CAG detects 'irregularities' worth Rs 100 crore during National Register of Citizens exercise in Assam: Report

  • Comptroller and Auditor General of India has uncovered alleged irregularities worth Rs 100 crore during the National Register of Citizens

  • As per the CAG report, an undue mobilisation advance of Rs 52 crore was given to the System Integrator which led to the loss of interest of Rs 9 crore

  • The CAG report also mentioned that lack of sound financial management resulted in excess expenditure of Rs 19.43 crore

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has allegedly uncovered irregularities worth Rs 100 crore during the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam, according to a report by News18 Assam/North-East.

As per the News18 Assam/North-East report, the CAG document tabled in the Assam Assembly on Thursday, "...the findings of the AG (Audit) is of serious concern since the findings may be symptomatic of serious procedural loopholes and lapses in the entire (citizen register) updation exercise [sic]."

The report takes aim at ex-NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela, who was transferred to Madhya Pradesh by the Supreme Court.

 CAG detects irregularities worth Rs 100 crore during National Register of Citizens exercise in Assam: Report

An NRC Seva Kendra in Guwahati. PTI

As per the CAG report, an undue mobilisation advance of Rs 52 crore was given to the System Integrator (SI), which led to the loss of interest of Rs 9 crore. The SI, as per the agreement, was to set up the NRC Seva Kendras (NSKs) by 1 February, 2015, however, the SI failed to commission the NSKs within the stipulated time, but no penalty was imposed on the SI, which resulted in a loss of Rs 2.91 crore to the government.

The CAG report also pointed to "avoidable expenditure on not viable software solution to the extent of Rs 1.27 crore". The SI submitted bills to procure "Oracle standard one edition" and "Oracle Server Enterprise Edition" for which Rs 1.27 crore was paid. However, the "system was not found in the IT system", as per the report.

The CAG report also mentioned that "lack of sound financial management resulted in excess expenditure of Rs 19.43 crore". As per the CAG report, the NRC state coordinator procured original HP Toner Cartridges of two types amounting to Rs 34.34 crore for HP printers. However, the rate of procurement was much higher to the 'ProDot' toner cartridges being used in the SCNR (State Coordinator, NRC) office for the same HP printers, the report stated.

The said procurement was also made without NIT (notice inviting tenders) and assessing/ascertaining the actual requirement, the report added. Due to the procurement of the HP toner cartridges rather than the 'ProDot' cartridges, an extra financial burden of Rs 19.43 crore has occurred, the report claimed. There are also 6,140 unused toners worth Rs 2.89 crore in 33 districts as of 30 December 2017, it said.

The CAG report also alleged "lack of transparency in the selection of SI and issue of the work order to the single bidder". The report stated that increasing the number of NSKs from 1,500 to 2,500 after selection of the sole bidder "was unjustified", and no new tender was floated when the original offered bid value of Rs 196.65 crore was increased to 232.10 crore which "was not in order".

The report also alleged "installation of IT infrastructure valued at Rs 39.07 crore without ensuring technical specification". The SI installed IT and non-IT infrastructure such as laptops, cameras,  scanners cum printers at the NSKs as per specifications defined in the RFP amounting to Rs 39.07 crore, as per the report. However, the SI did not furnish any bills, nor did it furnish any documents such as delivery and installation certificates, manufacture, warranty, as per the report.

"In the absence of the above-stated documents, the quality of the IT and non-IT infrastructure, as well as the proper functioning of the infrastructure, could not be ascertained. Thus, payment to the SI without ensuring the required specification was found unjustified and irregular," the report stated.

The report also mentioned "exorbitant expenditure on human resource (data entry) provided by SI. As per the CAG report, since February 2015, the operators were paid Rs 5,050 per month, which was increased to Rs 7,725 per month from November 2017. However, the sanctioned amounts for Operators 1, 2 and resource person were Rs 13,779, Rs 13,123 and Rs 14,982.31, respectively.

"In the instances cases, the remuneration to the operators as desired rate was not paid [sic]," the report noted.

"Besides, the records regarding payment of PF, ESI facilities to the operators were not found... this indicated that manpower management for NRC updation by SI was not in order."

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Updated Date: Dec 05, 2019 22:36:26 IST