When the 'e' in e-payment did not stand for ease

Online payment for CET seats triggers confusion; officials clueless

When the 'e' in e-payment  did not stand for ease

What was intended to be a smooth process of online payment for the allotted CET seats turned out to be a great source of confusion for parents and students, a day after the allotments were announced.

The Karnataka Examination Authority (KEA) introduced e-payment for the first time this year, primarily to make the process hassle-free and to prevent delays. The whole purpose of the measure was, however, defeated due to technical glitches, ambiguous instructions and partly due to the ignorance of parents and students about the new process.    

Trouble started on Wednesday itself when the real allotments were hosted on the KEA website after the first round of counselling. “Soon after the results were declared, there was such a huge surge in traffic to the website that it choked all lines and forced us to shut the option of payment hosted on the website for the day,” said an official of the National Informatics Centre (NIC), that is assisting in the e-payment process. The portal for making payment was made accessible the next day (Thursday) only around 11 am, according to parents and students.

This resulted in a number of desperate parents and students arriving at the KEA office as early as 9.30 am to get their doubts clarified. However, it was not until 11 am that officials arrived.

According to information on the KEA website, payment has to be made by means of e-payment through NET banking or challan payment; over the counter payment by noting the details such as unique transactions reference (UTR) number in case of Net Banking payments and Reference Number (RO) in case of challan payment; through the National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT) and Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) i.e., a way of transferring money from one bank to another.  

However, a number of parents either failed to understand the details given or did not refer to the instructions at all. A number of them turned up with demand drafts, adding to the confusion and forcing the officials to accept them. Officials asked such parents and students to get their demand draft encashed and follow the given procedure.

“A woman came all the way from Hoskote and is refusing to accept that payment through demand drafts is not possible,” said S P Kulkarni, administrative officer, KEA. However, a mechanism to accept even demand drafts is also being worked out to help such parents.       

Official confusion

Officials themselves did not know the correct procedure, worsening the situation.
“Sometimes, officials say that payment can be made only through Indian Bank. Other times, they say it can also be done through other nationalised banks. It is really confusing as they are not clearly saying what we should do,” said Ashwini R, a student.

“Thankfully, I have come only to collect information about such matters. A number of parents have already made payments without even being clear about the procedures,” she said. 

The primary transaction has to be made through Indian Bank and its core branches and the option of paying through other banks has also been given (through e-payment, NEFT, RTGS). Parents were, however, still perplexed with regard to payment through other banks.

“This entire process is so confusing. Are we supposed to make payments only through Indian Bank or have the option of making them through other banks too? Instead of officials, we are getting information from other parents,” said Suma Ravishankar, a parent.

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