President’s Message – February 2022

My Dear Professional Colleagues,

As the completion of the Council Year 2021-22 approaches, we look back at this incredible journey of the Council Year. It has been a great honour and privilege to fortify the legacy of my alma mater as the 69th President of ICAI as we have continued to move forward and progress despite the challenges from the pandemic and its ripple effects. The experience of leading the institute in these troubled waters has been a catalyst in realising my own capacity to continue to evolve, find innovative ways and go on to excel in my duty for the profession and nation. “Strength does not come from physical capacity, It comes from an indomitable will.”– Mahatma Gandhi

This memorable journey was possible due to the untiring support from the Council members, colleagues from the regional councils, branches, study chapters, study circles, foreign chapters, and representative offices and each one of you, who have contributed their time and hard work to the Institute and its activities. As I look back, I am lucky to have an amazing team of my Council colleagues and officers of the Institute. With the able support of CA. (Dr.) Debashis Mitra Vice- President, ICAI, the Institute has steered on its pursuit of excellence by reimagining and realigning the profession with the digital era.

I reminiscence the words of our Past President CA. Y H Malegam, “Society expects the profession to be not merely the ‘conscience-keeper’ of the business world but also a direct contributory to the welfare of society in general and commerce and industry in particular.” ICAI is a strong partner in national development and has continued this stride by collaborating with government, institutes, and other bodies to help them in formulating policies which will strengthen the economy. The pandemic has driven us towards harnessing the power of technology at much faster pace and embracing the digital era in our professional pursuits. ICAI’s Action Plan 2021-2022 has borne fruits in ushering the new developments, placed tools for integration and paving the way for future growth.

Analysing the current situation, we figured out that it is the golden hour to work with other stakeholders as part of Team India for building the New India with a collective spirit of “Together everyone achieves more”. We at ICAI focused on multipronged strategies to lay the groundwork for the future by preparing the profession future ready, and simultaneously supporting economic development. Many initiatives have been undertaken to support various stakeholders, stimulate economic growth and enhance the profession in order to achieve our mission.

To realise the vision of self-reliant India, ICAI has undertaken a variety of initiatives aimed at empowering the MSMEs and Startups, being an important driver of economic growth, like commemorating International MSME Day on 27th June, 2021. To enhance their competence and improve their visibility amongst the business community, the ICAI this year launched ICAI MSME Exchange, MSME Portal, Startup Portal, and Incubation centres with an intent to nurture them and to attract investments, adopting technology to innovate and putting in place an ecosystem that would foster growth for value creation to build around Make in India, Digital India, and Startup India.

Building the profession for the future necessitated to grow the profession beyond national borders, and it gives me immense satisfaction to inform that we are able to enhance our presence to 47 countries from 43 and across 73 global cities through opening of 14 Chapters and Representative offices even in the constrained environment. Another important milestone achieved that we were able to forge new alliances with ASEAN and institutions in Russia, Azerbaijan, Poland and Qatar, in addition to renewal of ties with CPA Australia and ICA Australia and New Zealand promoting intellectual development, advancing the interests of our respective members and positively contributing to the development of the global accountancy profession.

Harnessing the full potential of our demographic dividend and moving towards a financially inclusive society, ICAI has launched the noble initiative to educate the Indian masses about the basics of Taxation, Insurance, Banking, and various other important subject areas of finance through the financial and tax literacy drive – VitiyaGyan Abhiyaan, which aims to create awareness amongst masses in their own 12 vernacular languages and is indeed an incredible way whereby ICAI can continue to play a pivotal role in the development of the nation.

An important area of our work this year has been promoting sustainable economic development, and to strengthen the sustainability reporting in the country. To this effect, the Institute has launched the Sustainability Reporting Maturity Model (SRMM) Version 1.0. In the time to come, the SRMM would form the foundation for benchmarking of sustainability reporting for Indian corporates. Our members will play an important role in helping the organizations to increase their level of preparedness on the sustainability parameters. We have also institutionalized the Sustainability Awards to promote best practices and encourage businesses to adopt sustainability reporting.

