The MCA21 project was launched by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) in a progressive manner at all offices of the ROC nationwide starting February, 2006. To facilitate e-filing under the MCA21 project, MCA has set up 53 customer facilitation centres at metros and various other cities nationwide. These Facilitation Centres, known as the Physical Front Offices (PFOs) of the ROCs are managed by the TCS-CMC as the service providers, and all services available at these PFOs are without any service charges.
It has, however, been felt that a wider network of facilitation centres would be needed by the stakeholders in addition to those that are already operated by MCA under the MCA21 project. Accordingly, a Scheme for Certified Filing Centres (CFCs) has been framed by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Under this scheme, professionals in practice belonging to the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICAI), Institute of Chartered Accounts of India (ICAI) and Institute of Cost & Works Accountants of India (ICWAI) and the body corporates managed by the professionals were provided an opportunity to set-up and operate the CFCs. All details pertaining to CFCs can be found under the title "CFC Corner" in the MCA portal www.mca.gov.in. This CFC Corner is in the process of development and is expected to be on the portal of MCA from August 1, 2006 onwards.
Following guidelines lay down the procedural aspects of the Scheme:
2. Approval of Applications
Consequent to the framing of the CFC Scheme, numerous applications have been received through the respective professional Institutes. A well defined process has been laid down for the approval of these applications. The applications are to be made through the respective Institutes along with necessary application fee. The Institutes will examine and process all eligible applications before forwarding to the MCA. In this process, the respective Institutes will confirm the eligibility, capability, membership eligibility and past conduct of the member. On being satisfied that the applicant was not guilty of professional or any other misconduct and his name was not removed from the Register of Members, the Institute will recommend to MCA for approval of CFC status to the applicant. MCA will also scrutinize the short-listed applications received from the Institute and advise the respective Institutes to issue certificates to the applicants as are found to be elig ible and qualified. Issue of certificates for qualified applicants will commence from August 4, 2006.
3. Establishment of CFC Facilities
All such applicants, who have not set-up the minimum infrastructure facilities, as specified under the Scheme, at the time of submission of application, will be given eight (8) weeks time to do the same for establishing a CFC. These are as follows:
Space: 200 sq. ft.
Computer Seats - 2
Waiting Seats - 4
Trained staff - 1
Computing Infrastructure PCs - 2
Printers - 1
Scanners - 1
Reliable Network Connectivity (preferably broad-band or higher)
Necessary software as may be required from time to time to facilitate e-filing (as published on the MCA portal under the link "Pre-requisite Software for e-Filing"), in addition to a facility to convert popular office software file formats into PDF.
4. Display of CFC Sign Board
The CFC should display a sign board indicating that the Centre has been authorised by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to accept MCA-21 filings. This sign board should be displayed in a prominent location and will be of dimension 3'x 2' (Specimen given below). The sign board should ensure conformity to the specifications that is provided in the CFC corner of MCA website in terms of content, style and colour so as to enable the public to easily identify such Centres.
5. Registration of CFC
Within one week from date of approval of the application by the Ministry, the Operator of the MCA21 system (TCS), will send a "User ID" and password to the email ID specified in the CFC application form. Upon establishment of the necessary infrastructure and the display of CFC sign board, the CFC Administrator should use this user ID and complete the registration process. The registration process will require entry of details of the CFC including address and infrastructure details so that the same can be published in the CFC Corner on the MCA website.
6. CFC Service Charges
The Ministry has prescribed the minimum requirements necessary for establishing a CFC. The CFCs constitute an additional facility over and above the MCA21 Facilitation Centres set-up by the Ministry. The CFCs provide services based on the model of user charges. Considering the investments that are needed to set up and operate these CFCs, the Ministry, in consultation with the professional institutes, has allowed the CFCs to collect service charges for facilitating MCA services to customers. The fee for various services, which lays down the upper limit, is specified in the Scheme. Thus the Facilitation Centres set up by the Ministry (where services are provided free of any charge) and the CFCs set-up by the Professionals under the Scheme (following a service charge model) together will constitute a wider network of facilitation centres that would be available to the stakeholders.
The CFC would also display a standardised list of service charges in the CFC so as to inform the public about the maximum charges which are payable for availing each service, including applicable service tax on services rendered.
7. Getting Ready for E-filing
The CFC should carry out some preliminary steps in getting ready for e-filing. These are:
- Create individual MCA21 user accounts for each operator who will be facilitating e-filing;
- Encourage staff to familiarize themselves with MCA21 system using the training material and other useful literature that is available in the MCA portal;
- Download and familiarize some of the key e-forms related to name availability, company incorporation, charge registration, changes to directors, increase of authorized capital and annual statutory filing.
