News & Notes 763:Funds and Assets Management Committee (FAMC) Half-Yearly Report January – June 2018

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763 icon.jpg   News & Notes 763
10 September 2018


Funds and Assets Management Committee (FAMC) Half-Yearly Report January – June 2018


FAMC ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUES

Reports

We would like to begin with an apology for the long gap in reporting since regular monthly reports stopped last December. The work of the FAMC, including timely monthly reports, has been hampered by the lack of adequate secretarial support. The mandate requires us to report every quarter. We are thus publishing a joint report for the first two quarters of this calendar year and hope to continue with a quarterly report henceforth.

Secretariat

Please join us in welcoming two new secretaries for administrative work who have joined FAMC in recent months, Naren in April and Elizabeth in August. We also hired a finance secretary, P. Vijayshankar for helping us mainly with accounts consolidation and audits.

Quorums and Decision making

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, 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.
  • Sharnga Guest House (Guest House Trust): Executive changes:' FAMC issued a resolution approving the following executive changes: Resignation of Kripa Borg. Appointment of Mirabelle, Sophie and Bernard Borg as Executives. Only Mirabelle and Sophie are signatories on all financial accounts and transactions, and have been appointed for an initial term of three years.
  • Mandala Pottery (ABC Trust): Executive changes: The FAMC approved the appointment of Ms. Angela Julietta Kuehle, and the resignation of M. Heidi Elke Fellensiek (Chinmayi) and Borst Anna Maria Geertruida (Anamika). Adil Writer is a continuing Executive.
  • Home Stays Unit (Guest House Trust): Executive reappointments: Leive Claes and S. Sivacoumar have been reappointed as executives.
  • Youth Link (Auroville Service Trust): New unit: FAMC issued a resolution approving the creation of a new unit Youth Link with executives S.Kavitha Urvasie, Natasha Salgia and Abhimanyu Rathinam. Youth Link was also advised to register its service activities separately from the above income-generating activities.
  • Imago (Auromode Trust) New unit: FAMC issued a resolution approving the creation of this new Architecture and Design unit with executives Michael Gransitzki, Sindhuja Jagadeesh, and Louis Cohen.
  • AV Sustainable Livelihoods Initiative (Sangamam Trust): Unit Closure: Sangamam Trust recommended closure of this particular unit as it was dormant. FAMC issued a resolution for the closure of this unit. Please note that SLI is not the same as AV Sustainable Livelihoods Initiative.
  • Eternal Builders (Kattida Kalai Trust): ABC and FAMC determined that this unit will be closed as it has failed to submit balance sheets for the past few years, despite reminders for the same.
  • Colors of Nature (Artisana Trust): Additional executives: FAMC issued a resolution approving the following executive changes: Appointment of Juanah Andrade and Jose Merinero.
  • Farm Fresh (Free Flow Trust): Executive vacancy: An executive replacement needs to be made for Raman since his resignation, which is to be followed up by a task force comprising of a few members of FAMC and resource persons.
  • Sumark (Kattida Kalai Trust): Contributions: Pending contributions as per the Code of Conduct currently practiced, were agreed upon by Sumark and a conclusive payment plan was arrived at.
  • Mitra (Pour Tous Trust): Addition of scope of activities: After reviewing the request and ABC approval, FAMC agreed that the unit can engage in the import and sale of watches as it both provides employment in Auroville and will result in increased income for Auroville. A resolution was issued for the same.
  • PTPS (Service Trust): FAMC and PTPS are working towards an agreement about the operation of this unit. This includes change of name, change of Trust, strengthening the unit with addition of active executives, and an agreement about past contributions due and future contributions as per the Code of Conduct.
  • Aladin (Aurosarjan Trust): Loan request: The issue of pending rent to Aurosarjan that was blocking Aladin’s request for a loan has been resolved by mutual agreement with the help of the trustees of the unit and FAMC members.
  • Health and Healing Trust (Trustee changes): The Office order has been issued for the appointment of Mechtild Schubert as Trustee and the resignation of Hilde D’Heidt and Guido Ryekaert. The continuing Trustees are Jacques Verre and H. Suryagandhi.
  • Service Trust (Trustee changes): The Office order has been issued for the re-appointment of Euseblo Martinez Burdespar (aka Joseba), Anne Defour and M. Ponnusamy.

Advisory Bodies under Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct allows the FAMC to be supported by Advisory Bodies. The FAMC and the ABC finalized a document called Role of ABC as an Advisory Body, which clarifies how both the FAMC and the ABC will work together. The FAMC has no such agreement with any other advisory body, although both the Guest Facilities Coordination Group (GFCG) and the ABS were advised to submit a similar document.

Code of Conduct Amendments by ABC and FAMC

The ABC gave recommendations to certain modifications of the Code of Conduct. These were reviewed and incorporated by the FAMC, to be eventually shared with the community, and the Auroville Foundation.

