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Public Interest Exclusive
Why can’t Infosys get MCA21, the e-filing system working?

Two months after Infosys, India’s most celebrated information technology company took over MCA21—the e-filing portal of the ministry of corporate affairs—it remains unstable. Anguished users want to know why a system that worked well under TCS is causing such pain to companies and users

Anguished Chartered Accountants (CAs) and Company Secretaries tell Moneylife how MCA21, the e-filing portal remains unstable over two months after Infosys Technologies took it over from TCS (on 17th January) after a two-month handover process.
 

A month ago, when Moneylife first highlighted the fact that MCA21 wasn’t working, we were assured that it would be up and running soon. Another month later, the ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) is still struggling to fix the problem. Fortunately, Naved Masood, Secretary MCA is not trying to gloss over the problem. In an email response to our query he calls it worrisome that there are “repeated glitches” in the working of the portal since mid-January when Infosys took over. He also says, “There have been disconcertingly large instances of user inconvenience”.
 

Mr Masood says that “the situation is steadily improving” and the number of filings and new company incorporation services “more or less conform to the past averages for the corresponding period”. He agrees that the system “has not yet fully regained its pristine efficiency” but would like to dispute our “epithets like scandalous”. He also says “we are acutely conscious of providing a level of service that leaves no room for disappointment” and expects that the “intermittent difficulties” that users still encounter will soon be over.
 

But this is only part of the story. Company Secretaries and Chartered Accountants whose professional services require a functioning MCA21 are desperately appealing for help—but they do not dare to confront the ministry openly. Since Mr Masood, in his email, asked Moneylife to keep in touch with Mohan Joseph, Additional Secretary, MCA (who is apparently working at specific complaints received by the ministry and trying to get the site working), here is a list of problems that we have put together based on user feedback.
 

1. Users say that the MCA21 has become very vulnerable; it works only in parts during a given working day. If some services work at one point of time, they don’t at others. These include features such as—View Master Data, View Signatory Details and View Charge index.
 

 2. Public inspection of documents is a mess. So, while MCA21 collects fees for viewing documents, users find that many documents and forms are missing. Sometimes a balance sheet is available but not the profit & loss statement, even though they are filed together.
Forms that you click on show processing errors. Now remember the government charges people for this and there is a three-hour window to access what you need. Often you end up paying the fees again, because the faulty system does not allow you to access all the documents in the three-hour window. The irony is that people who are being charged for this faulty system have a right to complain and recover their money. It is only fair that the new vendor—Infosys— should not be allowed to collect any fees until the system is restored to its ‘pristine’ level. The ministry has made no move to do so as yet.
 

 3.  A successful login requires 10 or even 20 attempts. Failure to log in blocks access to major services like filing and inspecting documents, checking transactions, etc. Problems with MCA21 have increased the time taken to register a company to 25 days in Delhi. Quick and seamless registration of companies was one of the touted achievements of MCA21.
 

4. Filing forms is a big nightmare and often requires two days of trying to succeed. There are problems with registering digital signatures and back-end processing of forms.
 

5. It is difficult to verify PAN (permanent account numbers) with DIN forms.
 

 The only concession made by the ministry so far is to extend the date for filing forms that were due after 16 January 2013, the day that Infosys took over MCA21.
 

Mr Masood’s proactive response is appreciated and one would also concede that the first task is to correct the system and then fix responsibility for the problem or investigate the level of competence or lack of it. But an investigation is clearly in order, along with a change in how large IT contracts handed out by the government are structured or auctioned. Failure to deliver must have consequences. Similarly, if the delays and problems are due to government apathy or the recalcitrance of sarkari officials, that too must have consequences, if it causes undue harassment to a person.
 

Our email to Mr Masood was also copied to the Infosys communications team, which has not bothered to respond.

User

COMMENTS

mdrafeeq

3 years ago

Correction:one cannot view profit & loss document of ie e form 23ACA of private limited company.

binoychacko

3 years ago

Dear Media Friends,

Infosys Limited has taken over the MCA21 Project (http://www.mca.gov.in) from TCS from 17th January 2013. From the day one when Infosys took over MCA21, the system is in trouble.

The present difficulties in MCA21 results in delays in Company / LLP registrations and corporate compliance filings which result in huge penalty, duplicate fee payments, waste of professional man-hours across country, delay of application / approval process at ROC / MCA offices and finally Corporate Compliance and Governance system and Corporate Growth in India is at halt.

We, a group of CS/CA/CWA/ADVOCATES/COMPANIES/CONSULTANTS etc. (the stakeholders of MCA21) are petitioning the Honourable Minister, MCA to address the difficulties and ensure smooth functioning of MCA 21 for a better Compliance and Governance system.
We have started a petition campaign at http://www.change.org. The petition now have received about 1000 signatures from professionals and corporate across country. http://chn.ge/16pdglA.

We are planning to submit this petition to the Honourable Minster by this week end.
Request you to cover this news with your PRESS.

Regards
Binoy Chacko
An MCA21 Stakeholder
Partner
BG & Associates
Company Secretaries
# 463, 10th Main, 13th Cross, Wilson Garden, Bangalore 560 027
Tel : +91 80 4120 7989
Mobile : +91 99457 54280
E-Mail : binoy@bgassociates.in

nagesh kini

4 years ago

It should be imperative that the IT cos. take on board during the designing exercise all the actual users like CAs,CSs, possibly SEBI, financial analysists and commercial banks who are the real actual users who input the data as well frequently access the site. A person who wears the shoes knows where it pinches. Truly said!

Ashish Ahuja

4 years ago

Thank you Ms. Sucheta Dalal for such a good article and analysis. Even now in May the portal and its backend is not working satisfactorily, it takes more than 1 month to get a company registered whereas earlier it used to take 10-15 days and nobody is even concerned that the portal is not working properly even after around 4 months after transfer.

Babubhai Vaghela

4 years ago

Minister Corporate Affairs should be sued and the harassed users be compensated.

anil garg

4 years ago

In fact this is the problem whenever there is a switch over from one service provider to other.Earlier service provider does not pass on all the codes and systems.For this reason many co/banks do not change the service provider and extend the period of earlier contract.Govt as well as nasscom have to settle this issue not only for MCA 21 but also for other service users.

nagesh kini

4 years ago

There is no provision in the Finacle banking package to delete the name of a deceased depositor. The bankers, on receipt of the death certificate makes a manual noting. All computer generated documents including the bank certificates will continue to indicate the dead depositors' name.
In many cases the closure of accounts that is suggested by the banks will not work as ECS instructions for credits and debits take time to take effect.
On taking to a top IT expert he said they need the call from the individual bank IT Department. Has the RBI ever applied its mind to the incongruity?

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