News & Notes 699:Working Committee report April 2017
Working Committee report April 2017
The main issues that reached our table in April have been the following:
1. New GB and IAC
- Dr. Karan Singh, the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Auroville Foundation, informed us that it does not seem that the Members of the Governing Board and International Advisory Council will be appointed soon, and that therefore his visit to Auroville will take place later.
2. 50th anniversary
- The Chairman informed us in a message to all Aurovilians that the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India has accepted in principle our invitation to him to join us during the Golden Jubilee week.
3. Government of India grants.
- a. 50th anniversary grant.
- Till date, no decision has been received regarding the requested GOI grant for Auroville’s 50th anniversary. The 50th anniversary core group, consisting of Chali, Fabienne, Frederick, and presently assisted by Pala and Nilen, are working on a basic celebration packet. A statement will be published soon.
- b. Regular grant.
- We are awaiting the final confirmation from the HRD Ministry for the extent of the grant available for the current financial year 2017-18. We are informed this year the classifications like Capital, General, Plan and Non Plan will be merged together. A set of new categories will be defined. We are awaiting for further clarifications on this issue. Due to these changes there may be an impact on our distribution of capital and general (maintenance) expenses. Once we receive more clear details we will share in our next reports. The Utilisation Certificates for GOI grant 2016-17 from most of the recipient units have been submitted to the Auroville Foundation.
- c. Generate income from properties created with GOI grants.
- The Secretary has requested the community to find suitable ways to generate income from the immovable properties created from the Govt. of India grants for the maintenance of the properties, in a move towards ‘‘self-sustainability’, rather than depending on Government Grants or donations.
4. ADHAAR camp
- There has been a good response to the Working Committee’s invitation to all Auroville residents to set up an ADHAAR camp in Auroville, to facilitate the issuing of ADHAAR cards to Indian and foreign nationals. ADHAAR is a unique identification number, for which biometric data (scan of finger prints and eyes) are recorded.
- The holding of an ADHAAR card is becoming mandatory for an increasing number of issues, and such as railways bookings and the opening of bank accounts; it is likely that an ADHAAR card will also be required jointly with a PAN card for filing Income Tax returns.
- We advise all residents to register for obtaining an ADHAAR card by sending an email to aadhaar (at) auroville.org.in. We will announce soon when the ‘ADHAAR Camp’ in or around the Town Hall will take place.
5. Location Youth Hive
- The conflict about the location for the Youth Hive project has not yet been resolved. A General Meeting on the topic will be called soon.
6. Renewal of executives/New executives for Matrimandir
- Feedback on the proposed nominees for executive of the Matrimandir has been received. The Auroville Council jointly with the Working Committee will take a decision in the 2nd week of May.
7. Facilitating the entry of young people in Auroville
- As mentioned in our March report, the Working Committee in March organised a half-day workshop with invitees from Savi, Housing, TDC, ABC, AVC, BCC, ACI, FAMC, to deliberate on easing the entry for young newcomers and volunteers. The outcome of the meeting was not sufficiently conclusive for a new policy to be made. Also, requests have been received that another half day workshop is organised on the topic, this time with young people present. The Working Committee will organize this workshop in the first week of August, when people have returned from their holidays.
8. Visa issues
- We are continuing our efforts to resolve a number of long-pending visa issues with the much appreciated help of François Gautier.
- We are also trying to obtain clarity to what extent the recent decision of the Government of India to liberalize and simplify India’s Visa regime is of relevance to Auroville, so as to prevent people coming to Auroville with the wrong visa and misunderstandings and delays in the granting of Stay Visa and Residential Permit extensions.
9. Location new TANGEDCO substation.
- Jointly with the TDC, the best location of a new Tangedco substation nearby Adventure has been researched and a decision on the matter will be taken in the first week of May. The Auroville Foundation will lease out approximately 2 acres of land to the TNEB. The new transformer will benefit both Edaiyanchavadi village and Auroville.
10. Guardianship minors.
- We receive regular requests for minors to study in Auroville. In consultation with an Indian lawyer, the Working Committee has drafted the required legal documents so that an Auroville resident can become the guardian of the minor during his stay and study in Auroville.
11. Works Manual
- In consultation with members of the FAMC, TDC and SAIIER, the Working Committee has started to draft a “Works Manual” for public buildings in Auroville. The objectives are (1) to streamline and speed up the required permissions processes in Auroville, and (2) to ensure a transparent accounting system and the timely submission of utilisation certificates. In the past, SAIIER has made such a Works Manual, which is now slightly outdated, but no Manual is in existence for works executed by the TDC or Bharat Nivas. It is the intention that, in due time, the new Manual will be used for all public buildings in Auroville, regardless of their funding source.
12. Composition Internal Complaints Committee,
- The composition of the Internal Complaints Committee, constituted by the Working Committee as required by the “Sexual Harassment Of Women At Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013” has changed. With effect from 25 April 2017, Dr. Vidyaa Ramkumar, who has a long-standing association with Auroville and who has much experience with issues of sexual harassment, has been appointed for a three year period as ‘external member’ as stipulated in the Act. She is replacing Ms. Jayendira Sarawati. The following persons now constitute the ICC: Anandamayi Legrand, Anbu Moris, Bridget Horkan, Niva Kovshi, Srijita Roy, H. Suriygandhi, Yuval Gj Van Den Eijk and Dr. Vidyaa Ramkumar (external member)
13. Meeting with consuls in Chennai
- On April 1st, the German Consul-General in Chennai hosted an event where Auroville gave a presentation on the relevance of Auroville for India and the world in a time of global crisis to a few Consults in Chennai and representatives of some cultural institutions and Chambers of Commerce. The event, organised by the 50th anniversary team, and attended by the Secretary, Auroville Foundation as well as two members of the Working Committee, was successful.
14. Feedback on Working Committee report
- We have replied personally to all those who have given comments on our March report.
- We appreciate to receive your suggestions and comments about issues that you consider relevant. We also appreciate receiving feedback about our functioning, mandate, strengths or shortcomings to improve our work-output and performance.
PENDING ISSUES: During April, much time went into discussions on the following issues, which we hope to complete soon:
- New executives Matrimandir – jointly with AVC
- Entry – jointly with the AVC, Entry service and the ETG.
- TDC new mandate – jointly with the AVC
- Code of Conduct Trust-Units – jointly with the FAMC
- Strengthening AVHS
- Work of sea erosion control on Samuthira beach
- Facilitating the entry of young people in Auroville – a second meeting will be called soon
The Working Committee
Angela, Carel, Hemant, Inge, Kumar, Mandakini, Ranjithkumar.