My Valued Colleagues
While addressing the nationat the Central Hall of Parliament on launch of GST, Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi had cited “Today, the GST Council had its 18th meeting. It is a coincidence that the Bhagavad Gita also has 18 chapters”. Listening to this address,following Shalokas’from Kaṭhopaniṣhadand Bhagvad Gitastressing immortality of soul radiated in my mind:
na jāyate mriyate vā vipaśhchin nāyaṁ kutaśhchin na babhūva kaśhchit
ajo nityaḥ śhāśhvato ’yaṁ purāṇo na hanyate hanyamāne śharīre (1.2.18) [v25]
“The soul is not born, nor does it die; it did not spring from something, and nothing sprang from it. It is unborn, eternal, immortal, and ageless. It is not destroyed when the body is destroyed.”
अजोनित्य: शाश्वतोऽयंपुराणोनहन्यतेहन्यमानेशरीरे || 20||
na jāyate mriyate vā kadāchinnāyaṁ bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ
ajo nityaḥ śhāśhvato ’yaṁ purāṇona hanyate hanyamāne śharīre
BG 2.20: The soul is neither born, nor does it ever die; nor having once existed, does it ever cease to be. The soul is without birth, eternal, immortal, and ageless. It is not destroyed when the body is destroyed. -Bhagvad Gita
Therefore, both Shalokas from our ancient literature seem to be so apt in context of this historical change as the old ‘body’ of these multi-layered tax structure in India consisting of 17 taxes and 23 cesseshas changed its form to take form of a new ‘body’ which beautifully unleashed the concept of ‘One Tax, One Nation: GST’. This was paramount to streamlinethe country's $2-trillion economy and 1.3 billion people into a common marketto give a push to ease of doing business in India.The entire fraternity of Company Secretaries stands united and prepared to extend our contribution towards ensuring successful transition towards GST.To support the Government in this neoteric reform, we have taken many initiatives highlighted in this issue of Chartered Secretary besides dedicating this issue to GST exclusively.
Moving forward, the year 2017, a landmark year, when ICSI is going to celebrate its Golden Jubilee, is also a year, when along with celebrating the 50 glorious years of our profession, along with feeling fortunate to be the torch bearer of ICSI in this historical year, I also have a complete sense of trust placed on us by the stakeholders. In the contemporary context, we are exploring all avenues tonurture excellent governance professionals and are making 360 degree effortsin this direction.
To start with, we are working towards sketching a ‘Vision 2022’ document to find out the roadmap ICSI should adopt in future for the Company Secretaryship course for its students so as to Groom World Class Governance Professionals.We have invited your participation in deciding this roadmap in this issue, I trust that all of you would come forward to sketch this Vision and shape a New ICSI.
Further, we have also formally adopted theMotto of ICSI as“Satyam Vada, Dharmam Chara - Speak the Truth, Abideby the Law”the quote which ICSI professionals have been believing and living with since inception of this profession.
It is our core objective to make our profession a benchmark for global governance institutes, therefore, endeavours have been made for a complete refurbishment to shape our New ICSI. A brief account of such endeavours is as under:
Revisiting Curriculum Mapping: A curriculum is considered the “heart” of any learning institution. Curriculum reform has a greater role to play as it instils life-long learning competencies in a learner.Keeping this in mind, the Institute is in the process of revamping the curriculum to keep our future professionals abreast of the contemporary developments. In the year 2017, we have already introduced new syllabus for Foundation level while curriculum development for Executive and Professional levels is in pipeline.
Creating a Holistic Learning Pedagogy:Excellent contentdevelopedthrough curriculum mapping needs support of outstanding pedagogy. Therefore, ICSI has come up with commendable e-learning mechanism for students on Pan India basis. Not only this, if the students who are not able to use e-learning mechanism due to any reason, an additional facility of ‘Academic Helpline’ to help them understand concepts over phone at flexible hours has been provided. Besides, to enable the students to network virtually to discuss study related matters, a Virtual Learning through SMASH has been provided.
Strengthening Infrastructure:The Institute is growing by leaps and bounds on infrastructural development end. Whereas the construction of new building of Udaipur and Guwahati Chapters has been almost completed, the new Building Project of Centre of Excellence, Hyderabad is near completion. Further, the Institute has secured a plot for Raipur and Gurgaon Chapters.
Revamping Examination System: Any learning programmust provide a balanced and fair evaluation of each student.Therefore, examination system of every learning institution must be capable of defining the actual degree of intelligence of the learner. Keeping this in mind, different alternatives of assessing credibility of the students by way of examination are being explored. Also, examination enrolment system has been digitized through SMASH registeringone lakh students for June 2017 exams.
Inculcating Requisite Skills for Future Members:Concrete leadership and professional skills are must before stepping in to start a career. To bridge the skill gap inherent in distance learning mode of learning, ICSI has come up with a novel 90 daysCorporate Leadership Development Program.As the cost of this leadership program should not become a hassle for the students keen to pursue this, therefore, the program will be highly subsidized. On a pilot basis, a 45 days residential program for professional pass out students has been launched to shape accomplished and sanguine future KMPs.
Stepping Stone for Placements:For providing initial support to the young members of the Institute to steer the direction of their careers,the Institute organized a Mega Placement Drive in all its regions PAN India in the month of May 2017. This drive has been taken well by the corporate and ICSI will be launching similar drives in the months to come.
All these initiatives are an attempt to provide every support to our students to become a ‘World Class Governance Professional’ and to shape New ICSI.
Extending Support to Our Professional Fraternity
With the continuous developments in the external environment, the role of professionals needs to be redefined continuously to avail the opportunities emerging in this environment.A host of steps have been taken for our members so that they can strive towards professional excellence such as:
Opening International Avenues for Our Fraternity: We are making best efforts to put ICSI on world map by exploring novel opportunities and gaining international recognitions for our members. For this, a clear understanding has been arrived at with the ICSA-UK to the effect that an ICSI member having secured the membership of ICSA-UK desires to shift base to another division, is now eligible to do so. Not only this, a delegation led by me met with H.E. Mrs. Suchitra Durai, High Commission of India, Nairobi, Kenya during our Kenya visit and as a result, the link of ICSI website has been successfully placed at High Commission’s website for reference of investors keen to invest in India. Deliberations with various other organisations of International repute are also ongoing so as to create opportunities for our CS professionals when such foreign investors become attracted to invest in India.
Knowledge Building Initiatives for Members: The initiatives taken in this year to provide efficient services to our members include:
- Exploring Joint Programs with IIMs: For skill enhancement of the members, ICSI is exploring possibility of conducting joint programswith Institutes of repute such as IIMs. This is a step to ensure edifyingworld class governance practices to our members.
- Companies Act, 2013 “Enable, Evaluate, Excel”: The Institute is organising a weekend webinar series “Enable, Evaluate, Excel” on the Companies Act, 2013 specially for the young members who have been admitted during the transition periods before notification of the Companies Act, 2013. This special drive for such members has been well received by the members to revive, refresh and sharpen their knowledge on the Companies Act, 2013. Further, in order to enable members to evaluate their knowledge on the subject, The ICSI, on completion of webinar series, provides an opportunityof online self-evaluation.
- Quest Assist: Quest Assistis a platform to reply the queries and difficulties of members pertaining to the Companies Act, 2013 and Rules and Notifications issued thereunder and issues related to E-filing.
- GST Point:To serve as a facilitating platform to resolve the queries, inquiries and challenges faced by consumers, manufacturers, traders, MSMEs, professionals public at large, etc. in understanding and implementing the provisions of Law(s) on Goods and Services Tax.
- Goods and Service Tax Newsletter: To cover recent updates and news under GST, glimpse of events organised by ICSI on GST and a list of upcoming events along with articles, FAQs and other related material.
- Amrut Dhara: Perspective understanding of governance and management from Ancient India and Indian Epics.
- Gyan Jyoti: A series of research write-ups on various contemporary issues and topics.
- Info Capsules: For providing information on all the recent developments and issues concerning not only the profession but the economy as a whole.
- ICSI FinanCS: Publishes opportunities and key developments in Financial Services space.
- Student Professionals Today: A journal for supplementing knowledge of CS students in various spheres.
- ICSI-CCGRT Geeta Saar: A Brief Premier on Company Law
- ICSI-CCGRT E-Bulletin Chintanam
- Gyan Moti: A daily quote on ICSI homepage extracted out of rich ancient Indian literature.
Further, ICSI has also endeavored to provide various publications of the Institute free of cost to our members, the soft copy of which is available and downloable at the link.The link for the publications is http://www.icsi.edu/PCS_Pub.aspx. I urge all of you to take maximum benefit out of the same.
Strengthening Disciplinary Mechanism: The Institute is in the process of streamlining and strengthening its Disciplinary Mechanism by further enhancing Good Governance practices, in tune with the Government of India’s endeavour to further strengthen the Disciplinary Mechanism across all the three professional Institutes and a National effort to streamline the corporate governance.
Towards a Digital ICSI :With a view to pace up the Institute’s services under the realm of Digital India and cutting edge information and communication technology, ICSI has taken various strides and following electronic services has been introduced:
Recognitions to Company Secretary in Practice: Arrays of recognitions are being accorded to Company Secretaries under various central and state laws. In this context, the Institute brought out the publication titled 'Areas of Recognitions to Company Secretary in Practice under Various Laws' to apprise the members about the vast world of recognitions in various laws of the country.
