The total number of applicants and applications made public in the final list of the National Register of Citizens is higher than the respective figures in the July 2018 draft list, authorities said on Sunday, attributing the mix-up to an error in digitisation of records.
When the NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela’s office announced the final list on Saturday, the total number of applicants was 33,027,661. In the July 2018 draft list, the number stood at 32,991,384 -- a mismatch of 36,277.
Similarly, the total number of applications on Saturday was 6,837,660, higher than the July 2018 figure of 6.831 million.
A senior official connected to the NRC exercise clarified that the rise in number was not because of any new application, the deadline for which was August 2015.
He said the number had gone up due to data entry errors and digitisation problems.
“There were issues with digitisation of some applications which was corrected subsequently,” said the top official on condition of anonymity. “For example forms of a family of 10 members and another family of 15 members got mixed up and fed as being from the same family,” added the official.
A second official said the problem was rectified after the draft was published in July 2018. “New application receipt numbers (a unique 21 digit number) were issued as applications which got mixed up with others were sorted out and applicants were informed,” said the second official.
A deputy commissioner of one of the districts in Assam explained that the applications were first scanned and subsequently the names of the family members on those applications were manually fed into the software. This process may have led to data entry errors, he added.
The first official said the mix-up did not lead to any wrongful adjudication of citizenship or additional exclusions, because people had the opportunity to file claims against their exclusion.
Any mix-up between two families may have had an impact on the family-tree verification stage of the NRC, where families were called for a physical hearing and asked to prove their ancestry and lineage.
When asked how the authorities would deal with complaints from applicants about possible exclusion from the final list due to the above mentioned technical errors, the official said, “It would depend on the Supreme Court and its orders.”