Manifesto Reviews 2015-16: Anand Babu, Hostel Affairs Secretary


This is the fourth article in our Manifesto Review series, where we review the tenures of IITM’s Executive Wing (consisting of 10 posts) as well as that of the SAC Speaker, for the year 2015-16. In this review, we evaluate the manifesto of Anand Babu, IITM’s Hostel Affairs Secretary for the year 2015-16.

Note: The Manifesto Reviews team at T5E has made every effort to review the Executive Council in an unbiased manner and stay true to the facts, but it is possible that we may have made inadvertent errors. We request our readers to point out errors if any so that we may correct them immediately. Finally, we value your feedback! You can reach us at [email protected].

Vital Statistics

Manifesto Points Number Percentage
Completed 9 37.5
Ongoing 8 33.3
Incomplete 7 29.2
Total 24 100

The same color scheme is used in the review below.

Hostel maintenance and issues concerning the hostel messes come under the purview of the Hostel Affairs Secretary (HAS) as stated on the student secretaries’ page. The functions and responsibilities of the HAS as enlisted in the students’ constitution include:

  1. Looking after the issues regarding the maintenance of the hostels.
  2. Looking after the issues concerning all the messes (Mega messes and Hostel messes, if any) including the issues regarding the employees of the hostel management and other persons employed by the hostels.
  3. Assisting in the running of the vacation messes.
  4. Being responsible for allocation of messes to the students .
  5. Being the principal representative of the Student Body to the Hostel Management and the Central Supplies Unit (CSU).
  6. Being one of the student members of the hospital, transport, canteen, security and other such committees which may be formed for providing amenities to the students.
  7. Being a member the Hostel Disciplinary Committee (HDC)
  8. Periodically reporting to the SAC regarding the functioning of the HACs.
Anand with the director on the institute day
Anand with the director on the institute day

Anand Babu A. was elected unopposed as the Hostel Affairs Secretary for the year 2015-16. Many new eateries and facilities including PutPeace, PutGrub, Zea Gourmet Bites, Parfait and the new SFC have been opened or finalized in his tenure and he claims that most of them have been well received. While 37.5% of the points under his manifesto have been completed, one of his major achievements outside the manifesto is the revamping of the CMGFS committee. He also gives due credit to the committee, the chairmen and the DoSt for being exceedingly supportive.

With a vision to build a platform to smoothen the functioning of the mess system, he has worked on setting up of the smart card system to go cashless. Owing to the undue delay by the general student body in registering for the smart card, many of his other initiatives that depended on the system did not materialize. However, with the system finally in place, he is confident that these initiatives shall be carried out in the upcoming months. Consequently, 33.3% of his initiatives are yet to be completed. 29.2% of the initiatives did not see the light of day mostly due to logistics issues or delayed groundwork. The Kickstart controversy beat the Chennai floods as his biggest nightmare and caused many initiatives to be stalled. However, his work along with the CMGFS committee in sorting this has been impressive.

We now take you through a brief overview and examination of Babu’s manifesto.

Anand during a regular test
Anand during a regular test


  • Smart card system will be an integral part, whereby institute ID cards will be used for purchases all over the campus.

Status: Partially done

Conceived with the idea of initially using smart cards to enter messes, then purchase extras in the mess and finally make purchases in all eateries. However, registration for this took much longer than expected. Even after a dozen reminder mails, nearly a thousand students had not registered because of which the system could not be introduced until the very end. By the end of the even semester, about 98% of the students had registered and smart card and biometric identification system is installed in all the messes. Students will be able to buy extras using this from the upcoming semester.

  • Introduction of Brunches in the messes in Himalaya from 9:30 am to 11:45 am.
  • Night canteen will be introduced in Himalaya on a roll basis by all caterers.

Status: Partially done

Both of these were based on the smart card system and with the registrations done, brunches and night canteen should become a reality in the upcoming semester. Instead of getting all caterers to provide these, an additional food court (acting as a restaurant) has been finalized to be set up in Himalaya from the upcoming semester, where all students can buy brunch and late night meals using their smart card at rates cheaper than those at other in-campus eateries.

  • A mess structure with a novel pay and dine approach, wherein those registered are compulsorily charged for their breakfast and lunch while dinner will be charged on daily basis.

Status: Not done.

Another idea based on the smart card system that could not be implemented due to delayed registrations. This structure also faced a lot of logistics issues with caterers possibly facing huge losses. Earning through brunches and night canteens was meant to be the incentive and consequently, this did not materialize. Other arrangements are being discussed.

  • The non-vegetarian mess will be shifted to Himalaya. The new system will have a food-court, pay and dine mess and a non-vegetarian mess besides the regular caterers.

