In a few months from now, after its initial launch at the LTU Bangalore , the ACES project by the CBEC may be implemented at full swing (?) . Since the commencement of this project, there were unknown answers for certain doubts on the inclusion or exclusion of MIS reports in the ACES workflow.
According to the conventional work flow, two types of statistical data are collected by CBEC through its field offices - one is on the performance of assessees and the other is on the performance of field offices. The time spent on the collection of inputs for these statistics by the field offices is so huge that it makes a mockery of the field offices' time and efforts : they are spending most of their time on generating reports on WHAT THEY PERFORMED during their daily core in various fields/subjects, rather than spending time for performing such core work itself !!
Once upon a time, the facts and statistics now obtained by field offices, were being delivered at their offices by the assessees because of the statutory obligation. After liberalisation of the industry between 1991 and 2002, so many statutory formats (like declarations under rules 173B, 173C, 57, etc. which contained those basic information for the department) were withdrawn. Now the field offices are at the mercy of the assessees for collecting such facts to enable the government to determine the changes required in the excise and service tax policy aspects.
If it happens that the inputs for these statistics are not built into the ACES project too, the field offices will still be busy collecting the same information and be spending their precious time on unproductive matters beating the very purpose of the ACES.
One question is that whether and how these non-statutory information will be collected and fed into the ACES program, so as to free up the time of officers to spend it for productive work like audit of records, executive visits, desk analysis of industrial performance & practices, arrears collection, etc.,
The second question is on the migration of inputs for the old and the prospective facts/events for feeding into ACES program, after it is fully implemented in place of the existing convention. It is not also known how the existing facts and figures relating to performance in various fields like adjudication (confirmed & unfirmed demands), appeals, refund claims, drawback claims, audit paras, anti-evasion findings, etc., will be converted as data for ACES (document management) for use in generation of MIS reports, unlike the existing systemised databases of registrations, ER returns, Challans, etc. that are ready to be migrated to ACES.
Whose job will it be to convert the old document contents into data for migrating to ACES ? Will it be done centrally, or by respective field offices or by outsourcing ? Until answers to these questions are known, existing style of unproductive workflow can not be changed.
(Above is the concern of the individual and does not purport to reflect the view of the Govt.)