India’s new electronic tax filing portal went live on Monday evening and was down less than 24 hours later, prompting Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to jump on Twitter with specific questions for the site developer, the Indian service giant Infosys.
Infosys won a contract to build the tax portal in 2019. The new technology has promised to reduce the wait time for refunds from 63 days to a day and improve the user experience for tax filing.
After the new portal went live, Sitharaman sent a celebratory tweet. But after many potential users reported difficulty accessing the site, she came up with the idea to lay the blame on Infosys and its co-founder, Nandan Nilekani.
The long-awaited e-filing portal 2.0 was launched last night at 8:45 p.m.
I see in my grievances and TL issues.
Ease of compliance for the taxpayer should be our priority. https://t.co/iRtyKaURLc
– Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) June 8, 2021
Nilekani managed to grab him by the chin, responding that the first day did indeed have some technical issues that Infosys was working to resolve.
The new e-filing portal will facilitate the filing process and improve the end-user experience. @nsitharaman ji, we have observed technical issues from day one and are working to resolve them. @Infosys regrets these initial flaws and expects the system to stabilize over the week. https://t.co/LocRBPCzpP
– Nandan Nilekani (@NandanNilekani) June 8, 2021
Income Tax India is not the first government service to have its failed start, and it certainly will not be the last. The U.S. website Healthcare.gov experienced software and capacity issues when it debuted in 2013 to enroll people for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
The UK NHS has also had its share of problems. Last month, it was discovered that the vaccine reservation website exposed individual vaccine status without authentication.
As for Infosys, the company has already taken this route and survived the trip. A 2015 contract for the construction and maintenance of India’s GST system experienced technical issues, some of which have not been resolved for nearly two years. Infosys chief operating officer UB Pravin Rao told a nationwide media outlet Activity area the problems were mainly due to the management of the backend network.
Infosys has grown steadily since.
The tax portal remains inaccessible at the time of writing, as the outage is approaching 24 hours. ®