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Free, multilingual helpline on NRC

Guwahati, Aug. 3: A toll-free call centre will cater to public queries in Assamese, Bengali, Hindi and English, during the update of the National Register of Citizens, 1951.

The Centre recently approved the revised modalities to update the NRC, the process for which is likely to resume in December.

The Union minister of state for home affairs, Kiren Rijiju, said in the Lok Sabha on July 15 that the Centre had recently released Rs 140.58 crore to the Assam government for the purpose.

Sources told The Telegraph that the office of the commissioner and secretary looking after the mammoth project has decided to hire BPO service providers or relevant agencies to set up a call centre, which will serve as a helpdesk for applicants.

The office will set up 1,500 local registrar of citizen registration offices across the state for submission of application forms to update the NRC.

“The citizens will be provided with an application form, which will be filled up by the applicants and submitted to the nearest LRCR office. At the time of the submission, the application form should be accompanied by relevant documents as proof of citizenship. A computer-generated receipt, along with a scanned printout of the application form and a list of documents submitted, will be issued to the applicant. The purpose of having a call centre is to answer queries regarding the procedures related to the NRC update and redress the grievances and complaints of the applicants,” a source said.

Sources said the call centre would be set up keeping in mind the violent protests in Barpeta in 2010. Applicants had gone on the rampage, as there was no one to reply to their queries regarding the procedure in the NRC.

Four people had died after the police resorted to firing to control the angry mob at Howly in Barpeta district.

The pilot projects in Barpeta and Hajo in Kamrup district had to be stopped following the protests led by All-Assam Minority Students’ Union.

“We are trying to have a toll-free hotline number in the call centre. There will be two types of call centre executives. One will receive the queries or complaints and apprise people about the procedures to be followed by the applicants. If required, they may transfer the call to the second type of executives who will have more details. We are trying to ensure that the call centre caters to queries in Assamese, Bengali, Hindi and English. We want Bengali and Hindi executives as we have a sizeable number of Bengali-speaking people in Barak valley and in lower Assam districts. We have many Hindi-speaking people too,” the source said.

The 24-hour call centre will have 50 executives initially for the first year. The number will be reduced to 25 the next year.

“Databases of the NRC update procedures and all necessary computer software will be installed by the agency to be hired for the purpose,” the source said.

THE STORY SO FAR

Update of the National Register of Citizens, 1951, has been a long-standing demand to detect illegal migrants

AASU, Centre and Dispur in May 2005 agreed March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for inclusion of names in the NRC

The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Card) Rule, 2003, amended in November 2009 and March 2010 for preparation of the fresh NRC based on relevant records

A pilot project started in Chaygaon (Kamrup district) and Barpeta in June 2010 stopped following violent protests in Barpeta

A cabinet sub-committee set up by Dispur held discussions with different organisations to address the concerns regarding the modalities

Dispur submitted revised modalities to Registrar-General of India in July 2013, which was recently approved by the Centre


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