In a CAG report, Wipro has been accused of ‘undue favours’ in the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) project.
India’s third largest software exporter, had bagged the UIDAI project in May 2011 for Rs. 134 crore which involved supplying, installing of servers computers, storage systems, security systems in the data centres of UIDAI in Bengaluru and Delhi/NCR region. These systems were to be fully operational, subject to an acceptance test based on UIDAI’s norms, the report stated.
These norms involved the usual warranty, time-related clauses and testing them before deployments, all a part of a technology project. As UIDAI did not have in house technical expertise in this testing, in March 2012, it hired Standardization Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) for conducting third party testing of all equipment and systems on behalf of UIDAI. Third party testing is a norm to ensure that the systems are properly tested but the vendor name was not disclosed. An email sent to Wipro went unanswered.
After testing, UIDAI found out that in certain cases uptime requirement relating to equipments like servers did not meet contractual specifications, the report said. In January 2013, UIDAI even reduced ‘uptime’ requirements, after which the tests found out that system performance was ‘satisfactory’ and accepted the equipment in February 2013.
However, on Wipro’s requests, UIDAI decided to adopt February 2012 as the date of final commissioning of equipment, noted the report. As a consequence of this action, the warranty period of 12 months for items other than servers and storage system expired in 31 January 2013, a month before its acceptance.
When an audit was carried out UIDAI agreed in March 2013 with the vendor for Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) of these equipments was found to be Rs. 4.92 crore for the period from February 2013 to January 2014. This, the report finds is a deviation from the original contract, which, could have been avoidable.
When CAG asked UIDAI about this, the latter in its reply said that there were several questions around testing and quality after which testing was done again. CAG has argued that “since the equipment was in operation and Aadhar was getting generated, acceptance of equipments were a contractual requirement and hence covered under warranty.