New CA curriculum will address concerns over education quality, says ICAI president Debashis Mitra

K.R. Srivats | Updated on: Apr 10, 2022
Debashis Mitra, President, ICAI

Debashis Mitra, President, ICAI | Photo Credit: KAMAL NARANG

Holds meeting with MCA on the draft new curriculum; ICAI keen to improve technology skills of small and medium practitioners

The CA Institute is confident that the proposed change in CA course curriculum would address all contemporary issues and concerns raised against the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) as regards the quality of its education and training, Debashis Mitra, President, ICAI has said.

The draft new CA curriculum, which was earlier submitted to the government for an in-principle approval, was discussed in detail with the Corporate Affairs Ministry (MCA) on Friday, Mitra told BusinessLine here.

He highlighted the revised scheme of education and training have been developed in conformity with the best practices adopted by international accounting bodies, national education policy 2020 and taking note of revolution in information technology. The MCA is yet to give its nod for the new curriculum.

His remarks are significant as it comes on the heels of Standing Committee on Finance, headed by BJP MP Jayant Sinha, recommending in its report that the government must consider setting up an Indian Institute of Accounting (IIA) on the lines of IIM and IITs for further development of the profession in the country. The panel had also made a case for removal of statutory monopoly of the CA Institute.

Meanwhile, in a video message to ICAI members on late Saturday evening, Mitra, among other things, highlighted that the recent enactment makes no mention of IIA. While admitting that some concerns are being raised about curtailment of autonomy granted to the profession, Mitra quoted Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Rajya Sabha address during the passage of the Bill where she said: “I recognise the importance of three professions in corporate governance structure. The objective is also to strengthen all three of them without in any way affecting the autonomy that they enjoy.”

Strategy meet

The CA Central Council, which met in Mumbai on April 5 for special strategy meet to discuss the way forward on the new Bill enactment, is understood to have taken note that IIA does not find a place in the Bill and therefore, did not merit significant immediate attention. However, the strategy meet did recognise that CA Institute cannot turn a blind eye to the recommendation of the Standing Committee and therefore, discussed IIA from the point of view of further improvement of working of CA Institute, sources said.

Asked whether CA Institute sees IIA becoming a reality and what would be its strategic response, Mitra said he cannot comment on this and pointed out that IIA does not find a place in the CA Bill, which has now been enacted into law.

At the strategy meeting, the CA Central Council is understood to have deliberated at length the implications of the passage of the CA Bill. It was decided that the ICAI should accept the Parliament’s decision with grace and place huge stress on improving the quality of audit in the country, sources close to the development said. It was also decided that small and medium practitioners must be made aware of technology changes.

It maybe recalled that the CA Bill had, among other things, introduced changes in the composition of the Board of Discipline and Disciplinary Committee and fixed a timeline for various processes.

It had also paved the way for formation of coordination committee of three professional institutes and provided power to take action against firms.

Mitra highlighted in his video message that many of the provisions in the Bill, including power to take action against firms, enhanced penalty for falsely claiming to be a member, maintenance of register of firms, duration of the council term were earlier recommended by the ICAI.

Past presidents

As regards ICAI Council meeting with past presidents of the CA Institute on April 6, Mitra said they highlighted the huge changes in technology and advised measures to ensure that the profession is always updated in that respect. They also wanted the CA Institute to accept the changes brought about by Parliament while not forgetting that CAs are partners in nation building..

Former ICAI President Amarjit Chopra, who attended the meeting, told BusinessLine that ICAI will have to show its resolve by changing its curriculum to meet the present needs of industry. This may include adjustment in training period with CA firms and industrial training, extended periods of advanced IT training and improvement in communication and presentation skills of articled students, he said. Chopra also suggested the introduction of submission of E diary report by articled students duly counter signed by principals, linking of entitlement of training articled students with professional work available with the firms etc.

“With these changes in bag, ICAI may tell the government that there is no need to reinvent the wheel,” Chopra said.

Published on April 10, 2022
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