CA Lalit Munoyat
Students appearing for IPCC paper 5-Auditing & Assurance-on 13th May 2013 , were shocked to know , after coming out of the exam centre, that the exam for SM/IT paper -7 due to be held on 15th May 2013 has been postponed to 24th May 2013 due to unavoidable circumstances. For confirmation of this shocking news I crossed checked it with the news posted on the Official website of ICAI. Fearing further that the site may have been perhaps compromised by hackers, I confirmed the same from members of the Central Council of ICAI and the news was authentically confirmed. Despite all hypothetical imagination, I could not figure out the unavoidable circumstances. On 14th May 2013 The news was reported in the Times of India as under:
The Information Technology and Strategic Management paper, which was to be held on Wednesday, has been rescheduled for May 24 as one exam centre at Mittal College, Malad, inadvertently gave it out to candidates on Monday instead of the Auditing and Assurance paper.
It was shocking to know that
“Wrong question paper was given out in one exam centre at Mittal College, Malad , Mumbai.”
May be there was a faux pas,or question paper goof-up bug
Even more shocking was the news that the faux pas was due to the fact that while taking the delivery of the Exam question papers from the vault of Bank of Baroda the supervisor of the centre Mr. Narendra Singhi said “Instead of giving the PSK bundle, I was given the SMA bundle. But I did not check it,” Singhi told ICAI officials. At 1.30pm, the bundles were opened and the question books were given to candidates. “After about ten minutes, the college authorities took the question papers back as we informed them that the wrong paper had been
distributed,” said a student.
Well it appears to be a human error. But when one probes deep in to the human error some questions needs to be answered:
1) Is it possible for the supervisor Mr. Narendra Singhi, holding a responsible position of an Associate Professor to make such a silly mistake of not doing even the least expected of him i.e. He did not check the bundle whether it was PSK bundle or SMA bundle and merely put the bundle in his bag and left for college?
2) Is it possible that the CA Observer Mr. Amit Chedda who also visited the bank alongwith the Supervisor also did the same thing of not checking the bundle ?
3) Is it possible that at the exam centre where a coordinator is normally present also did not check the bundle before opening of the bundle.
4) Were the supervisor and the CA Observer checked the past 4 papers or were they just riding their luck that correct papers were collected and distributed ? Appears a remote possibility.
5) Then what could have been the reason ? Well, from the reported news it appears that the papers were perhaps used to be collected by a junior staff of the centre and brought to the Centre where they were checked before distribution.
6) Perhaps , on 13th May when the papers were brought to the centre the Supervisor and the CA observer both were not present at the appointed time and the bundle was opened by some unauthorized person who did not know the code of the paper and just distributed whatever was collected by him from the bank.
7) The ICAI did its best to control the damage. “We have now pushed Wednesday’s exam to a new date across India. It cannot be held on Wednesday as some aspirants managed to see the question paper in one exam centre on Monday,” said ICAI president Subodh Kumar Agrawal.
8) Is Pushing the exam to a new date across India a solution better than the problem itself ?. While postponing the exams by 9 days did the ICAI not appreciate the imminent problems the students across the nation were to face? Many students including outsiders have made their travel plan considering the 15th May as the last day of the exam. How would the students who came from outside the city deal with such problem ? Either they have to put stay in Mumbai for 9 more days at exorbitant cost of living in Mumbai or they have to go back and return on 24th May 2013 to appear for the paper. Given the holiday rush for the month of vacation, it would be a hurricane job for the students to arrange their reserved travelling.
9) Many students and their parents might have made their holiday plans and booked cheap air ticket well in advance. What would become of their plan and the non returnable fare?
10) At last, I wonder why the exams were put off by so many days ? From the best of my knowledge I can state that more than 2 set of the questions papers are kept ready for the exams so that in case of emergency, a different paper can be distributed. If that were to be the case, then the leaked paper set may have been discarded and any one of the remaining set could have been used to conduct the exam particularly when the entire infrastructure for conducting the exams were in place. The President ICAI is requested to take note of such contingencies and put in place the right machinery so as to maintain the schedule of the exams.
11) Because of the last many unfortunate events, the credibility of the ICAI has already stooped down to a new low and the fresh CAs are not getting placement worth their qualification. The course of ICAI is being regarded as a refined and polished course of Commerce Graduation (i.e. B.Com.) and with such incidents happening , the credibility of the institute is definitely not going to achieve the status symbol that it used to carry some 15 years back.
12) Urgent remedial measures is the need of the hour and the liability of such a goof up must be pinned to the erring persons and take an exemplary action such that such mistakes are not repeated in the future.
By: CA Lalit Munoyat