NEW DELHI :
Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said that the Chartered Accountants (Amendment) Bill will not undermine the autonomy of institutions like the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).
Lok Sabha on Wednesday approved the Chartered Accountants, Cost and Works Accountants and Company Secretaries (Amendment) Bill in a bid to revamp the functioning of the institutes of chartered accountants, cost accountants and company secretaries.
The concerned institutes are the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), Institute of Cost Accountants of India (formerly known as ICWAI), and Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI).
Sitharaman’s comment comes in the backdrop of accusations made by the opposition parties in Lok Sabha that by introducing the bill the government is interfering with the functioning of autonomous bodies and aims to take control of independent institutions.
Expressing concerns over the bill, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had said that it is unclear how the conflict of interest between disciplinary and administrative functions will be addressed if the council continues to recommend who could be on the committee.
“The three councils already have committees for coordinating among themselves. It is unclear why there is a need to set up another coordination committee. The proposal for Secretary, MCA, heading it will impinge upon the independence of the institutes. There is a gap between the cup and the lip,” Chowdhury had said.
The bill, introduced by MoS (Corporate Affairs) Rao Inderjit Singh, sought to amend the Chartered Accountants Act 1949, the Cost and Work Accountant Act 1959, and the Companies Secretary Act 1980.
Sitharaman further said that the bill will not infringe upon the autonomy of the three institutes and would rather enhance the quality of audits and improve the country’s investment climate.