New Delhi, Oct. 9: Dispur has submitted a nearly Rs 500-crore expenditure estimate to the ministry of home affairs for updating the National Register of Citizens 1951 in Assam.
The home ministry will send the estimate, submitted by the Assam government this week, to the expenditure finance committee for approval, sources said today.
Both New Delhi and Dispur are apparently acting with utmost urgency as the Supreme Court had asked them in August to start working on issuing a gazette notification for updating the NRC and file details on the total expenditure needed for the whole process within October 18. Though the Centre had sought time, the apex court had rejected the plea. Pointing out that the Assam Accord was signed in 1985, it had asked the governments, “So many years have gone and you have done nothing... 2001 elections have gone, 2014 will also go by. What is your problem, why you are not moving seriously?”
The sources said the massive cost could be attributed to the way the exercise was being planned on ground. They said the process suggested by the Assam government was a deviation from the home ministry’s norms and could be long-winding.
While the home ministry wanted to carry out data collection and complete data entry on the spot, the state government has suggested a three-step process. It wants the forms filled up by villagers to be scanned and later digitised at the state data centre.
Before that, the Assam government and home ministry finalised the 12-step modalities for the project. These include printing and display of NRC, 1951 and the electoral rolls of 1971 in villages and urban wards followed by distribution of application forms to residents for NRC update.
After scrutinising the applications, the draft NRC will be prepared and published. This will be followed by an elaborate verification exercise and publishing of an additional list of draft NRC. Claims and objections will be received and disposed through appeals before publication of the final NRC.
The Assam government said the process would take up to three years. The apex court has, however, asked the governments to complete the NRC update before the 2016 Assembly polls.
A source in the home ministry said, “There is a lot of duplication in what the state government wants. The Registrar General of India’s office will streamline the process. Eventually, the cost may be reduced.”
While the process may be tedious, the home ministry has got cracking and it would be up to the finance ministry to decide on the state government’s proposal. Any proposal for funding above Rs 150 crore is decided by the expenditure finance committee.