Manifesto Reviews 2015-16: Anand Krishnan, Research Affairs Secretary


T5E brings back its annual Manifesto Review series! Here, 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.
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].

With the academic year having drawn to a close, the Executive Wing 2015-16 has passed on the baton to a new team. In this Manifesto Review series, we review the performance of the outgoing EW and SAC Speaker using their campaign manifestos as a yardstick. In this second article of the series, we review the performance of Anand Krishnan O.K, who served as the Research Affairs Secretary for the academic year 2015-2016.

Vital Statistics

Manifesto Points Number Percentage
Completed 12 36.36
Ongoing 4 12.12
Incomplete 17 51.51
Total 33 100

The same colour scheme is used in the review below.
The student secretaries’ page lists the responsibility of RAS as having to work in conjunction with the AAS, with a special emphasis on the specific problems and needs of Research Scholars. In addition, the responsibilities of the RAS as given in the students’ constitution are:

  • Effectively representing the views of the research scholars on matters related to academic research.
  • Addressing specific problems of the research scholars and taking these up with the respective authorities.
  • Coordinating with the functioning of all the centralized facilities of an academic nature, such as the Library, Computer Centre, Placement Office, etc. and also with the AAS in a manner that addresses the needs of the Student Body.
  • Conveying any suggestions or grievances made by the SAC or the members of the GSB regarding matters pertaining to research to the respective authorities, and striving to see that action is taken on the above.
  • Periodically reporting to the SAC regarding the functioning of the RAC.

Anand had identified 33 items in his manifesto outlined under 12 broad topics. He completed his tenure with a success ratio of around 36%. 51% of the tasks are left for the future secretaries while about 12% tasks have been set in motion but have not been taken to completion.

Anand with the Director on Institute Day

We now move on to a brief introduction and examination of Anand’s manifesto points:


  • Convert MS to M.Tech (by Research) and obtain AICTE approval for the course:

Status: Done.

This is a significant achievement as it greatly enhances the placement opportunities for MS scholars. Previously, MS scholars could not apply for the post of assistant professor in various educational institutions as MS by research was not a recognized degree.

  • Mess rebate application to be made online through iKollege portal:

Status: Not Done.

The automated mess rebate application system has made the process of mess registration smoother through the ikollege portal. However this agenda item was already under development by the previous year’s SGS and HAS and was implemented in 2015. Hence, we are marking it as not done.

  •  Leave application to be made online through workflow:

Status: Done.
Previously, a vacation for a research scholar meant that he had to run from pillar to post seeking approval and signatures from various administrative bodies. A streamlined application process is seen as a welcome move.

  •  To make the process of quarters allotment more transparent and frequently update scholars:

Status: Done.

Although it is in a very rudimentary format, Anand collated the list of all research scholars who had applied for accommodation and compiled them into an excel sheet which is periodically updated. The last update happened on 30th June 2015. This list is accessible to everyone.

  • To improve lab and computational facilities for research scholars:

Status: Not done.

This point was raised in the third SAC meeting to set up a central purchasing unit for hardware and project requirements. Each department already has a separate unit that is in charge of purchasing necessary equipment. Furthermore, each professor is allocated independent funding to procure the same. The key issue is the purchase process which is lengthy and laborious but no steps have been taken to perturb the same.

  •  Separate PhD councilors for HS and DOMS:

Status: Done.

Currently, under the new regulations, every department has a separate legislator and councillor.

  •  Speeding up the funding process for the research scholar activities.

Status: Partially done.

Obtaining funding for visiting conferences has been a tough task for many research scholars. This is mainly because there is a lack of awareness amongst research scholars regarding the funding agencies like Department of Science and Technology/Science & Engineering Board and CSIR. Anand collated the various funding agencies regarding the application process and has intimated every research scholar via institute mail. This is marked as partially done because the amount of time taken for the funding to get delivered is still unknown.

