Executive Wing Questioning
The current Sports Secretary Kishore Yadav posed his first question to Rohan Lal – stating sardonically at the outset that he respected what he was doing, and then asking him why he was contesting for the post of Sports Secretary and not anything else. After a brief exchange between the EC members and the SECC over whether Rohan’s manifesto would answer the question, Rohan replied that it would give him experience and also because to increase his leadership qualities. The next was a common question from Kishore: seeing as Inter-IIT was set to take place at two different venues from the following year, whom would they appoint to represent IIT Madras in the other venue? Shrinath responded that since Keerthana and himself had been in the contingent, Keerthana should be the representative for the other venue if he were to go to Kharagpur. When asked to respond to a situation where both their sports took place in the same location, he referred to the board meeting where it would be decided which sports shall take place where, and that the answer would depend on the outcome of that meeting. Keerthana’s answer was partly the same: that if herself and Shrinath had their events in different venues they would each be the representatives and if not, the senior-most captain or a PG or women’s representative shall handle the other contingent as she felt they were well equipped to do so. Rohan asked for the question to be repeated, after which Kishore withdrew his question to Rohan.
The next question was addressed to Shrinath regarding the elective course he proposed to implement. Rahul Reddy, the current Academic Affairs Secretary, then attached another question to the same: what was the procedure for formulating and adding a course to the curriculum? The response was that he would attach a Statement of Purpose and pass it through the SLC, after which he claimed that the Dean of Students had agreed to a three credit course – at this point Rahul Reddy interjected and questioned the validity of the DoSt approving of a course and repeated his question again. Shrinath answered that the procedure to introduce a course was to pass it through the ‘BCA’ and then through the Senate – adding that the Dean had agreed to make the proposal to the same. After repeated requests to explain what BCA meant, Rahul finally corrected him and said it was the Board of Academic Courses, and clarified that Shrinath meant to say that the Dean would be the Faculty Advisor. He then questioned the need for Shrinath’s proposal to be a course instead of a workshop, seeing as it was meant to target Inter-IIT players. When Shrinath said he would open up 20% for people outside of this demographic., through SEAT. Rahul pointed out that since the Dean would be proposing it, the course would be a GIAN course and further asked if the same could come under SEAT (while also asking Shrinath to expand the abbreviation). Shrinath asked Rahul what his problem was if the Dean of Students and the Dean of Academic Courses had both agreed. Rahul stated that it would only involve the Dean of Academic Courses and after some argument on the lack of adequate groundwork in his feasibility report, concluded with a comment that the proposal needn’t be a course but a workshop which would allow the same proportion of students. Shrinath then justified the need for a course saying that the IITM contingent lost because they could not handle ‘game pressure’.
Kishore then commented that he felt Keerthana’s manifesto’s focus on the image rather than sporting culture made it seem like a PR stunt, and asked what she would be celebrating without winning anything and further, how she would improve the overall performance. Keerthana retorted by asking him if he was suggesting that insti had a dearth of sporting heritage to celebrate, and in answer to his question about performance said that a major reason why players and athletes play their sport everyday is because they love it and are inspired to play it because of someone they looked up to. Inspiration was therefore the key to improving performance for anybody, according to her, and that it was important to include more people in the sporting culture. Kishore reiterated his question about what she would do to improve performance, to which Keerthana said the rest of her manifesto addressed the same: visual footage of important matches and practice drills to improve team performance and skill sets, and also including more people into the talent pool. Kishore then said that including more people doesn’t necessarily mean that the performance improves. Keerthana disagreed, stating that a lot of captains cited the lack of bench strength as a problem as the same number of people show up for practice and later get into the team in question. In response to a query on which team captains had said this, she said the basketball mens and womens teams had expressed the same at captains meetings. Kishore said that ‘bench strength’ had a different connotation, referring to the performance of the team and not lack of players. Keerthana asserted that she was not paraphrasing, and that she believed that the performance at Inter-IIT could improve if more players were included and had channels through which their growth could be facilitated. Kishore still felt like she hadn’t answered his question and moved on to the next one regarding her proposal on the women’s gym: stating that the Dean and the Advisor merely said they would look into it but when speaking to Kishore, said that the budget wasn’t sufficient for the same. He added that they agreed to reallocate the gym elsewhere with an instructor, or she would have to obtain the consent of Sabarmati residents. In response to his having met the Dean two days before the Soapbox, Keerthana said she had met with the Dean that morning. Although the hostels fall under the purview of CCW as stated by Kishore, Keerthana contended that the infrastructure was adequate in Hostel Zone 2 and that the necessity far exceeded anything else. While she was aware of the fact that it was CCW’s purview but that the fee of the instructor should come from the hostel sports budget, the necessity of the same had prompted the Dean of Students and the Sports Advisor to reconsider, as per her discussions with them. Kishore maintained his stance that the Dean of Students and the Sports Advisor had not agreed to it.
