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on the occasion of commemoration of the Chartered Accountants Day and Diamond Jubilee Celebrations – 1st July, 2008

Hon’ble Finance Minister of India, Shri P. Chidambaram ji; Shri P. K. Gopinath, Chief Post Master General, my Vice-President Shri Uttam Prakash Agarwal, Secretary of the Institute Dr. Ashok Haldia, Chairman of the Northern India Regional Council of the Institute Shri Sudhir Agarwal my colleagues in the Council, Past Presidents, fellow professionals, dignitaries from SAFA countries, other dignitaries, ladies and gentlemen!


Good afternoon and welcome to you all.


It is a matter of privilege for us that on commencement of Diamond Jubilee Year Celebrations of the Institute, the Hon’ble Finance Minister is with us - a pro-active, positive and result oriented gentleman. His keen focus is the development of our Economy and the needs of the common man are always at the forefront. He has a burning desire to see India as a Financial superpower, standing head & shoulders above the rest.


The Hon’ble Finance Minister is a person who in matters of style swim with the current, but in matters of principle stand like a rock. He is a firm believer that professionals should live up to the expectations of the society. He always radiates positive enthusiasm and is endowed with Never Say Die Spirit. He strongly advocates inculcating value system, ethical corporate practices, fiscal discipline and transparency.


Sir, we are overwhelmed with your presence today and we heartily welcome you.


Sir, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India was born in the year 1949 just two years after India gained its independence. Since then the Institute has been playing a significant role in the economic development of the country. Today, as our Institute enters its Diamond Jubilee year I take this opportunity to share some of the significant achievements of the Institute.


In the beginning of the planning era for many decades, Indian economy was primarily an agriculture economy with low level of industrialization and high incidence of unemployment. Scarcity of resources was a major constraint for undertaking plans and programmes for economic growth and alleviating poverty. The economy was saddled with low levels of productivity in various sectors. The Institute, on being set-up in the year 1949, took upon itself the challenge for evolving a credible system of accounting and financial reporting and developing core competences in the area of finance to provide value added inputs to the trade and industry and the government at various levels.


The challenge continued as the country progressed from one state of development to another, and now on the threshold of becoming a strong economic power. The Institute has faced the challenge very well by making available a large number of world-class accountants and developing high quality financial reporting standards. The Indian Chartered Accountants have been able to meet the requirements of professional inputs in the newer areas at each stage of economic development.


Taxation as we all know plays an important role in promoting economic growth as well as its equitable distribution. I am happy that the contribution of the Institute and our members in this area has been very significant. Every year, the Institute provides inputs to the Ministry of Finance for widening the tax base, measures for increasing tax collections, simplification and rationalization of tax laws. The Institute has been closely working with the Ministry of Finance in introduction and implementation of value added tax, fringe benefit tax, service tax, e-governance etc. The Institute has also organized a number of training programmes for the officials of the Government in Direct and Indirect Tax Laws.


Sir, you have a dream of introduction of GST by the year 2010. Considering the importance of the same, the Institute constituted an Expert Group to study in-depth the issue of introduction of Goods and Services Tax. The Expert Group analyzed the constitutional provisions, the excise laws, the customs laws and the various State Value Added Tax Legislations and produced a concept paper which provided a scheme for the integration of all indirect taxes into goods and services tax. The concept paper was submitted to the Government in 2007. We assure you our full support in translating your this dream into a reality.


The Institute has been increasingly focusing on its role in the economic development of the country to give it the desired impetus. It has identified itself as a partner in the nation building. The Institute is in constant dialogue with various Ministries in the Central and the State Governments for helping them in strengthening internal control mechanism, for structuring internal audit function not only for ensuring financial discipline but also seeing that public expenditure generates value for money. Recently, we have set-up a Committee on Public Finance to look into the issues related to resource mobilization as well as public expenditure management both at Central and the State level. Some of the State Governments have already entrusted us specific tasks in this regard.


The Institute has set-up a Committee to study issues related to Outcome Budget and Sustainability Reporting and we shall be submitting our report shortly.


Accounting in the Government is also an area which is receiving increased attention in India and world over. Playing a proactive role, we have been able to stimulate the reforms in accounting and finance management in Urban Local Bodies throughout the country. Sir, we have, therefore set-up a Committee on Government Accounting. This year we have also decided to offer training programmes for accountants in the Government throughout the country as a measure for capacity building.


Hon’ble Finance Minister, the Indian economy has witnessed multi-faceted growth which has resulted in huge demand for second tier accounting personnel for large as well as small and medium enterprises with the requirements at the operational level. Responding to this ever-increasing demand in industry as well as in the services sector, the Institute has decided to launch `Accounting Technicians Course’. These accounting technicians will not only fill gaps at the operation level as accountants but will also ensure that the value chain in the accounting process does not suffer.


With closer integration of agriculture and informal sector with the mainstream economy, the demand for such professionals is expected to go up every year. I believe that this step will provide a much-needed service and further boost our image as a premier accounting Institute in the country. In order to carry CA education even to the remotest part of the country and enhance quality of distance education, we are currently in the process of operationalising e-governance facilities and holding classes through satellite and broadcasting network.


In the era of globalisation and technological changes, we do realize the need to be far more proactive to respond to the challenges. Our strategy has been multi-pronged, apart from laying emphasis on educational standards and technical standards.


Honorable Sir, I on behalf of the Institute and my fellow members, assure you that we shall always come up to the expectation of the government and the society and keep up the trust reposed in us. We shall ensure that we continue to perform our professional responsibilities with excellence, independence and integrity.


Sir, we are blessed with your presence on our Diamond Jubilee Day and I on behalf of the Institute and entire CA fraternity wholeheartedly welcome you.


Thank you,


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