News & Notes 695:Funds and Assets Management Committee (FAMC) monthly report for March 2017
Funds and Assets Management Committee (FAMC) monthly report for March 2017
The good news from our group for this month is that Angelo, our secretary, is now committed to working full-time on behalf of the FAMC (which actually means overtime!). Last November, Angelo had volunteered for the job, as he felt that he might best serve Auroville by offering his secretarial skills to the new FAMC. Despite the hiccups that accompany every new group, Angelo has been steadfast in his service. All of us are greatly appreciative of his organizational skills, his quiet presence, and his sense of responsibility.
Cloud Flower Creations – closed: This unit under Artisana Trust has now been closed as per the request of its executives Angad & Chandrah N.
Auroville Transport Service (ATS) – closed: ATS, the taxi unit in New Creation, has been closed in collaboration with the ABC Trust trustees. The unit has been suffering increasing losses with greater liabilities over the last few years in spite of efforts from the executives, trustees and others to turn things around. The community has been informed through regular community channels about the closure of this service.
To Be Two – executive reappointment: Anyuta and Louis C. have been reappointed as executives of this unit under Auromode Trust.
Prakrit – executive reappointment: Torkil and Uma P. have been reappointed as executives of this unit under ABC Trust.
Kinisi – new unit application: The new unit application for manufacturing electric bikes under Altecs Trust with Matthias A. and Debo as executives was approved.
LEAD (Learn, Experience And Develop) – new unit application: The new unit application with Dhanya and Dominique as executives was approved. LEAD will be an umbrella unit for educational programs that are offered in Auroville. The unit is currently under Inside Trust, which will be reviewed after one year.
The Colours of Nature staff quarters: As per the agreement reached between Artisana Trust on behalf of the unit, The Colours of Nature, Ruby (formerly working in the unit) will vacate the staff quarters upon repayment of her loan to the unit. A subgroup spearheaded by the Auroville Council will investigate other issues pertaining to the conflict between Jesus (executive of The Colours of Nature) and Ruby.
Funds for Christine, Benito and Muna’s housing: Funds have been allocated to Muna for the construction of a new housing asset in the plot allocated by L’avenir d’Auroville located near Dana; this is in accordance with agreements made with the former FAMC due to the family’s relocation from Happiness.
Loan approved for the Centre for Scientific Research (CSR): CSR has requested a loan of Rs. 43.5 lakhs as an advance against a Government of India grant for purchase of high precision GPS equipment for an Auroville GIS mapping project, which has been approved.
Policies / Guidelines / Proposals
L’avenir d’Auroville / iTDC Construction and Civil Work Allocation policy: We gave our input on new guidelines regarding construction and civil work allocation that were proposed by the team.
Unit succession proposal: A proposal for handling unit succession has been received from Torkil who, along with Toine, has ideas for succession planning for Auroville units. This would help those executives who wish to see their enterprise continue to flourish through the next generation. As they are already working with Aureka we encouraged them to test their proposal there. We thank them for this initiative and look forward to receiving a full report of the experience.
Soffio housing project building application: The Soffio housing project building application was reviewed and approved.
Land exchange: We fully understand that exchange of Auroville land can be an emotionally difficult and disruptive process for any residents who would be affected. As Auroville’s current policy is to secure land within the Master Plan, land exchange remains an important part of our strategy. We hope that as a community, we will inspire each other to live in accordance with our basic principle of non-ownership as stewards of land and work together for a collective goal. We also ask that when people wish to relocate due to a land exchange process, all community members try to help them with this process.
Land exchange in Promesse community: The FAMC approved exchange of 1.03 acres of non-residential area in Promesse for 10.37 acres in the north greenbelt. There is still about 1 acre of non-residential area in Promesse, adjacent to the highway, which can be utilized by Auroville or exchanged at a later date. We have reviewed the concerns of the residents of Promesse and have asked the Housing Service to prioritize and help facilitate relocation of a few residents who wish to move out of Promesse.
Land Purchase: We approved the purchase of the following 2 plots:
- BO 1/1 (63 acres) adjacent to Baraka in the greenbelt.
- MA 293/1 (1.48 acres) adjacent to Kamataru in the greenbelt.
WC and FAMC joint topics
Reconstitution of Government of India (GoI) grant group: We have jointly approved a proposal to strengthen monitoring and accounting of GoI funded projects. Details will be reported separately.
Code of Conduct proposal: A Code of Conduct pertaining to operational regulations for all units is now ready to be presented to the community for comments, after which it will be presented to the Governing Board for approval. This is an update of the former Guidelines for Trusts and Units which became Regulations for Trusts and Units in 2016.
Allocation of unspecified donation: We have allocated Rs. 1,74,880 from an unspecified donation in the following ways:
- Rs. 1,20,000 to Kireet for erosion control work.
- Rs. 33,100 for emergency fencing to protect the forest in Revelation.
- Rs. 21,780 to the Land Board to be used for land protection.
We once again thank the Aurovilian who made this donation!
Strategic Work Plan: As per our mandate, we have developed a strategic work plan for 1-3 years, which was published in the News & Notes last week.
Treecare: This application for a new unit under Team Trust with proposed executives Anadi Skoles, Julian Becker and Jonas Suchanek is pending approval. We have reviewed their application and have asked for additional information.
Mohanam Village Cultural Heritage Centre: Significant progress has been made in streamlining the various income-generating and non-income generating activities of Mohanam, Bamboo Center, and Lively Boutique. In parallel a joint subgroup (WCom, ABC, FAMC) is working with the project team of Mohanam to move the project forward.
Various income-generating units: Work is still ongoing on different issues with five other units. Some of these issues are being jointly tackled by representatives from the FAMC and Auroville Board of Commerce (ABC).
Swagatam Guest House: FAMC received notice that the inordinate delay by Vijaya (manager-executive) to submit the accounts of Swagatam Guest House will delay the consolidation of accounts under Bharat Nivas Pavilion of India Trust. Over a month’s notice and a final deadline were given to Vijaya for submitting the accounts to the trustees. FAMC will look into how to deal with non-compliance on this issue.
Kalpana Sports Centre site application: At the end of this reporting period we are awaiting more information about this project before we can proceed.
Sustainable Resource Center (SRC) building application: At the end of this reporting period we are awaiting more information about this project before we can proceed.
Failure to comply with Income Tax notice: There was approximately 10% non-compliance from Auroville units and Trusts in regards to the recent IT notice concerning cash transactions from 9 November to 31 December 2016. This failure is serious because it invites penalties and undermines our credibility as a community. As a first step towards addressing the issue, it was agreed to call a meeting with all the accountants to discuss the matter.
Income tax related: FAMC issued a general notice about TDS (Tax Deducted at Source) regulations as per the Income Tax of Government of India to all the units and Trusts. We recommend seeking the advice of a chartered accountant for further details in determining TDS.
FAMC (Amy, Bindu, Chali, Chandresh, Lyle, Prabhu, Stephanie, Ulli, Yuval)
In our report, it was mistakenly published that we approved the purchase of the plots: BO 1/1 (63 acres). The acreage was wrong: Plot BO 1/1 is only 63 cents and not 63 acres. The mistake is regretted!