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Online info brings India Inc under more scrutiny

By N Sundaresha Subramanian
January 07, 2015 13:53 IST
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MCA portal clocks 5 mn views in 8 months; ministry to integrate company records portal with DGFT, I-T dept this year

The corporate sector is coming under more scrutiny with the availability of company documents online. The ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) website, which hosts company records, registered five million ‘of these viewed online’ between April and November last year.

The records viewed crossed 4.4 million registered in the full financial year ending March 2014, and looks set to record thrice the two-million views registered in the year ending 2012. The numbers were published by the ministry in an e-book released recently. The first edition of the e-book talks about various achievements of the ministry since it was carved out in 2004. The MCA-21 project, taken up in the national e-governance plan, is listed as a significant achievement of the ministry.

The spectacular jump comes despite the ministry increasing the fee for document views by the public to Rs 100 from Rs 50 earlier. The balance sheets and other key corporate filings of companies registered in India are accessible to the public through the MCA-21 website.

Since the site became operational in 2006, use of the facility for corporate due-diligence, and by analysts and journalists has been on the rise. The documents filed with the portal have been useful for investigators in several scams such as 2-G—spectrum and coal block allocations.

About 30 million documents have been filed through the system so far, according to the ministry. In the current financial year alone, 4.4 million balance sheets and an equal number of annual returns have been filed.

The MCA-21 system has been serving as the operational backbone for the ministry’s service delivery. The portal has 790,000 registered users, with 41,000 unique visitors a day and four million hits.

The ministry earns a huge fee income. It calls itself a revenue-surplus ministry, having clocked revenue receipts of Rs 1,603 crore (Rs 16.03 billion) in FY14 against total expenditure of Rs 229 crore (Rs 2.29 billion).

In a significant boost to the ease of doing business, the ministry is also planning several process improvements in 2015, which will help companies and compliance professionals. “MCA 21 portal is being integrated with the e-Biz platform and the portals of DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade) and the income tax department to facilitate ease of business. Integration with PayGov portal to provide another payment option is also under consideration,” the ministry said in the e-book.

The e-book also talked about the ministry’s initiatives such as Serious Fraud Investigation Office, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs and its recent amendments to company law.

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N Sundaresha Subramanian in New Delhi
Source: source

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