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Only 25pc of the e-governance projects in India is successful

Only 25pc of the e-governance projects in India

is successful, says MAIT... 

Now we know why such a project....

Heads from IT majors opined their experiences in e-Governance and voices the challenges faced by the industry in executing such projects
BANGALORE, INDIA: Already wobbling under low margins, currency fluctuations and an undermining economy, the IT Industry faces a trust deficit in the form of unlimited accountability, unfavorable payment terms, unreasonable legal frameworks, fall clause, obscure SLAs and lack of clarity in e-governance projects in India.
The Manufacturers' Association for Information Technology (MAIT) in partnership with Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), with Accenture as its knowledge partner, organized a sensitization workshop on Model RFPs (Request for Proposal), prepared by DeitY for selection on consultants, system integrators and PPP operators for e-governance projects.
The workshop saw the participation of southern states in the form of their IT Secretaries and IT departments and heads of leading technology companies.
At the workshop, heads from IT majors opined their experiences in e-governance and raised challenges faced by the industry in executing such projects. They suggested policy altercations which if implemented would foster an equitable partnership between industry, government and the beneficiaries of e-governance projects.
Speaking on the occasion, VenkatKedlaya, Southern Region chairman, MAIT, said, "This workshop threw light on how decision making is a challenge in our country - efficiency and transparency is our clarion call to e-governance projects and MAIT will be rolling out a ‘White Paper' detailing concrete actionables for streamlining IT projects."
D K Das, national business head, Government Industrial Solutions, Tata Consultancy Services, said, "Ease of payment terms, rationalization of legal terms and Service Level Agreement (SLA) can boost confidence thereby enabling Tier 1 firms to actively participate in e-governance projects in India."
Industry experts also opined that the government should investquality time during the evaluation of e-governance projects. Vivek Sharma, GM & business head - Government and Defense Vertical,Wipro, said that "RFPs are often one-sided. Two-way accountability would co-create better linkages and synergies in e-governance and procurement".
Ramendra Verma, partner, Health& Public Services, national delivery lead, Accenture, said that "payment terms should be reasonable so as to help companies meet their cash flow requirements. The industry and government both stand to benefit if payment processes are streamlined."
MAIT, with the given maturity of industry, urged the government to respond to the changing dynamics. C T Bhadran, chairman, System Integration, MAIT, mentioned that "The terms of RFP should be practical and reasonable, yet adhering to the legal framework. The scope of the project in the RFP should be elucidated so as to ensure that companies know what they are getting into."
Through these initiatives, MAIT intends to reach out to all states through their IT secretaries, state e-government mission teams and other government procuring organizations

Delay in R&C scrutiny of Returns under Central Excise



In central excise, all the Returns, except 5% of the total filed, are marked by Aces system, for electronic scrutiny by Range Superintendents, to be further accepted by the Asst.Commissioners of Division.

        Prior to launch of ACES in 2009, the system of all the Returns being sent to Asst. Commissioners was not in vogue. This major change, along with first-in-first-out basis of scrutiny made a long queuing up of Returns in both the screen/workflow of Asst.Commissioner and the Range Superintendent.

        Even an unimportant minor duty payable Return was held up on first-in-first-out basis if the previous Return was not accepted by Asst. Commissioner, for want of time or clarification or other reasons and this blocked scrutiny of all subsequent Returns by the Range Superintendent.

        Moreover, the system permitted the assesses, inspite of warning messages at every stage of filling up of Return, to file an erroneous Return and assesses deliberately allowed Returns to be filed with errors under the assumption that the Range Superintendent can correct/modify it.
       
        Further, the online scrutiny is not user-friendly and officers’ navigating between one page and the other page of the Return which has six pages, is cumbersome; this rendered the completion of scrutiny almost impossible without seeing a print-out copy of the Return.

        The disposal time for online scrutiny of electronic Return far out-weighed the quantum of time normally taken when it was scrutinized manually. This made the scrutiny highly time-consuming, further aggravated by frequent disturbance of internet connectivity  and the data-jam happening at the server-end owing to lot of transaction from active users.

        Owing to transfers of officers during annual general transfers, many trained officers were shifted out of the assessment duty and the new officers joining in their places required fresh training and this delayed the normal scrutiny process at least by 3 months every year.

        However, inspite of all the above odds, the officers ensured that at least the duty payable and paid were matching, immediately after filing of Returns; however other checks were initiated after fully scrutinizing the Returns as per the difficulties express above. If the above difficulties are removed and ACES is re-vamped to be less-time consuming and more user-friendly by: (1) preventing filing of erroneous Returns or (2) restricting number of Returns for scrutiny of Range Superintendent, the scrutiny process and speed can be multiplied.

Performing scrutiny of Return purely on screen, without assistance of printed version ?



15th August-2013 ::
 
The Departmental Officers, viz. the Range Superintendents are said to be highly uncomfortable during the functioning of review & correction of Returns as given below; 
If this is true, officers who read this post, please reply as comments for points below or send mail to me:

1. Are the assesses producing the paper copy of Returns filed in ACES, for the purpose of clarifications raised by Range office on the 'Error Messages' thrown by the System in ACES after assessee filed the Return with errors ? 

2. Are the officers who perform the scrutiny, able to mentally co-relate one field/table in a single screen of Return page with the other field/table in the next screen of the same Return document, (after the first screen is replaced by next screen during navigation through mouse) for verification of correctness of data ? Is such comparison and verification of data within a single Return being done with the assistance of the printed version of the Return? 

3. If so,  are the officers, for the purpose of scrutiny, making a print-out of every Return from the printers supplied under ACES project ? or is it obtained from the assessee ? 

4. If own print-out is taken as per above question, how many Returns are printed every month and is the cartridge supplied to them officially ? 

5. In the absence of Digital Signature Certification (not issued to assesses regd. in ACES), how the authentication of filing of Returns (without authorized signatory’s signature) is ensured ?

ACES User Guide Documents

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User Manuals - Subject (module) wise -released by DGSM
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Aces.gov.in

www.aces.gov.in is the Government's Official Website Home page for ACES - Registered assessees and new applicants for registration with CBEC (cbec.gov.in) can log on to the said site to take part in the electronic workflow (Filing Return, Application, Claims, E-pay (NSDL), reply show cause notice of the Department of Central Excise and Service Tax (GST)- Contains user manual- LMS. For more information, contact saranx@excisegst.com

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