Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
My Dear Professional Colleagues,
For too long mankind, indiscriminately extricating natural resources has treated nature as a limitless source for its needs. In the process, what nature took millions of years to create is being used up and destroyed in a flip in the geological lifetime of the earth. Global warming, floods, droughts, avalanches, tsunamis, and pandemics are often indicators of the erosion that has already taken place and are harbingers of the worse that may happen. The effect of the global climate change is significant on ecology with life threatening pollution, intense heat waves, shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels with severe impact on plant and animal life.
In the year 1974, the then ICAI President CA. S.K. Gupta, stated – “All of us no doubt work to keep our body and soul together as also of those who are dependent on us. But we cannot be oblivious of the environment in which we work or ignore the calls of the society which provides us succour. We cannot draw a wall around us and work in isolation”. About half a century later, it is the time for the leaders of business and society to take a break and redefine the path for sustainable growth to have a clean and inclusive life without damaging the overall environment.
Sustainability is not a tree huggers’ fantasy. It is about the health and wellbeing of all of us and bringing the right balance between the environment, equity, and economy. Sustainable practices are built on the parameters that the resources are finite, there are long-term priorities and we should be mindful while using and should be aware of the consequences of their inappropriate use. Globally, more than ever, organizations are addressing the call for a responsible growth-based economic model, commonly known as the 2030 Global Agenda for Sustainable Development, leading towards a new path that creates sustainable as well as equitable economies and societies. The recent SEBI mandate of filing of Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR) for the top 1000 listed companies (by market capitalization) with effect from the financial year 2022-2023 is India’s response to the global call for national sustainable development strategies. The mandate intends to motivate the business community to fill resource gaps, focus on both financial and nonfinancial reporting and enhance the innovative capacities needed for the achievement of the 2030 Global Agenda.
ICAI is emerging as a global leader in the field with its Sustainability Reporting Standards Board taking various initiatives to benchmark global best practices in Sustainability Reporting and transparency of responsible business. The Institute as a part of various green initiatives has started construction of its first ever Green Building at Rohini in Delhi with Five Star GRIHA Rating whereby carbon footprints will be reduced significantly. ICAI strives to facilitate the adoption of a model of engaging multiple stakeholders across various sectors including MSME’s and households among others, to develop action plans for promoting sustainable/responsible practices in India. This special issue of ICAI Journal on BRSR provides a platform for discussion on the evolving nature of the Sustainability Reporting landscape and the related emerging issues and challenges.
The 73rd Chartered Accountants’ Day was celebrated on 1st of July all across the country with great enthusiasm and zeal. On the occasion this year, a 3 day Virtual CA programme on the theme ‘Remembering the Glorious Existence and Envisioning the Future’ was organized, from June 29 to July 1, 2021 comprising sessions by eminent speakers sharing their rich experience that covered the entire gamut of myriad contributions that the profession is making towards the society. Mindful of the pandemic, the function was attended virtually by thousands of audience consisting of Chartered Accountants, students, and other stakeholders. The event on July 1, was inaugurated by the Chief Guest Shri (CA.) Piyush Goyal, Hon’ble Minister of Railways, Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food & Public Distribution. The Hon’ble Minister reiterated the words of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India wherein CAs were referred to as “Gurus of the Finance World”. He reaffirmed his confidence in CA profession and its abilities. The Minister stated, “Chartered Accountants take care of the health of the economy. In the times of COVID, CAs have worked diligently to keep the wheels of the economy going” and urged all the Chartered Accountants to work collectively with sanctity and credibility so that the trust of the society on the Chartered Accountants is further strengthened.
Taking note of depletion of the green cover all across the world and consequent increase in pollution, ICAI also launched a Mega Tree Plantation Drive through the august hands of Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal, Hon’ble Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises. The Institute through its regions and branches aims to plant ten lakh trees during the year. On the occasion, ICAI also launched a socially beneficial Financial & Tax Literacy Drive to educate the common man about financial planning and tax related matters. A dedicated multilingual portal “www.vitiyagyan.icai.org” was launched in nine different languages. During the day, ICAI made several releases and launches for the benefit of members and society.
The Institute signed a MoU with Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), Qatar for export of accounting services to Qatar and exploring professional and business opportunities for ICAI members through collaborative initiatives. The MoU is a stride forward to work closely with each other by drawing synergies from the professional expertise available at either side especially in the areas of auditing, assurance, financial services, taxation, and alike.
