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Tax portal still not working, FM summons Infosys CEO today

The new tax portal executed by the Bengaluru-based software major was launched on June 7 and, within hours, started to face issues such as the inability to generate OTP for Aadhaar validation, password generation glitches, failure to link old data for past returns, and problems in filing returns.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi |
Updated: August 23, 2021 7:16:03 am
Infosys, Salil ParekhInfosys CEO & MD Salil Parekh (Bloomberg)

With the new income tax portal continuing to face glitches and remaining unavailable for the last two days, the Finance Ministry has summoned Infosys MD & CEO Salil Parekh on Monday to explain to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman the reasons for the continued glitches even after more than two months have passed since it was launched.

The new tax portal executed by the Bengaluru-based software major was launched on June 7 and, within hours, started to face issues such as the inability to generate OTP for Aadhaar validation, password generation glitches, failure to link old data for past returns, and problems in filing returns.

“Ministry of Finance has summoned Sh Salil Parekh, MD & CEO @Infosys on 23/08/2021 to explain to hon’ble FM as to why even after 2.5 months since launch of new e-filing portal, glitches in the portal have not been resolved. In fact,since 21/08/2021 the portal itself is not available,” the Income Tax department tweeted.

Seven hours after the posting of the tweet, Infosys claimed the portal was “live”. Infosys India Business, which is the Twitter handle of Infosys India Business unit, said in a late night tweet on Sunday: “The emergency maintenance of the @IncomeTaxIndia portal has concluded and the portal is live. We regret any inconvenience caused to taxpayers.”

Earlier in the day, it had tweeted, “The @IncomeTaxIndia portal continues to be under emergency maintenance. We will post an update once the portal is available again for taxpayers. We regret the inconvenience.”

On Saturday, it had tweeted that the Income Tax portal is “currently inaccessible due to planned maintenance”.

Within 15 hours of its launch in June, Finance Minister Sitharaman had tweeted: “The much awaited e-filing portal 2.0 was launched last night 20:45hrs. I see in my TL grievances and glitches. Hope @Infosys & @NandanNilekani will not let down our taxpayers in the quality of service being provided. Ease in compliance for the taxpayer should be our priority.” She had directed Infosys to “look into the matter” expeditiously.

Consequently, the I-T department had to allow manual filing of remittance forms, and also extend due dates for electronic filing of forms related to intimation by pension funds and sovereign wealth funds.

Sitharaman had then called a meeting with key officials of Infosys on June 22 to review the problems with the portal. Infosys was asked to address all issues without further delay, improve their services, and redress grievances on priority.

During the meeting, Parekh, Infosys COO Pravin Rao, and other company officials took note of the issues. Infosys said it had been working to fix the technical problems. It said that at least five issues — related to e-proceedings, Form 15CA/15CB, TDS statements, DSC, and viewing of past ITRs — were expected to be resolved in about a week, an official statement had said. However, the portal has continued to face issues.

Sitharaman had said last week that technical glitches in the new e-filing portal would be largely fixed over the next few days. “I have been reminding Infosys constantly, and (Infosys head) Nandan Nilekani has been messaging me with assurances that next couple of days they will sort out majority of problems,” she had said.

In 2019, Infosys was awarded the contract to develop the next-generation income tax filing system to reduce processing time for returns from 63 days to one day, and to expedite refunds. Until June 2021, the government had paid Rs 164.5 crore to Infosys.

Prior to getting the contract to develop and manage the Income Tax portal, Bengaluru-based Infosys had been appointed by the government and its agencies for a number of flagship IT projects, including the $50 million contract to implement the Ministry of Corporate Affairs’ MCA21 v2 portal, and a Rs 1,380 crore contract to develop the IT backbone for the Goods and Services Tax Network. In all of these three major projects, Infosys’s products saw performance issues.

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