- Familiarize with the statutory fees that are available in the MCA portal for various services.
- Familiarize with the modalities related to obtaining Director Identification Number (DIN) and all associated DIN forms.
- Familiarize with the functionality related to the viewing of "company data" and "charge data" and understand the procedure required to be followed for correcting them in case this is not correct.
- Collect the addresses and working timings of notified Bank branches in the vicinity of the CFC that collect MCA21 payments.
- Understand how the "Helpdesk" feature works and how complaints will need to be logged.
8. Norms for MCA21 e- Filing to be followed by the CFC
CFC would assist the stake holders to e-file their documents for availing MCA21 services. All the filing done at the CFC is done only through the specified user ID. The following are the related guidelines:
8. 1 Use of Digital Signatures:
The stake-holders would be expected to use their Digital Signatures for e-filing. The CFC manager/ staff is not allowed to use his Digital Signature for stake-holders who come to the CFC for availing the filing services. Should there be a change to this requirement, MCA will publish this through the website.
8.2 Payment of statutory fees
The CFC should advise the stakeholders to make payment of statutory fees using the on-line methods of payment, as far as practicable, and help them use their credit card/ Internet Banking for facilitating payment of statutory fees. They should educate the users about the inherent advantages of on-line payments, especially the instant recognition of payment realisation and time-saving.
In the event a stakeholder/ user comes with bank instruments (Cheque/DD/Pay Order) for payment of the statutory fees, there will be no option but to use a system generated pre-filled challan and deposit of the statutory fees in any of the authorised bank branches.
One alternative in the off-line payment option, where the filing agent brings cash for payment of statutory fees, is that the CFC operator opens its own Corporate Internet Banking Account with one of the authorised bank branches and authorise online payments of statutory fees from this account on behalf of the stakeholder. If this facility is put in place, the CFC may accept the statutory fees, brought in Cash mode to the Centre, and use the cash amount so received to recoup the CFC account through which the payment has been made online. However, under this arrangement, the CFC operator shall provide a MCA21 system generated receipt to the filing agent as a token of having made such payments to MCA on behalf of the service seeker.
8.3 CFC Service Charges
The payment of service charges that have been notified separately under the CFC scheme may, however, be accepted by CFC operator by any mode of payment that is mutually convenient. Receipt for these service charges will need to be provided to the service seeker.
8.4 Changes to the MCA21 system
The MCA21 system, including e-forms, are being improvised with continuous feedback from the industry and professionals. Such changes are periodically announced on the MCA21 portal. It is essential that the CFC keeps itself abreast with such changes and advise the service seekers to conform to the forms that are in force from time to time.
9. Despatch of Physical Documents to the ROC Offices
All the physical documents, required to be submitted in respect of certain services that require a physical copy of the documents to be delivered in the Offices of Registrar of Companies for the time being (e.g. stamp paper approvals, charged documents, MOA, AOA, etc.), should be sent to the respective ROC office by courier or speed-post along with "Acknowledgement Due". The courier charges, on actual basis, would however, be payable by the user. The CFC should send all such physical documents in a separate envelope that is super-subscribed with the details of service request numbers no later than the immediate next working day, so as to enable prompt service delivery. MCA cannot be held responsible in case of loss of supporting paper documents in transit.
10. Maintenance of Records
CFC should maintain an account of all transactions, day-wise, as described in the pro forma published under the CFC corner on the MCA website. This should also include details on challans generated and on-line payments made in respect of transactions. Such records and reports must be produced on demand.
11. Helpdesk for CFC
A designated helpdesk will be established by the Operator (TCS) with specific email ID and phone numbers to handle queries and complaints of CFCs. The idea of this specific help desk is to understand and resolve any issues that are of specific relevance to the CFCs in an optimal manner. The details of email ID and phone numbers will be published in the MCA portal.
12. Suggestions and Complaints
Suggestions regarding the CFC may be made directly to the manager/person-in-charge of the CFC. The CFC is obligated to maintain a suggestion book.
Complaints in connection with the operations of a CFC may be made to the respective Institutes. The Institutes shall put in place a mechanism to address all such complaints with response to the concerned stakeholders. Institutes shall also bring complaints of serious nature to the attention of the Ministry. CFC is obligated to display prominently the address of the Office- bearer in the Professional Institute to whom complaints will need to be addressed.
13. Revocation of CFC Status
CFC status may be revoked if the CFC does not conform to the minimum stipulated norms, is unable to provide the requisite service levels, engages in acts of embezzlement or in such other violation that is detrimental to the customers, or where there exist complaints against the CFCs that are serious in nature besides action under the relevant law.