ICAI, the largest intermediary in the direct tax ecosystem of the country, provided inputs to CBDT and Infosys in resolving IT portal glitches which will make compliance simple and citizen friendly. The ICAI has remained at the forefront in providing grassroot insights to the government, collated, analysed, and complimented with the experience of experts. During the year, the Institute invited suggestions for widening the tax base, increasing tax revenues, checking tax avoidance, reducing/minimizing litigations and removing administrative and procedural difficulties were submitted to the Government in the form of Pre-budget Memorandum.

Being a knowledge driven profession, it is paramount for the profession to maintain high standards of excellence. The Institute has taken numerous steps for capacity building of its members and students. The Digital Learning Hub was revamped and continuously updated for latest knowledge dissemination amongst the members. New Certificate courses were launched for skill development and to provide new avenues of practice. The Institute also constituted Committee for Review of Education and Training (CRET) for realigning the existing course structure with the digital era to nurture the best professionals.

During the year, one of the areas that remained very high on the agenda of the Institute is to extend a helping hand to our members and students during the time of crisis. In this direction, there were several initiatives taken in the interest of members and students by the Institute. Besides providing relaxation of various timelines in filing of Statutory Forms with the ICAI, and waiving condonation fee, we have provided financial support through the CABF Corona Financial Medical Assistance Scheme and disbursed about Rs. 10 crores to more than 800 beneficiaries. Further, ICAI granted exemption of CA Course fee, for students whose parents or either of the parents passed away due to the pandemic. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has granted the academic equivalence to the Chartered Accountancy qualification with its Post Graduate degree.

Towards capacity building initiatives, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) had approved Multi- Disciplinary Partnership (MDP) guidelines of the ICAI. This will pave the way for CA firms to partner with members of other professions in offering varied services under one roof. This will encourage Indian firms to aggregate and emerge bigger at the global arena.

ICAI has also formed a group to strengthen its role as a consultative body through public advocacy on emerging regulations, laws, topics of corporate and economic interest and monitor and advocate on legislative matters that affect the accounting profession and the public at large.

In the responsible exercise of nation building, the ICAI, through all the above initiatives is making an effort to develop competent professionals to deliver world class services and for the betterment of the overall profession. A detailed list of various activities undertaken and tasks accomplished is published separately in inside pages. In addition to the above, let me share some latest and recent developments at the Institute over the last month:

Hon’ble Vice President of India lays foundation stone at ICAI Bhawan, Ernakulam

It was a great honour and privilege for the Institute that the foundation stone of the new state-ofthe- art building of ICAI Bhawan at Ernakulam and inauguration of two-day National Conference of CAs on 3rd and 4th January 2022 organized by PDC was done by the august hands of Hon’ble Vice-President of India, Shri. M. Venkaiah Naidu. Shri. Arif Mohammed Khan, Hon’ble Governor of Kerala, Shri. V. Muraleedharan, Hon’ble Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs and Shri. P. Rajeev, Hon’ble Minister for Industries, Law and Coir, Kerala also joined as Special Guests for the occasion. The event also had the presence of CA. Thomas Chazhikadan, Member of Parliament, Shri. Hibi Eden, Member of Parliament, Kottayam and Adv. M. Anil Kumar, Mayor of Kochi and Mr. M A Yusuffali, CMD Lulu Group International. The Hon’ble Vice-President of India praised the Ernakulam branch of ICAI for its excellent service rendered over the last 54 years and hoped that the proposed building would cater to the academic and professional needs of the students in the region. He lauded the role of Chartered Accountants in the economic advancement of the nation and made a clarion call to improve financial literacy in the country.

ICAI International Conference

The ICAI International Conference “Accountants Creating a Digital and Sustainable Economy” was held virtually from 20th–22nd January 2022. The Conference has seen participation of more than 3000 delegates who attended the event through a specially created virtual platform providing best in class experience. Over 80 eminent speakers both of the national as well as international eminence from government, Industry, Private sector and Accounting Profession addressed the elite gathering of members, academicians, researchers and policy makers from across the globe in more than 15 sessions. The Conference was inaugurated by Shri Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways as Chief Guest and Mr. Alan Johnson, President, International Federation of Accountants as Guest of Honour. I am thankful to the speakers, stakeholders and members for making the International Conference highly successful.

Round Table Meet with RBI

A Round Table Meet was held with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 24th December 2021 virtually. The said meeting was chaired by Shri M K Jain, Deputy Governor RBI and was also attended by Shri Rohit Jain, Executive Director, Shri S C Murmu, Executive Director and other top executives of RBI. A detailed presentation was made by ICAI on issues pertaining to the broader expectations of the profession from RBI. Further, the DG and ED assured that the Statutory audit fee of Banks is under active consideration and the final decision will be taken shortly.

