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I had been hearing his name, and all that it stood for, for years. He has been a partner in all major cultural programmes of Mumbai.

But his main claim to fame is that he is a renowned chartered accountant (CA). Sunil Patodia is recognized as an outstanding CA, not only in Mumbai, but in all over India. If you want to understand how significant the services rendered by the CA community to the economy of the nation are, then you should meet Sunil Patodia. His firm, S K Patodia and Associates, headquartered in Andheri (East), Mumbai, and set up in 1992, is very well-known. Today, the firm has branches in nine states and 14 cities. On July 13, 2016, the firm inaugurated its 15th branch in Surat, Gujarat. In Mumbai, the firm operates out of an eight-storeyed, fully air-conditioned building. More than 250 employees work here.

I sought an appointment with Mr Patodia, and went to meet him. Sitting in his cool cabin, he seemed to radiate energy and somehow, you could sense the presence of a powerful personality.

Sunilji, Since when have you been in Mumbai.
Smiling a little, Mr. Patodia said, I came to Mumbai for the very first time on July 7, 1987. That means it has been 29 years now since I came here.

Whoever comes to Mumbai for the first time is awed by the concrete jungle that the city is. How did you feel when you first set foot here
I did not have the time to look at the tall cement structures. I was too preoccupied enjoying the torrential downpour of Mumbai, Mr Patodia laughed. I come from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan. In my state, you cannot even dream of a torrential downpour. Enjoying the heavy rain was my biggest source of pleasure those days.

The recognition you have gained as a CA is unprecedented. When you left Jhunjhunu for Mumbai, did you know right at that time that success was waiting for you in the new city
No, nothing like that. I came as an ordinary student.

There are so many CAs in the country. Out of all of those, how did you gain so much success Is it luck
I do not believe in luck. I believe in hard work, planning and execution of the plan.

Would you say that this level of success is because of good deeds that you did in your previous incarnation
do not think much about previous life or the next life still there is something like previous life and when there is previous life, there ought to be next birth. Wherever you go, you remain connected to your place of birth. Similarly, you remain connected to your ancestors.

At this point, Mr Patodia pointed to his mobile and said, Take this handset. It is connected not only within the country, but internationally as well. But can you see this connection No, right But still, the connection is working. Previous life and the next life are somewhat similar. You cannot see it, but it is there.

Do you believe in astrology
I don't depend on astrology. I depend on my work and my deeds.

And vaastu
I do not depend on vaastu either.

Did you not take the advice of vaastu experts while constructing this eight-storeyed air-conditioned building
We did not construct this office. We purchased it in ready possession. But yes, while buying it, we did check whether it was vaastu-compliant.

Which degree did you have when you left Jhunjhunu
BCom.

Okay. When you reached Mumbai
On reaching here, I did articleship for three years. Everyone who pursues the CA degree has to gain experience by working with some well-known firm. This is called articleship.

What all did you possess when you stepped into Mumbai for the first time
I can say that I had nothing. I had come as a simple student. My father, Mr Chauthmal Patodia, had written a letter for the famous industrialist and social activist, Mr Ramswaroop Gadia, who used to reside in Bhuleshwar, Kalbadevi. On getting down from the train, I directly went to Jaihind Building in Bhuleshwar, where Mr Gadia ran his business. He put me up with him for some days and soon got me admitted into Rajasthan Students Hostel in Andheri. That's where I went to stay. I am still emotionally attached to Rajasthan Students Hostel. It is now known by another name RVG Educational Foundation. I am the joint secretary of this institution. Right from the beginning, only CA aspirants have been given admission here. Now, RVG Educational Foundation has also started a women's wing in Goregaon. Here also, only those students who are studying to be CAs are given admission. I am happy that my wife, Vinita, is also associated with this Foundation.

Where did you did your articleship
In the office of CA Sushil Kumar Jhunjhunwala, whose office was located in front of what was then called VT and is now known as CST Station. It was near the General Post Office. I used to do articleship in the daytime, and study in the night. I was 19 years old then.

This means you started at zero and reached the summit
I believe that there is a summit higher than the highest summit that has to be conquered. The secret of my success can be summed up in two words positive thinking.

Mr Patodia, you must have heard the adage that behind every successful man is a woman. Who is the woman behind your success
Speaking soberly, Mr Patodia said, I think instead of woman, you can say family. My family has always encouraged me. Between 1996 and 1999, I faced immense financial hardships. I cannot put a price to the way my mother, Manbari Devi, gave me courage and upheld my morale in difficult times. With the passage of time, my wife, Vinita, took on this role. The mother and wife are an inseparable part of any Indian family.

Wow, that's a great reply, I said.

There are two other forces that have stood by me. Both of these are my right hand. One is my younger brother, Anil Patodia, who is the CMD of our hospitality company, The Bike Hospitality , and the other is my cousin, Mr Kamal Poddar, who is the MD of our finance company, Choice International . Whatever I have today is because of their thinking, planning and execution.

Just then, tea was placed on the table. In between sips of hot tea, the conversation progressed.

