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'CA' is just two letters. Two letters so simple yet so powerful that when you put in front of a name it not only represents a professional qualification it represents Will Power, Dedication , Intelligence and the ability to march on come what may.

To the rest of the world these two letter means 'Chartered Accountant' but it has an underlying meaning which is  'Committed Achievers'.

Here's the story of a girl, who was wrongly prescribed penicillin for common cold and became blind at the age of 9. She decided to become a Chartered Accountant. Her name is Rajani Gopal. So, what if she was visually impaired. The world may think of her as a handicap. But she did not.

In another story, the daughter of a man who sold coffee outside the Borivalli Railway station on a bicycle decides to learn english in the 7th standard. And she fails and tried again, fails again. She goes on to becoming a Chartered Accountant. Did she think language would be a barrier? She did not.

She never thought her financial status would be a barrier. She went on to becoming a Chartered Accountant. A Committed Achiever.

The only place where Achievement comes before Commitment is the Dictionary. It was this Commitment to achieve that led to the formation of this organisation that could change the economic structure of this country- ICAI- The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

The leaders of this country were visionaries, they knew the role Chartered Accountant will play in developing the country which is why on 1st July 1949, a year even before the constitution of India was formalized, an active Parliament gave birth to ICAI.

Today, ICAI counts itself amongst the oldest professional institutions in the country.It is the second largest Accounting and Finance body in the world, in terms of members with a current roster of about 2.83 lakh members and counting with about 71,000 female Chartered Accountants and 3.5 lakh girl students studying Chartered Accountancy course.

ICAI holistically carries the mission of transforming the nation from Women's development to Women-led Development.

During its eventful journey of 70 years, ICAI has become an integral part of the Indian Economy taking it on the path of the fastest growing Economy in the World. With its emphasis on Financial reform, ICAI radiates with shining milestones that stand as the acknowledged cornerstone of India's Economic growth.

In the year 1956, Chartered Accountants were recruited for the first time in the Commercial Audit branch of CA&G. Many of you may not be aware that many accountants were also a part of the Indian Freedom Struggle like CA R. Sivabhogam, India's first lady auditor who participated in the Non-cooperation movement on the call of the Father of our Nation- Mahatma Gandhiji. She was also imprisoned for a year.

Recognising ICAI's strong regulatory framework, the High Court recognized ICAI's Strict Disciplinary Mechanisms in 1961.

In 1964, the Council of the ICAI submitted the Pre-budget memorandum for the first time. The memorandum contained useful suggestions for re-orientation of taxation policies and procedures to the Finance Ministry. The process was so helpful that it was practised ever since.

In the 70s the ICAI started rendering free advisory services to SMEs and small taxpayers on maintenance of accounts, tax paying and other financial matters. Not only did it enhance the financial literacy of the businessmen and citizens, more importantly it started the Industrial Growth in the country.

ICAI also collaborated with the Government to enlarge the scheme of scholarships.

In the year 1972, ICAI members provided pro-bono professional services to the heirs of the jawaans and officers of the Armed Forces who sacrificed their lives in the war. Complete exemption from tuition fees  and registration fee of the Institute was also granted to the children of the Amar Jawaans and Officers.

The 80s saw a widespread gloom in India's macroeconomic performance due to the prevailing conditions in the country. However, during the period in 1980-90, the economy began to improve and the growth rate accelerated. The Government appointed CA members on various committees like Boards of Public Sector undertakings and Nationalized banks. The Government also appointed ICAI as an Expert and Independent Advisor on Company Law, Fiscal and Various other Committees.

The corporate sector, the public sector corporations, co-operative societies and Public Trusts were brought under the Accounting discipline by Legislation.

In the 90s, Sales Tax Audit was introduced in many states which was a direct result of ICAI's efforts to showcase the role played by the CA community. ICAI developed a research centre in the form of a Non-Profit company to be named as Accounting Research Foundation. It was during this time that the Government recognized that the ICAI  as the sole recommendatory body for setting Accounting Standards in the country.

2000 and onwards marked the period when many MRA/MOUs have been signed with many International bodies such as ICAEW, CPA Australia, Ireland and CICA etc.

ICAI was granted recognition by IGNOU as a Research Center for the benefit of its members and employees to pursue a Doctoral Research from IGNOU.

e-Sahayata, was launched as an electronic service for students and members of ICAI to provide prompt services against queries, grievances and complaints.

In 2007, ICAI decided to recognize CA Leaders in industries which gave birth to a glittering Awards function. In 2009, ICAI was awarded the 'Recognition of Excellence' Award by the then President of India, Smt. Pratibha Patil.

In the year 2014 the honourable Prime Minister of India Sh. Narendra Modi nominated ICAI for the Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan.

ICAI undertook a pilot study for the Indian railways. The in-depth cost analysis helped in streamlining the running of the railways.

Considering the importance of the legislation namely, black money and the imposition of the Tax Act 2015, CBDT decided to go all out and conduct workshops with ICAI to clarify any doubt the Assessees may have had.

ICAI was chosen as the preferred institution to partner with the Government of India to create awareness and maximize the potential of 'Income Tax Declaration Scheme, 2016'.

ICAI jointly with the Ministry of Finance and The Ministry of Commerce and Industry organized events at more than 470 locations across the country. It was attended by more than 42000 citizens including Chartered Accountants, Company Secretaries, Advocates, and Members from Trade and Industry.

ICAI's contribution to the scheme was acknowledged by Shri. Arun Jaitley, Ministry of Finance and Corporate Affairs.

For the benefit of its members, ICAI established the Indian Institute of Insolvency Professionals of ICAI. It extended its technical and infrastructural support towards the accounting reforms of various Governments offices. This led from cash to accrual system of accounting after assessing the tremendous impact on National financial reporting.

It was also an imprtant year in the Indian economy with GST being counted as the Game Changer leading to 'One Nation, One Tax'. ICAI as always, was there to partner with the Governement towards the effective and smooth implementation of GST throughout the nation. As a result ICAI and CA members became a proud knowledge partner for GST success.

For a clearer understanding of GST, ICAI carried out more than 3000 programmes benefitting 2.5 lacs participants. ICAI also established GST Sahayata desks all across the country to facilitate small businessmen, traders, shopkeepers and the public at large.

ICAI has created a milestone by launching various incubation centres. In line with the Prime Minister's vision to support startups ICAI is providing massive platforms to help CAs start their businesses.

Not many people know that there is an Accountancy Museum in India or that the ICAI is the First Accounting Body in the World that started the Digital Accountancy and Assurance Board or that there are 3 Forensic Labs in India to monitor the financial frauds.

With this, the ICAI is keeping its eyes and vision firmly in the future. The ICAI has a very strict code of ethics. Its motto is taken from the Upanishads- 'Yate Supteshu Jagrate' which translated as- 'The One that is Awake in those that Sleep'.

It is to the Guardians who stayed awake and protected us while the rest of slept. Salute to this magnificent Institute for the work it has done in the past 7 decades.

Wishing the Institute and all Chartered Accountants, A very Happy Chartered Accountants' Day

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Category Career, Other Articles by - Prerna Saraogi 



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