Nagaland Congress
File photo of Nagaland Congress leaders.

The Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) on Friday asked the state government to take cognizance of the alleged major data security breach of citizens of Nagaland stranded outside the state because of the nationwide lockdown.

Expressing serious concern over the date breach, the NPCC, in a release, said the government must take action against this major security breach to restore some semblance of order which has so far been missing in its approach towards handling the pandemic situation.

It said the political leadership at the helm of government must rise to the occasion and motivate the government officials to perform even beyond the call of duty in these extraordinary times.

“By resorting to sending the entire information which includes Aadhaar and bank account details, the nodal officials concerned have committed serious blunder,” the NPCC said.

On April 20, Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio announced immediate cash assistance to the citizens of Nagaland presently stranded outside the state due to the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown. The government opened a portal iamstranded.nagaland.gov.in where any citizen of the state who is presently outside the state and facing distress because of the lockdown may apply for assistance directly.

The stranded people were asked to provide personal data such as name, mobile number, present address, family contact number and address, Aadhaar number, IFSC code to avail the financial assistance. However, these data were reportedly leaked and circulated through various messaging App.

The NPCC said the earlier excuse of overloaded website and now data security breach is the mirror of unpreparedness and inefficiency shown by the state government machinery so far.

It said the clarification issued by the Nagaland principal director of school education, Shanavas C. to a news portal is more about “shifting blame on those points of contacts such as union leaders in different parts of country tasked with verification process”.

Shanavas C is also the nodal officer for monitoring and coordination with other states.

The NPCC said the nodal officer and his team, in the first place, must own moral responsibility for not applying their minds while handling personal details of the stranded people.

“For verification, they could have simply sent only the details of name, address and phone number given by applicants to respective point of contacts,” it said.

The Pradesh Congress also said the details sent in MS Excel format should have been in password protected file known only to the point of contact.

It urged the state government to expedite the process of disbursing financial assistance to the stranded people while ensuring that those applying fraudulently are strictly penalized.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com