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News Breaker: Swarup Choudhury

Varsha Chidambaram | Aug. 27, 2013
Swarup Choudhury, MD, Thomson Reuters, is a strong believer in IT's ability to help the company stay ahead of competition.

CIO: Content is getting rapidly digitized. Is that a challenge or an opportunity?
Swarup Choudhury: It's a great opportunity. Think of the good old days, when you'd go to a lawyer's office, see the big books in the library and get impressed. They had to keep everything in print. But today, we don't need the books; today we have everything on a tablet or a device. A lawyer can easily pull out information and prepare for a case. We're enabling these solutions for them through our offering Westlaw.

CIO: And how can technology help improve the judicial system?
Swarup Choudhury: We are trying to help the government in its initiative to help improve the delivery of justice in the country by digitizing the courts. We have a project called the modern court and the e-court project. In the US, the top 14 affiliate courts are digitized by us. However, in India, because the courts are not connected, justice is not speedy enough. The court has to be connected to the hospital. The hospital has to be connected to the police and CBI, so on and so forth. Essentially, they all have to be inter-connected to make information move fast. Today, if you file an FIR it may take up to six months for it to be even brought into queue, and, you may get a hearing few years hence. I am told that there are over 30 million cases pending on crimes against women, which is a very sad state of affairs. It is happening not because of the lack of intent; it is because the government doesn't have the ability to collapse the work flow. Since we are into providing workflow solutions, we understand digitization. Owing to our existing capabilities, we are volunteering to try and improve the delivery of justice. But the critical question is can we collapse a workflow that spans three years into one year and get people justice immediately? Today, when some of the critical witnesses can't or don't come, many of these cases get postponed, adjourned, or delayed. To counter this, we are trying to digitize by getting video conferencing for witnesses even in remote locations. We also try and involve junior lawyers in the remote district courts where many of them don't have the wherewithal to reference material. By digitizing, we can provide multiple channels of access to information.

CIO: The introduction of GST will result in a lot of tax complications. How are you planning to deal with this?
Swarup Choudhury: Through our solutions, local customers are able to determine and ensure compliance with prevalent tax laws. According to estimates, if GST is implemented, it will add 200 basis points to our growth rate. Having implemented GST worldwide with the help of IT solutions, we have the best practices, and we'd like to help the government accomplish that here. Land reform is also big on our agenda. Our Manatron solution has helped digitizing land provisioning in 40 countries with a tax perspective and we intend to bring that to India as well. Our tax and accounting solutions appeal to professionals in accounting firms, corporations, law firms, and government. So essentially, think of us as an ERP for tax solutions. Most of the companies have implemented ERP but all have struggled with it. Our solution plugs and integrates all ERPs. Our solutions also ensure tax compliance with complex Indian regulations including TDS. Last year, we acquired a company called Fast Facts, which focuses on TDS, e-filing of returns and tax audits etcetera.


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