Calcutta, Jan. 30: The finance department was forced to offer a 15-day extension to the January 31 deadline for filing returns on VAT, entry tax and other payments because of a glitch in a server of the National Informatics Centre (NIC), which maintains the IT backbone of the online system.
The decision was taken this evening by finance minister Amit Mitra in consultation with finance secretary H.K. Dwivedi after reports of difficulties in procuring receipts and waybills flew in from various quarters.
According to Mitra, who in October had launched the Government Receipt Portal System (Grips) developed in association with the NIC, heavy online traffic of people trying to file returns by January 31 led to the slowdown of the server.
“The system slowed down because over 2.3 lakh people were trying to file returns around the same time. As due cleanup of the server could not be carried out by the NIC because of several holidays last week, millions of backup files clogged the system,” Mitra said.
The NIC’s version could not be obtained.
The finance minister said the NIC’s web-based server was in need of clean-ups and updates, which could not be done on time because of several holidays last week.
“We have to depend on the NIC server for this. Had it been our own Oracle-based server that we use in case of e-stamping for property registration and digital signature for dealers, there would have been no such problem,” Mitra said.
“Our system is much better, with virtually infinite capacity to deal with such deadline pressures,” he added.
The NIC, a wing of the Centre’s department of electronics and information technology, is the principal network infrastructure and e-governance support provider to the Union and state governments.
According to government officials, most of the state’s e-governance initiatives, adopted during the Left Front rule and after, have been developed and maintained by the NIC.
Asked if the problem had restricted the entry of vehicles carrying goods into the state, Mitra said the glitch had caused “hesitation” among “some sections”.
“They (drivers) enter the state carrying a self-declared waybill generated online. Without the printouts, they feel hesitation, they think they might be hauled up by the authorities,” the finance minister said.
The 15-day extension, he hoped, would sort out the problem.