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CA students in India protesting: What’s the issue?

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Last week, the ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountants of India) published “Suggested Answers” to the May 2019 exams. When the students compared the Suggested answers provided by the Institute with their own copies of certified answer sheets which they obtained under RTI (Right to Information Act), they found differences in the total marks in their answer sheet from that in the mark sheet. Furthermore, cases of marks omission were also found which clearly showed the negligence from the side of ICAI. This resulted in outrage in social media followed by heavy protests against ICAI.

Rahul Gandhi, Indian congress leader, also showed his support on the issue through his tweet that said,
“Across India 12 Lakh CA students are fighting for their right to have their exam papers re-evaluated by ICAI. Given the widespread reports of errors in the evaluation of answer sheets, this demand is justified & should be supported by all political parties.”

What are the demands of the protest?

Regulation 39(4) of Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 of India has made provision for verification of answer sheets which include checking whether the answer book(s) compilation is complete, if any question has been unvalued or if there is any totaling error. However, it does not allow for re-examination of the answers itself. Simply put, students can apply for re-totaling only- not  the rechecking of their answer sheets, as per the existing regulation.

Due to the marking issue, students have been demanding reform in marking system, the amendment of Regulation 39(4) being the main demand , which will allow the rechecking of their answer sheets.

Following is the Charter of Demands as per Economic Times:

a)  Provide the option of Re-Correction of the answer sheet
b)  Penalise the exam evaluators if mistakes are found in their work
c)  Give Question Booklet of MCQs and Disclose correct Answers
d)  Centralised Evaluation
e)  Allow students to mark the circles on OMR sheets in exams with pens

 

Response from ICAI:

On September 21, 2019, ICAI  addressed the issue by announcing various reforms in marking system which included Digital Evaluation, Central Evaluation, Machine- based Evaluation, Step wise marking and Mandatory online tests for empanelment of examiners.

However the students did not stop. They continued their protests as their main demand for amendment of Regulation 39(4) was not still addressed. Following the huge protests, ICAI made another announcement on September 24 which said,

” A section of the students led by agencies external to the Institute have been demonstrating outside the ICAI premises from 23rd September, 2019. In order to empathize the genuine concern, if any, of the students, they were given an opportunity to meet the officers and council members on 24th September, 2019 wherein more than ten representatives including ICAI members, non-members and students participated in the discussions. The representatives of agitators submitted that their only demand is to allow for provision of re-checking of answer books in the Chartered Accountancy examinations.”
The Institute further added to call off the agitation, and advised the students to concentrate on their studies for forthcoming exams and not be carried away by such issues.

Recent Update on the issue:

ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountants of India) made an announcement on September 26,2019(Thursday), to constitute a High Level Independent Committee to look into the examination process and regulations governing  CA examinations including Regulation 39(4) of Chartered Accountants Regulations, 1988. The committee comprises of Dr. P.C. Jain, Govt. Nominee, Convenor; Justice (CA.) Anil R. Dave, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India; CA. Ved Jain, Past President, ICAI; CA. Amarjit Chopra, Past President, ICAI and CA. (Dr.) Girish Ahuja, Renowned Educationist.

The students have called off the protests after this announcement, and are hoping for a positive change from the side of ICAI.

 

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Surya Nepal is highest taxpaying company

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Image: Bizpati

Surya Nepal has been honored for being “highest taxpaying company of the fiscal year 2018/19”

Finance Minister Dr Yuvraj Khatiwada  has honored the top companies in 15 categories amidst a program organized by the Inland Revenue Department on the occasion of the 7th National Tax Day today in Capital, where Surya Nepal has been honored as highest taxpaying company of the year.

Surya Nepal Private Limited (SNPL) is an Indo-Nepal-UK joint venture, which started operations in Nepal in 1986. SNPL, a subsidiary of ITC Ltd, India, is the largest private sector enterprise in Nepal. The balance shares are held by dispersed Nepalese shareholders and British American Tobacco, UK.

The company is currently engaged in the business of Cigarettes, Safety Matches and Readymade Garments in Nepal.

Nepal Government marks Mangsir 1 as National Tax Day and celebrates the day by honoring tax payers from different sectors and industries under 15 categories.  The highest taxpayers were honoured also to promote the taxpaying culture.

