Between 2015 and 2019, there has been a substantial escalation of costs, that is a whopping increase by 540 per cent of the original estimate!
Not only has the process been long, its cost the state –that is Indian public money over Rs 1500 crores! The Registrar General of India (RGI) has announced an increase in the revised budget estimate for the NRC (National Citizens’ Register) update process to Rs 1,602.66 crore till December 31, 2019. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, Government of India, has also approved the revised cost estimate. Parliament will need to be informed of this revision. At the same time, the RGI order has stated that with time surplus staffs shall be taken off — wherever possible — to save cost. The RGI has already communicated with the State government as well as the NRC authority about the revised estimate. Reports of this first appeared in the Assam-base The Sentinel.
Between 2015 and now, four years later there has been a substantial escalation of costs. The final estimated cost is a whopping increase by 540 per cent of the original estimate!
The cost estimate of NRC-related work when it was first taken up in 2015 was approximately Rs 250 crore. The final NRC was published on August 31, 2019. Altogether 3,30,27,661 people (through 68,37,660 applications) had applied for inclusion of their names in the final NRC. Of them, 3,11,21,004 were found eligible for inclusion while 19,06,657 applicants have been declared ineligible for inclusion in the final NRC.
Some of the significant heads along with the revised estimated budget (in descending order) are as follows:
Outsourced Manpower at Field level: Rs 668.81 crore;
Hardware and consumerables at NRC Sewa Kendras/Circles/Districts: Rs 331.01 crore;
Field supervision including transport arrangement: Rs 136.98 crore;
Software and web portal development: Rs 87.73 crore;
Setting up of State Data Entry Centre and related works: Rs 78.82 crore;
Publicity (print, electronic and social media): Rs 59.39 crore;
Office expenditure: Rs 54.75 crore;
Printing of forms, documents etc: Rs 22.45 crore;
Biometric enrollment: Rs 16.50 crore and
Helpline Call Centre: Rs 7.80 crore.
When the NRC process began, there were controversies around the contract being awarded for the entire exercise.