With glitches continuing on the Income Tax Department’s new e-filing portal, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has given project vendor Infosys a September 15 deadline to resolve issues being faced by taxpayers.
Two meetings were held with Infosys MD & CEO Salil Parekh and other Infosys representatives in North Block Monday after the portal was unavailable for two consecutive days.
A statement issued by the Income Tax Department said Parekh explained that he and his team are “doing everything to ensure the smooth functioning of the portal”.
“…over 750 team members are working on this project and Pravin Rao, COO of Infosys, is personally overseeing this project. He also assured that Infosys is working expeditiously to ensure a glitch-free experience to the taxpayers on the portal,” the statement said.
Queries sent to Infosys separately by The Indian Express remained unanswered.
Sitharaman sought an explanation from Infosys on the “repeated issues” faced by taxpayers and conveyed “deep disappointment and concerns of the government and the taxpayers” about the continuing glitches in the e-filing portal even after two-and-half months since its launch, which was also delayed, the statement said.
“Ministry of Finance emphasised that there is a need for putting in more resources and efforts on the part of Infosys so that the much delayed delivery of agreed services is ensured,” it said.
The Finance Ministry Sunday summoned Parekh to explain the reasons for the continued glitches. On Monday, the first meeting was held with the Finance Minister and the second meeting was with officials from the Income Tax Department.
The new tax portal, executed by the Bengaluru-based software major, was launched on June 7 and started to face issues within hours of its launch – such as inability to generate OTP for Aadhaar validation, password generation glitches, failure to link old data for past returns, and problems in filing returns. The issues have now expanded to include errors in interest calculation, capturing of details from Form 16 and inability to add details for tax exemption for trusts.
In a late night tweet Sunday, Infosys had claimed the portal was “live”, but taxpayers have continued to flag issues. Infosys India Business, which is the Twitter handle of Infosys India Business unit, said 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 tweeted that the Income Tax portal is “currently inaccessible due to planned maintenance”.
Within 15 hours of its launch in June, Sitharaman had tweeted: “The much awaited e-filing portal 2.0 was launched last night 20:45 hrs. 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 directed Infosys to expeditiously “look into the matter”.
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.
On June 19, the company acknowledged the problems. At the company’s 40th Annual General Meeting, Pravin Rao said Infosys was working to resolve the concerns.
On June 22, Sitharaman called a meeting with key officials of Infosys to review the issues on the portal. Infosys was asked to address all issues without further loss of time, improve services, and redress grievances on priority as it was impacting taxpayers adversely.
During the meeting, Parekh and Rao, along with other Infosys officials, took note of the issues. Infosys said it was working to fix the technical issues. It said at least five issues of e-proceedings, Form 15CA/15CB, TDS statements, DSC, viewing of past ITRs were expected to be resolved in about a week, an official statement had said.
Prior to getting the contract to develop and manage the Income Tax portal, 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’ products saw performance issues.