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FM Sitharaman gives time to Infosys till Sept 15 to fix glitches in income tax portal

Sitharaman, who met Infosys top brass earlier today, conveyed the "deep disappointment" and concerns of the government and taxpayers about the continuing glitches in the e-filing portal of the Income Tax Department even after two and half months since its launch.

August 23, 2021 / 07:42 PM IST
FM Nirmala Sitharaman

FM Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has given time to Infosys till September 15 to fix glitches in the new e-filing portal of the Income Tax Department, said a statement issued by the government on August 23.

Sitharaman, who summoned Infosys top brass for a meeting earlier in the day, conveyed the "deep disappointment" and concerns of the government and the taxpayers about the continuing glitches in the new income tax portal even after two and half months since its launch.

She sought an explanation from the Bengaluru-based software major for the repeated issues faced by taxpayers.

The meeting with the finance minister was attended by Infosys CEO Salil Parekh and the company's Head of India Business, CN Ragupathi.

Also Read | E-filing portal turns accessible hours before Salil Parekh's meeting with Finance Ministry officials

As per the Finance Ministry statement, Sitharaman "demanded that the issues faced by taxpayers on current functionalities of the portal should be resolved by the team by 15th September, 2021 so that taxpayers and professionals can work seamlessly on the portal."

Parekh was also sensitised on the difficulties that the taxpayers were facing and the problems that are arising on account of the delays in the functioning of the portal.

The government 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.

The Infosys CEO explained to the finance minister that he and his team are "doing everything to ensure the smooth functioning of the portal", the statement added. Further, he said, over 750 team members are working on this project, and company's COO Pravin Rao is personally overseeing this project.

"Parekh also assured that Infosys is working expeditiously to ensure a glitch-free experience to the taxpayers on the portal," the Finance Ministry added.

Ahead of today’s meeting with Infosys’ top brass, government officials were keen to point out that this was not happening in isolation or was a sudden decision in any way. Sitharaman last interacted with Infosys over the income tax portal on June 22. Since then there has been regular interaction between the Finance Ministry and the company.

Officials from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), including the chairman JB Mohapatra, have been in constant touch with Infosys over the glitches and features of the portal. CBDT and Infosys are regularly given feedback by a group of chartered accountants, company secretaries and taxpayers about the interface and its ease of usage.

Additionally, Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj takes stock of the work being done on the portal in virtual meetings every week, with CDBT and Infosys as well as taxpayers who use the interface.

“There has been constant communication with Infosys on the matter. We are regularly being apprised about the work being done on it, as well as the problems being faced by taxpayers. The Finance Minister now wants to better understand from Infosys why work is taking so long on glitches which were brought to their attention some time back, and what is being done to expedite it?” a Finance Ministry official told Moneycontrol.

Notably, the top Infosys officials were summoned for the meeting with Sitharaman at a time when the glitches-hit portal became briefly inaccessible. The website was unavailable between August 21 and late evening on August 22.

In a tweet, the IT department said, “Ministry of Finance has summoned 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.”

This is the second time the company's top officials met the finance minister over the glitches in the IT portal. During the previous meeting held on June 22, attended by Parekh virtually and COO UB Pravin Rao in person, the executives assured that the glitches will be solved and the company has augmented the resources to address the concerns in the new portal.

The new income tax portal went live on June 7 and ran into glitches the next day.

Infosys was awarded the contract in 2019 after the bidding process with an outlay of Rs 4,242 crore. The project was aimed at developing the next-generation income tax filing system to reduce processing time for returns from 63 days to one day and also expedite refunds. An industry analyst pointed out that, of the total deal value, close to Rs 160 crore was paid upfront and the rest is spread over the eight years for IT return processing.
Arup Roychoudhury
Swathi Moorthy
first published: Aug 23, 2021 06:42 pm