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Panchajanya attacks Infosys on portal glitches

The RSS-associated magazine’s cover story for its September 5 edition is on how the software company has ‘messed up’ the execution.

The issues surrounding the Goods and Services Tax (GST) portal and the new Income Tax portal of the government of India, developed by the Bengaluru-based software company Infosys, has come under a scathing attack by the RSS-associated magazine Panchajanya. The magazine’s cover story for its September 5 edition is on how Infosys, being the technology vendor for the government to develop these two portals, has ‘messed up’ the execution. The cover has Infosys founder Narayana Murthy’s picture and the text ‘Saakh Aur Aaghaat’ (‘Reputation and a Grievous Harm’).

The story alleges that both the portals and their attendant problems in terms of a public interface and usage have led to a situation where trust in the government and its tax collecting system has been brought down. The article says that a known software company was given the contract by the government to simplify the system but it has, rather, made a mess of the matter. Questions are also raised on the lowest bidder or L1 system of awarding the contracts followed by the Indian government. “Will Infosys provide this same kind of shoddy service for its foreign clients,” asks the article.

More interestingly, the article then alleges that the Infosys Trust finances many “Left wing” outfits, including fact checking outfits, media portals, that are openly against the Modi government. The company is also handling the upgraded portal for the Corporate Affairs Ministry, and the article raises questions on safety of data uploaded by companies on that portal too.

Speaking to The Hindu, Panchajanya editor Hitesh Shankar said that while the reputation of the company may have given the magazine a pause over a cover story like this, “but the implications for the people have been grave, it is an issue that directly hits crores of taxpayers, both direct and indirect.”

“It’s not the question of one company or its reputation but the harm done to the taxpayers due to the mess,” he added.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had, in late August, met with Infosys CEO Salil Parekh and asked him to fix the glitches in the portal latest by September 15, as complaints had mounted from taxpayers.

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