Mr Patodia, nowadays, throughout the country, CAs are considered money-managers, and given the respect they deserve. Can the Union finance minister s responsibilities be equated with those of the CA community

No. These are two different jobs. The job of the finance minister is to give orders, and the job of the CA community is to execute those orders. The CA community is a strong group. The advice of an experienced CA is so effective that it can pull you out of even the most extreme financial hardship. The disaster management of a CA is considered unique. That is why even a big industrialist like Kumar Mangalam Birla is a CA. The famous builder, Niranjan Hiranandani, is a CA. Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, TV personality Prannoy Roy, stock market personalities Rakesh Jhunjhunwala and Motilal Oswal, politicians Suresh Prabhu and Piyush Goyal, banker Deepak Parekh are all CAs.

So is being a CA better than having an MBA I asked.

It will not be right to compare these two. I can say that pursuing the CA degree costs less, but it has more risk associated with it and the success ratio is also low. On the other hand, MBA is a safe degree, with high chances of success.

The Modi government is working hard towards economic betterment. How would you evaluate Mr Modi

Narendra Modi is a competent, powerful and versatile politician. There is no other politician like him. But this is not in the interest of Modiji, because he finds himself alone in every step . There is nobody to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Modiji to give him support. Almost all his fellows stand way behind him. No matter how active and energetic Modiji comes across as now, loneliness can tire him. This is not in the interest of the country.

You are right, Mr Patodia. The day Mr Modi does not hold the post he is holding now, a huge political vacuum will develop.

I don't think that will happen, Mr Patodia said with conviction. Because India is a unique country. We have a lot of talent. The minute there is a vacuum, some force or the other will emerge to fill it.

At this, I said, Modiji's magic is really something. His admirers are not ready to listen to even one word against him, and his detractors are not ready to listen to even word in favour of him. What is the reason for such sharp differences

Mr Patodia said, It's like this: whenever there is a major change of power, the public gets divided into two groups and expresses its opinions openly. This is the beauty of democracy. It is true that the differences in opinion are sharper this time, but even so, this is nothing new. People will surely give Modij a chance to play a second innings. The work of Modiji in his first innings is beginning to bear fruit.

Mr Patodia, you said Modiji is working with diligence. Can you give some examples

Why not A good example is GST or the Goods and Services Tax. The Modi government is preparing to kickstart GST all over the country. With GST, price rise will be stemmed.

But how can this happen Any new tax means only one thing more price rise!

No, this time, that will not happen. Presently, we have many Indirect taxes. All these taxes will be removed, and in their place, one tax, GST, will become applicable. A truck driver will pay GST only once, and then drive his truck without any botheration right to his destination. He won t need to stop every now and then to pay this tax or that, collect all kinds of receipts, or pay bribes. This will result in the truck being driven at a greater speed, and a lower cost of transportation of goods. This means price rise will go down.

Okay, I said

Mr Patodia smiled and said, However, it was the Congress government that first initiated the GST, even before the BJP government. It's another thing that that effort could not succeed as it got lost in the political machinations. Modiji is trying wholeheartedly to ensure the passage of GST, so that the country can prosper.

Can you please tell us more about some of Modiji's achievements

Why not Actually, he has many policies that will improve the condition of the country. Modiji has set up e-mandis to ensure that farmers get the right price for their crops so that they are not compelled to commit suicide. Any farmer can now reach the national e-mandi via the Internet, make a good deal and become rich.

Okay.

Another good initiative is Skill India , which recognizes the merit of youngsters. Young people can get bank loans easily under this scheme. Make in India has led to the emergence of many employment opportunities. Those companies that used to manufacture machine parts in their country of origin, assemble them here and sell them to us from a position of strength are now manufacturing those parts in India itself, leading to employment of our youth. There is only one policy of Modiji that has not really caught on, but as time passes, this too will show results.

Which policy is that

Swachch Bharat! After Modiji became Prime Minister, he held a broom in his own hands and swept the roads, sending a strong message of cleanliness. However, this policy did not receive the requisite support of the public. This is probably because, for centuries, we have been so used to living among dirt and filth, we do not consider dirt as dirt . But, with the passage of time, even the common man will understand that cleanliness is next to godliness, and then the country will shine.

Yes, and the bureaucracy is already showing signs of improvement.

Mr Patodia replied in a content tone, Yes. Modiji works day and night, so his officers also have to work similarly.

Here, I suddenly touched upon Mr Patodia s accomplishments. Mr Patodia, you have done some excellent work as the vice district governor of the Lion s Club. You have worked for promoting education and women's empowerment. You have also done a lot for the betterment of farmers. It is difficult to figure out what should I ask you and what should I omit. What I have not been able to ask you in this meeting, I will surely ask another time. Thank you very much for sparing your time for this conversation.

And I said my goodbye to him, and left the office.





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Sunil Patodia

Partner at S K Patodia & Associates Chartered Accountants

Choice House, Shree Shakambhari Corporate Park, J B Nagar, Andheri(E). Mumbai - 99, India. Cell: +91 9820344085 Board: +91 22 67079444 Ext No.401/402 Facsimile: +91 22 67079959

Chartered Accountancy firms specialising in Audit, taxation, consulting and more.

Current
Partner at S K Patodia & Associates Chartered Accountants

Previous
Chairman to WIRC of ICAI

Education
B. Com, Chartered Accounts (Rajasthan University)

Email
info@skpatodia.in

Blog

Company
http://skpatodia.in/

Facebook
www.facebook.com/sunil.patodia

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