Treasury operations in Bihar plunge into chaos as NIC steps back

The worst hit is the Patna where not a single token, required for bill-processing, has been generated from the computerised system in the past 11 days, reports Rai Atul Krishna.

india Updated: Jan 29, 2007 20:31 IST

Treasury operations in Patna and other parts of Bihar have plunged into chaos after the National Informatics Centre (NIC) effectively withdrew its maintenance and upgradation support to its e-KHAZANA Treasury Accounting and Management System software through which all 41 treasuries of the State function at present.

The worst hit is the Patna main treasury where not a single token, required for bill-processing, has been generated from the computerised system in the past 11 days.

"It has a 32,276-token capacity, which was exhausted on January 16. But there is no help from the NIC," said an official. The Sinchai and Nirman Bhawan treasuries are also affected.

Authoritative sources said unless immediate remedial measures were taken the mandatory monthly reports on treasury operations, which were sent to the Accountant-General's office, might be delayed.

The Additional Finance Commissioner's office had been flooded with SOS calls from harried treasury officers, they claimed.

When contacted, Deputy Chief Minister-cum-Finance Minister Sushil Kumar Modi confirmed that the treasuries were facing software problems and that the Commercial Taxes Department was also affected.

"The NIC has adopted a non-cooperative attitude but we will deal with the situation in the best way we can," he said.

The NIC's uncharacteristic reticence, as Modi admitted, has been triggered off by the Nitish Kumar regime's recent decision to engage a private company for providing software backup to its treasuries and other e-governance projects.

This drew a strong protest from Union Minister of State for IT Shakeel Ahmad, to whose Ministry the NIC is attached.

Reached for his reaction, the NIC's Senior Technical Director and State Informatics Officer Saurabh Gupta confessed the NIC was disappointed with the government's decision to discard its award-winning software, which had been commended in writing by 38 out of 41 treasury offices. But he denied software support to treasuries had been withdrawn.

"The problems at hand require software upgradation/modification in treasuries across Bihar. It is not a matter to be dealt at the level of individual treasuries and treasury officers.

The State government has to approach the NIC for this purpose. It has not done so till now," Gupta told Hindustan Times.

"The software discarded by Bihar has just won the national e-governance award for excellence in the government process re-engineering category," he informed, seeking to add a touch of irony to the controversy.

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First Published: Jan 29, 2007 20:31 IST