Guwahati: Bharat Raksha Manch (Save India Forum, a non-government organization pursuing for the National Register of Citizens (NRC) with base year of 1951 across Bharat) reiterates its demand for clearing all dues to nearly 7000 data entry operators (DEOs), who worked as part time employees in the NRC updation process for Assam (May 2014 to October 2019).
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The forum claims that the former State NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela, the system integrator Wipro limited and one sub-contractor Integrated System and Services (ISS) had syphoned a sum of Rs 155 crores during the process, which was meant for the DEOs. In fact, they were denied the basic minimum wages, which was even detected by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, said a statement of BRM.
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Recently, a delegation of BRM submitted a memorandum to Assam Governor Gulab Chand Kataria at Rajbhawan in the city for the second time in two months and reiterated two primary demand for a correct NRC in Assam and legal punishments to Hajela, who has already earned VRS benefits from the State government. State BRM president Dwijendra N Barthakur alleged that Hajela was personally engaged with the scam involving Rs 260 crores in the NRC Assam updation.
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Speaking to this writer, Hitesh Devsarma (immediate successor of Hajela as NRC State coordinator, who lodged two complaints against him claiming the intentional inclusion of millions of Bangladeshi migrants’ names in the NRC draft with the help of tempered software), argued that the NRC authority spent a sum of Rs 1600 crore in the exercise, but the DEOs are still deprived of their salaries as per the country’s Minimum Wages Act. DEOs paid only Rs 5,500 to 9,100 per month (per person), whereas it was sanctioned Rs 14,500 to 17,500 every month for one DEO by the Union government, asserted Devsarma.
(Nava Thakuria is a senior Indian journalist who contributes to various media outlets including print and digital platforms of India and across the world)