MCA to introduce chatbox to assist with statutory filings and artificial intelligence for User Guidance
Incorporating corporations and filing statutory documents under the Enterprises Act are expected to become more interactive in the coming months, with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs building a new version of its compliance platform for companies.
According to a person familiar with the project, the new ‘business module’ on the ministry’s compliance site will include chatbots to assist with filings, web forms rather than portable document format (PDF) forms, and artificial intelligence to guide the user through the filing process. The goal is to make the portal more responsive and to increase the convenience of doing business, particularly for small enterprises that may not have the resources to retain compliance consultants.
The ministry, which recently launched a comparable module for limited liability partnerships (LLPs), anticipates that the new business module will be fully functioning in two months.
Given that over 1.4 million active companies use the ministry’s MCA21 portal for statutory compliance, a more responsive and interactive technology interface with the regulatory authorities—Registrars of Companies (RoCs), Regional Directors, and official liquidators—will be extremely beneficial to businesses and professionals. According to official data, over 1.2 million annual returns were filed in FY21, and over 3.1 million firm records were examined online. The number of firms being founded is likewise increasing, with approximately 12,000-14,000 new companies being formed each month.
“As the ease of doing business improves, compliance will need less time and resources, allowing entrepreneurs to focus on their core operations,” said a second person, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Because the new module will use artificial intelligence and data analytics to mine the information to spot trends in the corporate sector that may warrant the attention of regulators or policymakers, the new filing system will also influence the government’s administration of the regulatory framework under the Companies Act. Earlier this month, the ministry requested bids from private researchers to analyse its database in order to shed light on business behaviour in critical areas such as the level of leverage and whether monies obtained from the public were used for the stated purpose.
The ministry has already linked its technology platform with other departments such as labour and employment and revenue, as well as some state governments and select banks, to provide a variety of services such as the issuance of Permanent Account Numbers (PAN), tax deduction and collection account numbers (TAN), Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) registration, and profession tax registration.