Back to school for CAs
RBI pep talk for states
Ports to swim with the tide

New Delhi, June 8: 
Practising chartered accountants will have to go back to school if they want their licences renewed every year.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has decided to make it compulsory for practising chartered accountants to earn credits by logging a minimum number of hours every year attending the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) course that is run by the institute.

The Certificate of Practice (COP) for practising CAs will not be renewed in its absence. According to a spokesperson for the institute, the measure will come into effect next January.

The institute has yet to determine the minimum number of hours that the CAs should log.

However, it will be recommendatory for the CAs who are above 65 years of age and for those professionally qualified CAs who are not practising but in services. Otherwise, the CPE hours will be mandatory for the renewal of the COP (certificate of Practice) which CAs need to practise. It has to be renewed every year, the spokesperson said.

�Once a person clears all his CA papers and the final exam, he becomes a member of ICAI and thereafter is eligible to apply for COP,� said an ICAI official. From next year, the stipulated CPE hours will become mandatory for grant or renewal of COP.

However, an exception is likely to be made for fresh CAs as they would have to otherwise wait for a COP unless they attend the CPE hours, he said. In any case, the basic idea is to keep the practising CAs updated, he said.

At present there are about 1.5 lakh CAs in the country out of which about 70,000 are practising. At present, the CPE programmes are recommendatory for all CAs.

The institute and its regional offices holds the CPE programmes throughout the country. These are in the form of seminars, workshops, lectures and even residential courses running for a week. CPE hours are allotted in tune with the duration of the courses. Besides professional upgradation, they add to the curriculum vitae of the CA.

ICAI is planning something like a bank account of CPE hours. The number of hours allotted to each programme will be credited to the account of the member. This will be monitored to determine whether the CA has earned the requisite credits.

CAs who have spent years swotting to earn the coveted degree�the number of those who pass is just a tick over 10 per cent of the total number of aspirants who take the exam which is held twice a year�won�t relish the prospect of going back to school.

But, as the ICAI official from the CPE directorate, said, �With changing accounting norms and other developments, the profession requires practising CAs to upgrade their professional knowledge all the time in order to do justice to the profession.�


Mumbai, June 8: 
Expressing concern over the fiscal situation of states, Reserve Bank governor Bimal Jalan said market borrowings and guarantees given by states to various public sector undertakings under their fold need attention and urged restraint on overdrafts.

The states are also required to give attention to borrowings by the state-level undertakings themselves, the governor said.

Speaking at the bi-annual conference of state finance secretaries here yesterday, Jalan said harmonious relationship between the central government and state governments in management of finances is crucial in maintaining integrity of financial systems and financial stability particularly at a time when capital flows somewhat freely across borders. Given the rigidities in expenditure management, Jalan said, there was also a need to concentrate on the asset side, where governments have already built tremendous assets in the form of public sector undertakings and services provided by them.

Jalan called for restraint on the use of ways and means advances or overdrafts from the central bank by states.

The meeting chaired by the RBI deputy governor Y.V. Reddy was attended by 24 state finance secretaries, C.S. Rao, secretary (expenditure), Union ministry of finance, and Usha Sahajpal, Comptroller General of Accounts. Noting various innovative methods used by RBI as debt manager to facilitate borrowing by states through direct access to market via the auction route and tap issues, Jalan said there was perhaps a need for looking at other options also.

Stressing on the cooperative framework between the Centre and the states, Jalan pointed out that there were lessons to be learnt from the coordinating approach adopted by large federal governments such as European Union, China and the United States in managing their finances.

Harmonious relationship between the central government and states in management of finances was crucial in maintaining the integrity of financal systems and stability, particularly at a time when capital flows somewhat freely across borders, the governor said.


Haldia, June 8: 
The Union shipping ministry will encourage major ports of the country to privatise new berths through lease agreements and would consider offering flexibility in tariff fixation to enable them to compete with private ports.

�We would like to attract private operators to construct new berths at the major ports on Build Operate Transfer (BOT) basis,� Union shipping minister Ved Prakash Goyal said today. �BOT is the route to the future,� he added.

Goyal, who laid the foundation stone for Berth No 4a of the Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) of Calcutta Port Trust (CPT) here today, said the ministry would also encourage leasing out older berths and terminals to private parties for efficient cargo handling.

Lauding CPT�s initiatives in privatisation of berths, both at HDC and Calcutta Dock System, he said the new multi-purpose Berth No 4a of HDC would be constructed by International Seaports (India) Pvt Ltd on BOT basis. Agreements have been signed with TM International Logistic India Ltd (TMIL), Tisco and IQ Martrade of Germany for maintenance of Berth No 12. TMIL will install modern cargo handling equipment at Berth No 12 and its back-up area, he said.

Besides privatisation of berths, the ministry was also considering proposals to offer the ports some flexibility in tariff fixation, he said.

For this purpose, there were proposals to turn the tariff authority for major ports into an appellate body, Goyal said.

The shipping minister, who also inaugurated a coal ship loader at Berth No 4 of HDC and dedicated a survey vessel �Sarojini�, said the government was keen to develop the inland waterways for internal traffic movement.

�We have received offers from private parties for joint ventures in this sector. However, there is need to upgrade the facilities and construct jetties for the purpose,� Goyal said. The government has asked the Central Inland Water Transport Corporation and Inland Waterways Authority of India to work together in this matter. To improve dredging at Haldia port, German equipment, at an investment of Rs 350 crore, are being brought in.


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