Corpn. e-governance project in jeopardy

E-governance services, including tax payments and obtaining birth, death or marriage certificates online, will continue to evade the city with the Kochi Corporation council failing to arrive at decisions that could push the project forward.

The Corporation’s IT officer had in a report placed before the council listed urgent issues that would have to be resolved. The server hardware that was purchased for the e-governance project a few years ago was now in poor shape and was running on outdated technology. To avoid a disastrous loss of data on birth and death and other registrations from the servers, new hardware would have to be purchased immediately.

Tata Consultancy Services, which had readied the software, would have to be roped in again to move the application onto other servers. But the services of the company were no longer available since the Corporation’s agreement with them had expired and their officials were withdrawn from the Corporation last year.

A meeting chaired by Local Self-Government Minister A.C. Moideen last year had specified that salaries of two TCS employees would be paid by the Corporation to fix the glitches in the system and quantify the work that the company has already done.

With the point about the salaries not being mentioned in the minutes of the meeting and requests to the LSG Department over the past few months to include it not materialising, the Finance Standing Committee had sought the Corporation council’s approval to send the IT officer’s report to the department to drive home the urgency of the matter.

Action sought against TCS

At the council meeting on Thursday, which concluded hastily in the wake of restrictions on large gatherings, Opposition leaders refused to allow the agenda on sending the letter to the department to be passed, arguing that TCS had not completed the work it was required to. Opposition leader K.J. Antony said that TCS had already been paid some of the amount due to them and that the Corporation must not foot the salaries of the two TCS employees, since the company had not made all e-governance modules available yet.

Since there are glitches in the existing modules, action should be taken against the company for having violated their agreement, said LDF councillor V.P Chandran.

“The system is clogged with information and will collapse soon if it is not replaced. The cooperation of the company is essential to fix it,” said Mayor Soumini Jain.

Tender delayed

The Opposition also protested against the delay in tendering work like the management of the slaughterhouse, parking spaces and public toilets. The tenders allotted to those currently managing these services will expire at the end of the month. But the matter of having to retender the work had not been placed before the council till Thursday, Mr. Chandran said, at which point it had turned into a proposal to simply extend the contract of those currently handling the services.

Ms. Jain said the reasons for the delay in placing the matter before the council would have to be examined.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 10:12:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/corpn-e-governance-project-in-jeopardy/article31111017.ece

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