E-filing facility for cos to begin on Feb 18 Existing board of directors told to get ID nos

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Mr Prem Chand Gupta
Mr Prem Chand Gupta

Our Bureau

New Delhi, Feb. 3

THE Ministry of Company Affairs will roll out its pilot e-governance initiative MCA-21 on February 18 at Coimbatore followed by Jaipur on 27. "It is the first flagship project of the Government to provide a comprehensive set of services to the stakeholders through an e-governance mode," said Mr Prem Chand Gupta, Minister for Company Affairs.

Through this initiative, a businessman would be able to register a company online within a few days, as against months taken now, Mr Gupta told newspersons here on Friday. The project, is being implemented by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) at a cost of Rs 345 crore.

MCA-21 implementation commenced with the signing of the contract with TCS on March 1, 2005. It provided for an implementation period of 60 weeks and, thereafter, an operation period of six years. "The project is being implemented as per schedule as it goes live across all the locations through out the country by April 24, 2006, marking the completion of 60 weeks," he said.

Mr Gupta said that the e-filing facility includes incorporation of new companies, filing annual and other statutory returns, registration and verification of charges and applying for various approvals/clearances. ``Besides, inspection of company documents, request for certified copies and reporting investor grievances can be carried out through the new MCA portal,'' he said. The Ministry has launched a new portal and all details have been placed on this Web site to assist the stakeholders.

To ensure smooth implementation of the project and protect gullible investors, the Ministry has asked all the existing and future directors on boards of companies to immediately apply for allotment of Director Identification Number (DIN). The professionals and company directors, who are required to sign the documents to be filled under the Companies Act, have been asked to procure Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs).

"These two requirements (DIN and DSC) are essential pre-requisites for e-filing," the Minister explained. He stated that this would also help investors to easily get information on companies and find out which directors were on board of how many companies.

``Not only transparency, it gives the benefits of anywhere, anytime filing,'' the Minister said. This would help clear the field offices of the Ministry, which were becoming dumping grounds for documents and files, he added.

Mr Gupta also said that the Ministry has adequately addressed the concerns of transition from a manual mode to e-governance mode, as the project provides for setting up of facilitation centres at 53 locations throughout the country where the stakeholders can avail themselves of the services such as e-filing and scanning.

In addition, a central help desk facility is being set up to address the problems faced by the stakeholders in switching over to the new system.

Five banks SBI, Punjab National Bank, Indian Bank, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank are partners in the project to accept payments for MCA services through multiple modes.

Further, State governments have been approached to authorise the Ministry to generate stamp papers electronically. While 11 States have already issued the requisite authorisations, eight States have responded positively.

"The Ministry hopes to enlist the support of all the States and the Union Territories on this account by the project implementation completion date," he added.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 4, 2006)
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