The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) plans to build more awareness and scale up its outreach in rural areas to highlight ‘Company Secretaryship’ (CS) as a career option for students in semi-urban and rural areas, according to a senior official of the institute.
“Students from rural and semi-urban areas know about professional accounting courses but probably may not be aware of CS courses and the wonderful career opportunity. We are working in that direction of creating awareness,” Nagendra D Rao, President of Institute of Company Secretaries of India, told BusinessLine, on the sidelines of a press conference organised by the Institute in Chennai last week to spread awareness about the professional course.
“Since this is a distant learning course, even students in remote areas can learn through our online study materials,” Rao said. Noting that the cost of non-compliance has become much more than the cost of compliance, Rao said, “If you look at the penalty imposed by SEBI or the Ministry of Corporate Affairs for non-compliance, it runs into lakhs and crores so a CS, as a governance professional, can ensure that a company does not violate any provisions of law and thereby save huge cost and reputation.”
The demand for CS professionals is much higher than the supply, he said, and encouraged more students, particularly rural ones, to take it up as a career opportunity. The Centre has made it mandatory for every private company with a paid-up share capital of ₹10 crore or more to have a whole-time Company Secretary with effect from April 1, 2020.
About CS as a career option for women, Rao said, “In fact, the percentage of women who enter the profession is much more compared to that of men because the profession also provides them an opportunity to practise on their own.”
ICSI has taken various initiatives including extensive career orientation, MoUs with various IIMs, professional development programmes, brand building and ICSI Digital revolution, he said. It currently has 65,000 members and around 3.50 lakh students in India.