The ambitious Rs 120-crore computerisation project being implemented by Tata Consultancy Services Limited (TCS) came under sharp criticism from administrative secretaries during a review meeting convened by Punjab chief secretary Rakesh Singh on Friday, it is learnt.
This project will automate the functioning of all treasuries across Punjab. The integrated financial management system (IFMS) includes the integrated workflow document management system (IWDMS), wherein computerisation of the finance/budget department as well as other departments of the civil secretariat and mini-secretariat here will be undertaken.
Government sources said senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers not only outrightly rejected the project and aired their views against its "tardy" implementation but also put a question mark on the "transparency" of the procedure followed by Punjab Infotech while allotting this project to TCS.
The project was allotted in 2010 when IAS officer Rakesh Verma was managing director (MD) of Punjab Infotech. Verma occupied the post of MD for six years and was transferred recently.
When contacted, Verma refused to make any "on-the-record" comment.
Punjab Infotech was incorporated in 1976 as the nodal agency of the Punjab government for the promotion of IT industry in the state. Its objective is to position Punjab as one of the most competitive investment destinations.
When contacted, Jitender Singh, who heads TCS operations here, said: "I'm not in a position to comment on this issue." But when asked why IAS officers had raised doubts about the project at the meeting, he said: "This may not be the correct picture conveyed to you."
As the IAS officers were vociferously pointing out "inept" implementation of the project, TCS representatives present at the meeting were advised to leave the meeting midway.
Sources said it was decided that this project would be completely re-evaluated again by the competent authority. The project was approved by the steering committee comprising senior officers, it is learnt.
The officers brought to the chief secretary's notice that TCS was allegedly given this project despite not being the lowest bidder and ignoring the National Informatics Centre (NIC) - a premier organisation of the union government - which was ready to execute the project free of cost.
The NIC is known for providing e-governance solutions in the government sector and has successfully launched the same project in Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, government sources said.
"The hardware being dumped in our offices is of no use to us. The software cannot be implemented as the requirements of various government departments were not fully incorporated before its development. It's a sheer waste of money," an officer said.
The officers complained that whenever they sought help from TCS, either no support was provided or every time a new representative came, lacking expertise.