Infosys engages more engineers to clear GSTN glitches

Infosys Ltd is reported to have deployed more IT experts and engineers across states to steady the Goods and Services Tax Net (GSTN), the GST return-filing portal, amidst criticism over the lackadaisical manner in which the system is being implemented.

Five months into the roll-out of the GST Network the teething problems of the system have not yet been resolved. Traders now blame Infosys and the government for its failures and have even demanded a CBI inquiry into the issue.

"Infosys has started deploying more engineers and IT experts for the GSTN project. They are being sent to major states to address issues and help states better understand the system," said a government official.

Infosys, which won the Rs1,380-crore contract to build the GST backbone in 2015, has failed to deliver a perfect system as the outages continue to bedevil functioning, especially during peak tax and return filing times.

Infosys says the government did not adhere to its time-lines that allowed the company no time to complete the testing.

Businesses have complained of problems faced in filing of returns on the GST-Network portal on the last days, forcing the government to extend deadlines.

In fact, the Confederation of All-India Traders (CAIT) has demanded an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), into the failure of Infosys in keeping the GSTN running smoothly.

''Even after four months of GST implementation in the country, the GST portal, which was supposed to function properly from 1st July itself, is still working like an experiment project causing much harassment and mental concern to traders across Country.'' The traders' body in a statement said.

''The CAIT has also demanded the government to release a white paper on the as-on-date status of the GST portal. The poor functioning of the portal has brought bad name for a good taxation system like GST and utter frustration to the traders who are mostly unable to make GST compliance on account of malfunctioning of the portal,'' the statement added.

Infosys vehemently denied allegations made by the CAIT as ''completely inaccurate'' and passed the ball in government's court. The IT major blamed government's rapidly changing policies for the glitches. ''Given the complex nature of the project and rapid change management, there have been several stakeholder concerns that have also been raised. Some of our finest engineers are supporting the GSTN team as they work towards resolving these and serving all stakeholders,'' the company said.

It turns out that the government's ever changing policies and changes in the rate structure have made implementation of the project difficult for Infosys, which, however, cannot officially complain of the difficulties faced because of the prestige associated with the project.

At the same time, government officials are not happy with the time taken by the company to come up with a solution.

While some believe that the onus was on Infosys to ensure a glitch-free system, others say that the last moment finalisation of rules relating to returns took a toll on the system's performance.

As per the data with the GSTN, a huge chunk of businesses file their returns after the expiry of the due date. While it had extended the date for maiden GSTR-3B return filing in August, the due date for final returns GSTR-1, 2 and 3 has also been extended.

Glitches in invoice matching while filing GSTR-2 was flagged at the meeting of Group Of Ministers (GoM) on 28 October following which it directed Infosys to deploy more software engineers in every state to assist state tax officers with the new IT system.

Government officials said Infosys has already deployed more than 100 IT people in their team for GSTN functioning.

Infosys won a 5-year government contract worth Rs1,380 crore in 2015 to develop the IT system for the biggest indirect tax reform GST.