If the rising volume of e-filing of tax returns over the years is an example of how India has warmed up to e-governance, that the system handled over 1.5 million filings a day in the last four days of August is a sign of how the taxman’s e-governance delivery is maturing. While, as per a Business Standard report, the system can handle 3-4 million e-filings a day, on August 31, the website saw 6.5 million hits. There has been a 15% year-on-year rise in number of electronic filings by August 31 in FY16 over FY15.
Considering just how much less paperwork and expenditure it means, e-filing becomes a lucrative option for the taxpayer. Add to that the taxman’s recent decision to make e-filing entirely paperless—verification can now be done with the help of a one-time password generated for a registered mobile number—and e-filing numbers can safely be predicted to surge even further this year onwards. Given how a digital interface eliminates the hassles of an in-person interaction, and with Aadhaar-based authentication gaining in acceptance, there is every likelihood that the demand for more government services being put online will grow. For that, the government needs to have the right digital infrastructure—already envisioned in the Digital India programme—in place, and as demonstrated by the success of e-filing, all that will take is finding the right partners from the private sector.