Infosys celebrates first birthday of glitchy Indian tax portal by fixing another bug

Search fail added to list of embarrassing issues since debut


Infosys celebrated the first anniversary of the e-filing portal it built for India's tax authorities fixing another prominent glitch – this time a search functionality error.

Complaints about the error streamed in to India's Income Tax Department, which tweeted about the error on Tuesday.

Infosys won the contract to develop the income tax portal in 2019. It was intended to be a tool to make it easier for Indian taxpayers to file and claim refunds.

However, its June 2021 debut was so badly botched that within a week of launch the government reverted to manual tax filings.

The service remained glitchy thereafter and Infosys CEO Salil Parekh was summoned to government offices to explain.

While Infosys was directed to fix the errors, India's Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) was forced to extend due dates for tax filings and payments.

The IT services giant also won a 2015 contract to build and maintain India's digital GST system, which has not gone so smoothly either. A "technical glitch" last month meant auto-populated forms weren't ready for taxpayers.

Despite Infosys's issues executing on major government contracts, the company decided in late May to extend Parekh's term as CEO.

Under Parekh's leadership, which has coincided with a very profitable digital transformation boom, the company increased revenue from 2018's $11.8 billion to $16.3 billion in 2021.

During this time, the company has experienced significant staff attrition – most recently at an annual rate of 27.7 percent. While India's top four IT services outsourcers have all seen high turnover rates, Infosys's remains exceptional.

Some industry players have adopted controversial policies to keep staff in place. HCL Technologies, for example, implemented a bonus clawback scheme to recoup payments from employees who resigned.

Infosys adopted non-compete clauses that made it hard for staff to leave and work for rivals.

The clauses sparked complaints to India's Ministry of Labour & Employment, and questions of legality from labor rights organization Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES). The Ministry subsequently summoned Infosys to three separate meetings to discuss the policy. Infosys did not attend those meetings.

On May 24, Infosys assistant vice president Santhosh Nair responded to the Ministry in writing, justifying the clause on grounds that it is used "to ensure business and client confidentiality." Nair argued that the clause is not unusual, and only applicable for a very limited period.

Furthermore, Nair claimed job candidates voluntarily agree to the obligations prior to joining the company as they "recognize the relevance and importance of such a clause."

According to documents seen by The Register, the central Labour Ministry has forwarded the complaint to various state government Labour Ministries for "further necessary action" on the basis that India's states are "the appropriate [governments] under the extant Labour Laws in the matter." ®

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