Dear Professional Colleagues,
As the last month of the year approaches, it is the time when most of us introspect about our past and plan for the future. We review this year’s progress and plan the resolutions to achieve our goals for the coming year. The year 2021 has been a year of consolidation, where together, we have taken many positive steps to move from pillar to pillar, as a result, our economy is showing green shoots of growth. With great efforts, we are slowly and steadily coming out of the pandemic. India’s continuous growing presence at the global level is just one of the many positive things that can be built on the future roadmap for success and prosperity over the next year. In the last issue of this calendar year, where global challenges have reigned across the globe, we will look at how we will continue the path forward to overcome all challenges.
Even in the shadow of COVID-19 pandemic, India has shown its underlying strength and risktaking abilities to the world. The RBI and Finance Ministry have recently opined that the economy is coming out of the shadows of the pandemic and is rising again as the fastest growing economy globally. With recovering macro and micro factors, improving job markets, new investment cycle poised to kick start, the economy is on the verge of revival. In this scenario, it is essential that policy and legislative formation and their understanding amongst all the stakeholders is proceeded in a supportive manner to achieve the above objectives with focus on smooth implementation, ease of doing business and lesser complexity. We have set up an expert Group, to undertake analysis of new upcoming laws and/or to suggest amendments in the existing laws. The group intends to undertake regulatory studies and will share the findings/ insights with the Government to support decision making and policy formulation. The idea is to constructively support the Government to maximize governance for the benefit of all stakeholders.
In our country, it is very important to unleash the productivity potential of our citizens by promoting financial inclusion through financial literacy. Financial Literacy is an important catalyst to augment the country’s growth, as improving the financial well-being of the citizens will lead to channelise the household savings into productive investments, which will further strengthen the economy from inside. With the measures and initiatives taken by our government and institutions, our profession has an important role to play with our professional expertise and reach across all strata of the societies in building an ecosystem to promote financial and tax literacy amongst all. As an institute, we have already initiated a vision to promote financial literacy through Vitiyagyan – ICAI ka Abhiyaan and I would urge our members to come forward for taking this drive to the grassroot levels to reduce poverty and build an inclusive society.
Technology Augmenting Financial Inclusion
Recognizing financial inclusion as an important strategic agenda item for growth of the country, the Government has taken numerous initiatives and harnessed the power of technology. Bank transactions are brought to the farthest places in the country through Jan Dhan Accounts and linking it to mobile and Aadhar numbers popularly known as JAM Trinity. Technology has truly enabled and empowered the agenda of financial inclusion. The value of UPI transactions, exceeding USD 100 billion in the month of October 2021 since its launch five years ago is a good example. It shows the potential of technology in building a financially inclusive society.
Adoption of technology and the democratization of the internet is paving the way for launching citizen centric and friendly initiatives. Technology has ushered in a revolution where all the financial products and services are available on our mobile at one click, and it imposes moral obligations on all learned professionals specially chartered accountants to educate the common man about the same including the associated risks and perils.
ICAI International Conference: Accountants Creating a Digital and Sustainable Economy on January 21-22, 2022
I am happy to inform that ICAI is organizing its flagship event, the ICAI International Conference on the theme “Accountants Creating a Digital and Sustainable Economy” on January 21-22, 2022 in Mumbai. The Conference will be a hotspot of emerging intellectual ideas and trends that will shape the global economy and marketplace. In your knowledge quest, the Conference is recommended to be attended by all those who wish to remain updated with the current issues and insights from the crisis in the pursuit of knowledge. Due to limited space, it is recommended to register for the Conference at the earliest to grab the opportunity to experience and be part of this world class event.
ICAI Past President’s Meet
As quoted by Isaac Newton, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. In our quest for perpetual excellence and to be ready for the future challenges, a meeting of ICAI Past Presidents was held on 13th November, 2021 in Mumbai, to learn from the rich experience, wealth of knowledge and wisdom of our illustrious Past Presidents and develop a strategic roadmap for the growth of the profession in the changing paradigm. Discussions were held on adopting technology, further strengthening ICAI regulatory functions, and the need for skill enrichment and capacity building of the profession to enable members to explore diverse professional opportunities.
Sustainability and Role of Chartered Accountants
In conjunction with the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasglow where all the countries impressed upon the need to work towards promoting sustainability and protecting climate change, an important development was the creation of a new standard-setting board—the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) by IFRS Trustees, signifying the increasing fervour amongst the global investors community calling for high quality, transparent, reliable and comparable reporting by companies on climate and other environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters.
ICAI is also strengthening its actionable efforts in this light. The institute continuously engages with various stakeholder groups to discuss, debate and deliberate about sustainability issues and way forward roadmap. Recently, ICAI conducted a Global Virtual Sustainability Summit on the theme “Accelerating Sustainability Agenda: Opportunities for Professional Accountants”. Ms. Asmaa Resmouki, Deputy President (IFAC) was the Guest of Honour at the summit. The summit focussed on promoting dialogue, building awareness and brainstorming on developing a blueprint for shaping an equitable, inclusive and sustainable environment.
Submission of Pre-Budget Memorandum
As an annual exercise, suggestions for inclusion in the Pre-Budget Memorandum-2022 were sought from members from all over India. The suggestions received were compiled, duly considered, complemented, and then submitted to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) for the consideration of the Government while formulating the tax proposals for the year 2022-23. The suggestions are broadly relating to policy and provisions of Income-tax Act, 1961, improving tax administration and citizen services and pertaining to international taxation. Further, the institute shall also shortly be submitting suggestions relating to GST and Indirect Taxes to the Government that are under finalisation.
Celebrating the Audit Diwas - Pointers to the Future of Audit
Professional and dexterous auditing is the key for any nation’s strong economy. Giving due value and honour to the institution of Comptroller and Auditor General of the country, the first ever Audit Diwas was celebrated on 16th of November this year, highlighting the institution’s stellar contribution to boost transparency and good Governance. At the event, the Hon’ble Prime Minister in his speech highlighted the importance of technology and data. Since most government processes are being modernized to serve the citizens, the key message emanating for the audit profession is to adopt technology and analytical tools in financial reporting.
As you all know, elections for the 25th Central and 24th Regional Council will take place on 3rd and 4th December 2021. Since the success of any election depends on the turnout, I once again urge to all my professional colleagues to exercise their right to vote with sincere responsibility towards the profession.
The recent pandemic, climate change and environmental challenges are inevitably changing the way markets and consumers are taking decisions that affect things in the long run. As professionals with an insight into these events, we have the power to influence decision-making in the echelons that can prepare the present as well as the future for better outcomes. I urge you all to continue to make these impactful changes in your own ways and abilities.
I also take this opportunity to wish you all a merry Christmas and a promising New Year’s Eve.
Stay safe, stay healthy. Best wishes.
CA. Nihar N. Jambusaria