President's Message - CS (Dr.) Shyam Agrawal

President ICSI

April, 2017

सत्यं वद। घर्मं चर।
‘Satyam Vada; Dharmam Chara’

‘Speak the truth. Abide by the Law.’

My Valued Colleagues

I deem myself to be lucky being Torch-bearer of this prestigious Institute for this year when ICSI has the dual honor of entering its Golden Jubilee year as well as crossed the strength of huge 50,000 members in its eventful journey of approaching 50 golden years. This celebrated membership was conferred through the gracious hands of Hon’ble Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Sh. Arun Jaitley ji on 8th March 2017. This feat comes with an inspiring message that now we are a strong collective force of 50,000 which stands committed to extend positive contribution towards Nation building by creating an environment of best Governance practices in Corporate India. Our message is very clear to the outside world “We are determined to keep the fire burning within us and are going to break our comfort zones and explore the roads less travelled.”

To mark these celebrations, ICSI formally launched its ‘Motto’ for the first time in the history of the Institute through the gracious hands of esteemed Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Sh. Tapan Ray. After deep deliberations and study of our ancient Indian scriptures and relating these to the role our Company Secretaries have been playing since inception of the Institute, ‘Satyam Vada, Dharmam Chara’, one the quotes of Taittirya Upnishad has been taken up as the Motto of ICSI. We Company Secretaries; are viewed as the ‘Conscience Keepers’ of the companies we belong to. We Company Secretaries are the ‘Krishna’s’ of today’s ‘Corporate Mahabharat’. This is why, after much introspection, ICSI has chosen this Motto to match the spirit that guides us while playing such roles in the broader interest of the stakeholders, society and nation. Dharma, as many times misinterpreted in its English translation, is not a ‘religion’, but, the natural instinct in all of us that stimulates us at a subconscious level to discharge our duty keeping the force of moral values in mind, the moral values instilled in us throughout our life. Dharma encompasses the natural, innate behaviour of things, duty, law, ethics, virtue, etc. So, every one of us should abide by the moral laws of our CS dharma.

This Motto also reminds me of a magnificent story I read once. A Yogi was performing his regular routine of taking a bath in the river, while his followers waited for him on the shore. When the Yogi noticed a scorpion fallen accidently in the water, the Yogi immediately picked up that scorpion. Despite deep pain of the scorpion sting racing through his veins, the great Yogi struggled through the water towards the shore, and salvaged the scorpion. His followers who were watching this feat of kindness of Yogi were taken aback at the Yogis’ determination to save the scorpion despite repeated stings. The perplexed followers hurried to the struggling Yogi and were stunned to witness the smile on the content Yogi’s face. One of them could not stop asking how he can still smile as scorpion was about to kill him almost and he was still rescuing his killer. The Yogi responded quietly ‘the Scorpion was only following its dharma, or nature, which is to sting. And I followed my dharma, which is to save the lives of needy ones.’ Therefore, Dharma becomes your duty, the moral law you are supposed to abide by despite all hardships.

Moving on, I wish to express my gratitude for your support and ecstasy for my election as the Secretary of the Corporate Secretaries International Association (CSIA), an International Federation of professional bodies that promotes best practice in Corporate Secretarial, Corporate Governance and compliance services at Johannesburg, South Africa. We, at ICSI and CSIA are committed to improve the recognition and understanding of the practice of corporate secretaryship, the role of a Corporate (Company) Secretary, and work to improve governance standards globally during my tenure as Secretary, CSIA.

At ICSI, we continuously strive to create opportunities for our CS professionals, so that they can widen their professional horizon day by day. Recently, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, and Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Government of India notified the Trade Marks Rules, 2017 which replaced the erstwhile Trade Marks Rules 2002 with an objective to provide a boost to the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) regime in India. We are pleased to share that as per Rule 144 of the Trade Marks Rules, 2017, a Member of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India is duly qualified to be registered as a Trademarks Agent. I urge all esteemed members to continue to reap this opportunity to the fullest.

For carving out best quality professionals in the time to come and aims to equip them with all required professional knowledge at this stage, The Council of the ICSI approved the new Syllabus (2017) for the Foundation Programme of the Company Secretaryship Course. We believe this step will take the institute further on the path of excellence.

‘Improvement’ begins with ‘I’ and ‘I’ is the beginning of ‘ICSI’. Therefore, at ICSI, our continuous focus is improvement of our profession. The following initiatives are in pipeline, the details of which will be shared very soon with all of you:

