The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has implemented an e-Governance initiative known as ‘MCA21 e-Governance Project’. It is one of the Mission Mode Projects of the Government of India under the National e-Governance Plan. The Project offers availability of all registry related services including filing of documents, registration of companies and public access to corporate information through a secure interactive portal. The portal services can be accessed from anywhere, at any time that best suits the corporate entities, professionals and the public at large. Thus MCA21 has led to efficient delivery of services and supervision of corporate processes through the use of modern information technology.
The objective of the e-governance program is to improve the speed and certainty in delivery of MCA services in a transparent manner. This improvement is ensured primarily through the mechanism of secure electronic filing (e-filing) and easy online payment for all the services provided by the Registrar of Companies. It is, therefore, a significant step towards an end-to-end paperless delivery of the Government services with widespread use of Digital Signature to carry out e-filing in a secure manner in conformity with the Information Technology Act, 2000. Starting with the launch of the first pilot on February 18, 2006 from Coimbatore and the major launch of the second pilot from Delhi by the Prime Minister on March 18, 2006, the programme was rolled out at all the Registrar of Companies locations in a phased manner by September 4, 2006. Electronic filing, using Digital Signatures, was made compulsory from September 16, 2006 with the amendment in the Companies Act, 1956. The facility for online payment through Credit Card and Internet Banking has also been provided on the portal through a secure payment gateway, to ensure prompt recognition of payment and delivery of services.
The project has a sound foundation in its conceptualization, solution architecture, a sound BPR and deliverables measured through a strict regimen of service level benchmarks. A comprehensive outcome based project with focus on service delivery, the project envisages benefits for various categories of stakeholders Business: enabled to register a company and file statutory documents quickly and easily, and in a manner that is convenient, Public: to get easy access to relevant records and get their grievances redressed effectively, Professionals: to be able to offer efficient services to their client companies, Financial Institutions: to find registration and verification of charges easy, MCA: to ensure proactive & effective compliance of relevant laws and corporate governance and Employees: enabled to deliver best of breed services.
The solution architecture provides for a Data Centre, which has been set-up at Delhi, a Disaster Recovery Centre at Chennai. In the event of any technology break-down or disruption of services from the Data Centre, the services can be restored within a time-frame of 12 hours by taking recourse to the Disaster Recovery Centre. The project has been designed with provision for interoperability and interface with other Government Departments and Ministries.
The MCA 21 program has brought about a paradigm shift in citizens facing interactions with the Ministry by bringing services to the doorstep of stakeholders.
· e-Filing Services - download/upload of eForms, tracking transaction status, pre-scrutiny of forms before filing, calculation of filing fee, resubmission of eForms for rectification of errors.
· Document Related Services - obtaining Certified copies, inspection of public documents, “On Demand Scanning” of document not available in electronic repository.
· Payment Related Services - online payment of fee through Credit Card or Internet banking, generation of challan for payment of fee at bank counter, tracking payment status.
· Data Related Services like finding Corporate Identity Number (CIN), checking/searching Company Name, view Company Master Data, view Index of Charges, view Authorised Signatory Details.
· Role Check Services - registration of DSC (Digital Certificates) on MCA portal by Directors, Practicing Professionals, Managers and Secretaries, self user registration as Registered or Business User, View Signatory Details.
· DIN (Director Identification Number) Related Services - Apply for DIN , Check DIN Application status, Retrieve DIN application, Generate DIN approval letter online.
· Annual Filing Related Services - Filing and checking Annual Filing Status of the company.
· Investor Grievance related Services - Lodging of complaints against companies by the Investor, Track Complaint Status.
· Informational Services - Contact details of MCA offices, Addresses of Authorized Bank Branches for making Challan Payment, Addresses of MCA21 Facilitation Centers, Contact details of Certifying Authorities for procuring Digital Signature Certificate (DSC).
· Software Related Services - Download Adobe Reader, Download JAVA Runtime Environment, Download Internet Explorer.
· Feedback Management - Resolution of queries through email by MCA21 Email Helpdesk, Helpline numbers for resolution of telephonic queries, Outbound calling for professionals regarding latest MCA updates, maintaining records of all email/ telephonic queries with solution provided.
