In India, nothing escapes politicization and so did the vaccination drive – drive which gleamed as a ray of hope in the beginning of the year. The horror of the second wave coupled with severe shortage of vaccine doses brought about panic and despair that was only compounded/ exacerbated by the blame game and politics that ensued, as citizens, we wish and hope that in such times of crisis the political leadership unites and works towards mitigation rather than indulge in blame game. On 17th September, 2021 the number of anti COVID-19 vaccinations crossed 2.5 crores a remarkable number that has brought back hope that India would perhaps reach its goal of vaccinating its huge population, at least by early 2022. Coupled with this, the much publicized opinion by prominent scientists that India has perhaps hit the epidemic stage both due to wide spread natural infection and buoyant vaccination drive has been heartening. But, we all should keep following the COVID-19 appropriate behavior.
On 9th September, 2021, the Central Board Direct Taxes (CBDT) came up with a press release in which the due dates of filing income tax returns and various audit reports for the assessment year 2021-22 extended. This time the extensions are granted not on account of the pandemic but due to the technical glitches in the new income tax portal even after the three months of its launch. The new portal is unable to provide hassle-free experience to the stakeholders. The service provider, the Infosys is not able to assure the Government about the smooth functioning of the new portal in near future. Thus, the CBDT is forced to extend the time limits. The proactive approach on the part of CBDT is appreciated, however, it still needs to answer what was the need to make the earlier facility dysfunctional without testing the new portal.
Infosys is a well reputed IT giant having a vast experience of development of complex projects. But, it may not have the domain expertise with the Income Tax and in such a scenario, the officials, in charge of the overseeing the project, should have tested the new portal along with old one and made a phased migration to the new portal.
The Finance Ministry had faced lot of criticism in the implementation of GST. Especially, the glitches faced by the users of the GST portal gst.gov.in. Despite being aware of such challenges, why no precautions were taken and try to run both old and new income tax portals simultaneously until the smooth functioning of the new one.
In this issue of AIFTP Journal eminent professionals sharing their valuable experience in different fields. Hope, this will be of use to the members. I thank all the esteemed professionals for sparing their time for the Journal.