News & Notes 687:FAMC Monthly Report for January 2017
FAMC Monthly Report for January 2017
It has been three months since we started this journey together as the Funds and Assets Management Committee (FAMC), and as a group and we are slowly getting into our stride. We have received both bouquets and brickbats for our work. Along with other working groups, we continue to learn how to best fulfill FAMC’s new mandate. FAMC meets the Working Committee on related issues once a month and the Secretary of Auroville Foundation on a need basis.
We have ironed out many of the logistical issues related to our internal working. For the time being, we have chosen Google services as our main platform for information exchange, but are also exploring other platforms, such as Red Mine for being able to track and close issues more efficiently. Reflecting on the working of the current group and previous group, Ulli feels that the new group is quite heterogenous and consequently not as efficient as the former FAMC group as it takes time to discuss and synthesize all the diverse opinions in bringing issues to a closure.
FAMC public hours: Members will be available to meet with you during the following hours in our office on 2nd floor, Town Hall, next to L’avenir Library. Phone: 0413-2623-649
- Monday 11:30 to 12:30
- Wednesday 9:30 to 11:30
- Friday 9:30 to 11:30
FAMC meeting times: As a whole group we meet on:
- Monday 9:30-11:30
- Thursday 9-12
Working group liaisons: As the FAMC is no longer a representative body, and our work often requires a close connection with several of the working groups, the following members will serve as a liaison / contact person. The working groups can contact these representatives for any matter related to the work of the FAMC that is on their heart, mind, or table!
- Auroville Board of Commerce – Amy & Ulli
- Auroville Board of Services – Chali & Stephanie
- Auroville Council – Amy & Yuval
- Budget Coordination Committee – Stephanie & Yuval
- Housing Board/Housing Service – Amy & Prabhu
- Farm group – Bindu & Prabhu
- Forest group – Amy & Bindu
- Human Resources Team – Stephanie & Chali
- L'avenir d'Auroville (iTDC/TDC) – Amy & Ulli
- Land Board – Amy & Chali
- Working Committee – Chali, Prabhu & Stephanie
Below are some issues that FAMC dealt with this month:
Housing: In keeping with Auroville’s guidelines, we could not grant a request for financial compensation from an Aurovilian who had built a house in Auroville, but had not been living here for many years.
Policies and Guidelines:
- Disclosure of unit bank account details: FAMC published a notice reminding units to reveal details of all bank accounts of the unit in compliance with the legal requirement of Auroville Foundation.
- Land boundary dispute: FAMC settled a boundary dispute between by the Farm Group and Bamboo Centre regarding land allocated to each party of the plot AL 65/7. It had been alleged that Bamboo Center was occupying more land that in it had been allocated. A survey indicated that this was not true. Additionally, as a gesture of goodwill, Bamboo Center team agreed that stewardship of approximately 0.49 cents of land from plot AL 65/2, which is currently unutilized and is adjacent to Alankuppam pond, will be transferred to the Farm Group.
- Deepam’s request: Deepam has substantial funds that it keeps with the Unity Fund. It requested FAMC for use of some of the interest that is generated from the funds for the operational expenses of its project. In this context, it suggested the creation of a Corpus Fund for Deepam. FAMC had to turn down the request as it would violate existing guidelines and create a precedent. It instead advised Deepam to directly utilize the funds it currently has to meet its operational expenses, including providing additional maintenances.
Imagination: We are working with the Auroville Export Trust trustees to find a lasting solution to the various problems that the unit is facing.
Auroville Water Service (AWS): in collaboration with iTDC we sought the help of the Auroville Road Service so that the AWS project funded by a Govt. of India grant is properly executed within the given time. We are also working on the issue of strengthening financial management and accountability of AWS.
Inside India: Upon receiving a complaint by an Inside Trust trustee, we along with some members of the ABC support group, are investigating allegations against Inside India regarding improper financial practices.
Farm Fresh: We are working with the Free Flow Trust trustees and executives to ensure better management of this unit.
Auroville Transport Service (ATS): Lieve has submitted her resignation as an executive of ATS. Work is ongoing to close this unit, which has suffered substantial losses, in cooperation with the ABC Trust trustees.
Mohanam, Lively, and bamboo-related activities: Balu and Rajaveni, as executives, manage a number of diverse activities under two units, Mohanam and Lively. FAMC is working with the ABC support group to ensure that income-generating activities and non-profit activities are separately and properly accounted for. The ABC support group recommended to Balu and Rajaveni to operate all bamboo-related activities under a new registered unit. The name of this new unit will be ‘Bamboo Center Auroville’. The executives have accepted the decision to change the name from the proposed ‘Auroville Bamboo Center’ to Bamboo Center Auroville in keeping with an existing guideline of not prefixing Auroville to the names of new units.
Papyrus executive changes: The ABC support group recommended endorsement of Papyrus executive changes: the resignation of Bruno and the appointment of Nicolas and Selvi. FAMC requested a third, non-family member executive be included in the team to create more diversity. As a response, Bruno has decided to remain involved as an executive. Appointment of Nicolas and Selvi was approved.
Ganesh Beads: Improper financial practices were reported to us. In response, we have offered our full support in writing to the Artisana Trust trustees to help with their investigation into this allegation.
