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Thursday, Dec 09, 2004

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TCS may get Rs 318-cr e-governance project

Richa Mishra
Moumita Bakshi

New Delhi , Dec. 8

THE ambitious e-governance project of the Ministry of Company Affairs is poised for take-off. The Committee on non-Plan Expenditure, under the Ministry of Finance, is understood to have cleared the over Rs 300-crore computerisation project `DCA-21' on Monday.

According to sources, the project did not take off on schedule as the Company Affairs Ministry, the Administrative Ministry, could not obtain the necessary approvals in time.

The process was set in motion again only after TCS, the lowest bidder, reduced its quotation of Rs 335 crore by almost Rs 17 crore at the behest of the price negotiation committee headed by the Nasscom chief, Mr Kiran Karnik, who renegotiated with the bidder.

With this, the largest initiative on the public-private partnership model is all set to be awarded to TCS.

However, before the project is actually awarded, the approvals of the Administrative Minister, Mr Prem Chand Gupta, and the Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, would be required, followed by the final nod of the Union Cabinet.

Despite the clearance, the IT industry, which has been waiting for the project to take off, continues to adopt a rather cautious approach.

The Company Affairs Ministry had shortlisted TCS and ICICI Infotech for its programme covering all departments to provide effective services to registered corporate entities. Six companies had submitted bids for implementing the project on `build, operate, own and transfer' (BOOT) basis.

The project was expected to go on stream by September this year. The BOOT player was to be given a timeframe of one year for the implementation of the project, which is expected to enable `anywhere and anytime' access for stakeholders to information on registered corporate entities.

Ministry sources said that the project preparation for computerisation, "called DCA-21, is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2005."

The project is aimed at providing savings in time and transaction costs to over six lakh companies registered in India.

The services proposed include filing of statutory documents, registration of new companies, and ensuring availability of documents in public domain through use of computers and the Internet.

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