By Ramcharan Reddy
This article is part of our Manifesto Review series, where we review the tenures of IITM’s Executive Council for the year 2016-17. In this review, we evaluate the manifesto of Purab Pradeep Jain, Students’ General Secretary 2016-17. Executive Council Manifesto Reviews are usually done in April or May. The 2016-17 reviews are being done in September/October, and so the status of completion of some manifesto points might be different had the review been done in April. It is important to note this when comparing secretaries of different years.
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].
The same colour scheme is used in the review below.
Purab was busy with personal commitments when contacted, and could not grant us an interview to conduct this review. Hence, his review is based on interviews with his former colleagues and excerpts from the review by the Student Legislative Council (SLC).
As prescribed in the Students’ Constitution, the duties of the Students’ General Secretary are as follows:
- Co-ordinate the work of the other Executive Council members;
- Represent the views of the General Student Body to the Senate;
- Handle matters and monitor organizations, committees or clubs which do not fall under the purview of other Executive Council members;
- Represent the students in all tendering processes for student facilities inside the Institute;
- Be an ex-officio member of any committee which may be set up by the Administration for matters related to the general amenities provided to the students;
- Be 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;
- Be a member of the Hostel Disciplinary Committee (HDC), the Committee for Monitoring of General Facilities for Students (CMGFS) and the Mess Monitoring and Control Committee (MMCC).
We now move on to reviewing Purab’s manifesto points. Purab’s manifesto concentrates predominantly on making the institute more accessible campus by digitization and more inclusive and sustainable by aiming to tackle the problems that the students face frequently regarding general facilities and services.
His manifesto points can be classified into 4 major categories namely
- Cleanliness and Sustainability
- Health, Safety and Sensitization
- General facilities and services
The review is presented in the above order.
- An Institute Mobile Application will be created, which will include various features.
Points such as providing daily Mess review and complaint portal is done. The application for safety is being worked on, however the vendor originally chosen for making this application quoted a price beyond the budget, and thus the search for a more affordable vendor is in progress.
- A consolidated profile will be set up and maintained for all students.
The SGS, IAR secretary and AAS were working on maintaining the consolidated profile. But much work didn’t seem to be in progress and a basic profile was set up during his tenure.
- Tracking of vehicles entering and leaving the campus will be streamlined using vehicle monitoring system.
- Speed Cameras will be installed at various locations within the campus to keep a check on rash driving.
The SGS has proposed the points mentioned here regarding the tracking of the entry of vehicles onto campus and also the installation of speed cameras to monitor the speed of vehicles to the CSO. The CSO is keen on the implementation of the same, however budget restraints seem to be hindering them from obtaining the required technology. This work is not completely under the secretary’s control, so the work couldn’t be monitored by the secretary. However, the administration is attempting to continue efforts.
Cleanliness and Sustainability
- A robust system for collection, treatment and disposal of e-waste will be introduced for hostel residents.
The system for e-waste disposal is in progress. Also, an extra system for animal-proofing waste bins is also being devised.
- Main switches will be installed outside every hostel room to save electricity
The tower hostels and newly built floors of quadrangle hostels already have this provision. Only a proposal for implementing the same in the old hostels has been given to the Dean (Planning) and the Administration. As this project requires a lot of work to be done in each room — devising new changes in power transmission system in every room — it currently doesn’t look feasible and the initiative has been dropped.
- Proactive measures shall be taken to encourage student participation in Cleanliness drives conducted within the institute.
Cleanliness drives have already been conducted twice and were incentivised by food items.
- Toilets will be set up at all the institute gates.
The Main Gate has the said facility previously. Purab was successful in extending that facility to Velachery Gate. The same was expected to be extended to Taramani Gate and Krishna Gate but it does not look feasible because of the constraints in the area available. There is currently neither work in progress on this nor was much work put previously.
Health, Safety and Sensitization
- Online counseling will be introduced to help students manage stress and to provide career guidance.
