After MCA21, GSTN Portal Goes Out of Access; Infosys Blames Unscrupulous Elements for the Glitch
Lakhs of professionals like company secretaries (CSs) and chartered accountants (CAs) are having a hard time filing tax documents on the government websites. While the MCA21 portal of the ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) continues to give regular trouble, the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) portal is once again denying access to people. The due date for filing GSTR3B is 24 January 2021 but taxpayers and professionals continue to struggle in their filing with the GSTN portal. Both the MCA21 and GSTN portals are managed by Infosys Ltd.
On the other hand, Infosys GSTN has accused unscrupulous elements for causing trouble to taxpayers while accessing the portal.
In a tweet, Infosys GSTN says, "We observed some activity in cyber space by unscrupulous elements because of which some taxpayers may have experienced difficulties or delays in accessing the GST portal, which otherwise is working fine. We have resolved the problem and have blocked these activities. Kindly retry to access the portal."
Professionals are venting their anger against the GSTN portal on social media.
A few professional, including CAs, even demanded reimbursement from Infosys GSTN to all CAs and GST practitioners for wasting their valuable time due to inaccessibility of the portal.
Both the MCA21 and GSTN portals are managed by Infosys Ltd. In 2015, Infosys was awarded a contract worth Rs1,320 crore to build and maintain the technology network for implementing the GST system across the country. However, users of GSTN regularly complain about their inability to access the portal and file tax-related documents before the deadline.
Last year a taxpayer filed a writ petition before the Delhi High Court challenging various issues
relating to technical flaws, glitches and limitations in the online portal system evolved by GSTN. In February 2020, the bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sanjeev Narula issued notices to Infosys and Tech Mahindra Ltd, the information technology (IT) support contractors for the GSTN portal.
The Jodhpur bench, comprising chief justice Indrajit Mahanty and justice Pushpendra Singh Bhati, then directed GST authorities to accept GSTR-9 and GSTR-9C till 12 February 2020 without levying any late fee.
However, the issues with the GSTN portal continued and, a month later, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who also heads the GST Council, directly asked Infosys chairman Nandan Nilekani to explain the company's failure to fix glitches in GSTN portal.
The strongly worded letter from the ministry of finance mentioned that some issues with the GSTN portal were as old as from 2018. "It is requested to go through the pending issues, day-to-day disruptions and the future road map and come up with a plan for quick resolution within 15 days. Infosys has set high international standards and it is expected that the efficiency which your organisation is known for should be visible in GST project also," the letter says.
In March 2020, the Union government had to extend the deadline for filing GST returns after the company executives reported failure to resolve technical bugs like login errors, auto logouts and delays in receiving on-time passwords (OTPs).
Later in August, UB Pravin Rao, chief operating officer of Infosys told the Hindu Busines Line
that most of the issues involved in managing the backend of GSTN had been resolved. “In the recent past, we have not seen any major issues around the stability of the system and we work very closely with GSTN on this one. We believe that things are going well,” he told the newspaper.