Faulty software root of all problems, say citizens

With hundreds of citizens facing issues with payment of property tax, much of the blame has been directed at National Informatics Centre (NIC), the government body which developed the software.

Published: 17th June 2017 02:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th June 2017 04:59 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: With hundreds of citizens facing issues with payment of property tax, much of the blame has been directed at National Informatics Centre (NIC), the government body which developed the software.
At the start of the financial year, citizens began to throng BBMP offices with a host of issues, the most common being incorrect calculation of tax payable. A tax inspector at one of BBMP offices said, “As we did not have any access to the backend of the software, we couldn’t solve their problems.”

BBMP officials then reached out to NIC officials to resolve the issue. Chairman of the BBMP Standing Committee on Taxation and Finance M K Gunashekar said, “I held meetings with NIC officials and gave them a list of as many as 20 problems that the people were facing because of issues with the software. Some of the problems been resolved. In addition, the Assistant Revenue Officers (AROs) were given access to the backend of the payment software so that they could make changes to tax demands on citizens’ properties.”

Giving the AROs access to make changes in the challans eased the situation at the BBMP offices. A revenue inspector said, “From April 1, many citizens had been thronging the office with various issues. Initially, we just kept asking them for more time, and eventually told them what the problem was. We were helpless. After the AROs were given login IDs, things eased and we are able to solve most issues.”
However, there have been complaints by some citizens that the AROs were not available at the offices for long durations.

And since the login is activated by the ARO’s biometric thumb impression, nobody else can rectify the challans in his absence. An orientation session for the software was also conducted by NIC officials. The tax inspector says it was clear the NIC officials themselves were not very clear about their own software.
Technical Officer of NIC, R Venkatesh, refused to comment on the issue saying it was NIC’s policy to not speak to the media. The NIC comes under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

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