News & Notes 738:Funds and Assets Management Committee (FAMC) Monthly Report - January 2018

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738 icon.jpg   News & Notes 738
24 February 2018


Funds and Assets Management Committee (FAMC) Monthly Report - January 2018


In terms of achieving tangible outcomes and bringing issues to completion, this has been a slow month. In terms of process, we have a slight change in dealing with quorums for meetings and taking decisions. FAMC have been faced with several occasions with members being temporarily out of station (TOS) or absent from meetings for extended periods of time. As FAMC is no longer a representative group, when members go out, achieving a quorum in meetings can sometimes be difficult. The FAMC mandate (2016) prescribes that a quorum is formed with 6 of 9 members, that is 2/3 membership constitutes a quorum. Last year, when a member resigned, with the consent of Auroville Council, it was agreed that the quorum can be adjusted to 5 persons if the strength of the team was 8. In January, as Prabhu was out of FAMC for an extended period to help with other needed Auroville tasks, it was agreed that when members were absent for 1 month or more, they would be requested to give their consent to accept the majority vote at the table. Absent members’ contributions via email will continue to be considered and included. This reasonable modification allows the group to move forward with decisions even when members are absent.

Completed issues

Units and Trusts

  • Quiet (Health and Healing Trust) executive changes: FAMC issued a resolution approving the following executive changes: Resignation of Guy Ryckaert; Reappointment of Samrat Das; Appointment of Rosella Bovani for an initial term of three years.
  • Name change of unit: Aurocreation unit is now renamed as Auroyali. The unit continues under Kattida Kala Trust. FAMC issued a resolution approving the name change.
  • Road Service (Service Trust): Resignation of executive: FAMC issued a resolution approving the resignation of Alain Grandcolas. Continuing executives are P. Manikam and Jacques Rosier.
  • Exploration Guesthouse (Guest House Trust): Executive changes: FAMC issued a resolution approving the following executive changes: Resignation of Robera Keeping (Bobby); Appointment of Selvam Rajamani and Ingeborg Meinhardt (Samata) as new executives for an initial term of three years.
  • Samasti Guesthouse (Guest House Trust): Executive changes: FAMC issued a resolution approving the following executive changes: Resignation of Jerome Van Der Linden; Reappointment of Srimoyi Rosegger; Appointment of Srijita Roy for an initial term of three years.

Policy and Guidelines

  • Land: Given some seemingly urgent requests from individuals to purchase certain plots of land in the Master Plan area that were in offer, we discussed each request with members of the Land Board and were assured that they are aware of each offer. We would like to reiterate that the Land Board’s policy that is to buy any land in the Master Plan area as long as it is a reasonable price (while maintaining a ceiling land price) and has clear legal title papers.

Ongoing issues

Units and Trusts

  • SEWA (Service Trust) challenges: SEWA executives met with FAMC members stating that they wanted to close the unit due to certain challenges, especially in accounting and management. Upon discussion, it was agreed that closure of the unit is a last resort only if new, suitable executives are not found. FAMC is currently vetting possible executives with strong accounting backgrounds. Nolly (SEWA executive) has offered to remain for some time to help in the transition with a new team.
  • Small scale activities umbrellas: Given the mushrooming of activities and the consequent challenges of the umbrella accounting units that are responsible for them, we are now studying details regarding activities, their creation, accounting, guidelines, monitoring and other aspects. Using this information, FAMC will establish a clear set of guidelines to better regulate AV activities.
  • Conscious Living (Artisana Trust): Members of Auroville Board of Commerce, Artisana Trust, Working Committee and FAMC met with Conscious Living executive, Fabien Bontemps to discuss ways to procure significant investments as growth capital to allow for rapid expansion of the unit.
  • Sumark: We have had constructive dialogues with both BCC members/resource people and Sumark executives to better understand their contributions to Auroville as a whole and City Services (CS) in particular. We now have a better understanding of the challenges faced by young / start-up units such as Sumark in creating needed assets for their use, contributing to CS, and ensuring sufficient flow of their working capital. We hope to formulate better policies soon for all such units.
  • Nandini, Eternal Builders, Imagination: Nothing further to report this month on the issues with the units. We are still awaiting information from other groups/people.

Policy and Guidelines

  • BCC mandate: Auroville Council (AVC) and BCC have processed the feedback received from the community and have asked FAMC to review both the feedback and changes suggested by AVC. We regret to inform all that we have not done this yet. Apologies for the delay.

Miscellaneous

  • Allocation of ex-Lumiere space: We have received Expressions of Interest from a few applicants for use of the space and assets of Lumiere. We will get back to the applicants, once we have a final valuation of the building asset and worked out the terms and conditions of usage.
  • Leave Auroville allowance: Auroville Council and FAMC are still having trouble to find resource people as volunteers to help us process these requests. We, however, have formed a group to look into Veena Lamiere’s request, which has been pending since December. We are sorry for the delay.

Auroville Foundation-related issues

  • Tax exemption for Social Science Research (SSR) projects: We are receiving increasing requests for 100% tax exemption on donation for various projects. Auroville Foundation decides on such requests based on recommendations of the Social Science Research Committee that it has set up. We have asked Auroville Foundation for details of the criteria for evaluating such requests and membership of the committee that made the decisions. There are two applications (Kalpana housing project and Svaram) pending approval from Auroville Foundation for SSR tax exemption.
  • Creation of new trusts and changes in trustees: WC and FAMC sought to process Pour Tous trustee re-appointment and create the new Hospitality trust as per the Code of Conduct. However, we were informed by the Auroville Foundation that as per the Trust Act only the Auroville Foundation can handle all trust-related issues. We were told that the Trust Act and the Auroville Foundation will over-ride the Code of Conduct on this issue. WC and FAMC are seeking further clarification from the Secretary’s office and the Governing Board on this issue.


In community,
FAMC (Bindu, Chali, Chandresh, Daniele, Dhruv, Lyle, Nicole, Prabhu Yuval)