“Today is a historic day for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and the Indian accounting profession as this Institute completes 70 years of existence. I am indeed delighted to join you all on the occasion of your Platinum Jubilee.
I also wish you all a very happy CA Day. Interestingly, today also happens to be Doctors’ Day.
It indeed is a happy coincidence. In a way, Chartered Accountants are also, like doctors, since they play a vital role in ensuring the economic health of the country.
I am told that the ICAI is the second largest accounting body in the world and has expanded its footprint nationally and internationally with 164 branches across India and 34 Chapters globally.
I must acknowledge that Indian accountancy profession has been relentlessly trying to live up to the expectations of the founding fathers of Indian Constitution.
The fact that autonomy was granted to the profession through the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 before the adoption of the Constitution shows the paramount importance accorded to the profession to act as custodian of transparency and integrity.
The Indian accountancy professional has evolved from a number-crunching statistician to a strategist to a value-creator and finally to be a change agent. Today, the profession is regarded as an ‘institution of public trust’ and the Chartered Accountants are expected to act as ‘conscience keepers of the economy’. No doubt, the Hon’ble former President of India Dr. Abdul Kalam had rightly described the Institute as a “Partner in Nation Building”!
Besides other stakeholders, the Government and regulators also repose a high level of faith in your profession, ability and integrity in ensuring that your clients comply with all the legal formalities and contribute to the growth of the nation.
As we all are aware, taxes paid to the Government are used for the development of the nation. Therefore, Chartered Accountants have an onerous responsibility in guiding the taxpayers to fulfill their duties honestly.
The country and its economy stand at the cusp of positive and progressive change. As we achieve steady economic growth and seek to raise the economy’s size to nearly USD 5 trillion in the coming years, we have to ensure that this economic growth is inclusive and has a positive impact on the lives of the poorest of the poor.
As we all are aware, ‘Accounting and Financial Services’ have been identified among the 12 Champion Sectors by the government and contribution from the accountancy profession will be of crucial importance.
Dear sisters and brothers, as India forges ahead to be an important player in the global economy and in promoting a peaceful world order, the need of the hour is to focus on inclusive growth and ensure that the fruits of various measures taken to spur the economy reach poorest of the poor.
With the series of economic reforms opening up more and more opportunitiesfor promotion of businesses, professional ethics must be followed by all and not only by CAs. Anybody, who violates professional ethics, must be blacklisted and isolated.
At the international level, all countries must speak with one voice in eliminating terror and economic frauds. All nations must come forward to automatically exchange information on black money parked in various countries and also for speedy extradition of economic fugitives, who commit fraud in one country and take shelter in another nation. As we seek to promote a more equitable and civilized world order, these measures are essential for healthy economies around the globe.
With the Government initiating a series of reforms and initiatives like the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and GST, I have no hesitation to acknowledge that successful implementation and smooth rollout of all these schemes could not have been possible without the active support of this profession.
Today, on the occasion of ‘GST Day’, I would like to compliment your profession for its contribution, suggestions and support for the successful implementation of GST regime.
I understand that the scope of Chartered Accountants, in today’s dynamic world, has not remained limited to be just that of an accountant, auditor or a taxation expert but has widened to other critical areas like Goods and Services Tax, Financial Reporting, Corporate Finance, Investment Banking, Fund Management, Credit Analysis, Capital Markets, Arbitration, Risk Management, Valuation of businesses and Insolvency law, among others.
With accounting having become the language of global business, the scope of your profession has really broadened and today’s CA has to be truly versatile.
I note with immense satisfaction the global strides your profession has made and the larger role the institution is playing in global forums. Equally satisfying is your re-orientation of the accounting profession to the imperatives of the digital era.
With the growth of the economy, the expectations from your profession have increased manifold to appropriately guide the business houses on the path of development. As fresh opportunities open up for businesses, new challenges also arise. Both the domestic and foreign investors prefer a market where doing business is easy.
The motto of the government is "Minimum Government, Maximum Governance". So, it is expected of you to join hands in promoting and ensuring the “ease” of doing business.
Dear Chartered Accountants, I would like to remind that you have to remain always vigilant in order to live up to the motto of the Institute which reads as ‘Ya Aeshu Suptaeshu Jagruti’ in Sanskrit. I have been informed that this quotation from the Upanishad was given to the institute as its motto by Shri Aurobindo. This literally means that ‘a person who is awake in those that sleep’.
I am told that the logo of ICAI of Garuda with an Upanishad quotation was actually conceptualized by Sri Aurobindo when a Chennai-based CA, who was his devotee, sought his advice on a symbol that would capture the spirit and intent of the newly formed organization.
The symbol of Garuda, who destroys the nagas and serpents, is quite significant. Sri Aurobindo once described the connection between Garuda and Nagas thus, “….the winged Garuda revered to be the up bearer of divinity, who opens his vans to the sunlight and soars to the highest seat of Vishnu,” is also the eternal destroyer of the Nagas and “the Naga is the symbol of the mysterious earth-bound force in man.”
In the present day context, when we are coming across many corporate frauds, this motto assumes special significance for the CA fraternity because the nation looks up to you with great hope that you will not only be able to detect and report frauds but would also find ways to avoid recurrence of such frauds. The CA fraternity must isolate and take action if anybody was found to have committed wrongdoing.
I am sure that the Institute and its members will come up to the expectations of our countrymen and would set the highest ethical standards thereby contributing to the task of nation-building.
Apart from the celebration, today is also an occasion for introspection and leapfrogging into a future of boundless opportunities.
With the changing times, come newer dilemmas for the profession. This demands that Chartered Accountants give emphasis to ethical decision-making. Professionalism is not by qualification alone and must also demonstrate ethical choices, values, and practices in decision-making.
Friends, your profession represents a larger duty of upholding trust; something which was bestowed upon your institution and has been carried on in a steadfast manner all along. Your stamp carries an indelible impression of right and correctness. By providing sound and sagacious advice, Chartered Accountants can play a vital role in ensuring financial prudence and discipline by various stakeholders.
With this, I would like to thank ICAI for inviting me to be a part of this function today. My best wishes to all the participants here. I wish a very happy CA day and Platinum Jubilee once again.