Secretary Review: Research Affairs Secretary – Mashetti Ravibabu


You’ll find the other manifesto reviews here.

The colour code used in this review works like this:

  • Green – completed already

  • Yellow– partially completed and/or will most likely be completed before end of tenure

  • Red – not completed, or left to future Secretaries

Mashetti Ravibabu, elected unopposed to the post of Research Affairs Secretary, says that he took the decision to apply for the post at the eleventh hour, and that it was the encouragement from his friends and his own feeling that the research scholars should have a representative that prompted him to make this decision. But this seems to have been a futile exercise as an unprecedented 100% of his manifesto points have not been executed, with many of them either being issues that are not under his purview or completely impractical schemes. Moreover, there has been a complete falling out between the RAS and the RAC, with only two meetings called in the last year by the RAS. On speaking to the members of the Research Affairs Council, the collective feeling this correspondent got was one of anger and disappointment. They feel that there has been no real effort from the part of the RAS to get involved in the activities of research scholars, whether it be placements, workshops or events like the research scholars day. This lack of involvement is clearly evident from the fact that he has not even attended the SAC meetings regularly. When asked about how the RAS worked in a team, one of the members of the RAC said “He was not willing to consider any of our suggestions or have an effective discussion”. His initial unwillingness to participate in the fellowship hike campaign where the research scholars actually did need ‘representation’ is also something that many are not happy about. “We want answers”, said another MS councilor and member of the RAC who wished to remain anonymous.

On speaking to the RAS though, this correspondent got a completely contrasting opinion. According to him, the members of the RAC tried to alienate him from the very beginning and many of them did not follow through on the tasks that he had assigned them. In his words, “The RAS was always ready to cooperate, but there was no cooperation from RAC to RAS”.

The overall picture we get is one of complete non-cooperation that has led to utter chaos in many schemes related to research scholars. Many schemes have just been proposed with no follow up work having been done. The SAC has recognized the failure of the RAS to fulfill his duties and his clear lack of involvement in the activities of the research scholars. In view of this, the SAC has moved that his certificate should state about his inactivity and that he should not be recognized on the institute day. This decision is still pending at the BoS (Board of Students).

Here is a point by point review of the outgoing RAS’s manifesto –

Funding and accommodation:

  • Ensuring that scholars supported by funding agencies such as CSIR, UGC, DST etc. can avail their fellowship from the first month onwards.

This was proposed at the BAR meeting by the RAS. No follow-up work has been done and no further developments have occurred on this issue. Moreover, this is really not a decision that can be taken by the RAS alone, but involves the funding agencies also. So this is a point that is a bit out of place in an RAS manifesto.

  • Make changes in the HRA scheme so that scholars staying in hostels can also claim HRA from their funding agencies.

This was also proposed at the BAR meeting. But again, this is clearly a decision that can be taken not by the institute, but by the funding agency. He did not raise this issue during the stipend hike campaign, which would have been the proper time to do so.

  • To provide a contingency grant to HTRA students.

This was also proposed at the BAR meeting. It is a decision that does not come under the purview of the RAS. Still he stayed indifferent to the campaign for a fellowship hike, where he could have made a case for this.

  • Reduce the minimum period of mess rebate from 10 days to 5.

The initiative for this was taken by the HAS. The RAS assured this correspondent that he spoke with the HAS about this but the HAS informed this correspondent that the RAS had never contacted him on this issue. Hence, this point is being colored red.

  • Bring changes in funding system to attend International conferences so that limit for DA is 1.25 lakhs.

This is the perfect example of what happens when you create a manifesto with little research. The limit had already been raised from 1 to 1.5 lakh last year.

  • Follow up work regarding Quarters allotment. Also a scheme for accommodating research scholars in spare rooms in the homes of faculty in retirement stage.

This is another area which is in complete chaos. The waiting list is yet to be released. It is clear that the RAS has not taken any concrete steps towards this. He insists that he requested for the approval of the last point, but it is clear that it is not even feasible.

Academics and placements:

  • Enhance the library website so that scholars can easily trace back volumes.

No work has been done on this by the RAS. An RAC member took up this matter on his interest but no progress could be made on this due to financial constraints.

  • A student who wishes to transfer from one programme to another may do so if allowed by both the boards.

No work has been done on this at all. The excuse the RAS offered for this was that no one seemed to be facing this problem and so he decided to not take any action!

  • Increasing importance of research scholars in placements and convocation.

The placement statistics for research scholars were slightly better this year, but the team involved assured this correspondent that the RAS had absolutely no role in this. He was not seen in the placement office even once during the placement days. When asked about this, he says that he did attend orientation sessions in the beginning but thought it best to leave most of the work to others.

On convocation, he did propose that a separate convocation be held for the research scholars, but this proposal was rejected as this would project a sense of disunity. Yet again no discussion on this topic was held between the RAS and the RAC.

  • Creating a framework for TA duties.

TA duties are already fairly structured, and even then, no proposal has been made by the RAS on this issue.

  • To conduct workshops and colloquiums every week.

No initiative on this has been taken by the RAS. This was a necessity as scholars need to keep abreast of the latest developments in technology and software.

  • To make guide selection, a tentative process at time of admission. Giving scholars a chance for changing the guide after comprehensive examination.

This is a situation that arises only in very rare situations. The RAS has not put forward any proposal to deal with such cases.

Other activities and facilities:

  • To rejuvenate the current research scholars day and Shaastra events.

The RAS was of the opinion that the Research Scholars Day should be held on the last day of Shaastra. Both the admin and other research scholars had advised him against doing this. The reason for suggesting this, according to the RAS was that it would generate a bigger crowd. At the same time, people who work with him say he made this decision because it meant lesser work. Whichever story you favour, many of the research scholars were not even aware that the RSD was to be held on the last day of Shaastra. So now, a new team has been formed, with little involvement from the RAS to conduct the RSD on April 11th.

  • To conduct sports events for research scholars at least once a year.

Nothing has been done by the RAS towards this and he did not show any intention of making this happen in the near future.

  • To regularly update the research portal website.

The research portal has been down for the past 8 months and there has been no action from the part of the RAS to rectify it.

  • To modify the Re-NewsLetter.

The Re-Newsletter, which was supposed to come out once every month, has not come out at all the past year. The RAS says that even though he asked the people in charge to get the paper out, there was no response. No follow-up work was done by the RAS on this and he did not bother to find out the reasons for the lack of response.

Initiatives outside the manifesto –

The RAS has proposed a scheme where the research scholars are provided with medical insurance, with the premium being paid along with the fee.

He also proposed a scheme where the school fees of children of research scholars can be paid in installments.

The RAS says that both of the above schemes have been proposed and have been approved, though no documentation is available. They are ready to be implemented and will be done so from the next semester. He said that he will be briefing the coming secretary on this.








Partially Completed



Not completed



An avid book lover and unapologetic foodie. Has a tendency to regale people with stories and opinions that they really don't want to hear

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *