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ICWAI sore over move to increase Govt nominees

Our Bureau

Kolkata , Feb. 6

THE Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI) has opposed the Government's bid to increase its hold on the Central council by increasing the number of nominees from four to five.

Top functionaries of the institute today took the unprecedented step of strongly criticising proposals to comprehensively amend the Cost and Works Accountants Act.

The key object of the amendments is to curb the institute's autonomy, felt Mr Bibhabananda Majumder, Vice-President of ICWAI. "This will unnecessarily enhance government control... we do not like the idea of compulsory inclusion of one nominee in each committee of the council or the formation of an appellate authority to take up cases of professional misconduct," he added.

The ICWAI stand is partly based on the fact that the existing CWA Act already has a provision empowering the Government to issue directives that are binding on it. The amendment proposals, however, seek to strengthen this provision further - a move that may well make the professional body of cost accountants dependent on bureaucratic impulses.

The number of external nominees on the central council (currently made up 16 members, four of them chosen by the Government) is a critical factor as it can tilt decisions in favour of the outsiders, it is pointed out.

It may be mentioned here that the Government had in late last year issued a show-cause notice to ICWAI with regard to foreign trips undertaken by senior functionaries from time to time. These included trips to Japan and Australia, "taken in violation of the directions of the Central Government".

The notice, with reference to some earlier directives of the Government, mentioned that the council of the institute has "persistently and wilfully violated" such directives.

The council was asked to show reasons why it should not be dissolved under Section 35 (3) of the CWA Act. The council has handled the situation smoothly, Mr Majumder stated.

On another front, ICWAI has urged the authorities to appreciate its demands, a list of which was placed before newspersons today. The institute has, for instance, asked for engagement of cost auditors by tariff regulatory bodies, pollution control boards, municipalities and various strategic sector organisations. Cost accountants should also be involved in diverse activities such as banking, insurance and other financial services.

Mr Majumder mentioned that ICWAI (which has proposed to change its name to the `Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of India') would soon introduce online learning sessions for students and members. Students will be able to take online examinations and coaching completion certificates. Incidentally, a new section, styled Job Opportunities, has been included in the ICWAI Web site.

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