By V C Mathews



The age of computer technology and the Internet has dawned. With the increasing use of the Internet and computers the very way we live is undergoing a radical change. Recognizing the need for laws as regards Information Technology our country enacted the Information Technology Act in the year 2000. With the advent of the Act many existing laws saw numerous amendments (the Indian Penal Code and Evidence Act to name a few).

The far-reaching effects of Information Technolgy have touched the Companies Act as well. In lieu with this The Ministry of Company Affairs is in the process of implementing a major e-governance initiative known as MCA21. Banks and Financial Institutions represent one of the key stakeholders for the successful implementation of this ambitious programme.




The ministry of Company affairs is implementing an e- governance project namely “MCA- 21 e–Governance Project”. Companies are required to file a number of documents with the Registrar of Companies (ROC) in compliance of the statutory provisions of the Act. Beginning with about 30,000 companies at work in 1956, the number of companies registered has now reached 6.83 lakhs as on 31st March 2005 and a large number of new Companies are being incorporated every year. In order to provide prompt and efficient services to these companies, the MCA envisaged transferring the business processes of the office of the ROC to the e-governance mode. The Project envisages electronic filing Of these documents by an interactive and paperless process through the Internet. The project also includes interlinking of all the offices of the ROCs and the Ministry. The project has been designed to virtually eliminate the physical interface between the companies and the ROC.


The focus of the MCA21 program is on bringing about a fine balance between trade

facilitation on one hand and enforcement requirements on the other.


Project overview


The MCA21 Project implementation commenced with the signing of contract agreement

with the selected operator M/s Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. on 1st March 2005. The

Project has an implementation cycle of 60 weeks and thereafter an operation period of 6

years. The MCA21 Project has been approved with an overall cost of Rs. 345 crore.


Salient Features of the Project


The following are the salient features of the MCA21 Project: -


Ø      Introduction of anywhere, anytime secure electronic filing for MCA transactions

Ø      Adaptation of all statutory forms for electronic filing.

Ø      Use of Digital Signatures to ensure the security of electronic forms and documents in conformance with the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Ø       Electronic payment of all statutory charges & access to the services from Internet


Ø      Back office of the Ministry to use best-in-class information technology solution

             that will include electronic workflows and sophisticated document storage and

             retrieval systems, with significant paper reduction

Ø       Physical Front Offices that will be located nationwide to facilitate electronic

            filing of documents

Ø      Nearly 6 crore pages of legacy corporate documents to be digitized for electronic

            access through Internet

Ø      Easy reporting of complaints by investors through MCA portal for easy and speed


Ø      High bandwidth nationwide connectivity across all offices of MCA and facility to

            allow access to multiple users at the same time

Ø      Disaster Recovery mechanisms with a facility to restart operations within 12 hours in the event of a natural or man-made disaster

Ø      Possibility of collecting stamp duty electronically.





The Ministry has adopted a responsive and action-oriented approach towards investor

protection. Dedicated investor protection cells have been opened and made functional at

three levels. An on-line Investors Grievances Redressal System has been developed and

made fully operational.  Investor Education Protection Fund (IEPF) under the Companies Act, 1956 has been activated and reputed NGOs are contributing by taking up various programmes aimed at educating the investors.



The incorporation and recognition of digital signatures is but a small example of the widespread influence of the Information Technology Act, 2000. With the increasing use of computers and the Internet to carry on various corporate act9ivities more changes can definitely be expected in the near future.