Govt. of India (GOI) grants
GOI fund allocation/disbursal and monitoring proposal: In collaboration with the Working Committee, and Government of India Plan grant subgroup, we are working on a proposal to strengthen GOI fund allocation and monitoring.
Tamil Heritage Center: At the request of AV Foundation, FAMC is looking into financial mismanagement that had come to light, in the course of work, concerning the government funded construction of the Tamil Heritage Center building.
Development of the Industrial Zone: iTDC presented their concerns about the lack of development in the Industrial Zone, which directly leads to ad hoc unwanted developments in that area. We reviewed an iTDC proposal to create an office complex in this zone. In principle we are in support of the project, but requested more financial details to be worked out. The project will be submitted for GOI grant funding
Policies and Guidelines
Auroville Learning Activities (ALA) Guidelines proposal: FAMC is working on the financial aspect in the ALA guidelines together with the ALA study group.
Site and Building Application process: FAMC is working with iTDC to revise current site and building application processes.
Bumadevi Farm: FAMC has requested the Farm Group to look into the issue of finding a new steward for land in the Irumbai that had been allocated to Bumadevi farm, as the steward of Bumadevi now wants to move the farm to a plot in the Alankuppam area. FAMC awaits further communication from the Farm Group on this issue.
Complaint about Aurospirul: FAMC received a complaint from the Farm Group that the water discharged from the spirulina ponds was polluting the soil of the neighbouring farm. FAMC has asked Farm Group to address its complaint and seek resolution directly with the executives of Aurospirul.
Allocation of housing for Gowri (Service Farm steward): Housing, Farm Group representatives and FAMC are still working on finding a suitable house for Gowri (steward of Service Farm), as was planned with the previous FAMC to help facilitate any potential land exchange of Service Farm.
Park area between Dana and Transition / Skatepark activity: We gave our input to iTDC on a site-application by Andre and Edgar for a skatepark activity. Work is ongoing to identify a caretaker for the whole park area (about 6 acres between Dana and Transition).
Asset registry and collaboration with Aurostat: FAMC plans to create an asset registry i.e. an online database with appropriately defined fields and a workable user interface, which can be easily synced and kept updated. The data will be shared with different stakeholders (primarily working groups) on a need basis. In this context, FAMC feels that its approach towards a database is different from one that is being proposed by Aurostat. FAMC, however, is in correspondence with Aurostat regarding this and is willing to take in their proffered help in data collection. Aurostat has been requested to wait before taking its proposal forward till FAMC has created the necessary structure with a competent programmer for the asset registry database.
Non-Aurovilian use of Auroville assets: In response to a request from the Secretary, Auroville Foundation, FAMC is working on compiling a list of all houses that are being used by non-Aurovilians on a long-term basis. In a similar endeavour, started by the previous FAMC group, there is an ongoing attempt to document all details of Auroville land that is being stewarded by non-Aurovilians.
- Please help us to compile both these lists by sending all relevant information to firstname.lastname@example.org
City Services budget: FAMC is working with BCC to better manage the City Services budget, both through collection of unpaid contributions from units as well as allocation of maintenances. FAMC is waiting for some information from BCC on this issue.
Unauthorized Building developments within Auroville Master Plan: FAMC is working the iTDC to find ways to deal with unauthorized buildings that have been built by Aurovilians without permission i.e. a No Objection Certificate (NOC). It was decided to present such cases to the community and also going forward to deal with each one on a case-by-case basis.
Kalpana Sports Centre Site Application: FAMC reviewed the Kalpana Sports Centre Site Application and needs clarification on several issues before it will give approval.
It was agreed that the proposed location of the sports centre is acceptable, on the Crown Road near the Auroville Library, provided that it is meant primarily for Aurovilians and Newcomers and AV-staying guests.
Depreciation Method: FAMC will discuss the transfer to a different depreciation method for assets with Mr. Chunkath (IAS, Retd.), Secretary, Auroville Foundation. It was also noted that the ABC is trying to address the matter in parallel, through the Working Committee. All these efforts will be coordinated to come up with a final proposal.
Funds allocated to different needs: An unspecified donation was received in the amount of Rs. 2,54,880 by the Unity Fund and needs to be allocated before 31/03. It was agreed to allocate Rs. 80,000 to Kireet for erosion control work. Other needs FAMC is considering are fencing and securing land in Revelation and capital expenditure/health-related equipment for Santé. FAMC sincerely thanks the Aurovilian who made this donation.
FAMC administrative matters
FAMC budget: FAMC is working on its budgetary needs. The budget is in two parts: 1) FAMC administrative needs; and 2) Development projects that FAMC wishes to undertake as part of its strategic work plan.
Strategic Work Plan: This month FAMC further detailed the objectives and activities of a strategic work plan, which it will present to the community in the coming weeks. The entire FAMC team thanks Elvira and Joerg for voluntarily facilitating a workshop on this issue and Vérité for hosting the workshop pro-bono.
FAMC team (Members: Amy, Bindu, Chali, Chandresh, Lyle, Prabhu, Stephanie, Ulli, and Yuval;Secretary: Angelo; Chair: Auralice)