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Issue of April 2006 

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India’s largest e-governance initiative

MCA-21, India’s largest e-governance initiative by the Ministry of Company Affairs and a mission project under the Government of India’s national e-governance plan, was formally launched on a pilot basis at a function held in Coimbatore. The project offers a comprehensive online portal to enable e-filing. It is a major step in the direction of governance reforms which form part of the agenda of the UPA government.

Within the next two months, the MCA-21 initiative will be launched nationwide across 20 offices of the Registrar of Companies including New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Hyderabad.

The initiative is a flagship programme of the ministry in partnership with Tata Consultancy Services on a BOOT (Build, Operate, Own and Transfer) model. Under the project framework, TCS will be responsible for designing and implementing the project, and then owning, operating and maintaining the system for a period of six years after successful roll-out at all sites.

Corporations, professionals and the public will no longer need to visit the offices of the Registrar of Companies; instead, they will be able to interact with the ministry using the MCA-21 portal from their offices or homes or by going to the facilitation centres which have been set up.

Users will have multiple options to make payments online either through credit cards or the Internet banking facility. Besides, payment through demand draft would be accepted against a system-generated challan at more than 200 bank branches across the country.

The programme also introduces the concept of Director Identification Number (DIN), which is a unique and lifetime number being issued to all current and prospective directors. It is mandatory for all directors who wish to interact with the ministry in future to acquire a DIN. The system will enable the stakeholder to track the service request through a Service Request Number.

The MCA-21 project will facilitate electronic submission of forms which require a unique Digital Signature Certificate (DSC). It is mandatory for all stakeholders who will interact with the ministry to have a DSC because without that it will not be possible to file the returns and other statutory compliance-related filing.

The system is said to be secure with built-in redundancy to ensure that the services are available 24x7. There is a separate and fully-functional DR system. In the event of a disaster, the system will switch over to the DR set-up within 12 hours.

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Indian Express - Business Publications Division

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