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Rape-alleged speaker, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, resigns from the post

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Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Krishna Bahadur Mahara, has resigned from the post on the moral ground, “until the investigation process is completed against the rape allegation”

He has submitted his resignation letter to vice-speaker.  Meanwhile, NCP had as well asked Mr. Mahara to quit from his speaker position and also to step down as parliamentarian to ease and facilitate the investigation.

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Chinese men arrested for stealing millions from ATMs in Nepal

Police have arrested five Chinese nationals in connection with the country’s biggest cyber heist in the banking sector and recovered approximately Rs 12.63 million stolen from several ATMs in Kathmandu.

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Police have arrested five Chinese nationals in connection with the country’s biggest cyber heist in the banking sector and recovered approximately Rs 12.63 million stolen from several ATMs in Kathmandu.

Those taken into police custody are Xu Luc Li, 36, Lin Jianmeng, 39, LuoJialei, 40, Zhu Lianggang, 32, Qui Yunging, 30, and Chen Bin Bin, 35.  Xu Luc Li was arrested from Tribhuvan International Airport last night.   Meanwhile, the Nepali nationals — operator of Dexo Money Changer Bednath Lamichhane, operator of Nepalaya Money Changer Roshan Pradhan Shrestha and Manager of Nepalaya Money Changer Rewati Dawadi — were arrested today for allegedly giving foreign currency to the hackers in exchange for the looted money. The three money changers are based in Thamel.

Nepal Rastra Bank stated that a total of Rs 16.87 million was looted in the cyber attack from Nepal by the group.  Nepal Electronic Payment System has claimed that Nepali banks lost over Rs 35 million in the cyber heist.

The hackers, according to police, used electronic cards of at least six banks — NIC Asia, Siddhartha, Janata, Global IME, Prabhu and Sunrise — and used them at ATMs of three banks — Nabil, Nepal Investment and Nepal SBI — to illegally withdraw the money in Nepal.

Police have so far recovered around Rs 12.63 million from the five Chinese nationals and rest of the cash looted from Nepal is suspected to have been carried away by the three absconders.

How the money was stolen

The hackers allegedly injected malware into Nepal Electronic Payment System (NEPS), a shared card switching system of 17 banks, to drain the cash from the ATMs.  NEPS was established by a group of Nepali banks to process cash withdrawal requests.  It basically carries a message sent by issuers of electronic cards, such as VISA, to member banks, whose cards are used for cash withdrawals. ATMs emit cash only after member banks give approval. In the latest cyber heist, the malware apparently gave ATMs the instruction to emit cash before the request to withdraw cash could reach the member bank.

“The malware allowed Chinese hackers to steal the money available in the ATMs without debiting bank accounts of depositors,” Nepal Bankers’ Association President Gyanendra Prasad Dhungana said.  This means the cash was not stolen from accounts of depositors but from the vaults of ATMs.

The cash was not stolen from accounts of depositors but from the vaults of ATMs.

The biggest cyber heist in Nepal’s banking sector was noticed by Nabil Bank staff on Saturday after the ATMs ran out of cash though they were refilled on Friday evening. The hackers had used Prabhu Bank’s debit card at Nabil’s ATM to withdraw cash. Generally, an ATM holds Rs 2.5 million in cash.

“Normally, ATMs get lesser visitors on Saturdays and other public holidays. But two booths of Nabil Bank were emptied in a short duration, which drew the attention of bank staffers, who then informed about the incident to police,” said Prabhu Bank CEO Ashok Sherchan.

Acting on information provided by bank staffers, police first held Zhu from the Durbar Marg-based ATM kiosk of Nabil Bank at around 4:30 pm, leading to arrests of four others from Maya Manor Boutique Hotel at Hattisar. Deputy Superintendent of Police Hobindra Bogati said, “Four of them were arrested from the sixth floor of the hotel when they were preparing to flee.” Police, however, failed to arrest three other Chinese nationals, who were staying in the third floor of the same hotel. The racketeers had booked three rooms at the hotel.

Police have confiscated 132 duplicate and 17 original VISA cards, a card printing machine, six mobile phones, a laptop and a data card from the Chinese hackers.

Had the bank staffers not noticed the incident and informed authorities on time, the hackers would have emptied many more ATMs and fled the country, according to bankers.

The NBA has appealed to bank customers not to panic because of the cyber attack as their deposits are safe and intact.

Source:  The Himalayan Times

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