CA Amresh Vashisht
NABARD undertakes the entire exercise of identifying suitable audit firms for appointment as auditors in RRBs .Terms and conditions of such appointed auditors are also recommended by NABARD after an approval from the finance ministry. There is a standing advisory committee which approves the list of Audit Firms for undertaking Statutory as well as Branch Audit of nationalized Commercial Banks, Financial Institutions and RRBs. RBI is the convener of this Committee and GM, NABARD is a member of the committee.
On January 20, 2015 , The ICAI has submitted Bank Branch Auditors’ Panel for the year 2014-15 containing the eligible members/firms submitted to NABARD. 18th January, 2015. Thereupon A meeting was held with the officials of Institutional Development Department of NABARD to discuss the matters of mutual professional interest and finally a representation was submitted to Shri Harish Java, Chief General Manager, IDD, NABARAD requesting them to increase the fees paid to auditors of RRBs on 8th April, 2015. The same representation dated November 11, 2009 was sent to Shri G. C. Panigrahi, Chief General Manager regarding revision in the fees of auditors of Regional Rural Banks.
After a lapse of considerable time for the year end there is no movement to undertake the audits. The list sent by NABARD to the finance ministry is yet to take its final shape and necessary approvals are still required to knock that.
Earlier, the Government has approved the revised norms for empanelment of Statutory Auditors in RRBs in the year 2011-12. Till date there is no revision hence the following shall be applicable for 2014-15.
The revised Criteria for allocation of Statutory Auditors of RRBs in 2012 were as follows.
- Category I & II may be drafted for large scale amalgamated RRBs.
- For Standalone RRBs Statutory Auditors may be drawn from Category II & III.
- In the case of non availability of Category I, II & III , auditors may be drafted from Category IV
- Sole Proprietors firms may not be considered for statutory audit of RRBs.
- Threshold Limit of advances is raised from existing Rs. 50 Lacs to Rs. 1 Crore while making selection of branches of RRBs for statutory audit.
- This has the approval of Finance Minister.
Earlier Criteria for allocation of Statutory Auditors of RRBs was first approved in 2009 Dated (10.08.2009) as follows.
- New firms to be empanelled from the list of audit firms who’s Chartered Accountant should have Diploma in Information and System Accounting (DISA) qualification.
- Selection for new audit firms to be made only from category III and from category IV SP upto 20% of the total requirement in respect of vacancies.
- Re-appointment of on-going existing audit firms as SCA and SBA if they are in the list of ICAI.
- Partnership firms having a minimum of two Chartered Accountants as partners, of whom at least one should be a full time partner, and the firm or at least one of the partners having a minimum of 5 years experience of bank audit
- Audit firms that have served as SCA in one RRB consecutively for 3 years to be rested for two years.
- Audit firms that have served as SBA (Statutory Branch Auditor) in one RRB consecutively for 4 years to be rested for two years.
- Audit firms having experience of bank audit not less than 5 years to be considered.
- A panel of 2 firms as stand-by for SCA and 2 firms as stand-by for SBA of each of the RRBs is being prepared and provided to RRBs after GOI approval.
- Sole proprietorship firms to be considered as SBA, to the extent of 20% of the total requirement.
In a recent past many measures have been taken for Regional Rural Banks by the Central Govt. & RBI. Now these banks are open to lend to the weaker section and are permitted to lend to non-target groups. They can also undertake various types of business such as issuance of guarantees, demand drafts, traveler’s cheques etc in and outside their service areas. In the wake of these developments, the audit mechanism also required to be strengthened and from 2009 onwards, the data as maintained for MEF is being sent to NAWARD. The only difference between the PSU audits and RRBs audits that the audit firms for RRBs audit are required to have a DISA qualified partner.
No serious efforts have been made by the PDC to protest for barring all category-IV auditors and Sole Proprietorship Firms even with experience of more than 20-25 years are not considered for the appointment as branch auditors of small branches of the RRBs and no distinction between appointment of Statutory Central Auditors (SCA) and Statutory Branch Auditors (SBA).
it is always advisable to appoint SCAs from category-I & II for equal opportunity and distribution of audit work and SBAs from category-III, IV & IV SP for equal opportunity and distribution of audit work . This time there is no equal opportunity and distribution of audit work particularly category-iv & iv sp. there is no justification to a decision accepted by the PDC in regular meeting with the NABARD.
A million dollar questions arises
Why small branches in the remotest rural areas with advances of rs.1 Crore & above cannot be audited by sole proprietorship?
Why our regulator failed to understand the reality that professional opportunity does not knock, it presents itself when you beat down the door?