Dismayed by frequent glitches hampering traders’ compliance to India’s single largest indirect tax reform, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has demanded a CBI inquiry against Infosys and other companies for the “failure” of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) portal despite the large amount of investment and time that has gone into the system.
“Traders are frustrated with the GST portal. A good taxation system like GST is earning a bad image, not only among the trading community but all stakeholders,” said Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General of the CAIT.
He said that when the new tax regime was rolled out, people expected a functioning portal, but traders are facing problems in filing returns.
“Infosys has failed to deliver…even the maintenance of the portal is under Infosys, there is a need to fix responsibility,” Khandelwal said.
CAIT has demanded the government conduct a CBI inquiry against Infosys and other concerned companies to explain why they have failed to ensure satisfactory performance of the portal.
The IT major was awarded a contract worth Rs 1,380 crore in 2015 to build and maintain the technology network which is the backbone for the GST regime.
Infosys denies charges
Infosys, on the other hand, has categorically denied the charges against it and cited “rapid changes in policy and integration issues with related IT ecosystems” among the reasons for the implementation problems being witnessed.
“Any large project of this scale, especially a transformative one like this, has to deal with changes in both policy and stakeholder usability,” Infosys said in an official statement.
“Some of these modifications have resulted in rapid changes to the system particularly due to its integration with heterogeneous IT ecosystems including GST Suvidha Providers, Aadhaar, Central Board of Excise and Customs and Model 1 States.”
Infosys said that the system has already demonstrated success across several parameters. “Till date, 37 crore invoices have been uploaded on the system while the system is designed to handle 300-320 crore invoices every month,” it said, adding that the system is able to manage one lakh active users and saw peak loads during the last two days of filing, with “50 per cent of the filings done in that timeframe and 70 per cent of the collection achieved with just 25 per cent of server utilization”.
Around 70 lakh taxpayers have successfully migrated to the new system and the country has recorded 29 lakh newly registered taxpayers. Central and state level tax regimes have been integrated with all 29 States and 7 Union Territories successfully migrating onto this system, it added.
As on October 31, 2.26 crores returns have been filed and 1.4 crore payment transactions conducted on the GST portal, the company said.
The CAIT, however, said traders were facing issues across different aspects of the GST portal - from waiting “hours and hours to log in,” to taking time to make submissions to the portal, and sometimes an error causing the entire exercise to go waste.
Traders logging on to the GSTN portal to fill the required returns have faced frequent glitches, particularly when the deadline nears end. Recognising the problem, the GST Council in its last meeting set up a Group Of Ministers to look into the issues being faced.
On Monday, the government also postponed the deadlines for the filing of GSTR-2 and GSTR-3 for July by a month each.
Since the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax on July 1, the government and the GST Council have effected changes in the tax rates for over 100 goods and services. This is besides the over 40 notifications, clarifications, and corrections issued by it.
Deadlines for filing the mandatory monthly returns have also been extended more than four times since the roll-out, mainly due to the problems being faced by taxpayers in logging onto the server, which often couldn't cope with the load.