Title : MCA 21 - The first Mission Mode Project to be launched under NeGP

Description

MCA 21 is a path-breaking project implemented by Ministry of Company Affairs, Government of India (previously Department of Company Affairs, Ministry of Finance, and Government of India). NISG assisted the ministry in conceptualization and design of the project, bid process management, project implementation and roll out. Currently, NISG is assisting the MCA in operations and maintenance of the project through setting up of Program Management Unit for the project.

Client Name : Ministry of Company Affairs, Government of India

Client Type : Central Government

Project Description : An IT-driven and forward-looking project

A Mission Mode Project under the Government of India's National e-Governance plan, MCA 21 has put the Ministry of Company Affairs on track to meet stakeholder needs in the 21st century.

MCA21 is envisioned to provide anytime and anywhere services to businesses by Ministry of Company Affairs. It is a pioneering program being the first mission mode e-governance project being undertaken in the country. This program builds on the GoI vision to introduce a Service Oriented Approach in the design and delivery of Government services, establish a healthy business ecosystem and make the country globally competitive.

It has ushered in global best practices that are based on experiences drawn from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Singapore. The project harnesses information technology to provide stakeholders easy and secure access to the ministry's services. Piloted in Coimbatore on February 18, 2006, the countrywide rollout of the project was completed on September 4, 2006, covering 20 Offices of Registrar of Companies (ROC), 4 Regional Directors and MCA Head Quarters.

Dr. Manmohan Singh at the launch of MCA21 Project, 18 March 2006

Project Genesis : Simplicity is the watchword

The MCA 21 project is an outcome of the MCA's quest for simplifying forms, making forms e-centric, promoting online transactions, and reaching out to stakeholders in an economy that is growing fast and adjusting to the demands of globalization. The project supports establishment of a healthy business eco-system and aspires for a judicious blend of facilitation and compliance. MCA 21 services are available 24X7 anytime and anywhere through MCA Portal.

Until the formation of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), the Department of Company Affairs (DCA) in the Ministry of Finance used to discharge the functions relating to the administration of The Companies Act, 1956. The project, initiated in the year 2002 by the DCA at the instance of then Minister of Finance, was initially called DCA 21. After the formation of MCA, the project was rechristened MCA 21.

The MCA regulates the country's corporate sector as well as professional institutes like the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India and the Institute of Company Secretaries of India.

With more than 8 Lakhs registered entities, the MCA has over 60 million pages of corporate information in its database. MCA has issued over 7 Lakhs DIN (Director Identification No.) with in one year of its operation. Until recently, millions of corporate representatives were required to visit ROCs just because most transactions were paper-based, leaving little or no room for value-added services.

Procedures relating to sorting, storage and retrieval of paper-based records were cumbersome and time-consuming. Due to manual collection of information and verification processes, long queues were inevitable at official counters. During the peak season (Oct-Dec), the situation used to become unmanageable. Payments were required to be made only in cash or through demand draft. The process of obtaining information was time-consuming for stakeholders, while the information the erstwhile system yielded was often inaccurate or outdated. Most of the forms then in use were not designed to capture all essential information.

Vision : Efficient service is the prime motive

The MCA 21 project was implemented as part of the MCA's vision: "To be a leader and partner in initiatives for Corporate Reforms, Good Governance and Enlightened Regulation, with a view to promote and facilitate effective corporate functioning and investor protection."

Therefore, the emphasis is on adopting a service-oriented approach for delivering government services, establishing a healthy business environment, and making the country globally competitive.

Objectives

The MCA 21 is focused on striking the right balance between meeting stakeholder requirements and realizing the ministry's ultimate goals through employment of global best practices. The project seeks to put in place across the country a uniform system that will enable:

  • Businesses to register a company and file statutory documents online
  • Public to have quick and easy access to records they want
  • Professionals to offer efficient services to their clients
  • Financial institutions to easily register and verify charges
  • MCA to ensure proactive & effective compliance with relevant laws and corporate governance
  • Employees to deliver best of breed services

Stakeholders for the project : Benefiting all in myriad ways

MCA 21 has significantly benefited stakeholders.