The implementation of the programme has been remarkably smooth with the transition having been facilitated through a well structured communication plan with the external stakeholders and training & hand-holding of the MCA employees. Keeping in view that the stakeholders including corporate entities and the public may face certain difficulties in the beginning in switching over from the manual filing system to an electronic filing system, a network of facilitation centres at 52 locations throughout the country has been set-up. These facilitation centres provide complete range of services for e-filing of documents to the stakeholders who do not have the necessary computing/IT infrastructure or capability to use the same for e-filing from their own locations. The Project provides for continuation of this support for a period of three years from the Project Implementation Completion date without any charge to the stakeholders.
Besides a network of state-of-the-art Facilitation Centres at 52 locations where facilities for e-filing have been made available free of any charge throughout the country, a scheme for Certified Filing Centres (CFCs) managed through the practising professionals was introduced following the concept of user charges. About 900 such CFCs have been authorised throughout the country.
MCA21 has changed the way citizens and companies interact with MCA now. The companies can now interact “online” with MCA instead of the “in-line”, with serpentine queues especially during the peak filing season (October – December every year). MCA21 has created an overall positive environment amongst stakeholders and its adoption can be gauged as MCA21 portal is getting 3 million hits / day.
The major program accomplishments are:
· Introduction of anywhere, anytime secure electronic filing for MCA transactions through adaptation of all statutory forms to e-forms, suitable for electronic filing.
· Feature for automated scrutiny of e-forms at the MCA portal, that can substantially reduce the commonly associated mistakes encountered in form filling by the applicant.
· Use of Digital Signatures to ensure the security of electronic forms and documents in conformance with the Information Technology Act, 2000.
· Verification of the credentials of the authorized signatory (Director, Company Secretary or Manager and Practicing professional) through an additional ‘role check’ function, with another established identification such as DIN, PAN or Practice number provided by the Institute.
· Convenient multi-modal methods of payment encompassing existing payment mechanism and electronic payment options using credit cards and Internet banking, including an expanded nationwide network of Bank branches for challan payments.
· Access to the MCA services optimized for use from a typical home Internet connection, with freely available software, where the end user need not incur additional costs for software components.
· Best-in-class information technology solution, including electronic workflows and sophisticated document storage and retrieval systems, that can significantly reduce paper at the MCA Offices.
· 52 ROC (Registrar of Companies) Front Offices located across the country that provide facilitation services for electronic filing, free of charge.
· Nearly 900 Certified Filing Centres, operated by practicing professionals from the Institutes of Company Secretaries, Chartered Accountants and Cost Accountants, who provide MCA services for a nominal, prescribed fee.
· Nearly 5 crore pages of legacy corporate paper documents digitized for ready electronic access through Internet to the investors and general public.
· Easy and comprehensive reporting of grievances by investors through MCA portal, which in turn can facilitate speedy redressal.
· An architectural approach that allows easy adaptation of evolving technologies and platforms, while providing the robustness and scalability to the MCA21 solution.
· National Data Centre located at New Delhi that provides uninterrupted 24 x 7 operations.
· High bandwidth connectivity across all nationwide offices of MCA and facility for access by several thousand users at the same time.
· Disaster Recovery centre at Chennai, with a facility to restart operations within 12 hours in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.
· A fully automated, secure ‘Straight-through-Process’ has been introduced in MCA21, that takes on record some of the statutory filings without any human intervention. This move has enabled re-focusing of effort on core tasks that help quicker turnaround of business critical service requests.
· Brought in total transparency in the working whereby citizen can themselves find out the status of their transactions. It has become so convenient for the citizen that the relevant certificates and letters are auto generated and delivered through electronic Mail. These certificates and letters are also made available to them on the portal in a secure manner.
· Green Project: MCA21 has achieved the distinction of becoming the first project that has a demonstrable track record of paper reduction.The Government awarded the ‘Prime Minister Award for Excellence in Public Administration’ to the members of the Project team on the occasion of the 4th Civil Services Day held on April 21, 2009.