Manifesto Review: Students’ General Secretary — Deepak Johnson

The colour scheme works like this:

• Green – completed already.

• Orange – will most likely be completed before end of tenure.

• Red – not completed, or left to future Secretaries.

 Deepak Johnson, elected unopposed as the SGS for the academic year 2013-14, was inspired to apply for the post by his desire to bring about changes in a system that he perceived as lacking transparency and engagement with the students. He cites the highly centralised and disorganised structure of the SGS’s office as the main deterrent to efficacy, and hopes that a manual on the basic duties and powers of the office, with inputs from previous electees, is made available to the future SGSs. He also hopes decentralisation is achieved through a system of accountable committees complementing the SGS’s work.

Overall, Deepak has managed to achieve a success rate of 30.8%, with a belief that he will be able to effect out a further 23.1% of his manifesto before his tenure ends. The efficient functioning of CMFGS (Committee for Monitoring General Facilities for Students) and the setting up of the Students’ General Secretaries’ Committee for better coordination of teams under the SGS are among his notable non-manifesto achievements.

 

Towards Direct Democracy

Performance evaluation of hostel secretaries for each semester by committees appointed by SAC. In addition to this an audit of the Hostel General Secretaries’ work will be done.

There were calls for volunteers to such a SAC committee, which got minimal responses. Hence, the secretaries were reviewed by their own peers. Although such a review is less ideal than a SAC committee review, that it happened is a step forward in the right direction.

Fortnightly summaries of the work, and monthly briefing of the committees/teams headed by the general secretary.

Regular reviews were not held, but the SGS says he always had minutes from each meeting and was partially up to date on the work of the teams he heads.

Discussion threads at IITM Thought Cloud exclusively for understanding students opinion on decisions by Senate, Council of Wardens.

The Thought Cloud was started, but it failed to function well, due to unavailability of databases and the WebOps team being unable to incorporate all information, but Deepak feels these shortcomings can be overcome with some effort.

Live streaming of important events and SAC meetings inside the institute.

Did not happen. Deepak is optimistic about this being made available for the Manifesto Reviews.

 

Inclusive Institute Culture

Reconstitution of Complaints Committee Against Sexual Harassment with more student representatives and a special focus on gender sensitisation.

Has not happened, but Deepak says he can initiate the process.

IIT for Society – Improved coordination between NSS, iVil and SNet and organising of clean-up drives around the campus.

NSS, iVil and SNet did not agree to the proposed system of coordination amongst themselves, so a different purpose, of taking up socio-political issues, was envisioned for IIT for Society.

Student Co-operative Supply Units facilitated with the help of HAS in the hostels.

This took the form of a proposal to have a student-run mess in Mandakini, which was rejected.

Reintroduce energy audits of hostels through SNet and institute awards on the basis of energy saving measures by the hostels.

Deepak says SNet is working on a plan for the same, and expects the audits to be carried out soon.

Professional show performances and public media participation in EMLs.

Partially achieved with public media presence from the first EML itself, but professional show performances did not happen. Deepak says attempts were made, with AIB (All India Bakchod) being approached, but the plan was dropped since they demanded payment for the same.

Introduction of IITM Podcasts featuring interviews, talks and performances of various students and faculty members.

Has not happened.

Add ‘Lend a book’ and ‘Share and buy’ categories to institute craigslist.

Has not happened yet, but Deepak is confident of achieving this before the end of his tenure.

 

Comprehensive Students Welfare

Student determined price list to be enforced on SFC (Gurunath) after preparing a comparative statement on all articles.

Has happened.

Summer workshops for interested students to improve communication skills and internships at library and office of hostel management.

These have been proposed. Summer workshops are being worked on by IAR, while the Institute has approved setting up of ‘Institute jobs’ for students, the details for which are being worked out. In all likelihood, the students shall be paid at IC&SR rates for these projects.

Extending student scholarships (provided by the office of the hostel management) to cover the accommodation during vacation period.

Has not happened, and is also unlikely to be effected if the Institute internship proposal comes into effect.

 

Infrastructure and Facilities

Improving infrastructure of the hostels in order to make them accessible to persons with disabilities.

Has been carried out in hostels having differently-abled students, for example Narmada and Pampa. Powered vehicles have also been provided to them at the Institute’s expense.

Increase the number of bus services between 7.30 – 9 AM and introduce bus services during 1.30 and 2.30 PM.

Partially achieved. Increase in frequency at peak morning hours was effected, but services at 1.30 and 2.30 have not been introduced. However, Deepak is optimistic about effecting those as well, if problems with drivers’ shifts are sorted out.

Disaster Management Committee to conduct periodical reviews and arrange safety requirements at the hostels.

Currently a proposal for implementation at the tower hostels and Sharavati, with emergency exit gates being envisioned, but unlikely to be extended for the other hostels.

Bus Waiting shelters at Narmada and Jamuna bus stops.

Have been approved, but their implementation has been delayed.

Wi Fi at public places like SFCs and Mess halls.

Will not be set-up.

Cycle shelters at the tower hostels.

Proposed, but rejected by the Dean’s Committee.

Monkey proof waste baskets with waste segregation and recycling measures along the lines of IIT Bombay.

Have been installed as yellow-coloured post-box bins, but using different mechanisms than IIT Bombay.

Picnic and park benches at various places in the campus as hangout places for the campus community.

Unlikely to be carried out.

Earmarking particular areas in the campus for micro food joints at the hostel and academic zones.

A total of three, with two near Himalaya, have been set-up.

 

Workflow, Web Interface

New complaints and appointment portal for the institute hospital.

Not effected yet, but a definite possibility with the Medical Officer’s help for the next SGS.

Online Complaints Portal regarding civil and electrical maintenance with the follow up mechanism through Deputy Registrar (Students).

The portal has been created, but is not yet operational.

Institute Job Portal in IITM Workflow – A one-stop place for notifications regarding the vacancies to various student bodies along with other student instituted projects.

Has been proposed, but the portal is unlikely to be created during Deepak’s tenure.

 

Vital Statistics

Item and Colour Code

Number

Percentage

Completed/Green

8

30.8

Will Be Completed/Orange

6

23.1

Can’t Be Effected/Red

12

46.1

Total

26

100

Miscellaneous  (notable points not a part of the manifesto)

These are a few noteworthy non-manifesto initiatives that the SGS played a part in executing:

  • Introduction of tatkal booking counter at the post office with the help of the administration.
  • Regrouping of Committee for Monitoring General Facilities for Students (CMGFS) and increasing its efficiency.
  • Introduction of Students’ General Secretary’s Committee (SGSC) to streamline the work of the student teams led by the SGS.

 

You can find all the manifesto reviews here.

Disclaimer: The views are not to be construed in any manner as the official views of IIT Madras.
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