The Institute of Company Secretaries of India is looking forward to expanding the conventional roles of chartered accountants to non-statutory areas like labour law audit and certification, secretarial audit of hotel and banking industries, and others.
"The chief thrust is on labour law, and we are already in talks with the various state governments like West Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa and are about approach Assam for the same at the level of the labour commisioner", said Mukesh Chaturvedi, secretary of the Eastern India Regional Council of ICSI. EIRC will take up this issue in all the north-eastern states, he added.
EIRC has four regions and six chapters under its purview, including Patna in Bihar, Ranchi and Jamshedpur in Jharkhand, Dhanbad in West Bengal, Bhubaneshwar in Orissa, and Guwahati in Assam.
The ICSI headquarters in New Delhi will take it up to the labour ministry in the central government.
The ICSI is a statutory body under the Company Secretaries' Act enacted by the Parliament.
Company secretaries already represent clients before the Company Law Board, Income Tax Tribunals and Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), besides Foreign exchange Management Act cases.
"We are also working as business strategists and advisors to our clients as practising company secretaries, and our track record with respect to maintaining accordance with various compliances is also commendable", commented Chaturvedi.
With the opening up of the economy, several opportunities in the non-traditional domains have presented themselves before the chartered accountants, and they have been increasingly gaining significance in these areas, said Subrato Ray, chairman, EIRC, ICSI. The institute has been organising seminars at regular intervals to discuss these issues, he added.
"Around 40 public sector firms are looking at recruiting company secretaries in Ranchi, and there is dearth of them in the region", Chaturvedi said.
"The demand for qualified company secretaries is high in both the government and private sectors", he added.
Thereby, to meet the demand, ICSI has come up with a new course for graduates in any stream as well as students who have qualified for the chartered accountant foundation course, to take up a company secretaries' training.
Around 1.5 lakh students take the exam every year, and the success rate has been as high as 35 per cent.
The institute has plans to touch the remote parts through internet, and training the rural and small town youth in e-filing under MCA21.