Core Group/Task forces: for capacity building and deciding way forward for profession in various areas, the Institute has constituted following Core Groups/Task force in areas related to profession as:
- Revamping home page of ICSI website
- Converting Chartered Secretary in to a reader friendly e-magazine form
- Option to buy publications of ICSI online through our website
- Launch of website of ICSI-Insolvency Professional Agency
- ICSI Financial Services e-helpdesk
- Option to view credit hours online by the members
- Online payment of membership fees without login
- Launch of GST app
- Online Certificate Course on Goods and Services Tax jointly with NIFM
Increasing Virtual Presence of ICSI through Social Media: The Institute is making every endeavour to communicate initiatives taken by us through social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. The response to this real time media has been huge and this has been largely appreciated by stakeholders.
Exploring opportunity for members in the sphere of ‘Insurance Industry’: With the objective of expanding the expertise of the professionals and to create cadre of professionals in the insurance industry well versed in risk management, governance and regulatory compliances of insurance industry, the Institute entered in to a Memorandum of Association with Insurance Institute of India to jointly offer a “Certificate Course on Compliance, Governance and Risk Management in Insurance.
Capacity building in areas of Valuation and Internal Audit:The Institute in collaboration with National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM) has launched Online Certificate Course in Valuation and Diploma in Internal Audit to offer an intensive instruction and training to augment the skills of Company Secretaries relevant in today's business environment.
Empowering CS Women Members: ICSI firmly believes that its women members are making an important contribution to the profession and are bringing ‘heart’ with ‘mind’ in this profession. Therefore, to recognise the journey of such women and to inspire future women members, a regular column has been dedicated to the women CS in our esteemed journal Chartered Secretary.
- ICSI GST Core Advisory Group
- Core Group on Labour Laws
- Core Group on NCLT
- Core Group on Intellectual Property Rights
- Task Force on Company Law for all four regions
- Task Force for Diligence Report
- Task Force on Audit/Due Diligence/ Compliance of SEBI Laws
Extending Our Contribution towards Nation Building
Besides, taking above initiatives to become a global leader in promoting good corporate governance, the Institute is also extending its contribution towards New India. We are takingsteps to:
Promoting Nationalism through adoption of Khadi:For the first time in history of ICSI, ICSI has done away with British Hangover during its convocations and the newly inducted members received their membership in traditional Indian attires of Kurta Pyjamas (boys) and Sarees/Suits (girls) along with Tri-color Uttariya/stoles rather than the British era black gowns and headgear.
Promote usage of our national language Hindi in the functioning of ICSI Pan India.
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan:We are extending whole hearted contribution to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan of Government of India.
Promoting Yoga:In furtherance to the Institute’s effort in keeping pace with the flagship initiatives of the Government, the Institute celebrated 3rd International Yoga Day on June 21, 2017 PAN India.
Encouraging MSME Entrepreneurs:Institute is taking various measures toemphasize the role of MSMEs in the National progress, insight into the registration process of MSMEs, raising of finances as well as compliances with various regulatory obligations would help MSME Entrepreneurs in management and administration of their businesses in a sustainable manner.
A Guide to Ease of Doing Business in North Eastern Region:In view of the attainment of the objective of 'Balanced Regional Growth', it is imperative to create a congenial business environment in North-East thereby facilitating growth of business. In this backdrop, the book titled, "Ease of Doing Business" has been published to delve into the various key facets pertaining to the business environment in North East.
Equal Opportunities for Students of Jammu & Kashmir and North-East India: Lately, Government of India is placing special emphasis on development of states of Jammu and Kashmir and North-East (Ashtalakshmi) and has announced special packages for these states. ICSI has also followed the lead and has come out with a special ‘Fee Waiver Scheme’ to reach out the youth of North East and Jammu & Kashmir and for the Foundation and Executive Programme Stages. Not only this, The Institute has also opened nine Study Centres in the North Eastern Region at Shillong, Jorhat, Tinsukia, Kharupetia, Gangtok, Dimapur, Itanagar, Agartala and Aizwal. Alongwith, The Institute recently organised one of its prestigious national level programme i.e. PCS Conference 2017 in Shillong in the month of June.
ICSI Giri Sagar Vidhyarthi Vikas Yojana: To reach out to the student community and schools/colleges in the coastal areas/hilly regions on pan India basis in around 300 cities.
