IT support, made NRC possible in Assam As the first draft of National Registration of Citizen is already out, Assam is eagerly waiting for the second and final phase result to get declared. Amidst the entire scene of NRC, cutting edge information technology played a major part in making the mammoth task of updating National Register of Citizens, which is being updated for the first time since 1951 a great success. It has been estimated that more than 600 truckloads of documents, or about 6.
6 crore individual documents were submitted to prove identity of almost every Assamese. All were digitized and then verified digitally. The challenge was not just the short window for updating the records, but also the poor availability of legacy data related to Indian citizens and their descendants , prior to -24 March, 1971, the cutoff date for NRC to decided who is an Indian and who is not as for Assam. The Assam government needed a data center that would deploy IT and non-IT infrastructure, including manpower, to receive offline applications and then the NRC Seva Kendras (NSK) were opened for people. “This exercise would not have been possible unless it was for an efficient IT support as this is for the first time NRC updating is happening in Assam and we dint has any former model to follow ” says State NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela. Since 2013 as per Supreme court order the updating of NRC started in Assam. On September 2013 a state co-odinator was appointed. The process started in early 2014 in 27 districts now which have now increased to 32 district of Assam.
Currently there are 2500 NRC seva Kendra in Assam. “On 7th September 2014, we floated a tender for the requirement of system integrator keeping in mind the gigantic amount of serious information needed to preserve. Later Wipro got the tender and we signed an Memorandum of Understanding” said NRC Project Manager Ajupi Baruah. The state government meanwhile was already in the need of a strong System Integrator who could help update the NRC within a timeframe of one year, as directed by the Supreme Court. “The main challenge for us was we dint had any model to follow as this is for the first time in the country that NRC updation is been carried out.
So we had to start from scratch. So through proper tender selection looking into the capabilities we collaborated with Wipro.” added Hajela This is where Wipro’s expertise and experience came in handy. Wipro developed bespoke business intelligence and case management solutions to receive offline and online applications. They developed software named as DOCSMEN. Hajela own training as engineering graduated from IIT Delhi came in handy.
Deploy Document Segregation and Meta Data Entry (DOCSMEN), complex software, which was used for slicing and segregating about 6.6 crore people information. Wipro provided training and deployed more than 8,000 data entry operators to the state. They also developed online application modules with user-friendly interface accessible from portable devices like Android, iOS mobiles and tablets there were 6.
24 lakh pages of legacy data provided, problem was most of the legal document papers were so old that most of it became frail. “So we thought of clicking the images of these data as scanning could have destroyed the documents. We took photographs of these 6.24 documents and provided it one a unique image identity code.
Out of which 95% got there legal data code” Hajela further explained. The first step started with data centre right where three mode – online, offline and both online-offline info module was introduced. After this they introduced the first software which divides the information based on Meta data . This was been developed by Bohniman systems . Guwahati based engineer Abhijeet Bhuyan along with his team of 70 members worked for 6 months to map around more than 27,000 villages through GPS. Later compilation of the soft copies of the Legacy Data images and their corresponding digitised records is called Digitized Legacy Data Development, shortly termed as DLDD. The third one is the Family tree software Family tree declaration application helps identifying relationships and hereditary information between family members.
This helps in identifying and detecting possible illegal immigrants if any based on the tracking code which gives information of the root of the family origin. Impact More than 6.6 crore documents were verified in which 1.44 crore legacy data codes issued in 7 months, of which 66 lakhs were issued in NRC Seva Kendras and 78 lakh downloaded online. Without extensive IT deployment and development of bespoke solutions like digitized legacy data development, document segregation and metadata entry, micromanagement and business development tools for daily appraisal of performance of 2500 centers, 157 Tehsil offices and 32 districts, implementation of this Supreme Court-monitored project would not have been possible within short timelines.
The tech initiative of NRC also won the CNBC –TV 18 Digitizing India Awards for Digital innovation in citizen service (e-governance) But the main challenge is ahead for second and final round and how the IT backbone can be a savior in final audit.