and made it public through his Twitter account.

He sought a copy of the contract with Wipro regarding online hosting and storage of the official NRC list of Assam.

"Please provide name and details of the company used for cloud storage of the Assam NRC list along with the contract signed with it thereof," the RTI requested.

In Guwahati, the Assam Public Works (APW), an NGO, accused Hajela of tampering with the final version of the NRC by excluding two persons from the list.

In a complaint with the state CID, the APW, which is the original petitioner in the Supreme Court leading to the updating of the NRC, also alleged that Hajela altered public records after making those exclusions. Hajela disobeyed the Supreme Court's orders, made a false document, forged a public register and committed cyber offences by misusing his powers and position, APW president Abhijeet Sarma alleged in a press


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