by Sashikanth Bezawada and Deepak Sahoo
The SAC meeting for current executive wing manifestos took place on 27th February in MRC, Central Library. It saw very little participation from the SAC members and a lacklustre turnout from the student community, but was eventful nonetheless. Less than thirty people were present half an hour into the meeting, with seven of them being the secretaries themselves. It was also noted that only four of the aspiring secretaries were present for the meeting with another two joining towards the end.
This is a brief account of the proceedings of the meeting. T5E will shortly release a detailed review of manifestos of the secretaries.
A review of the Research Affairs Secretary (RAS) was discussed first. The salient points achieved were – a bigger and better Research Expo at Shaastra, celebration of the Energy Day and the PG confluence among others. A meeting was organised with the Director to address the woes of the 5th year PhD students. Weekly updates of research scholar seminars and current sponsored projects were sent through smail to all the students. Work in progress included preparation of an e-guidebook providing procedural information to research scholars, and setting up of res.iitm.ac.in to serve as a portal for research students.
This was followed by the review of the work done by the Academic Affairs Secretary, Prashanth. It started with the AAS announcing that IITM placements ranked 2nd among all the IITs coming second only to IIT Bombay according to The Times of India. He explained that, unlike the previous years, the PG coordinators took an active part in handling companies, which helped in bringing in more companies per day compared to the previous years. Organizing an Industrial Conclave was one of the few points that could not be done. The Industrial Conclave was an initiative by our former director Prof. M.S. Ananth which he envisioned would help create more placement opportunities for the increasing student population of IIT Madras. This could not be achieved after Prof. Ananth resigned as the idea was his brainchild and it was too late by the time Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthy took over. Prashanth expressed hope that this might be realised in the years to come.
Baranidharan, the Students’ General Secretary (SGS), was the next to be reviewed. The SGS explained that execution of his manifesto faced many hurdles in the form of dependency on the administration, and that he came to know many fine details about the system only after assuming office. He also stated that he had underestimated the time required for routine activities of an SGS, and thus ended up preparing a relatively ambitious manifesto. The SAC members criticised the SGS for having failed to execute many points in his manifesto. He was also questioned about the suspension of the central laundry facility and a poor EML series this year.
The SGS was asked to list out three points from his manifesto that he would see to completion before his tenure expires and he picked the following:
1) To design and to bring out a IIT Madras T-Shirt.
2) To have a compressor installed at the main gate.
3) To get the saloon at Gurunath changed to a unisex saloon.
The Co-Curricular Affairs Secretary (Co-CAS) enjoyed a quick and smooth review. His achievements included a successful Shaastra despite heavy rains, design of the TechSoc website and audits in the hostels. CFI saw increased activity this year with the summer school programme and more involvement of freshers that resulted in more than 15 successful projects. C-TIDES too has been more active this year, with a technology-centred approach towards entrepreneurship, including frequent lectures and competitions. The Co-CAS said he would like to improve the involvement of faculty in TechSoc and Shaastra, and had high hopes on the aspiring candidates to achieve this goal. He also stated the changes in the schedule of Shaastra and Saarang so that academic momentum would not get disturbed during the semester.
The Co-CAS was followed by the Hostel Affairs Secretary, Somesh. His manifesto was divided into three categories – the completed, the incomplete and the ones in progress. Some of the points that were mentioned as incomplete in the SGS review were mentioned as being in progress in the HAS review. Introduction of a new caterer, a coupon system for limited meals in food court, online fees payment, change of caterer in Quark and kick-starting work for an all night canteen were some of the successfully completed points. He mentioned that work on introduction of a coin operated laundry system, an extra billing counter in the food court and computerising the Mess accounts is in progress. He spoke of his vision to turn the Quark area into a hub similar to SFC and the change in timings that was done towards achieving this. Of the points in the manifesto, eight were completed, with five incomplete and twelve in progress. Apart from the points in manifesto, seven new initiatives were taken to completion.
The Cultural Affairs Secretaries had a hasty manifesto review, owing to time constraints. They were criticised for poor handling of the PG LitSoc. The CAS(Arts) got into arguments with the SAC members, and was advised to tone down his behaviour. When asked as to why the MUN was not conducted, they replied that they couldn’t get permission from the concerned authorities.
The Sports Secretary was the last one to be reviewed. He was asked to give an explanation for his absence at the previous SAC meeting for which he replied that he was busy playing a match against Mahanadi after his lab session. Before he could proceed to elaborate on his work he was questioned by the students about the poor organisation of the PG Schroeter. He replied saying that none of the PG students were willing to take up the responsibility and only two people had applied when he released applications for the position of coordinators for the event; he also couldn’t find any willing referees for the matches among the PG students. This led to a heated argument between the Sports Secretary and the PG students which lasted till the end of the review. The review of the Sports Secretary remained incomplete due to lack of time and SAC speaker assured that it would be taken up in the Re-Review.
It was 11:45 p.m by the time the meeting ended, with the review of the Sports Secretary incomplete, and the review of the SAC speaker yet to happen. Three resolutions were passed based on the proceedings of the meeting.
1) It was given to reason that some of the secretaries had left a lot of points on their manifesto unfinished, and the only provision in the constitution was to impeach secretaries who fail to work. There are no specific guidelines as to how else the SAC might proceed to enforce work for the secretaries. Therefore it was decided that this issue would be brought in the next senate meeting to come up with specific guidelines to handle such situations.
2) It was proposed that a Re-Review be conducted on April 1st to give secretaries time to work towards accomplishing some of their unfinished objectives.
3) The secretaries agreed to prepare a write-up elaborating the difficulties they faced, so that the next generation of secretaries can handle these issues better.