Budget is balanced, says ICAI president

Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) president Atul Kumar Gupta on Saturday hailed the Union Budget 2021-22 as ‘balanced and futuristic, with a focus on nation-building’.

Delivering the inaugural address at the one-day conference Udyati-3 here on Saturday, Mr. Gupta said the Budget was based on six key pillars, which lay the foundation for economic development.

“Almost every aspect, right from skill development to agriculture and from housing to infrastructure building and health and wellness, has been given priority. Most importantly, every pillar was linked to the sustainable development goals,” Mr. Gupta said.

Talking of direct and indirect taxes in the Budget, Mr. Gupta said that as no new taxes were introduced, it has rejuvenated the stock market, which is a healthy sign for an economic uptick.

However, certain areas such as audits on ‘digital and cash payment’ need a relook, he said.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that there was no need for audit of digital payments. But it needs a rethink as audit is not merely linked to payments and there are a number of factors and compliances involved, he said.

Speaking on ICAI and chartered accountancy as a course, Mr. Gupta said that the course has now gone global and professionals should think globally.

“We have been redesigning the course from time to time and now, young students should think of things such as blockchain, data analytics, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, forensic audit, capacity building and critical thinking,” he said.

“We have prepared an action plan and it will be implemented soon. We are now competing with global firms and ICAI will provide the platform,” he added.

The ICAI president said that the COVID pandemic was a test for all, including the institute. “It was a challenge to conduct the examinations last November in over 5,800 centres. We engaged over 10,000 volunteers, and the members from respective chapters have done a commendable job,” he said.

Conducting a bank audit virtually was also a challenge during the pandemic, he pointed out.

Dungar Chand U. Jain, SIRC chairman, Dayaniwas Sharma, central council member of ICAI, Naresh Chandra Gelli, SIRC member, China Masthan, SIRC member, Chengal Reddy, SIRC member, D. Prasanna Kumar, vice-chairman, CMP, ICAI, and G. Bharathi Devi, chairperson of the conference, spoke.

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