  • Individuals and companies now have quick access to records. They can submit their grievances online, and have them promptly redressed. The project enables online viewing of information concerning balance sheets, shares, debentures, and other corporate records
  • Professionals can improve the efficiency of the services they offer to clients. The ministry is now better placed to ensure companies' compliance with laws
  • Financial institutions find the portal www.mca.gov.in easy for registration purposes and for verification of charges
  • The portal enables individuals and companies to verify online e-forms and other scanned documents
  • The project fosters electronic workflow in MCA offices with employees enabled to deliver best of breed services

Services provided by the project

The e-government plan covers all major transactions, barring those concerning liquidation of companies. The services currently provided include:

  • Registration and incorporation of new companies
  • Filing of annual returns/balance sheets/forms denoting change of names/address/director's details
  • Registration, modification and verification of charges
  • Inspection of public documents
  • Applications for various statutory services offered by the ministry
  • Issue of certified copies, and redressal of investor grievances

The portal enables electronic filing of documents. A Data Centre established in Delhi serves as a secure electronic registry for storage and retrieval of records. A Disaster Recovery Centre in Chennai provides the back-up for the electronic registry.

Implementation detail

The Rs 350 crore project involved establishment of the physical as well as IT infrastructure consisting of 52 Registrar's Front Offices (RFOs) that serve as facilitation centers, linking of all 20 offices of ROC, RD and HQ across the country, development of web portal for MCA, establishment of Data Center and data recovery center. The project involved making online the data of all the registered companies. Paper forms have given way to e-forms that support e-government processes. A part of the data in e-forms is automatically captured from the electronic registry through the use of features such as pre-fill and pre-scrutiny.

The RFOs will help stakeholders during the period of transition from manual mode of document filing to an electronic filing system. In addition, the ministry has so far authorized over 900 practicing chartered accountants, cost accountants and company secretaries to set up Certified Filing Centers (CFCs) for providing paid services to stakeholders.

Current Status

The MCA21 covers a network of 25 MCA offices across the country, with more than eight Lakh registered companies. Following the signing of an agreement with M/s Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. on 1st March 2005, the project was piloted initially in Coimbatore on 18th February, 2006 and then at Puducherry and Ernakulam. It was launched in Delhi on 18th March, 2006 and became operational at all 20 offices of ROC by the end of July, 2006 except J&K which became operational in September 2006. E-filing of all documents is mandatory since September 16, 2006, with the amendment in Companies Act mandating use of digital signatures of companies' authorized representatives.

The new system enables payment of statutory fees through off-line as well as on-line modes. In all, the 399 branches of 5 major banks across the country have been authorized to accept payment of statutory fees in off-line mode, while online payments can be made through credit card and internet banking with the help of a secure payment gateway.

On January 17, 2007 a provisional Certification of Completion was awarded to TCS, signifying the commencement of operations and maintenance phase of the project.
As of July 20, 2007, the portal registered an average of 17 lakh hits per day. The e-filings till then totaled 23.77 lakhs. According to an earlier estimate, more than 80% of the documents were directly filed by companies and professionals. In all, 84,000 companies were registered online.

Accolades for the project: The trailblazer gets noticed

The MCA21 project got the Dataquest IT Path-Breaker Award for 2006 in recognition of its impact in the area of e-governance. The project drew accolades for harnessing technology for improving and changing existing processes and for making life easier for India's business community, investors and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Testimonials for the Project

1. Minister terms MCA21 program a dawn of new era: On September 16, 2006, the day when mandatory e-filing took effect, Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Prem Chand Gupta, commented "September 16, 2006 heralds the dawn of a new era for all those involved in the process of statutory filings under The Companies Act, 1956. We cross the digital divide on this day, with all future transactions being in the electronic mode only. This is the opportunity to move seamlessly into a new transparent, hassle-free, e-Governance environment, full of exciting possibilities. I am happy to note the overwhelming response of all the stakeholders to the Ministry's MCA-21 initiative for e-Governance, which has made this possible." - Shri Prem Chand Gupta, Hon'ble Minister for Corporate Affairs.
Source: http://www.mca.gov.in/

2. MCA-21 : Arrival of A New Era of Indian Corporate World - An Article on MCA 21 Project by Pavan Kumar Vijay, FCS, Managing Director, Corporate Professionals.com Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi. (Copyrights with the Author/publisher).

Published On : 11th July, 2013