ICAI Convocation 2021-22

As I pen down this message, I always find it pleasing to interact with the young talent entering the profession. The ICAI Convocation 2021-22, was held adhering to the Covid protocols at Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and Ahmedabad to award Membership Certificates as well as Merit Certificates respectively to newly enrolled Members and Rank Holders. In the Convocation, more than 6,000 Members and Rank Holders were awarded certificates. I compliment all the distinguished guests for their gracious presence and for blessing the young talent at the Convocations. My heartfelt best wishes to the young members who have missed/are missing the Convocation at Pune, Hyderabad, Kanpur, Jaipur, Indore, and New Delhi due to the Covid Restrictions. I must acknowledge that Youth is the power, and I am elated to see that the future of the profession is in very bright hands.

Concluding Remarks

As the Council year is coming to an end, I would like to express my sincere thanks to my colleagues on the Council and in particular, to the members nominated by the Government for the consideration and ready co-operation extended to me during the year for working towards the development of the profession. I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to my distinguished colleague CA. (Dr.) Debashis Mitra, Vice-President ICAI, for being an excellent partner and great support in this journey. As I pass on the mantle of leadership on the able shoulders of the new President, I am confident that he will continue to light the path ahead and take it further with his erudite academic capacity, vigour, and enthusiasm in serving the accounting profession.

I wish to take this opportunity of acknowledging the co-operation and guidance I received from the esteemed past-Presidents, senior members of the profession, representatives at Regional Councils, Branches, foreign Chapters, Representative offices, and distinguished members of the profession coopted to serve various committees of the Council. I would also like to mention the warmth and generosity which I was fortunate to receive from members and students of the Institute whenever I had the opportunity of meeting them in different parts of the country.

I express my gratitude to our Hon’ble ministers and senior functionaries at various ministries for their guidance and foresight on many important matters, motivation and unflinching support extended to the Institute in its endeavours. I am especially thankful to Shri Om Birla, Hon’ble Speaker of Lok Sabha, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Hon’ble Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Shri Piyush Goyal, Hon’ble Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and Textiles, Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, Hon’ble Minister of Information and Broadcasting (then Hon’ble MOS Finance), Dr. Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad, Hon’ble Minister of State for Finance, Shri Parshottam Rupala, Hon’ble Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Shri Narayan Rane, Hon’ble Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal, Hon’ble Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Ministry of Culture, Shri Uddhav Thackeray, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Hon’ble Members of Parliament Shri Suresh P Prabhu, Shri Arun Singh, Shri Thomas Chazhikadan, Smt. Navneet Rana, Shri Hibi Eden, Shri Subhash Chandra Baheria, Revenue Secretary Shri Tarun Bajaj and RBI Governor Shri Shaktikanta Das. During the year, we are blessed with the excellent guidance and support in all our endeavours from Shri Rajesh Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, and Shri Manoj Pandey, Joint Secretary, MCA for which I will always remain grateful.

I would also like to record my appreciation of the services and co-operation of the members and the staff of the Institute led by CA. (Dr.) Jai Kumar Batra, Secretary, ICAI who have worked with all sincerity and have extended unstinted support in effectively implementing the various initiatives of the institute during the year. Lastly, I pay my deepest gratitude to the almighty and my teachers for their blessings and guidance to steer the profession to newer heights in these tumultuous times. I am especially thankful to my family and friends for supporting me throughout this journey with their patience and being pillars of strength.

In this last message as the President of ICAI, I wish to convey that this has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life working and interacting with members, students, stakeholders, and other distinguished professionals in the Institute and beyond where they continue to impact the functioning of the world at large. The past two years have been challenging but looking back we have also become resilient and stronger. This is the lesson that we take forward, that no matter what, we remain true to ourselves, dedicated to our purpose and work in such a manner that our work defines us in a way that requires no introduction.

I take my leave with satisfaction and gratitude for this fulfilling tenure and wish each one of you the best on this purposeful journey ahead.

All good wishes, stay safe.

CA. Nihar N. Jambusaria
President, ICAI
New Delhi, 27th January, 2022Please Post Your Views Here