TCS backs out of Kochi corporation’s e-governance system

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With Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) making it clear that it will provide no further support to the botched e-governance system in the Kochi Corporation, a new software will now have to be implemented to replace the existing one entirely, sending the nearly ₹5 crore that the civic body paid to TCS down the drain.

Corporation Secretary R. Rahul has in a letter to the Principal Secretary, Local Self-Government Department (LSGD), asked for urgent support from the IT Mission or Information Kerala Mission (IKM) to secure the data considering the imminent danger of data loss from the existing system. “The corporation has no technical expertise to manage the system nor any capability for taking data backup. Data backup has not been done recently,” the letter notes. Data loss can happen at any time due to malware, power failure, or mechanical damage, and it can be detrimental to the public.

“As for a fresh software, the council will have to take an urgent decision on whether to bring IKM in or another party. TCS has categorically said it will not be part of any further agreement with the corporation. There is no annual maintenance contract with them [corporation] now,” Mr. Rahul said.

Of the 22 modules, most have not been implemented. Even the birth, death and marriage modules, which are working, are incomplete and prone to errors, his letter notes. “But, the corporation had certified earlier that the modules were working fine,” he said. Migration of the existing data to another database system is another process that will take time, he pointed out.

An agreement was signed with TCS in 2011, and the project was estimated to cost ₹8.1 crore. While TCS has delivered hardware and some modules worth ₹5.1 crore, the corporation has paid up ₹4.94 crore.

In its response to Mr. Rahul on June 10, TCS had written that it had repeatedly communicated to the corporation that its activities with the civic body had been wound up, but no response was received even on the clearance of outstanding dues. The letter notes that all exit formalities were complete, and server and database credentials were handed over to the authorities concerned in February 2019. Further, TCS will not be responsible for outage of the e-governance system, and no work order was issued to the company for extending its services, the letter said.

“The credentials of those who had earlier certified the modules is questionable,” said Poornima Narayan, chairperson, education standing committee.

After a stakeholder meeting chaired by the Minister for Local Self-Government last year, the corporation had, till now, been waiting for the matter of the salaries of two TCS employees to be reflected in the minutes of the meeting. The corporation was required to foot the salaries of the employees to conduct an evaluation of the work done.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 2:37:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/tcs-backs-out-of-corporations-e-governance-system/article31817247.ece

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