‘CS are becoming the key managerial personnel’


Shyam Agarwal, President, ICSI, talks about the recent developments of the institute, the evolving role of Company Secretary and various universities providing PhD programmes

What were the objectives and the changes that you brought about during your tenure as the president of The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI)?

The idea was to move from the realm of corporate governance to national governance; and somehow by the end of the tenure and the year, I feel satisfied with a sense of accomplishment of having come this far but not contentment since the road ahead is a long one. The institute while understanding the need for holistic governance rolled out codes like the Model Governance Code for Meetings of Gram Panchayats, Code for Charity Governance and Corporate Anti-Bribery Code. While foundation stones were laid and chapters were inaugurated in various cities, a completely research-oriented Centre of Excellence was inaugurated at Hyderabad by the Vice-President of India, Venkaiah Naidu. The year also evidenced not just the adoption of a motto from the Indian Scriptures but its development into a full-fledged song. A large number of publications were rolled out in our attempt to aid the corporate and economic world.

How was the Golden Jubilee Year celebration?

The inaugural ceremony witnessed the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi wherein he was presented with the ‘Shaheed ki Beti’ certificate, another unique initiative of ICSI to fund the education of the daughters of the martyrs of the nation.

How are the secretarial standards impacting the companies?

The adoption of Secretarial Standards by the corporate sector whether as a legal mandate (SS-1 and SS-2) or on a voluntary basis (SS-3) will have a substantial impact on the quality of compliances required to be followed by the companies, making them comparable with the best practices in the world. Not only will it ensure strengthening of Board processes,  but will also be instrumental in building investor confidence and better monitoring of compliances, thereby achieving the common goal of better corporate governance.  

How has the role of Company Secretaries (CS) evolved over the years?

The past 50 years have been witness to the altering roles of CS from a legal boundation to becoming the key managerial personnel. The Insolvency Professionals, the IPR professionals, the Registered Valuers are just a few of the roles played by CS. It goes without saying that the development of any economy is sustainable only when the backbone is formed by a sound governance framework. It is only befitting that the task of strengthening and maintaining such framework is entrusted upon dedicated professionals and CS fit in this role perfectly. CS as a governance professional is vital to nation building.

What are some of the responsibilities?

A lot of activities by Company Secretaries fall within the ambit of the responsibility structure. From ensuring compliance with the applicable laws and secretarial standards to guiding the directors, from conducting secretarial audits to representing the before Regulators, from obtaining requisite approvals from designated authorities to assisting the Board, the India Inc surely witnesses a plenty occasions where services of CS are solicited. A liberalised economy giving equal standing to a variety of business organisations having plethora of laws encasing them needs to be supported by such professionals at a higher level to keep the governance intact and the issues under control.

How has ICSI expanded across India?

With around 69 chapters, four regional offices and research centres, we are present pan India in guiding our budding professionals in prospective students. We’ve opened around 57 study centres, even in places like Andaman Nicobar, Nagar Haveli and many more alike. Institute is regularly conducting career awareness programme pan India and even focusing to being in line the students of remote area also.

What are the objectives of the institute?

Regulation and Development of the profession of CS. In terms of Section 15A of the Company Secretaries Act, 1980 the  functions of institute includes the examination of candidates for enrollment, the regulation of training of students,the maintenance and publication of a Register of persons qualified to practice as CS and collection of fees from members, examinees and other persons. It also subject to the orders of the appropriate authorities under this Act, the removal of names from the Register and the restoration to the Register of names which have been removed. We are also responsible for the maintenance of a library and publication of books and periodicals relating to management of companies and allied subjects; the conduct of elections to the Council of the Institute and the granting or refusal of certificates of practice as per guidelines issued by the Council.

Which are the universities from where a student can pursue PhD programme?

There are 55 universities that have recognised the CS qualification as equivalent to post graduation for the purpose of pursuing PhD. Some of them are: The list of such universities is as under: Sardar Patel University, South Gujarat University, Maharshi Dayanand University, Guru Nanak Dev University, University of Poona, Punjab University, Nagpur University, Chaudhary Charan Singh University, University of Mysore, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Bangalore University, Shivaji University, University of Bombay, Algappa University, Pondicherry University, North Maharashtra University, Karnatak University, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, National Law School of India University, North Gujarat University, University of Kashmir, and many others.



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