News & Notes 624:Funds and Assets Management Committee (FAMC) October 2015 Report

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624 icon.jpg   News & Notes 624
21 November 2015



Funds and Assets Management Committee (FAMC) October 2015 Report



Regular members: Anandi (Auroville Board of Services) TOS in October, Chali (Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research), David (Forest group), Jeff (Farm group), Ranjith (Working Committee) joined 6/10, Matriprasad (Auroville Council) TOS from 14/10, Michael (Auroville Unity Fund), Rathinam (Budget Coordination Committee), Sauro (L'avenir d'Auroville), Sonja (Housing Service), and Ulli (Auroville Board of Commerce).
Temporary membership: while Anandi was TOS, Isha was attending on behalf of the ABS.
Change in membership: In September Mandakini informed that she would no longer represent the Working Committee (WCom); WCom informed that Ranjith would be their new representative.
Other attendance: Mr. Srinivasmurty (Finance & Administrative Officer, Auroville Foundation; currently Secretary-in-Charge) is attending infrequently.

Trust & unit topics

The Auroville Board of Commerce (ABC) recommended, and FAMC approved the commercial unit change of name from Prabhasari to Abacus Accounting.

ABC endorsed, and FAMC approved, the new executive appointment of Stephan H. to Auroville Online Store. The existing executives are Ulli B., and Suzanne.

The FAMC asked the ABC to follow-up with Gillian and Palani, executives of Hers, concerning ongoing operation of Hers shop. There was some concern because Vinod, the executive who was onsite daily, passed at the beginning of October quite unexpectedly. Many Aurovilians have been involved, providing support and guidance. The FAMC are reviewing the situation of the finances and physical asset.

The team at Sustainable Livelihood Institute (SLI) requested to form a Trust. It was agreed to convert the dormant Sangamam Trust into an active Trust for the activities of SLI. The proposed trustees are: Alain B., Joss, Divya K., and Suhasini. The trustees have been approved by the FAMC and will be recommended to the WCom. The trustees have been provided a copy of the Sangamam Trust deed and were advised to write up all necessary changes to the deed and submit them to the FAMC for review and approval. The FAMC await their response. Additionally, the FAMC requested, and the team agreed, that the Sangamam Trust will welcome other related activities under the Trust.

ABS spoke with Palani, Kattida Kalai Trust trustee, concerning the unit Sumark Construction moving to the Trust. This was reported to the FAMC and during the ensuing discussion the FAMC gave its support to this move and it was agreed to recommend to Sumark Construction executives, and the Auroville Service Trust trustees that with effect from the beginning of the next financial year, 1 April 2016, the unit can be moved to Kattida Kalai Trust. This was communicated in writing to them. The FAMC await their response.

Finance topics

It was reported that the second installment of the Government of India (GoI) plan grant had been received by the office of the Secretary, Auroville Foundation. There were particulars concerning disbursement that needed to be clarified. While Srinivasmurty was attending the meeting he was asked about it. During the brief discussion it was agreed the WCom, who is the convenor of the GoI Plan Grant subgroup, will call a meeting as soon as possible.

FAMC noted that Buildaur had not repaid its Rs. 15 lakhs loan by August 2015 as promised. FAMC wrote to Buildaur reminding them of their agreement. Their initial response was to propose a revised repayment schedule, with no details. At the end of this reporting period, the FAMC await their proposal with details.

Suryan informed the FAMC about a loan he made to the activity under Eco Service called Auroscrap. This loan created a much-needed shed at the location of Eco Service. After Suryan clarified some points with the FAMC, it was agreed by the members to assure him that the loan amount (about Rs. 3 lakhs) will be paid back within 12 months. FAMC is checking with the Budget Coordination Committee (BCC) about some funds that had been promised but not provided in 2013. If BCC will provide these funds they will be applied to the loan. The FAMC will review the Eco Service accounts to ascertain the viability of the loan being repaid by the unit. FAMC await a reply from the BCC.

Land topics

Rishi (Kamataru) reported to the FAMC concerning a Northern Auroville forest access. FAMC requested the Working Committee (WCom) and the Land Board (LB) to collaborate on addressing the matter.

The FAMC subgroup on a proposed Land Consolidation Strategy gave a final report essentially informing that because the strategy hinged upon purchase of lands by those friendly to Auroville it does not work. The LB members reported that the conditions set by Auroville are too restrictive; potential 'friends' don't agree; it's not interesting for individuals. The discussion is discontinued for the time being.

Muna, relocating from Happiness with Christine and Benito, wrote to the FAMC about fencing the plot of land which was allocated to the family and is located near Dana. A member and the secretariat met with Muna and Christine to advise them how best to proceed which included getting estimates and sharing their plans for the housing construction. FAMC await their follow-up.