Status: Not done

With Krishna mess under renovation, the non-vegetarian mess was to be shifted to Himalaya from there. However, running short of one canteen, all messes in Himalaya had to run close to their maximum capacity (about 900) and introducing a non-vegetarian mess that was typically opted for by 250-300 students was not feasible. After Krishna mess has been renovated (in another year or so), this should be sorted. For now, non-vegetarian extras with more variety are available in all messes.

  • Rotation of menus once in every two weeks which will bring in variety.

Status: Done.

Previously, messes had one menu that would be repeated weekly. Messes now have two different menus that would be repeated fortnightly.

  • Vindhya mess structure will be modified to include a South-Indian caterer in the ground floor, besides a division of the upper floor to include both a North-Indian caterer and a food-court.

Status: Done.

South-Indian caterer in the ground floor and North-Indian caterer in the first floor are in place. With regard to the food court, no caterer was willing to take it up after witnessing the difficulty faced by a caterer who had operated food court in Vindhya two years ago. The additional food court will be set up in Himalaya instead and girls will have access to it.

Institute Facilities

  • With the revival of Zaitoon (or any other chain), hostel-delivery process will be introduced for any order above a certain minimum.

Status: Done.

Zaitoon is the first eatery on campus to offer hostel delivery. While it does not make much sense to get Gurunath or Leo Fortune to offer hostel delivery, attempts have been made to contact joints like Domino’s for the same. Moreover, as ordering by phone at Zaitoon faced difficulty, online ordering is now in place.

  • Wi-Fi facility will be introduced in few major hangout centres (IRCTC, Gurunath, Quark).

Status: Partially done.

Open tenders have been sent and should be concluded this summer. Meanwhile, SBI is willing to sponsor Wi-Fi router in some facilities and this is expected to be functional this summer.

  • Xerox facility will be made available till 12 am during quiz week.

Status: Done.

The photocopy facility at Gurunath was made available till 12 am during quiz week.

  • Seek collaboration with nearby hotels for accommodation, at discounted rates.

Status: Partially done.

Primarily intended to avail accommodation during convocation. About six hotels in a five kilometer radius have been contacted and the logistics have been worked out. This should be ready for the upcoming convocation. Soon, students will be able to avail the discounts through the year.

  • Ongoing tenders will be completed, with the Patisserie expected to take the place of the gift shop, and the departmental store extended to include gifts and such items.

Status: Done.

Moreover, instead of extending tenders, new tenders were opened as decided along with the CMGFS committee.

  • Temporary canteens will be set up in the placement zone during placement season.

Status: Done.

Leo Fortune set up a temporary canteen and a vending machine was also arranged.

  • An opportunity for centralized purchase of sports equipment, will be provided for the hostels, with a new sports shop to be setup within the campus.

Status: Not Done.

From sports equipment, the idea was extended to include all hostel requirements ( like washing machines) and talks were on with Flipkart for a long time for wholesale cum retail dispatch point in the campus. However, Flipkart was unwilling to give discount to IIT students stating logistics issues.

  • Working time of Ramu tea stall (Vindhya) will be extended to 3 am.

Status: Done.

During quiz week. As it has been shifted to the new SFC, Ramu might be extended till 2 am all year. Also, if the tiffin shop (that functions as a night canteen) at SFC is opened as planned, the need may not arise.

  • A new mini departmental store will be opened in girls’ hostel zone.

Status: Partially done.

The tender process was opened twice in a lookout for better contenders. This process has now been finalized and the shop should be open this summer.

Hostel Facilities

  • Install signal enhancer in hostel areas having cellular problem.

Status: Not done.

This was mostly handled by the SGS as it was in his manifesto too. Attempts were made to construct towers. While mobile network operators responded positively, it did not take off due to delay at the administration end.

  • Automatic power off system in hostel bathrooms will be introduced, with the aim to sensitize the need to save energy.

Status: Not done

The HAS wanted CFI members to work on this as they were involved in a similar project. However, by the time he contacted them, it was too late and they were not free.

  • Revamp the publicity system within hostels starting from LED screens, the access to which will be given to the hostel General Secretaries.

Status: Partially done.

Unlike previous years, LED screens were used effectively in a few hostels including Alakananda and Saraswathi to disseminate information regarding day-to-day hostel activities and Saarang, Shaastra advertisements.  

  • Restore an active laundry system.

Status: Not done.

Getting clothes out of campus posed various security threats and space could not be found for a vendor on campus. Attempts are being made to at least make ironing facility available in the new SFC and in the boys’ zone.

Transport & Other Facilities

  • Set up shelters at prominent bus stops in the hostel and academic zone.

Status: Done.

GC bus stop was renovated and a shelter has been put up at the Jamuna bus stop. More shelters may be set up near the Bio-tech department and CRC.

  • Increase the number of buses that ply during peak hours and quiz weeks.

