News & Notes 691:Funds and Assets Management Committee (FAMC) monthly report for February 2017

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691 icon.jpg   News & Notes 691
18 March 2017



Funds and Assets Management Committee (FAMC) monthly report for February 2017


In December 2016, during a participatory exercise at a workshop, we learned that there are generally four stages in team formation, “forming, storming, norming and performing”. We perceived at that time that we were somewhere between the forming and storming stage. A few months down the road, we still find ourselves to be working through the storming stage and yet to move fully into the next phase of norming. Nevertheless, the work continues full speed. Read on:

FAMC revised 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: 0413-262-3649.

  • Mondays from 2 - 4 pm
  • Wednesdays from 9:30 - 11:30 am
  • Fridays 9:30 - 11:30 am

NB: the secretary is there from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm on all days except Mondays and Thursdays — the days when we have our bi-weekly meetings.

Completed topics

Units

  • Auroville Child Development Research Centre executive changes: FAMC and WCom approved the following new executive appointments: Mr. Eric Avril; Ms. E. Padmanaban Pramila (aka Pushpa); Ms. Mary Tardeil (aka Marie Babu) and accepted the resignation of Mr. Andre Tardeil.
  • Auroville Health Services, under Auroville Village Action Trust, executive changes: FAMC and WCom approved the following new executive appointments: Ms. Paula Fischer and Ms. Mechtild Schubert; and accepted the resignation of Mr. Manfred Lehnert and Ms. Franca Crocetti.
  • Auro Small Scale Activities (ASSA), under Team Trust, executive changes: FAMC and WCom approved the executive appointment of Mr. Guy D. and the executive resignation of Ms. Sourya S., as recommended by ABC.
  • Papyrus, under Artisana Trust, executive appointments: FAMC approved the addition of two new executives Mr. Nicolas T. and Ms. Selvi T., as recommended by the ABC support group. Bruno is the continuing executive.
  • Arthena, under Kattida Kalai Trust, new unit: FAMC approved that the activity Arthena be reorganized as a new unit under Kattida Kalai Trust with Ms. Ane U. and Ms. Diana Z. as executives, as recommended by the ABC support group. The unit is to engage itself in the following activities: “Interior décor consultancy and manufacturing tailoring”
  • Pitchandikulam Forest Project, under Auromitra Trust: Some positions in the project’s last balance sheet needed clarifying. The matter was solved in a timely manner in collaboration with the unit executives and with the help of the trustees and a few members of the FAMC.
  • Tamil Heritage Centre Construction (THC): We have submitted a final report of our findings to the Auroville Foundation. The report includes recommendations that will be followed up with the Auroville Foundation.
  • Eatery contributions: FAMC and BCC have endorsed a new set of contribution guidelines for eateries, which in essence, puts in place 5% contributions on all turnover for eateries.

Policies and Guidelines

  • Depreciation method: in accordance with government regulations the depreciation method for assets have to be shifted from WDV (Written down Value Method) to SLM (Straight Line Depreciation) with immediate effect. We have distributed notification to all units, activities, schools, Trusts, projects impacted by this change.

Land related

  • Purchase of new land: Two plots BO 73/8 (.57 acres, adjacent to Pitchandikulam and IR 343/6 (.38 acres, near Windarra Farm) were approved by FAMC for purchase by the Land Board.
  • Auroville Consulting Site Application: The FAMC had no objection to the recommendation by iTDC to allocate a plot of land in the Industrial Zone for Auroville Consulting.

Miscellaneous

  • Annapurna support fund: This fund was started during the time of the former FAMC. The new FAMC members were concerned that this option would create an unwanted precedent and much-needed funds would be diverted from City Services. It was agreed that participation in this fund should be only open to individual Aurovilians. Auroville units can contribute under certain conditions that ensure that their City Services unspecified contributions do not decrease. The operation of the fund will be reviewed after one year.

Ongoing topics

Policies and Guidelines

  • Quality & safety standards for Auroville taxi services: Given the recent initiative by Earth & Us to create a Shared Taxi Service, we have approached Min for help in creating standards for all Auroville taxi services.
  • Housing reimbursement policy: We are currently reviewing this policy.
  • Code of Conduct for Trusts and Units: FAMC and WCom, at the request of, and in collaboration with, Auroville Foundation, are revising the operational policies and regulations for units and trusts.

Units

  • Village Cultural Heritage Centre (Auroville unit, Mohanam-Svaram, and Department of Tourism, Government of Pondicherry): very recently a joint collaboration between the FAMC and WCom was initiated to work out final details and resolve logistical questions with the project holders, iTDC, FAMC, and ABC. It has been agreed this will be pursued as a priority and all parties will cooperate in a timely manner.
  • Optimal and/or transparent use of funds and assets: We are looking into concerns raised about the units: Auroville Water Service, Farm Fresh, Swagatham Guest House, Discovery, Imagination, Inside India, and The Colours of Nature to ensure optimal and/or transparent use of funds and assets. Where appropriate, we are collaborating with the ABC.
  • Hybrid units: We noted that certain units that are classified as commercial units are actually hybrid units with both income-generating, and non income-generating activities like social development or research. It is important to account for income-generating, and non income-generating transactions separately and clearly and have that reflected in the balance sheet. It may also be necessary to separate the activities into different trusts. FAMC members have been working with each hybrid unit and making recommendations on a case-by-case basis. So far, FAMC members have met with Eco Femme and Auroville Earth Institute and suggested necessary measures to each unit.

Miscellaneous

  • Web-based GIS systems: Some FAMC members went to a presentation to review the work done by CSR and Blue Light to explore possibilities for collaborating on improved data services and asset management.
  • Two income tax issues: The Income Tax department, Government of India, sent a list of requests to the Auroville Foundation regarding income tax issues. FAMC followed up on each of these issues immediately with the units and Trusts. Many units have not complied to submit the request in spite of reminders. This lack of a timely response from the Income Tax department is undeserving of fiduciary responsibilities of an executive. It may also place our tax exempt status into serious jeopardy.


FAMC (Amy, Bindu, Chali, Chandresh, Lyle, Prabhu, Stephanie, Ulli and Yuval)