YourDost, an online counseling forum was introduced in the freshers orientation, with frequent mails sent to students for publicity. MITR had a vital role to play in the same.
- Informal sessions and activities will be organized to promote healthy interactions among students and faculties.
Such an informal interaction was conducted under the name of ‘Fiesta’. This event was held in the odd semester with the help of the Saathi team and activities such as eating competitions, picture charades, bluff, human blind maze were planned and successfully implemented. However, it was poorly received by the faculty, only two to three faculty turning up including the DoSt.
- Mosquito repellent plants will be grown in each hostel to help tackle the mosquito menace.
The SGS, HAS and the Health, Hygiene and Environment Committee from the SLC were working on growing neem trees, lemon grass and other plants which have mosquito repellant nature, in the campus during the first month of the even semester. Being a long term project, the effectivity of the plan cannot be accurately measured.
In addition, flooring of places where water used to stagnate was also done which yielded good results.
- Initiatives such as installation of CCTV cameras, scrutinizing recruitment of security personnel’s, publicizing ‘VithU’ application, etc will be taken to increase safety.
The suggestions have been given to the CSO, who needs to decide upon the implementation. A special budget was not passed for it and few hostels have arranged CCTV cameras from their hostel budget.
- Female students will be given the option of dining at any of the messes in Himalaya.
Female students have been allowed the choice by giving messes in Himalaya and Mandakini in the list of messes from which they can put a choice in their mess priority list.
- The institute bus will be made available for travel to and from the railway stations and the airport.
Buses were used to shuttle from the campus to railway stations and airport. However, it was poorly received by the student body and was discontinued. They were also made available to use for clubs in the institute.
- Taxis at discounted rates will be made available through collaboration with established companies
The popular travel apps are already offering decent discounts, anything more wasn’t possible.
- Vending machines and night canteens will be set-up across the academic zone.
When Professors and Heads of Departments were approached regarding this, they were not in favour of setting up night canteens and vending machines. The new Campus Cafe has started functioning more efficiently but it is not a night canteen.
- Used cycles sale will be organized during institute freshman orientation sessions.
Sales were organised during the first year student orientation for both the 2016 and 2017 batches.
- Second hand book fairs will be organized during the semester.
Second-hand book fairs have been conducted at Himalaya once a month at reasonable prices. Buy-back offers were also made.
- The Hub: First floor at Quark will be revamped into a hangout cum meeting room.
It has been used to conduct IViL sessions, and can be booked for club events. This point will soon be implemented to completion by Sai Kiran G L, SGS 2017-18.
- Additional buses will ply during peak hours to solve the issue of overcrowded buses.
The proposal has been made. The implementation would need more time because of insufficient number of buses and heavy maintenance
- Basic services such as tailoring and ironing will be introduced in the hostel zone.
While the girls hostel zone already has an ironing service, implementation of the same in the boys hostel zone is being worked on.
- Feedback Portal will be revived as a means for the students to connect with the Executive Wing, and to act as a forum for discussing student-related issues.
The Feedback portal has been revived and an option for the GSB to comment on a query is also made available, but it still hasn’t gained enough reach. Also, the secretaries are available through other virtual media to reach out to comfortably.
- SGSC events will be organized on a grander scale with the aid of sponsorship.
The secretary had adequate funds from the budget to organise these events. Although corporate sponsorship would have boosted the budget and hence quality of these events, the secretary concluded sponsorship was not feasible considering the additional efforts required to execute these partnerships and new challenges engendered by involving private companies in institute events.
This concludes the review of Purab Jain, Students’ General Secretary 2016-17. Apart from points in the manifesto, the SGS has worked on issues that arose during his tenure, for example, regarding the safety of the animals on campus. Nurturing Saathi was an additional responsibility for the SGS. Purab Jain, in his tenure as Students’ General Secretary, has managed to successfully implement 40.9% of his manifesto points.
We wish his successor, Sai Kiran G L a successful term as Students’ General Secretary.