Co-Curricular Affairs Secretary Vamsi Krishna Mula then asked Srinath how he was going to implement the grievance management system. He added that as a CoCAS, he knew how difficult it is to set up a Web-Ops team and inquired how he plans to do it for the SOC. Shrinath said that he already had the team ready and minimal additions like PG part time job tab, grievance portal etc., need to be done as the website was already made by the institute Web-Ops team. Students’ General Secretary Sriram Kompella then asked Shrinath that whether by saying he had a team ready even before he is elected, he is fostering nepotism. Shrinath replied that he just has a set of people who will apply when applications are sent out.
Hostel Affairs Secretary Nihal then asked Keerthana about her plans to market sports merchandise on iKollege and inquired who she had talked to. She replied the Chairman Council of Wardens and the Chief Financial Officer. Nihal asked her if she had talked to anybody from Tristen to which she replied in the negative. He then asked her how she is going to get the funding which will amount to forty thousand rupees. She said that she feels the fee is nominal compared to the sales she is expecting from the iKollege website. She was then asked the ballpark figure that she was expecting through the sales to which she replied that she didn’t have a figure in mind. When told that this will eat into the sales of Shaastra and Saarang, she said that she feels students of the institute community should be given the option to choose for themselves the merchandise they want. On being asked how PG students will pay for the merchandise as they cannot pay iKollege deposit, Keerthana said that they will follow what the Saarang and Shaastra teams do-sell the merchandise outside iKollege on other sites. On being further questioned that this will amount to an extra service charge for the PG students alone, she first said it is a choice to buy with the extra service tax and then said they can probably work around providing discounted products. On being asked if she had done any gorund work regarding the discounting, she replied in the negative. Vamsi Mula then concluded that statistically, selling sports merchandise on iKollege will take a hit on Shaastra’s sales.
SLC Speaker Amar Jyoti then asked all the three candidates the requirements a Sports Secretary needs to fulfill in the context of SLC. Shrinath replied that a Sports Secretary should submit the budget, attend SLC meetings which come under their domain, abide by the Standing Committee and work along with them. Amar then asked Rohan what is SLC. Rohan replied that he doesn’t know what is SLC. Keerthana replied financial accountability of all executive student bodies under SLC, transparency in all proceedings. Amar then said he sees they have made policy proposals in their manifestos; he asked do they not think it should go through SLC first. Shrinath replied that the club which he proposed should go through SLC as it is increasing the PoRs. Amar then asked Keerthana if she had any policy proposals in her manifesto. She replied that she does-introduction of para sports representative. On being asked which domain it will fall under, she replied Rule Book.
Vamsi Mula then asked Rohan about the first line of his manifesto where it says “…….no enthusiasm will be left.” He asked if it was a typo. Rohan said he based it on the lines of “No talent is left behind.” Vamsi Mula then asked Keerthana about the feasibility of using cameras to analyse performance and whether she has the infrastructural capital and expertise to achieve it. She said they need not go into data analytics but they just need to look at these videos to analyse performance. On being further questioned about the footage having to be from specific angles, she said that they will buy two or three sport action cameras which cost around Rs.5000 and a tripod which costs around Rs.800. Vamsi Mula then asked Shrinath about his leadership qualities as he is a nice person to which Shrinath replied that it would make him more accessible.
