[Updated March 18, 8:23 am) CVC has responded. Nilam Sawhney I.A.S., secretary, CVC said, “We transferred maintenance work from TCS to NIC last year. NIC migrated our data to a cloud storage system and this made the earlier system (maintained by TCS) redundant. There has been no loss of data but there are some technical issues due to which we are unable to read some of the old data,”. Regarding loss of data, they said, “We have asked TCS to help us read some of that old data. Besides this, we have a backup of all files, which is kept for at least one year as per our practice so we have all data for 2015-16..”
In a major embarrassment to PM Modi’s Digital India mission, and his crusade against corruption, the very website which was meant to become the front-end for reporting corruption has crashed.
And the worst thing: There is no backup of the crashed database, and this means that valuable data about all corrupt officials is now lost. Forever.
When India Today sought to get any response from vigilance commissioners Rajiv and TM Bhasin, secretary Nilam Sawhney, additional secretary Salim Haque and director Jyoti Trivedi, there was no reply.
Is this a major failure of Digital India mission? How will Govt. assure the safety of billions of sensitive bio-metric data under UIDAI now? Lots of questions, but very few answers.
Central Vigilance Commission Website Was Maintained by TCS
To add salt to the embarrassment, the website of Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) was maintained by TCS, which is again an Indian IT firm. Hence, the failure is not only of Indian Govt. and Digital India but also of the IT industry as a whole.
As per reports, the website crashed in the month of November, and since then, the portal was not operative. Hence, any one who wished to file a complaint against any corrupt Govt. official couldn’t have done so. The portal is now running fine, but we are exactly not sure whether the database is operational or not, and whether it has any backup.
To be fair with TCS, their contract ended in the month of December, a month after the database crashed. But the fact that there was no backup of that data makes TCS guilty as well.
And due to their treatment of this website, all data pertaining to corrupt Govt. officials till November 28th is now lost forever.
How The Massive Failure Was Discovered?
The case of data crash and subsequent loss of all data was discovered by Mumbai-based whistleblower HR Kosia when he filed an RTI to get information against some corrupt officials related to a case.
Incidentally, Kosia was deputy manager (security and vigilance) with National Textile Corporation (NTC) and was dismissed in 2016 due to the case of corruption which he highlighted.
In their reply to the RTI, CVC director and Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) Jyoti Trivedi stated as on December 22, 2016: “.. due to a technical problem in the working of complaint portal of the Commission, it is not possible to provide the action taken on your complaint at this stage”.
On February 9th, Jyoti again stated: “TCS system of the Commission is still not working. It is not possible to provide the action taken on your complaints at this stage.”
Kosia is full of doubt regarding this data crash, and loss of data. He said, “The portal crashing on November 28, CVC’s contract with TCS ending just next month, no AMC either between the two and there is no back up of data – all these cannot be coincidences. There is more to it than meets the eye. The PM should have an inquiry ordered into it,”
Hence, cases such as that of Kosia and thousands of crusaders against corruption lies in uncertainty, as there is simply no data about corruption to track the cases.
National Informatics Centre (NIC) has now taken over the website, but they have been unable to extract any lost data.
Do you smell any conspiracy here? Or this is a pure case of Digital India failure? Do let us know by commenting right here.