“Infosys is working to resolve the concerns in the new income tax e-filing portal. For the last week, several of the technology glitches, which impacted the performance and stability, have been addressed. And as a result, we have observed lakhs of unique daily users in the portal,” said Pravin Rao, Infosys Chief Operating Officer, during the AGM meeting.
Infosys has faced issues with government bodies in the past over a series of high-profile e-government portals. One such dispute occurred this week over a malfunctioning income tax e-filing portal.
Since the launch of the new income tax return (ITR) e-filing portal earlier this month, both the government as well as the IT department promised that the new portal would simplify compliance. However, according to a PTI report, users have repeatedly complained of technical problems with the website since it was launched. A week later some issues still persist. A chartered accountant (CA) stated that the taxpayers cannot view past electronic returns and that a number of features and facilities remain undelivered. According to the Indian Express, the new online income tax filing portal began seeing glitches within hours of its launch on June 7, including login issues, inability to generate OTPs for Aadhaar validation, password generation glitches, failure to link old data, and difficulties in filing returns. This prompted the finance ministry to convene with Infosys to address stakeholder concerns and provide remedial measures. Over 700 messages were received from stakeholders, detailing more than 2,100 issues including 90 issues specific to the new portal.
The finance minister was notified a day after the launch of the new ITR e-filing portal that there were glitches with that portal, via social media. Following this, the Minister of Finance, Nirmala Sitharaman, took to Twitter and asked Infosys and its chairman Nandan Nilekani to fix the technical glitch.In response to this tweet, Nilekani said that Infosys has been working to correct the problems. Infosys announced at its annual shareholders’ meeting on Saturday that it has already achieved some success, according to an article by PTI. The company further stated that it has been deeply troubled by some technical difficulties associated with the new ITR e-filing website and that it is working to resolve each issue as soon as possible.
According to the Hindu, officials from the finance ministry met with Infosys on Tuesday to discuss the glitches affecting the newly launched income tax portal. Nirmala Sitharaman expressed deep concern about the problems stakeholders were facing with the new portal, which was intended to provide a seamless experience to taxpayers. Besides Sitharaman, Tarun Bajaj, CBDT Chairman Jagannath Mohapatra, and other senior officials attended the first meeting during which, Sitharaman recommended updating the tax portal in a way that makes it “more humane and user-friendly”. Infosys CEO Salil Parekh, COO Pravin Rao, and other company officials were also a part of the meeting. There were ten tax professionals in attendance including representatives from the ICAI and the All India Federation of Tax Practitioners (AIFTP). According to the statement, e-procedures, Form 15CA/15CB, TDS statements, DSC, and viewing of past ITRs are expected to be resolved in about a week.
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The statement issued by the Income Tax department said, “Issues such as e-proceedings, Form 15CA/15CB [used for remittances], TDS statements, DSC (Digital Signature Certificate), viewing of past ITRs etc. are expected to be resolved in about a week. It was also decided that the timelines mentioned by Infosys to redress the issues would also be placed in the public domain in due course.”
The Government of India and its agencies had selected Infosys for a number of eminent projects before the company won the contract to develop and manage the IT portal, such as the $50 million contracts to develop the MCA21 v2 portal for the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, and the ₹1,380 crore job to build the Goods and Services Tax backbone network.
All three of these major projects had performance issues with Infosys products. Government sources said Infosys’ March 2016 rollout of version 2 of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs’ MCA21 portal proved to be rocky. Although the GSTN portal was up and running by March last year, there were still technical difficulties associated with the platform developed by Infosys. The finance ministry wrote to Infosys in March 2020 to address the technical glitches encountered during peak GST filing hours. With so many mishaps, it is questionable why the information giant is doing these projects in the first place.