Envisioning Local to Global (L2G) Governance: The changing scenario in the sphere of Governance requires connecting the dots between ‘Local to Global (L2G)’ aspects of governance. Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi was also a strong believer of strengthening local self-government system and believed that every village must be strongly empowered to deal with local issues. Similarly, there is a need to pave the way for having a universally accepted corporate governance norms.Keeping this in view, there is a need to expand the horizon of ICSI i.e. along with Corporate Governance to Citizen-centric approach where governance and development is activated at the grass root level. Along with, the need of the hour is to taking the cause of global governance to the new heights. Therefore, ICSI is coming up with two codes namely “Model Governance Code for Meetings of Gram Panchayats” and the “International Corporate Governance Code-ICGC”. It strives to supplement such laws for promoting better governance in the functioning of Gram Panchayat.
Taking Care of Our Social Responsibility
Earth Day: Practice of gifting planters than flowers to welcome guest has been initiated at all offices/chapters of ICSI to mark Earth Day celebrations.
International World Environment Day: To build the indulgence of the members, students and other stakeholders on “Connecting with Nature” and to urge them to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and to think about how we are part of nature and how intimately we depend on it, the Institute celebrated International World Environment Day on June 5, 2017.
Supporting One Tax, One Nation:GST
GST POINT: GST POINT a platform to reply to the queries, difficulties and challenges faced by consumers, manufacturers, traders, MSMEs, public at large, professionals, etc. in understanding and implementation of the Goods and Services Tax Laws. The queries are being received and replied over the phone on the issues and challenges faced by stakeholders in day to day working while implementing the GST. The help line is open for two hours, twice a week and the queries are addressed by subject experts. The queries may be raised at 011-45341095. In addition, regional chapters are also in the process of setting up physical counters of GST Point on the designated days.
Beginners Guide to GST: A Beginners Guide on GST has been released in the PCS Conference for circulation amongst public at large.
GST E-Book: ICSI is coming out with an E-Book on Goods & Services Tax to be released soon.
GST App: The Institute of Company Secretaries has launched ICSI GST App for public at large today which will enable users to get latest news, articles, regulations and various publications on GST by ICSI. An event list tab will keep you updated about the events on GST organised by ICSI across India. Discussion Forum, a feature in the App will be updated soon where you will be able to discuss your queries relating to GST with experts of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India. The App is presently available on android platform and can be downloaded from Play Store.
Certificate Course in GST: With a view to equip Company Secretaries with the skills and develop competency in the area of GST, ICSI has launched an Online Certificate Course on GST for its members. The course gives a comprehensive insight into the principles of GST as well as other nuances of the new indirect tax regime. The registration for this course on GST can be done at www.icsi.edu.
GST Master Classes: ICSI is organizing Master Classes on Goods & Services Tax through its various Chapters and Regional Offices continually, covering a wide coverage of the novel law.
GST Resource Persons: With a view to support the smooth implementation of GST in India, ICSI is in the process of empanelling resource persons in GST who would further contribute in creating awareness and understanding about the facts, opportunities, challenges and way forward in the upcoming GST regime and promote capacity building initiatives in the varied areas of the new taxonomy.
GST Newsletter: The Institute as part of its capacity building initiative under the new indirect tax regime and upholding the “One Tax One Nation” motto of the Government of India, has brought out a monthly newsletter dedicated to the Goods & Services Tax (GST). The GST Newsletter broadly aims to cover recent updates and news under GST, a glimpse of events organised by ICSI on GST and a list of upcoming events along with articles, FAQs and other related material.
GST Educational Series: The Institute has also launched a daily Educational Series on Goods & Services Tax (GST) for the members and students to enhance knowledge of GST laws.
Formulation of a Core Advisory Group on GST: core group was constituted to deliberate on the intricacies of the novel law and for making submissions to Government by bringing experts on board.
Webinar Series: A continuous series of webinars was conducted for disseminating understanding of the novel law.
Programmes on GST: Various programmes are regularly being conducted at regional and chapter levels as a part of capacity building initiatives of the ICSI and equipping professionals and students about the GST Law.
Representations: The Core Group deliberates on issues relating to GST Law and therby representations are made to the Ministry of Finance and other appropriate forums for the benefit of profession and industry.
With sharing a stock of these initiatives taken by ICSI in the year 2017, I seek active participation of all stakeholders in carrying out this saga of growth for the months and years to come because “Teamwork makes the Dreamwork”.A story will illustrate it more clearly:
When you see geese flying along in “V” formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.
When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front. If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those people who are headed the same way we are.When the head goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point. It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs, whether with people or with geese flying south. Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
What messages do we give when we honk from behind? Finally — and this is important — when a goose gets sick or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out of formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or until it dies, and only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their group.
If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that.Let us all build a ‘New India” a “New ICSI”.
CS (Dr.) Shyam Agrawal
July 14, 2017