Amar then asked what is the voting required to get the budget passed in SLC to which Shrinath replied ½ majority of legislators present and Keerthana replied that she is not aware. Amar said it is ⅔ majority.
Core team Questioning
Keerthana was asked if in her SOC team restructuring, she had scrapped the SOC Head position, to which she replied no. She was then asked how many coords are there in the SOC team to which she correctly replied and if she had the statistics of how many people apply for all these positions. She replied in the negative. She was then asked if she knew how many people left during the tenure. She said she is aware of it and when asked how she plans on incentivising people to stay. Keerthana replied that aspiring coords meet was not conducted last year which can attributed to the lack of applicants. She added that the incentive comes from the responsibility added to a PoR. She was asked then if she thinks people are not aware of a learning curve in their PoRs. The core team member then said that she believes it cannot be done and Keerthana manages to do it, she would appreciate it.
Another core team member then said that the teams end up not performing well on the Meet day even though they perform well on campus and asked the candidates’ opinions on this. Shrinath said it is because the teams do not have the ability to handle game pressure and that his manifesto point for introducing a course will take care of it and that he will be having a workshop on nutrition too. On the questioner expressing skepticism, he said he will be installing vending machines near Gymkhana and SAC with nutrition bars and energy drinks and that he will focus on gymming. Keerthana said that while she agrees with the fact that mental resilience is the major reason for losing out on GC every year, improving team culture is the key. Mental resilience according to her should come from within the team. She then added in the context of improving Inter IIT performance as a whole, that we have forgotten how privileged we are to represent IIT Madras.
Another member asked Shrinath and Keerthana their plans to let swimming practice not suffer because of the closure of the pool. Shrinath replied that there is the Velachery pool that Ruchir is in touch with. When told it will be strenuous, Shrinath said that it is the only option. Keerthana proposed using recycled water from the water purification plant in the institute. Kishore said that it has already been proposed and was rejected by the engineering unit.
A GSB member asked Keerthana about her plans to scrap out the women’s timing the main gym. She argued that Sabarmati gym is not as well equipped as the main gym right now and secondly, the timing is utilised by women of the residential zone also other than female students. She inquired if Keerthana had talked to the warden about entry issues. Keerthana said she is only scrapping the exclusive timings and that women can still use the main gym. When asked the point of scrapping it then, Keerthana said it is to cater to the excessive crowd after 5:30 PM. The GSB member insisted there was no excessive crowd in the gym after the said timings. Vamsi Mula asked if it will mean that women who are not comfortable with the common timings will not have access to proper gyming facilities. She replied that it is will be true for those who are not students but that they can take special permission from the Sabarmati warden. The query whether she asked the Sabarmati warden regarding was repeated both by the GSB member and Kishore. She replied in the negative.
To a question posed by a GSB member, Shrinath mentioned non-Inter IIT Clubs. Keerthana continued talking about non-competitive sports league for sports like foosball, snooker and flagship events for sports that are not in Inter IIT also. Shrinath added that there will be sports day in the week where non Inter IIT clubs will have beginner sessions and club weekenders. Rohan said he had mentioned open chess competition in his feasibility report. The GSB sought further clarification on whether chess comes under non-Inter IIT to which Rohan replied in the positive.
A GSB member questioned Shrinath regarding what he said about Ruchir being in contact with Velachery pool. He said that he had just confirmed with Ruchir that he is not in any such contact. He then posed a question to Shrinath and Keerthana: what is your opinion on some institute teams deciding to not participate in Schroeter and the Sports Secretary urging other teams also to consider this. Keerthana replied that to her, Schroeter is a competitive event for the institute talent to shine and she would definitely want the institute teams to participate. She added that student participation can be enhanced through other avenues while Schroeter is primarily a competition. Shrinath said Schroeter should provide an opportunity for students who are not in Inter IIT and as an Athletics captain, he had encouraged his team to refrain participating too.
