Dear President Sir,
Greetings from CA Prakash Mangilal Ahir !!!
I Hope you are safe & Healthy in this pandemic.
Sir, as we all are facing very tough & exceptional situation, where everyone at whatever level he/she may be, facing various issues for living a normal life. Since last week of March 2020 the Government has announced complete lockdown resulting in stopover of almost all the income sources.
We the Chartered Accountants are also known as the Partners in Nation Building and we have proved the same in true sense on various occasions. In this pandemic also, many of our members has completed the Statutory Bank Audits & Statutory Audits of the Insurance Companies which are PSUs even being in the Red & Orange Zone also keeping our duty first.
As one trivial Ant can disturb the Mammoth Elephant regardless of their incomparable size, this Covid-19 has also disrupted all of our members severely, specially new members in practice & newly qualified aspirants. We all are tried & continuing to give salaries to our staff even though paused the SIPs, other monthly commitments for savings & also availed the loan moratorium facility provided by the Bankers & burdened extra interest cost by applying for the same to avoid the non-payment of salaries to the office & household staff/helpers.
In this exceptional situation also we all the members came forward like a family & contributed collectively Rs. 21,00,00,000 to the PM Cares & various state Govt. funds to fight with this Covid-19 pandemic on the call given by the Central Council Committee of our Institute led by you. The members also came forward for the care of our members in difficulties by contributing to the Benevolent Fund (CABF) despite knowing that our mother institute is having huge reserves unutilized. But today everyone is worried & thinking about their severely hampered working capital structure to continue & stand up again to back in normal routine life. Operating the offices & managing all the financial commitments in this situation is really a backbreaker.
It is widely discussed between the members & unofficially by the office-bearers of the local branches too on the various social media platforms, when we say that we all are family members & operating proudly under the flag of ICAI, our Institute should also come forward like the head of the family & give a helping hand to the members and I think it is not wrong to expect something from our mother institute in this requisite time.
There are many CAs known to me, who are struggling in this pandemic, but not wish to put their name here as there are others too, to whom I don't know. Below are a few situations, members facing, which I have witnessed:
a) Planned the inauguration of the new office after resigning from Job & lockdown announced just 4 days before the ceremony, now paying rent without any income.
b) Requesting frequently to the Office & residential landlord to allow time for rent payment.
c) Arranging funds with high-interest cost to pay the EMIs & keeping the repayment history clean, where moratorium benefit not given by the bankers for some reasons.
d) Newly members unemployed since the result of November 2019 attempt or joining planned in April 2020 got cancelled.
As it is not justifiable to ask to do something without giving or coming with the workable plan, here I am sharing some of my thoughts which can be given due consideration:
1. For smooth functioning of day to day operations & financial commitments, an arrangement of additional lowest possible interest-bearing working capital of minimum Rs. 2,00,000 for every member in practice from the reserves of the institute or by way of entering into MoUs with the various financial institutions. Signing MoU is not a difficult thing considering the prestigious name of our institute & dignity of the members in the society.
2. Increase in the limit of group term insurance of members & their spouse to Rs. 1.00 Cr each, as the present limit of Rs. 10.00 Lakhs & 5.00 Lakhs for Members & their spouse is too less, considering the financial liabilities as well as the professional liabilities of the members. ICAI can go with other Insurance companies too, to get the comparative premium without sacrificing the interest of its own members.
3. Including the CA students too, for the Term Insurance with fluctuating coverage as per their level in the CA course like 20 lakhs, 15 lakhs & 10 lakhs for CA Final, CA Intermediate & CA Foundation students respectively and medical insurance including their family members.
4. Asking for Pre Existing Disease Coverage in medical insurance from 1st year itself, many insurance companies are giving this benefit to their various corporate clients without having any existing health insurance. Details can be shared if required.
5. Complete waiver of all structured CPE credit hours for the F.Y. 2020-21 by replacing with the unstructured.
6. Minimum 50% Discount in all types of course registration fees to the CA students & Members for F.Y. 2020-21.
7. Waiver of membership & CoP fees to all the members keeping it voluntary to pay.
8. Allowing the newly qualified members to apply for the concurrent audits of the small branches & keeping partnership firms away from applying for the tenders below specific amounts.
9. At present no financial institute is ready to give education loans to the CA students, MoU should also include education loans to CA students. We just say that we are having the lowest education cost which is 78,500 payable to ICAI only in terms of course registration fees but we shall not ignore the other expenses like Rent of PG, Food Expenses, Stationery Expenses & various National & State Conventions/ conferences fees etc., without incurring the same it's hardly possible for all to complete the course. We all know that Articleship Stipend is even getting short while paying travelling cost for the round trips of Home-Office-Home.
These are some of the ideas I could summarize by my own thoughts as well as by discussion with other members.
Sir above is the inclusive list of issues known to me with various suggestions, there may be many other ways to offer a helping hand and also different issues faced by our members.
Concluding my letter, with the anticipation that you will surely take these suggestions with the positive spirit and come with the necessary measures to help the members at large, by breaking the Muffled voices of the members that ICAI office bearers neither cares about the members nor take member-friendly initiatives even after giving due suggestions.
It will be my pleasure to receive further communication to this letter.
CA Prakash Mangilal Ahir
The author can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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