President's Message - CS (Dr.) Shyam Agrawal
Dear Valued Members
At the outset, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all my fellow members, Team ICSI and all the stakeholders of the Institute who have stood strong with us, through our thick and thin in the past half century, on the completion of this historic journey and embarking upon the 50th golden year in the presence of Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi along with other dignitaries on October 4, 2017. The occasion could not be considered any less than remarkably outstanding whereat the address of Hon’ble Prime Minister which served as a prodigious token of appreciation for our dedication in serving the nation at par and paving the way for advancing our skills for efficaciously contributing towards a New India, 2022.
It has been almost a month since the celebrations of the inaugural ceremony of the golden jubilee year of the Institute culminated and marked the beginning of a new era and a new ICSI; an ICSI with greater local and global presence, an ICSI with plentiful responsibilities, an ICSI with heightened expectations and an ICSI with goals and objectives serving an even larger number of stakeholders. The a-bit- longer-than-an-hour address of Hon’ble Prime Minister at the inaugural ceremony brought with it noteworthy illuminations and enlightenments; enlightenment that the Institute had created a strong yet positive image with its years of effort and grit; that the designation Company Secretary was not an invisible one; that Hon’ble Prime Minister himself held the work done by the Institute through its members in high regard and more so that the times ahead shall be more demanding than ever. The acknowledgement that the Company Secretaries guided the corporate culture of the country or that their advice steered the governance scenario of the economy was more than gratifying for every single member, every single stakeholder of the Institute.
As President of an Institute which has a legacy half a century strong and plenty more milestones to achieve, I feel immensely privileged for having witnessed the presence the who’s who of the nation giving their blessings to the initiatives of the Institute on countable occasions. The inauguration of the Centre of Excellence by Hon’ble Vice President of India, Shri Venkaiah Naidu at Hyderabad, the inauguration of Golden Jubilee year by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, point directly towards the persona of the Institute as it stands today in the eyes of the government as well as the expectations as regards its future.
Governance, a term which forms the life and blood of ICSI, has gained prominence quite significantly and not just in the Indian land but globally; the only differentiating factor between Indian sub-continent and rest of the world is that we have been carrying it in our heart and soul for the past 50 centuries or even more. So, for a concept which is more of a legacy and still alive and growing, more like a banyan tree; it is more than pertinent to not just take care but provide it with ample water and sunlight in the form of better regulatory mechanism and their effective follow-up to witness lush green leaves and many more roots flourishing which shall be visible in the form of inclusive growth and development and not to forget greater global presence.
As the land so the [ground] water, as the seed so the sprout
As the region [country] so the language, as the king so the people
The above shloka can be easily understood with a small story that I would like to share with you. A king was on a hunting trip and stopped for rest and food. With him was the whole entourage. They found that they forgot to bring salt. As the soldier was being sent to nearest village to get some salt, the king said– “please make sure you pay for the salt”. The words stunned the soldier; the fact that the king wanted to pay for measly salt from a lowly village of his own kingdom intrigued him. Sensing his helplessness, the king explained – “If I take the salt for free, all my soldiers might follow the lead. It is imperative that I don’t end up setting a bad example for my soldiers.” It is evidently clear from the story that governance and more so good governance follows a trickle down approach not just in a company but in the economy at large. In a corporation, it is for the Board guided by professionals to lead by example and the same stands true for all those holding similar designations in the modern day scenario.
Governance in a nation, in an economy, in a country is like more than a million small pieces forming one complete whole. Howsoever, small a piece maybe, its size doesn’t reduce its significance. ICSI fully and completely understands this and it is this understanding which makes for the perfect raison d’être for rolling out publications of the league of the Model Governance Code on Meetings of Gram Panchayats and Governance Pearls from Ancient Wisdom. The inaugural ceremony of Golden Jubilee Year of ICSI served as a perfect podium to not just highlight the wide-ranging initiatives of the Institute but also hand out the Vision, starting from that very moment to five years hence. The Vision New ICSI 2022 has lined up a series of lamp posts on the path ahead to be the guiding light for all the stakeholders keeping in sight the age old saying, “for people may come and people may go, but Institutions such as these ones stay forever”.
For ICSI, the date, 4th October, 2017 marked the beginning of a yearlong celebrations and a lifelong commitment towards all the stakeholders and yet the month that followed was filled with quite a list of eventful moments. The Team ICSI has been on its toes since and it gives me immense pleasure to share some of the achievements with all of you:
The Institute of Company Secretaries of India has always been proud of the last ‘I’ in ICSI. However, even after a span of nearly half a century of existence what we lacked was a presence which ran across the length and breadth of the country. The north-eastern states and various UTs were still seemingly untouched by the Institute’s presence. I feel a sense of great pride while sharing the fact that in the past ten months or so we have been able to make the dream of pan-India presence of the Institute a beautiful reality, one which gives us an edge over other professional bodies.