Anand (far left) with the placement team


  •  To form an able and dedicated placement team:

Status: Done.

One of the common problems that many research scholars face during placements is that a lot of companies don’t recognize MS as a valid degree and hence they are denied the opportunity to sit for the interviews. However, this year the placement team ensured that MS scholars were well represented.

  • Create focus groups in departments with low placement statistics to improve scenario:

Status: Not Done.

This year’s placements’ scenario saw a slight dip in the number of students getting placed. This drop is attributed to the floods. However, the placement stats for other degrees did not see any impact because of the same. This could have been because of the fact that a majority of the undergraduates get placed in the first two days which were before the floods. However, the placement statistics for departments with relatively low placements have not shown any improvement and hence this agenda item is being marked incomplete.

  • To create an exclusive placement brochure for MS and PhD to promote among corporate and academic institutions through ICSR and Alumni:

Status: Done.

A separate brochure was created for each department highlighting the various research areas and the skillset of the research scholars.

  • To develop a mobile app for placement with the support of WebOps team to regularly update the scholars about company details and deadlines:

Status: Partially done.

A beta version of the app is ready and Anand says that the app will be ready in time for the current placement season. With placements for MS/PhD scholars happening all the year around, a mobile app could go a long way in easing the placement process. It is currently being headed by the new academic affairs secretary Srikanth.

  • To conduct regular placement fundae sessions by placed seniors:

Status: Not done.

Unlike undergraduates or MTechs, research scholars in institute face little to no support from alumni or seniors when it comes to placement fundaes. No post placement fundae sessions have been conducted for the research scholars so far. Hence it is being marked as not done.

  •  To create study groups for placement preparation:

Status: Not done.

This seems to be a very generic agenda item. While research scholars do form study groups to prepare for placement, the RAS cannot claim credit for that. However, a forum where all research scholars could post and discuss their placement experience could have been implemented.

  • To conduct visits to industries in collaboration with UG/PG councilors to improve core placements:

Status: Not done.

No industrial visit was organized in any department.


  • To purchase more books in the library as per student demand, and enhance journal availability:

Status: Done.

This agenda item doesn’t come under the purview of the RAS but comes under the purview of the SGS. The department libraries come under the ambit of the department councilors and the HoD. However, a system for requesting books and journals could have been implemented by the RAS which is not in place.

  • To facilitate speedy procurement of books:

Status: Not done.

  • To improve the arrangement of books in library:

Status: Not done.

This is a decision that has to be taken by the committee in charge of monitoring the library.

Research Scholars’ Day

  •  To celebrate RSD at a larger magnitude and improve student participation:

Status: Done.

This year’s RSD had a lot of visibility. This was achieved by setting up a dedicated team of 11 members to handle each and every aspect with special importance being given to publicity. The event was also revamped from being a two month event to a week long format. They managed to raise a funding of Rs. 4.25 lakhs  for the event. Another highlight was that it was the first time they were able to secure a title sponsor from Belcan and power sponsor from BSNL for the event.

  • To ensure enhanced industry-student interaction, improved industry collaboration and promote in-house research:

Status: Done.

This year’s RSD had 8 speakers from various industries as a part of both pre-RSD and RSD events. An event titled “Explain Your Research in 2 Minutes” was conducted wherein scholars could showcase their research.

  • To conduct RSD lecture series around the year:

Status: Done.

This agenda item is thematically similar to workshops & information sessions.  A total of 8 pre RSD lecture talks were conducted as a part of RSD 2016.  The lecture series and workshops together saw an average footfall of 400-500 people per day.

The RSD team with the various speakers
The RSD team with the various speakers

 Research Portal

  • To restart Research Portal and create forums for discussions between scholars:

Status: Partially done.

The research portal exists as a part of the domain.The RAS tried to obtain permission for setting up the research portal as an independent domain but was denied permission.

  • Set up professional profile for each scholar in the portal:

Status: Done.

