IT services major Wipro has clarified that the disappearance of the Assam NRC data from its cloud service is related to a non-payment of dues and will be restored once the government makes the payment.
Wipro worked with the Registrar General of India and the Ministry of Home Affairs in the Supreme Court-mandated National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam. The exercise sought to separate legal Indian nationals from the alleged illegal immigrants.
Concerns were raised when the entire database went offline from the Wipro website, with the spectre of malafide intent being brought up. However, Wipro has issued a statement clarifying that the disappearance of the database is due to pending payment.
The Benglauru-based IT giant revealed that the contract for the project, commissioned by the Registrar General of India and the Ministry of Home Affairs, expired in October 2019. But no payment was made for renewal.
Wipro continued to pay hosting service "as a gesture of goodwill" until January end before pulling the plug.
The Wipro statement read: “In 2014, Wipro Ltd was appointed as the System Integrator for the National Register of Citizenship (NRC) project in Assam after a rigorous tender process. 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.
"These services were provided in accordance with the terms of its contract with NRC and the same was monitored by the concerned authorities. 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 is willing to continue providing these services if the IT services agreement is renewed by the authorities."
The final NRC was published last year and excluded 19,06,657 persons. Across Assam, a total of 3,11,21,004 names were included out of 3,30,27,661 applicants.
Union ministers have variously hinted at the possibility of a nationwide NRC exercise in the near future.
Earlier, Wipro had removed the page documenting its work on the Assam NRC exercise from its website a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a speech in late December 2019 said that there were no plans of a nationwide NRC and challenged naysayers to show detention camps meant for illegal immigrants.
The page was subsequently restored.
First Published: IST