Status: Done.

Initially, buses were operated at 7.50 am and 8.05 am from Jamuna bus stop during quiz week. Later, this was extended to the whole year. To make it more comfortable, operating buses on two different routes at this high frequency slot has been pitched, finalized and will be implemented soon. Extending the facility after 10 pm at a decreased frequency and increasing the frequency between 8.45 am and 9 am are also under discussion.

  • The cooking club will be pushed forward, with more sessions, with a cooking competition to be conducted in the end.

Status: Partially done.

The cooking club saw nearly a 50% increase in its activities this year. Although all the details were worked out, the cooking competition did not take place as they could not find a judge and by the time they got one through PutGrub, it was nearly the end of the semester. The cooking competition will happen next year, possibly one each semester.

  • A food festival will be organised in collaboration with the cooking club, solely handled by students.

Status: Not done.

The food festival was supposed to follow the cooking competition and therefore did not materialize. Moreover, they had not held enough sessions to host a food festival during the semester.

Other facets of Anand’s tenure

New tenders

His tenure saw the opening of many new eateries like PutGrub, Zea Gourmet Bites, Parfait and other facilities. In fact, 2-3 tenders were opened simultaneously at various points of time in Anand’ins tenure. Most of the new eateries were well-received in terms of taste and pricing and variety was offered by interesting ventures like PutGrub with its dynamic menu.

The new SFC in the girls’ block will have/has the following facilities:

  • Ramu Tea Stall: Available
  • Aandavar Fruit and Juice stall: Fruits available. Juices will soon be introduced.
  • Departmental store: Tender process finalized. Will soon be open.
  • Ironing facility: Will be open soon.
  • Tiffin shop: Yet to be finalized.

Resourzen, an outlet selling sports gear, bags, shoes, momentoes, laptops and other goods with huge discounts will soon be open in the space opposite Zea Gourmet Bites in Himalaya. The upcoming HAS will be on the look-out for a better place for the outlet.

PutPeace, a photocopy facility is available in 4 hostels, vending machines are available in 9 hostels and night canteen in Jamuna with more to come.

Kiosks at the Gurunath square (which are not supposed to be there, but were let alone due to student demands) will be removed owing to deplorable hygiene. The items in demand will be sold in the old patisserie once it is set up and the remaining items will be sold by Leo Fortune.


Anand claims that this year’s committee is the best he has worked with in his insti life. Earlier, the committee used to just monitor. However, he involved them right from the look-out for new eateries to finding space to accommodate them on campus.


A micro bacterial swap test apart from the usual lactometer test was introduced by the MMCC (Mess Monitoring and Control Committee) this year. The test is conducted on a dozen different surfaces including the basin, drinking glasses and dining table and based on various parameters, the surface is indicated as falling under the red or green zone. While 50% of the parameters were under the red zone earlier, the caterers improved drastically with about 10-15% under the red zone now. Caterers are also fined heavily if they fall behind.

Moreover, there are plans to get the students themselves to do the lactometer test in the coming years. On another front, although issues on veg-non-veg mix-ups and usage of the same oil for both keep coming up, attempts have been made to avoid them with concerned eateries being warned.


Due to the floods in Chennai, nothing could be done during the Winter. The flood story can be found here. However, he claims that the mess caterers and eateries did a great job. When people could not even get milk outside, they supplied food. Unregistered students were given food in the messes while Zaitoon, Gurunath and Leo Fortune gave food on credit (and are yet to receive a few thousands in payment). Many of the eateries also played a crucial role in flood relief and were given special recognition during the Hostel Management day.


The biggest obstacle in his tenure was the Kickstart issue. Read all about it here. Three months in the odd semester were spent at loggerheads with Kickstart and some of the planned initiatives (including a couple of food joints at Himalaya and one near the gym) did not materialize while some others were delayed. The team, including the chairman, had to sit and work on things like converting hand-written feedback forms to excel sheets even during exams. At the end, he is thankful that they won the case and over the fact that it was completed quickly.

Learning from this bitter experience, a clause has been added to the contract discrediting feedback collected by vendors and the committee has decided not to give such a big space to inexperienced vendors. On the bright side, with the court giving clearance, Cafe Coffee Day Lounge will make an appearance at the abandoned international cafeteria.

Anand with the DoSt during an inauguration ceremony
Anand with the DoSt during an inauguration ceremony

Anand, in his tenure as the Hostel Affairs Secretary, has implemented most of the initiatives that promised comfort and convenience to the student community. While a few novel initiatives could not be implemented on account of feasibility, many others have been set in motion. Seeing as how many of these points find mention in Kishore Kumar’s manifesto and the fact that both of them have already started working together, one can expect to see their completion. We congratulate Anand on the completion of his tenure and wish Kishore all the best.


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