Housing topics

Pavitra asked the FAMC to support his request to be allocated the house in Auromodele where Petra had lived. The FAMC reviewed the Housing Service (HS) actions to provide alternative (from Repos) housing for Pavitra. HS recommended that this house is suitable for a family, that perhaps another family house can be built on the land surrounding it (the plot is about 60 cents), and a concrete structure at the end of the plot can be renovated for Pavitra's needs. The FAMC gave its full support to the proposal of the HS. Both HS and Pavitra were informed.

The HS requested an additional overdraft for small housing loans from Rs. 7 lakhs to Rs. 10 lakhs. This was approved.

Other topics

The FAMC spent a lot of time in review of the Mohanam proposed 'Centre for Culture and Heritage', and met with the Mohanam team, along with representatives from the ABC and WCom, at the end of the month. Questions were asked and answered; concerns were expressed and heard; information was shared; clarifications made. The exploration continues into November.

FAMC were requested to assist the Farm group in a decision to allocate, for the Matrimandir composting project, Siddhartha Farm which has been vacated by Herbert, who is farming in a different place in Irumbai for many years. All things considered, the FAMC are in support of the compost project moving to the Siddhartha farm location. The FAMC wrote to the Farm group asking that if the team at Matrimandir will implement the agreements, can the project be moved to Siddhartha Farm.

The activity Resource Mobilization Service (RMS) requested FAMC approval to be 'a project under the Unity Fund' and to set a fee of 5% for all fund raising in order to support work for at least 1 year, until the BCC could provide a running budget. After a lot of deliberation and reflection the FAMC replied to the RMS team:

a. RMS can become an activity under Auroville Projects;
b. this structure does not formalize RMS (i.e. as an Auroville registered unit or service);
c. a senior Aurovilian will be provided to the RMS team to give guidance and support;
d. when a success charge is requested there should be a clear written agreement between RMS and the project holders;
e. the charge will not be set at any percentage rate; the charge will be flexible and should be discussed on a case by case basis with individual project holders and concomitant donors; the charge will never exceed 5%;
f. The BCC are requested to advise RMS how to follow the City Services income/expenditure format; RMS is expected to follow this income/expenditure format;
g. the charge is to cover running costs which include human resources (i.e. Aurovilian maintenance).

Also:

  1. RMS cannot be promoted as, or stated to be, the official or sole fund-raising team or service of Auroville;
  2. RMS charges cannot be seen as the 'norm' of fund-raising activities in Auroville;
  3. RMS cannot enter into Memorandums of Understandings (MoUs) with entities outside the Auroville Foundation because approval of external agreement is a competence of WCom and FAMC. Finally, this practice of requesting a fund raising charge is limited to a one (1) year experiment. The FAMC requested a full report and accounts to be submitted after this one year period (in November 2016), after which a decision of the FAMC on continuation will to be taken. The team agreed with each of the points.

The FAMC and WCom met and discussed:

  1. Kottakarai Peace Meetings;
  2. An Auroville Foundation (AVF) request for a report concerning an email sent to Dr Karan Singh, Chairman of the Governing Board, from an Aurovilian implicating another Aurovilian in alleged mismanagement;
  3. Felicity housing asset and a non-Aurovilian occupant;
  4. AVF request to schedule a meeting with all the trustees.

Following up from previous reports

The FAMC communications with Manfred, Auroville Health Services, and Dorothee, project architect has been reported previously. During October Manfred answered additional FAMC questions and provided more detailed information. After further deliberation on the additional information it was agreed to advise Manfred to talk to the Housing Service about how housing asset transfers work, including the concomitant donation / value transfers; and to confirm the actual viability of funds coming from the 'committed senior' Aurovilians which should include written statements from the individuals and getting housing asset estimates from Housing Service. It was also mentioned that it's still not clear where the initial 40% of estimated costs to start construction is coming from. These points were communicated to Manfred in writing.

Last month this report included a brief update on Aqua Dyn. This month a subgroup of the FAMC met with the executives, the investor and lawyer. After this meeting a comprehensive verbal report was given to the FAMC. Aqua Dyn executives have been requested to keep the trustees in the information loop. In another briefing with the FAMC the subgroup reported that they are scrutinizing Aqua Dyn's financial situation, which is tenuous. The investor has been advised to do a thorough due-diligence. The subgroup is looking at how to provide protection for Auroville, and for the investor. The subgroup will continue the discussions and when they have a concrete proposal, they'll inform the FAMC.


FAMC