The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the platinum jubilee celebrations of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) in presence of Shri Manoj Sinha, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Communications and Minister of State for Railways and Shri P. P. Chaudhary, Union Minister of State for Corporate Affairs & Law and Justice amongst senior officials of ICAI here today.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that adherence to a fair taxation system is much more than merely providing revenue to the government. It is part of the same social contract that underpins our Constitution. Under this Constitution we have given ourselves certain rights but also certain responsibilities. Taxes are what we pay to get social benefits in the form of public goods and services, health and education facilities, better infrastructure, law and order, and secure borders. It is crucial that this responsibility is shared by the widest possible number of citizens – whether they pay taxes directly or indirectly. It is the solemn duty of each one of us to contribute to the society that we share and the nation that we are part of.
The President said that chartered accountants have a key role in advancing such a culture. They are both facilitators of tax payers and of the taxation system as well as watchdogs of public trust. In many respects, a tax system is only as complicated as they want to make it. As professionals, it is their legitimate right to advise their clients on tax planning. However, there is a fine line between intelligent tax planning – and tax dodging and tax evasion. Chartered accountants are custodians of that fine line.
The President said that maintaining such propriety is not just a legal duty for all tax payers and for all taxation and financial professionals, there is also a morality added to it. When banking scandals take place, when large borrowers abscond and leave their banks in the lurch – or, as in the case of Satyam some years ago, when promoters themselves embezzle funds and carry out fraud – it represents a breach of faith. It amounts to a betrayal of not only corporate ethics but of honest fellow citizens and of our collective value system. White collar crimes don’t leave behind a smoking gun; they leave behind broken hearts and a shaken confidence. When such episodes occur, it would be in order to introspect. It would be relevant to ask if those responsible for auditing balance sheets have truly done their duty – or if they have contributed to the sorry situation.
Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Communication and Minister of State for Railways Shri Manoj Sinha said that when the foundation of ICAI was laid down, it was expected to perform professionally. From 1949, the ICAI started off with 1,700 members only and today it boasts of 2,85,000 members. Shri Sinha said from 285 students to 850,000 students today, that is phenomenal growth in 70 years. ICAI is ably discharging its duties in the areas of education and examination besides setting standards in accountancy in India as well as world over.
Shri Sinha issued Memorial Stamp for the ICAI by the Postal Department.
Shri Sinha also lauded Minister of State for Law & Justice and Corporate Affairs Shri P.P. Chaudhary and ICAI President, and other Chartered Accountants have played a crucial role in implementing the GST. On a personal note, Shri Sinha said he supports ICAI but sometimes there is a need for this institution to work towards ridding of those elements that have strayed away from the mindset of the institution.
Minister of State for Law & Justice and Corporate Affairs Shri P.P. Chaudhary in his address recalled that last year Prime Minster Shri Narendra Modi had referred to Chartered Accountants as the doctors of economic health of society. Shri Chaudhary said India is one of the fastest growing economy in the world and it continuously throws new challenges and opportunities. Chartered Accountants are known all over the world for their excellent financial skills. Shri Chaudhary said that accounting being the language of global business, today’s CA is a versatile and a ‘must-have’.
While talking about the corporate ecosystem, Shri Chaudhary said that the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has tried to successfully steer the Companies Act, 2013 and ensure that Indian economy reaps the fruits of a vibrant and competent corporate governance. Shri Chaudhary said that the Government has brought amendments to the Act whenever it felt the need for harmonising it with the expectations of the corporate ecosystem. With a view to prevent waste of such assets as well as to strengthen the voice of the ordinary investors and employees, the government enacted the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code in 2016. Shri Chaudhary told the august audience of CAs that it is now their turn to make the best out of this piece of legislation and to ensure that the hair-cut that is borne by the lenders and the creditors is kept to the minimum possible.
Addressing the technical session during event, Ms .Rachel Grimes, president, IFAC acknowledged the role of ICAI in formation of major accounting bodies. She said that as India will be celebrating 75 years of Independence in 2022, coinciding with it, India will be hosting, for the first time, World Congress of Accountants in Mumbai.
ICAI President CA Naveen N.D. Gupta said that since its inception in 1949, ICAI has covered an illustrious journey by enriching the nation, adding professional value and benefitting the society. Over the last 69 years, ICAI has been delivering its role as an Objective Standard Setter, Neutral Regulator, an Exemplary Educator and in short a Torch Bearer of the accountancy profession in India.'
While delivering Vote of Thanks, CA Prafulla P. Chhajed said that Chartered Accountants are the guardians of financial probity. In the growth and development of India, the accounting profession is playing a dynamic role in ensuring stability and sustainability of the national growth. He said that he is confident that the Institute and its members would continue to meet the expectations of the Government.