Since April of 2020, the whole world has had to shift to the screen, life goes on, only online. Even before the pandemic hit, the Finance Ministry had decided they can cut short the 63-day long processing time to a single day. Infosys tendered this project.
But the e-filing portal that has been live since June 7 has done nothing more than frustrate everyone involved; the users, the ministry and the Information Technology giant.
It is riddled with glitches. Users have complained of issues like login failure, errors in calculating interest as well as an inability to e-verify the ITR after filing, among other issues. It was bad enough for the finance minister to look into the matter herself and give Infosys an ultimatum to rectify the errors before September 15.
The whole matter has affected the credibility of the giant dearly. Prabal Basu Roy, a management advisor and former corporate director told a media portal, “Infosys, is known to be a global leader managing digital transformations, especially in BFSI and their competency is legendary in this area. The domain skills are similar here, so how can they go so wrong? It’s something I am not able to understand.”
The e-filing portal went unavailable for “emergency maintenance” for 2 whole days, which led the Ministry of Finance to summon Infosys CEO Salil Parekh to Delhi on August 22. After his meeting, the media was told that users would soon have a glitch-free experience.
“Over 750 team members are working on this project and Pravin Rao, COO of Infosys, is personally overseeing this project. Infosys is working expeditiously to ensure a glitch-free experience to the taxpayers on the portal” the CEO claimed.
Many now believe that the government would be forced to extend the deadline on the Income Tax returns. The government, however, has not out-rightly commented on any deadline extension as of yet.
“I think the extension is inevitable now even if everything is fine after the 15th. It is not possible for the taxpayers to ensure the filing of tax returns in such a short window. I think the authorities will take a suitable call after the 15th,” said Sourabh Baser Partner at BGJC & Associates LLP.
An air of conspiracy has started to surround the whole incident. Panchjanya has carried a four-page cover story on the IT services company, with Infosys founder Narayana Murthy’s picture, and text which reads ‘Saakh Aur Aghaat‘ (Reputation and Damage).
The RSS-associated weekly magazine criticises the work of Infosys on the project wonders whether any “anti-national power is trying to hurt India’s economic interests through it.” Dubbing the company as ‘Unchi Dukan, Phika Pakwaan’ (great cry and little wool), Panchjanya noted that the regular glitches have “brought down the trust of taxpayers in the Indian economy.”
“Due to glitches in both GST and Income Tax return portals developed by Infosys, the taxpayers trust in the country’s economy has taken a hit. Is it that any anti-national force via Infosys is trying to hurt India’s economic interests?” the article read.
The article went as far as associating the errors with “naxalites, leftists and tukde-tukde gangs.”
This has forced many papers and magazines, both regional and national, to write editorials on the matter, often in solidarity with the IT service provider.