In an interesting turn of events, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has roped in Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) as a consultant for smooth running of its portal, MCA21.
TCS was in charge of development and management of the portal for seven years, until MCA decided to hand the work of its IT vendor to Infosys. The ministry has now asked TCS to extend its services beyond the usual hand-holding period for the transfer of the portal to Infosys. This follows some snags that made the portal slow down considerably.
An Infosys spokesperson said in reply to an emailed query: "Infosys will be unable to comment on this; we recommend a further conversation with MCA representatives for any additional query you might have."
Attempts to reach MCA failed but its website said in a notification: "We thank all stakeholders for support, as MCA21 is functioning satisfactorily now. The individual issues emanating since January 17 are being looked into and we are striving to resolve all pending issues by February 22. We solicit your cooperation." TCS refused to comment on the issue.
Bangalore-based Infosys had bagged the MCA-21 contract for a five-year period for about $50 million in November last year. The IT firm had said it would revamp the existing application after the transition from the incumbent vendor and manage the overall transformation.
However, since January, companies have been finding it difficult to access the website and upload the mandatory information.
Institute of Company Secretaries of India President S N Ananthasubramanian said: "The portal has been functional off and on since January 17. All parties involved are working to make MCA21 run seamlessly. The ministry has assured us that the portal would be operational soon."
Meanwhile, as part of steps to resolve the issue, MCA informed stakeholders in a circular that any additional fee for delayed filing of statutory submission would be waived.
The website, mostly accessed and used by chartered accountants, lenders and shareholders, contains data and financial details of 650,000 companies registered with MCA. The latest number of filings the website undertakes was not available, but according to its 2011-12 annual report, the portal received 31,050 hits on a daily basis. The highest number of documents filed per day was 71,435.
TCS, which developed the portal, digitised about 45 million paper documents in MCA's archives, set up a data centre, building the computing infrastructure, besides setting up 52 facilitation centres. These were done over a year and a half.