From the Qatar side, the MoU was signed by Mr. Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC who stated that “The signing of the agreement with one of the largest accountancy bodies of the World marks yet another important step in our efforts to strengthen human capital and promote entrepreneurship in Qatar. Through this partnership, both QFC and ICAI will work towards enabling entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators from India to use our platform and set up their ventures in Qatar to become part of Qatar’s robust market”. At the event, Dr. Deepak Mittal, His Excellency Ambassador of India to the State of Qatar as Guest of Honour mentioned that “India and Qatar share cordial relations and the contributions of the Indian community in Qatar have strengthened the deep-rooted friendship of the two countries.” The signing of this MoU between ICAI and QFC has opened a wide range of opportunities for Indian Chartered Accountants in that part of the world and would in turn be an impetus for growth of both the economies.
I am happy to inform that the Mauritius (Port Louis) Chapter was inaugurated as the 43rd Overseas Chapter of the ICAI at a virtual event on July 09, 2021. We had the presence of H.E. Mr. Janesh Kain, Hon’ble Acting High Commissioner of India to Mauritius; CA. Mahaveer Singhvi, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India; Mr. Vivek Gujadhar, Chairperson, Mauritius Institute of Professional Accountants and Dr. Yousouf Ismael, Secretary General, Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and other eminent guest speakers.
ICAI is receptive to the emerging challenges faced by the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) & Start-ups. To address the issues faced by MSMEs & Start-ups, the ICAI will continue to undertake a number of initiatives to strengthen them in terms of competence and improve their visibility amongst the business community. To enhance the capacity building of MSMEs & Startups, the ICAI has launched three very important initiatives for them namely ICAI MSME Exchange, ICAI MSME Portal and Certificate course on MSME on the occasion of International MSME Day observed on June 27, 2021. With the growth of Indian economy and employment generation capabilities, the MSMEs account for nearly half of India’s total exports thereby becoming the backbone of the nation’s economy even during the pandemic. The MSME Sector is an important pillar to carry forward the vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and face the economically challenging situation posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Central and State Governments have launched many schemes to provide a much-needed impetus for the revival of the MSMEs. However, to reach the end users, a simple and effective ecosystem which can assist MSMEs to benefit in a most optimized manner is necessary. ICAI believes that Chartered Accountants with close proximity to the business, industry and entrepreneurs can work with the focus areas of MSMEs especially after being hit by the COVID-19 tsunami.
Due to the ongoing effect of pandemic, several parts of the country are still under partial lockdown and considering the requests received in this regard, the Peer Review Board has decided to grant relief to the practice units by extending the expiry date of the peer review certificate having original expiry date falling anytime from 1st July 2021 to 31st July 2021 till 31st August 2021, i.e., cases where no extension benefit has been availed as per any of the earlier announcements of the Board. However, in case where reviewer has already submitted the report in respect of a Practice Unit falling in aforesaid category, which is considered by the Board and found complete up to 31st August, 2021 the peer review certificate shall be issued in continuation of the previous certificate.
In contrast with several other courses, the Institute offers an exhaustive term of three years during which aspiring professionals get an immersive practical learning experience in the form of articleship training to complement theoretical education. Even in these pandemic times, ICAI is using best of the technological tools to reach out to the students and assist them in their learning efforts. The widespread adoption and use of mobile technologies have the potential to equip next generation with interactive learning and provide innovative ways to deliver quality services to the students. To provide quality education to the students, a mobile application has been launched by ICAI which will enable linking of student fraternity with the Institute. The application shall provide interactive learning and coaching on a single platform with a number of additional features to cater to student’s need. Students will also be able to access downloaded assignments, faculty notes and study material offline.
Further, the practical training enables the students to fortify their knowledge, thereby improving their chances and possibilities of professional success. Chartered Accountants can motivate students to go beyond the general areas of accounts, taxes, financial reporting, financial management, audits, corporate and economic laws, and financial services to acquire social, ethical, leadership, communication and other soft skills for their overall personality development. Considering the vital role of CAs in the financial and economic matters as well as dynamic global influences, the Institute provides an exclusive real world training ground to the students and help them to succeed. Your support is important in honing the young minds and moulding them into real professionals. Stay safe, stay healthy. Best wishes.
CA. Nihar N. Jambusaria
New Delhi, 25th July, 2021