Another GSB member talked of Keerthana’s point to introduce chess in Schroeter. He mentioned that both Dhyanesh, Sports Secretary 2017-18 and Kishore, current Sports Secretary have said it’s not possible. Keerthana said it should be got past the inter hostel board and as it is a part of the Inter IIT Meet now, it is time that it is added to Schroeter too. She was interrupted by Kishore who said chess is not part of the Inter IIT. Keerthana reiterated saying that the Dean had told her it was discussed at the last Deans Council. Kishore said it was only discussed and will be decided in the next Board meeting. He also added it is an unsaid rule that only Inter IIT sports will be included in Schroeter. There was a brief debate about whether chess was a part of Inter IIT Meet after which Chaithra intervened. The next question was posed to Shrinath by another GSB member about NSO batch segregation and how the cap will increase if the batches are split. Shrinath said the cap is sport specific and the coach sits down with the captain to decide the cap on each sport. On being told that it will affect the Inter IIT practice, he assured them it will not. On being asked to explain, he said the combined session will happen on Saturday mornings. When questioned if freshies will be ready to do that, he replied that NCC happens on Saturday mornings too.
A GSB member said Kho-Kho and Kabaddi are important and that he will support the candidate who succeeds introducing them to the institute. Another GSB member mentioned Keerthana’s point of ideally wanting institute players to play Schroeter. She explained the case of women’s Schroeter where most of the institute players come from Sharavati, foreign students more or less from Sabarmati, a few institute players from Tunga and largely NSO players from Sarayu. She asked Keerthana how she plans to maintain that sportiveness is more important than inclusivity here to which Keerthana replied that there has been a history of the freshie teams and foreign exchange students beating the institute teams in Sharavati and that she doesn’t see why institute players being concentrated in one hostel for a few years should bring about a rule for non-participation. On being asked if they are missing out on Tunga and the Indian players in Sabarmati because of this, Keerthana said that to her, Schroeter is a competition in which one represents one’s hostel and brings laurels to it and Schroeter’s standards should not be compromised as there are other avenues to increase participation from the hostels.
The current Sports Secretary of Sharavati, Amrutha mentioned that Keerthana, as the previous Sports Secretary of Sharavati hasn’t achieved some of her manifesto points like updating the Facebook page or screening major sporting events. Keerthana told her of the initiatives that she had completed: Sharavati Sports Corner, Sharvati Wall of Fame, increasing freshie participation by almost double. She also added that she had improved upon the refreshments provided at Schroeter and Dean’s Trophy. The questioner then said that more than 60% of her Hostel Sports Secretary manifesto points weren’t done to which another previous Sports Secretary of Sharvati said that she had been involved in reviewing the manifesto and the number sort of tallies. Keerthana emphasized that while she agreed that some points weren’t done, her time as a Hostel Sports Secretary has given her the experience needed to achieve the points. She added that she is now better equipped. Chaithra stopped the question from prolonging.
T5E asked all the candidates how effective club weekenders are. Shrinath said it will not let students miss out on other events. Keerthana said her active player groups will consist of institute team probables and that she has initiatives which will address them other than club weekenders.
Another GSB member appealed to all the three candidates to recognize the talent in the institute and repeated his request to introduce Kho-Kho and Kabaddi. Rohan noted that he had mentioned Kho-Kho and Kabaddi in his manifesto. Keerthana said that Kho-Kho is already a part of women’s Schroeter and that she plans on introducing traditional sports league with sabhas and samitis. She added that like Shrinath had mentioned, Kabaddi is a contact sport and is not allowed in the institute.
A GSB member sought clarification on the team structure Keerthana proposed. He asked if she would have a women representative or a men representative to which she said that the team has always had a women representative and it will be so irrespective of the gender of the sports secretary as a women representative represents the needs of the women in the contingent and institute. Shrinath intervened to ask her if she knew why they had a women representative in the first place. Keerthana answered that a women’s representative will still be needed to arrange women’s Schroeter etc. Keerthana mentioned that if men could represent a minority for so long, she doesn’t see why she cannot represent the majority of them. Another GSB member answered that the position was created when there was no women representation in the team and if the secretary herself is female, what, he asked, was the point of a women’s representative. At this point, a section of the audience started shouting slogans. Chaithra, SECC Chief Commissioner closes the soapbox.