E-Nivaran of Income Tax itself needs some Nivaran- a User Experience
Recently Income Tax Department launched an online platform for resolving income tax grievances of assessees.
The system is supposed to address the grievances of the Income Tax Payers in country. While reporting any grievance, the user is to choose out of the categories given on the portal such as Tax Refund delays, Issues related to PAN or anything else etc
The list of issues is exhaustive and can cover most types of grievances that a user generally faces with the income tax department. While submitting grievance, you have to log in the account, share email, mobile number etc and you get the reply promptly from the department. As you lodge the grievance, the system generates ‘ Unique Grievance ID’ which can be used by the taxpayers to quote for all future communications and also to track their complaints.
It is an ambitious scheme of the department as a senior IT official told about the ‘e-nivaran’,”The new system is called unified grievance management system and is acronymed ‘e-nivaran’. The system not only records the origin of the grievance on the electronic platform it works on, but it also keeps tracking it till it reaches its logical conclusion for final resolution,”
“Income Tax Department claims that e-nivaran system is being monitored by the Assessing Officer of the case up to the supervisory officers entirely in a paperless environment.”
Hitherto before launch of this scheme, a user had limited options to lodge grievance and the last being to call the helpline. Helpline staffs usually are not trained to handle and satisfy about the grievance and have been trained to give only specific tutored replies which rarely helped in resolving the issue
But How the Scheme is actually working- Is the Scheme able to Deliver the intended benefit to Income Tax Assessee- In one of the cases, the assessee had demand outstanding against some previous year and for the current year, the refund was due, which in any case was more than the demand outstanding. After adjustment of the outstanding demand, some refund was still to be issued
In the pending Action section, the assessee answered the requisite pending issues and confirmed the demand outstanding and in appropriate column indicated that the demand may be recovered and balance refund of income tax may be issued
What Results- After lodging the grievance, the department replied very promptly, in about 7 minutes
However, the credit ends here
The resolution to the grievance was something totally unexpected from the system, given the high hopes generated among tax payers by the system
The reply simply said, “……….talk to helpline number”. Please see the actual screen shot of reply given by e-nivaran
I was left bewildered. What value did the system add to the assessee’s comfort?
Income Tax department really will do well to have a look into the system and make it really useful to assessees to actual have any value addition