Software services major Infosys is getting flak from the Indian government over technical snags in the company’s online indirect tax collection platform.
In 2015, the government awarded a 13.8-billion rupee (US$185 million) contract to Infosys to build and maintain a technology network for the implementation of the indirect tax meant for traders.
It created a company called GST Network to provide the technology backbone and connect the databases of states and the federal government.
The government has now asked Infosys chairman Nandan Nilekani to explain why it can’t fix the glitches in the goods and services tax network, the Times of India reported.
Recently the finance ministry was forced to stagger the deadline for filing returns as Infosys executives were unable to address various concerns. Those included a slowdown in the platform, login errors or auto logouts, as well as delays in getting one-time passwords, among other complaints.
Traders filing goods and services taxes alleged repeated problems with the payment platform were delaying their filings and they were missing the deadline. They pointed out that the capacity for online processing of tax applications was extremely limited.
In various states traders took up the issue in the courts and the Supreme Court last month asked the government to sort out the technical difficulties.
Earlier, senior executives from the information technology major were summoned and told to fix the issue. Later the finance ministry took up the issue with Nilekani.
The Infosys chairman has been summoned to make a presentation during the next goods and services tax council meeting. He will be asked to explain to state finance ministers why the problems still persist and what measures are being taken to address them.
Finance Ministry officials pointed out that two years after the rollout the functioning of the online tax platform had not stabilized. They felt the information technology major should deploy better quality manpower.
The platform was developed using open-source technology to allow taxpayers to register themselves using their permanent account numbers and file tax returns, as well as process payments online. It was aimed at bringing in more transparency, preventing tax evasion and widening the tax base to include more traders.
Infosys won the order by beating top software companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro, Tech Mahindra and Microsoft Corp. The goods and services tax was meant to economically unify the country by subsuming a slew of indirect taxes levied by the central and state governments.
Meanwhile, the goods and services tax collection has remained below the target, although in the past four consecutive months it has been relatively better with monthly collection having crossed 1 trillion rupees ($13.24 billion).