Currently each research scholar in the insti can login to the research portal at and setup a personal profile where they can highlight their extra-curricular and co-curricular achievements.


  • To rejuvenate ReNews magazine and circulate it bi-monthly:

Status: Not Done.

With the PG population in campus outnumbering the UG population in recent times, the lack of communication amongst research scholars (which has always been an issue) calls for redressal. ReNews was started in 2012 and was aimed at bridging this gap. However it went out of circulation after only 2 issues. Sadly, no steps were taken to improve the same.

  • To take measures to improve readership:

Status: Not done. 

Sports and Social

  • To conduct an annual research scholar’s sports meet:
  • To take MISRAM (PG Litsoc) to a higher level:

Status: Not done.

The cult-sec and Anand have different opinions regarding this agenda item with each citing the other’s lack of support as a reason. Anand opines that having a separate cult-sec incharge for research scholars like IIT Bombay might solve the issue to a certain extent. While the cult-sec claims that the RAS had included cultural events as a part of RSD and hence did not see the need for a separate LitSoc event.

However one significant reason that everyone agrees on is that lack of participation from the research scholars for these events is a huge drawback.  The sports’ secretary said that he was not aware of any initiative from the RAS to conduct a separate PG sports meet. Hence this agenda item is being marked as not done.

Freshers’ Events

  • Start freshie day every semester to promote cordial relations:

Status: Done.

For the first time a PG freshie night was conducted on 22nd Aug 2016 followed by a RSD cultural night as a part of the Research Scholars’ Day 2016.

Alumni Networking

  • To collaborate with Secretary (IAR) and improve PG alumni network:

Status: Not done.

IITM has a well established PG alumni network and as a result no changes had to be inculcated by the RAS himself to meet this point.

Part-time Jobs

  • To explore more part-time jobs for Non-HTRA candidates:

Status : Not done.

Non-HTRA candidates fall under two categories:

  1. HTTA
  2. Project/Scholarship funded: This agenda item cannot be pursued as HTTA candidates are forbidden to seek part-time employment. In fact, there is a declaration form in workflow which states the same. On the other hand, the project funded candidates typically receive a higher pay than their MHRD funded counterparts.

Workshops and Information Sessions

  • Information sessions for PhD/PostDoc opportunities abroad:

Status: Partially done.

Information sessions for PhD opportunities in foreign universities are regularly conducted by IAR and ICSR. However, apart from a talk by Prof Nagarajan, head of IAR titled “International opportunities for research scholars”, there hasn’t been any special initiative in this regard from the RAS. Hence the said status.

  • Workshops and Information sessions:

Status: Done.

A total of 8 talks and 7 workshops were conducted throughout the year as a part of RSD ’16. A few of the eminent speakers who were invited this year were as follows:

  • Dr. Madhavan Nair from ISRO
  • Prof. Julia Connell, Director of Researcher Development and Training, Graduate Research School, UTS, Australia
  • Prof. Balakrishnan, Professor Emeritus at IIT Madras.


  • Paid Xerox facility to be provided to all departments:
  • Coffee machines at all labs for research scholars:

Status: Not done.
This agenda item does not come under the purview of any student body. These are issues that have to be initiated by the corresponding departments’ administrative incharge.

Anand and the RSD team with Madhavan Nair
Anand and the RSD team with Madhavan Nair


Anand managed a success ratio of 36%, with 12% of the promised points in his review undergoing completion, and nearly 52% of the points remaining incomplete. Thus, he has managed overall to implement nearly 50% of his agenda items.  He is widely regarded as a significant improvement over his predecessor (in a comparison made using the previous T5E Manifesto Review Series). Commendably, he has managed to achieve a significant measure of success in bringing harmony and unity amongst the research community.  The RAS and RAC worked together in tandem unlike last year which Anand credits as the reason for his success. We wish him all the best and hope to see greater heights achieved by Srikanth Kotra, who Anand passed the baton to as the next RAS, for the year 2016-17.

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