Revenue,IT departments pass the buck; Centre blamed for delay of six months
IT was during the annual budget speech that the Vadodara Municipal Commissioner had announced that people in the city will henceforth be able to pay their taxes over the Internet. But even after six months,officials assigned to the job have said it will take at least another month before it becomes a reality.
Officers at the Revenue Department said it is the job of the IT Department to implement the project; those at the IT Department said the delay has been due to a lack of coordination.
Sources further said that in six months the only development on e-governance has been the installation of leased lines and configuration of the main server.
As per the plans mooted in the budget,a total of Rs 2.4 crore was estimated towards provision of facilities like self-assessment of Property Tax by citizens,and availability of information about payment done and dues through Internet. Payment of Property Tax,Professional Tax through credit/debit cards and Internet,and payment through bank or post office were also part of the plan. The project also involved downloading forms for registration (births,deaths,shops and establishment,and marriage),tender forms,and building permission from the VMC website. The plan also envisaged a provision for follow-up of grievances by citizens through the Internet,GIS application for Property Tax,dues and maintenance of services like water supply,drainage,stormwater drainage,streetlight and gas supply.
Assistant Municipal Commissioner (Revenue) R M Patel said the complete data of tax payers is already in place. As far as going online is concerned,we have done our part of the job. The complete list of tax payers with minute details is already in place. Now,it is up to the IT Department to use it for the online payment system.
VMC Chief Accountant Ashok Tamboli said there are chances that the tax payers will be able to pay their taxes online.
We have tied up with Axis Bank for using the Internet payment gateway. Most of the formalities have been done and now it is a question of a few more days to get the entire system functional, he said.When asked why the project was delayed,S J Patel,Director,IT Department,blamed the Centre for the delay in release of funds necessary for the implementation of the project.
We had submitted the Detailed Project Report (DPR) to JNNURM,New Delhi,for approval,but it was kept on hold as there were some amendments and the report was sent back for changes. Even after it was sent back with the changes,it was decided at the JNNURM headquarters that instead of approving individual DPRs of municipal corporations of all states,there should be uniformity and only selected cities from the state would be given the job. VMC is one of them, Patel said.
He added: We have now completed the installation of the required infrastructure,including routers and servers. We also have the required bandwidth. If everything goes well,we will start the system by next month.