  • With the aim of excellent grooming the freshly inducted members of ICSI and to develop their leadership skills which will facilitate them to take up all challenging assignment in their career, ICSI is planning to start a 90 days (or so) Residential Training Program for Professional pass students. ICSI plans to provide substantial fee concessions so that every student can afford the administrative cost of this program. This new initiative will raise the bar of the profession further and set a new benchmark.
  • Our heartiest effort at ICSI is that no student wishing to become a future CS professional has to drop this dream due to financial limitations at his/her end, therefore, ICSI would be aiding such students. Also, the students from North Eastern States and for Jammu & Kashmir would also be providing fee concession to ensure contribution of ICSI towards Nation all round growth.
  • The Institute is planning to organize short duration Capacity Building Programmes for newly inducted members in employment (ECS) and in practice (PCS) at IIMs, National Law Universities and other similar institutes of repute. This will fulfil dream of all those young CS members who wish to pursue education from these prestigious institutions but are not able to do the same due to financial constraints.
  • Enhancing our focus on E-Learning orientation to reap the dividend of technology as per contemporary requirements
  • Providing Video Conferencing and webcasting facilities for virtual teaching
  • Setting up the Dispute Redressal Cell of ICSI at all the four regional offices of the ICSI to conciliate the redressal arise between (i) among the members (ii) Trainer and Trainee (iii) Member and a Company (iv) Others viz. Member and Organization, Member and Employer Company etc.
  • Providing Complementary PDF copies of publications of the Institute in the year 2017 to the members of the Institute so augment their knowledge base.
  • Organizing the Convocation for Company Secretaries who had obtained their Associate Membership prior to 2012
  • To constitute a committee under Regulations 55A of the Company Secretaries Regulations,1982 to deal with cases of dispute between trainee and trainer
  • Organizing a National Conclave for Company Secretaries in employment
  • The adoption of one Chapter by the Council Members in order to develop and strengthen the Chapters to develop these chapters on the same line as Adarsh Gram Yojna of Government of India.
  • Carve the niche of “CS to CEO” expedition which can lead them to climb up to the highest rung of the ladder and take up the responsibilities of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and many more...!!
  • The ICSI this year is focusing on creating employment Opportunities for Young Company Secretaries to get gainful employment. As a part of its Mega Placement Drive, the Institute has taken a new Initiative for making Registration of the FCS Members as Mentors for Placement Drive 2017. The Senior Members in Practice as well as in employment will voluntarily be registered as mentors for such drive to help the Young and newly inducted members to get the employment in Corporate and also in professional firms through the Institute.

    Our efforts for further empowering our woman members in letter and in spirit this year have touched the hearts of our fraternity and we are getting appreciation from all stakeholders and regulators for the same. The whole world has noticed the celebration of International Women’s Day 2017 as well as our unique issue of Chartered Secretary Journal dedicated to our women members in March. In view of this, I am confident that you will admire reading our new monthly column ‘CS Women: Empowered and Empowering...!!’ which aims to inspire our young women members so that their belief in their abilities becomes even more firm. You will gain a huge inspiration from our First Women Past President ‘Preeti Malhotra’ whose story and views have been touched upon in this column this April.

    In a novel initiative, we would be enriching our readers knowledge by making them well aware with the views of dignitaries of various regulators, fellow professionals on various issues pertaining to our profession. In this regard, we are launching a new column ‘Rendezvous with ICSI’ and first in this series is the Interview of Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Sh. Arjun Ram Meghwal. We have tried our level best to take his views on diversified issues concerning CS profession such as Corporate Governance, GST, Bankruptcy Code, CSR compliance, Position of Women Directors in Indian Boardrooms in particular and regulatory environment in country in general. Hope you would find this column radically valuable and provide your specific views on enriching this feature further.

    Our endeavour to take out pearls of wisdom from ancient Indian scriptures concerning Good Governance has also been taken up widely and we will go an extra mile to take these pearls to every nook and corner of this Globe so that world becomes aware that Governance is not a novel concept for India but it is prevalent in our spirits through the ages and described well in our ancient Indian scriptures. You will be delighted to find a daily quote on our website home page named ‘Gyan Moti: A Knowledge Pearl a Day’ from our ancient Indian Scriptures to disseminate Indian views on governance to the whole world.

    We are working on creating a niche for our CS members to take up the role of Independent Directors on the Indian Boardrooms, therefore, we are coming up with a communication shortly which make an attempt to collect a database of CS members who are already acting as Independent directors in various listed as well as unlisted companies. We will try to convince the regulators to our level best about the capabilities of our members to act in this capacity and create further opportunities for our members. Further, we are also working on projecting our CS women members as the most suitable choice to act as women directors on Indian Boardrooms. In this initiative, we require your support to provide us with the factual information voluntarily, so that we may project our strength before all regulators and stakeholders.

    On a signing off note, I couldn’t stop myself mentioning an excerpt from the quote of Interview of Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Sh. Arjun Ram Meghwal published in this issue, wherein, he narrated a story of Swami Vivekananda, the well known spiritually genius monk of India. Sh. Meghwal quoted that once Swami Vivekananda was in Chicago for world’s religious conference and he stole some time for himself and was roaming around in his robe as worn by ‘Sanyasis’. An American who was watching him couldn’t control his curiosity and asked him, “Can't you wear proper clothes to look like a Gentleman?” Swami Vivekananda smiled and replied very patiently “In your culture, ‘a Tailor’ makes a Gentleman; but, in Indian culture, ‘Character’ makes a Gentleman.” Therefore, let us all esteemed members follow the wisdom of Swami Vivekananda and project such a strong character in whatever capacity we represent our profession that it sets examples not only before our stakeholders in India but to the whole globe as Swami Vivekananda did.

    Jab kisi bhi desh ke nirmaan me Sant, Shashan aur Samaj ka samagam hota hai tab us desh ko uchayiya choone se koi nahi rok sakta hai. Hum company sachiv corporate jagat ke ‘Sant’ ki bhumika nibhate hai. Aaj samay hai hum ‘Corporate Sant’, Shashan aur Samaj mil kar Rastra ko vishav guru banaye. Mujhe umeed hai ki ‘SATYAM VADA DHARMAM CHARA’ ki raah pe chalte hue hum ‘Corporate Sant’ is karya ko nibha payenge.

    सत्यं वद। घर्मं चर।

    Cs (Dr.) Shyam Agrawal
    Adhayaksh, ICSI