MOU with the Institute of Cost Accountants of India
While we can proudly boast of Pan-India presence, the same is yet to become a reality across the globe. However, the members of the Institute have been spread out far and wide as far as the world map is concerned. Understanding the gap in between, the ICSI, at the inaugural ceremony of Golden Jubilee Year on 4th of October, 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Institute of Cost Accountants of India which shall facilitate the Institute and its members in availing infrastructural facilities of overseas centres of the latter at Bahrain, Botswana, Canada, Dubai, Kathmandu, Muscat, Tanzania, Washington, and Zambia. While allowing members of both the Institutes to participate in the professional development and other continuing education programmes, the intent behind this arrangement is to provide benefit to the members of both the Institutes in equal measure by building synergies, promoting mutual relationship and strengthening collective competencies.
Report of SEBI Committee on Corporate Governance
The very next day of the Inaugural of Golden Jubilee year brought with it the achievement of another milestone for the Institute, when the Report of SEBI Committee on Corporate Governance headed by Shri Uday Kotak was submitted to the SEBI. Apart from the fact that the Committee comprised representatives of the Institute as well, the report submitted on the 5th of October, 2017 has rolled out certain profession-centric recommendations. Recognizing the criticality of secretarial functions in efficient board functioning, the Committee recommended the extension of Secretarial Audit to all material unlisted Indian subsidiaries. Another recommendation calls for a certificate from a Company Secretary in Practice, to the effect that none of the directors on the board had been debarred or disqualified from being appointed or continuing as directors, by SEBI/MCA or any statutory authority. The Committee also recommended redefining the term ‘senior management’ to specifically include Company Secretary.
MOU with National Skill Development Corporation
Hon’ble Prime Minister, too, while touching upon New India 2022 underlined a 5-point Agenda to look up to as a significant part of Institute’s responsibility towards its multifarious stakeholders. The agenda was an invitation for the Institute to collaborate in developing an honest tax compliant culture, making India a high tax compliant and honest society, developing an honest business culture across the ecosystem, putting an end to the shell companies and equipping over 1,00,000 students on the GST Front. I feel extremely happy to share that the Institute has taken its first amongst many steps to achieve the goals of the agenda by signing an MOU.with the National Skill Development Corporation, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, for equipping over 1,00,000 student focusing on CS students who dropped out midway without completing the course. Furthermore, the Placement of the successful candidates will be made as per the norms of the BFSI SSC/NSDC.
Model Code of Governance for Charitable Entities
In its attempt to constantly empower national governance, the Institute continuously explores areas wherein dedicated governance structures are yet to be put in place. In light of recent course of events involving dedicated efforts by the government in curbing misuse of corporate vehicles for siphoning of funds, it becomes imperative that other forms of businesses which serve the similar purposes may also be guided towards the path of good governance. Understanding these aspects of governance, the Institute has formed a Core group to develop a Model Code of Governance for Charitable entities. We are hopeful that such a Code shall set appropriate benchmarks for various aspects of governance in charitable entities in the Indian scenario, which shall be their guiding light in the times to come.
Notification of Section 247 & Companies (Registered Valuers and Valuation) Rules, 2017
The notification of both, the section pertaining to Registered Valuers as well as the Rules have opened up new avenues of growth for the members. It is heartening to note the eligibility of the members of the Institute with the relevant years of experience to be registered as Valuers and take up activities of registered valuation for the Securities and Financial Assets. This new opportunity has urged me to share the following shloka with all of you:
(Cannot be snatched away by thief, cannot be snatched away by king; cannot be divided among brothers, not heavy either. If spent daily, it always keeps growing. The wealth of knowledge is the precious of wealth of all)
The words of Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi wrapped up in his expectations have raised the bar both for the Institute as well as all its members, to an all time new high. While the world is open to be conquered, it is very much important for each and every member to not consider his present job, position or designation in finality. Accumulate as much wealth as you can, and not of materialistic things but of knowledge. Every opportunity, of the likes such as these ones should be utilized and exploited to the fullest but with the right expertise and knowledge. I urge upon all the members to gear themselves and gain ample knowledge and experience before treading forward.
Holding back some of my thoughts, until the third in the Golden Jubilee Series of this Journal, which I hold close to my heart, I would like to put forth a small message for all the members of the Institute through the following shloka:
The shloka above is small and simple, yet its message herculean, “Only actions will define us”. The governance of a nation is very much dependent on the mission of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas. Any and every initiative of the Institute can be declared a success if it receives wholehearted support and timely actions of all the members and stakeholders. Step outside your pre-defined roles, look for what challenges you, intrigues you. Conquer your fears, conquer the world, and make the nation the best governed one!!
CS (Dr.) Shyam Agrawal
November 04, 2017