Khursheed draws next generation MCA-21 blueprint

Written by Neha Pal | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 29 2009, 05:50am hrs
New corporate affairs minister Salman Khursheed has decided to redraw the ambitious IT plan of his predecessor, Premchand Gupta, even as the corporate sector was coming to grips with the older one.

The MCA-21 project planned to make it possible for every company to talk to the ministry of corporate affairs on an IT platform, within 2021. But under Khursheed, the ministry has decided to draw up a larger blueprint called the Next-Generation MCA-21. The new plan could also raise question marks over the role of TCS, which had won the bid for MCA-21 in 2006 to develop the system in six years by 2013.

A ministry source confirmed that there would be fresh bids for the Next Generation MCA-21 project. The ministry cant rely on only one player for the Next Generation MCA-21 which would be more than Rs 500 crore. There will a proper bidding process for the Next Generation MCA-21, based on which the new private player would be roped in.

The new project is supposed to be an advanced information sharing system with regulators like Sebi, RBI and government ministries to replace the present MCA- 21 which is the e-governance platform for the 9-lakh odd companies in India.

Tanmoy Chakrabarty, vice-president and head of government industry solutions unit, at TCS told FE, We have not been approached by the ministry for becoming the private player for the Next Generation MCA-21 as it is a large initiative for the ministry and is going to be through public-procurement process.

According to the ministry, the scope of the Rs 340-crore MCA-21 project is not good enough to integrate the information coming from the companies with that from other financial sector regulators. Under the Indian Companies Act, any company registered with the Registrar of Companies has to file its annual report with it. But there is often evasion by rogue companies, but because of the volume of paperwork involved, prosecution was difficult. MCA-21 aimed to make the process to improve the scale of compliance.

The focus for the Next Generation MCA-21 would be to create an information sharing platform with regulators and ministries to provide an early warning system for the ministry. At present if the ministry wants to seek some information that lies out of its domain, then it has to take the longer route for getting that information by asking the concerned regulator or ministry. Since the website will have an integrated IT gateway system with regulators and other ministries, it would have a direct access to the information that lies with others, said an official. He said it would make use of extensible business reporting language (XBRL), which would make filing of documents much easier for companies, and at the same time make it easy for stakeholders to receive the financial data in a customised manner.