Registration of all activities for GST compliance

There were a number of unregistered activities, including one-off projects, that were directly accounted under the Unity Fund. Most of these activities were transferred out to other existing units and the remaining ones clubbed under the unit Auroville Projects. This unit was further strengthened with the addition of an executive, Simonette Albertine Smits (Tineke). The other serving executive is E. Rathinam.

TDC-RELATED

  • Building Applications: TDC recommended and FAMC reviewed and approved a first floor extension in Visitors’ Centre and a storage godown for Sunlit Future.
  • Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP): The FAMC and TDC came to an agreement that overall coordination and technical supervision of the Waste Water Treatment Plant will be done by Gilles B, with Giulio providing survey and mapping support. Road Service will continue to be the major contractor with Auroville Water Service providing plumbing connections. The WWTP is being built with Govt. of India grants.

HOUSING

  • Kalpana Housing Project: The Kalpana project was found to be in non-compliance with the approved NOC from TDC and FAMC. The project holders have committed that they will regularize by re-applying for the correct parameters with a new NOC and stewardships will only be allocated by the Housing Service after this regularization.
  • Newcomer refund for a house: Jorinde’s request for refund of the house that she had contributed to in Petite Ferme was duly processed as per existing guidelines.
  • Housing Board: New member: The nomination of Svenja to replace Sonja on the Housing Board was reviewed and approved by FAMC.

LAND

  • Land purchase (Plot IR 426/1C2): Court case: The case is now in the hands of a lawyer hired by the Auroville Foundation, in collaboration with the Working Committee.

GUEST-HOUSES AND HOMESTAYS ISSUES

  • Aurocard use: Guest Facilities Coordination Group’s (GFCG) mandate does not include taking responsibility for guests not registered in Auroville. However, the Guest Accommodation Services get many requests for Aurocard issue from volunteers, students, interns and others who are not registered as guests in AV. It was agreed to create a small task force with Financial Service, FAMC, GFCG and other resource persons, to work on this issue.
  • Non-compliant guest houses: GFCG has a list of guest houses and homestays who do not comply with the guest house contribution guidelines. GFCG has met with the managers of these place, but it has not increased compliance. It was agreed that FAMC will send a note out to these guest houses. The FAMC has also requested GFCG to standardize the contributions of guests and ensure that this is indicated clearly on their website: eg some guesthouses include the guest contribution in their tariffs and some do not; the FAMC expects all guesthouses to include the guest contribution in their tariffs. Follow up by GFCG on this request is awaited.
  • Development Budget: GFCG requested FAMC to find ways that would allow them to have a small budget for development. They mentioned that guest houses pay a monthly contribution of Rs.500 each towards guest sector development, but this barely covers basic running costs such as Guest Accommodation office rent, bank fees etc.

BCC RELATED

  • Arrears in individual contributions to City Services: At the request of HRT, BCC and AVC, FAMC agreed to the formation of small ad hoc group with three representatives of AVC and one from FAMC to resolve this issue. The first step is to go through and clean up the pending contributions list, and then to attend to each case to see why contributions are pending, and if they qualify for waivers or exemptions.
  • City Services Budget: The FAMC encouraged BCC to submit a budget for FY 2018-19 as soon as possible. This year, exceptionally, the increase will be based solely on the previous budget submission for FY 2017-18. The reason for expediting the budget is to shift the budget review and approval to be completed by March each year.

AUROVILLE FOUNDATION RELATED

  • Chartered Accountants advisory panel: In consultation with Auroville Foundation, FAMC has taken the initiative to form an advisory panel comprising reputed Chartered Accountants to give us advice on CAG audits, GST compliance, creating a standard chart of accounts for all units and trusts, etc.

POLICY AND GUIDELINES

  • Standardized depreciation method for valuation of assets: CAG insists on a uniform method of depreciation in valuing assets in the balance sheets. After a detailed review FAMC and Auroville Foundation decided jointly to implement the Written Down Value Method (WDV) of depreciation from the assessment year 2017-18. Information about the same was passed to all the Trusts. We regret any inconvenience caused.
  • Loan guidelines: The loan guidelines have been revised by FAMC in consultation with the loan group. The new guidelines and procedures are posted on Auronet and application forms can be requested from the Loan Group: loangroup (at) auroville.org.in. When loan applications are received by the Loan Group, they will be sent to the relevant group (Housing, ABC, FAMC, etc.) for feedback and recommendations before final decisions are made. The current members of the Loan Group are Chali (FAMC), Otto (Unity Fund, Financial Service), Palani (ABC), Prabhu (Financial Service), and Rathinam (Unity Fund, Financial Service).
  • Leaving Auroville Guidelines: Leave Auroville guidelines (applicable to Aurovilians leaving Auroville for good) were revised.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Sunship loan repayment extension request: An extension of a loan amount of Rs. 65 lakhs till April 2018 for the Sunship Construction Project was agreed to by FAMC with same terms of agreement as an earlier signed MoU.
  • Auroville Language Lab (Swagatham Trust) request for waiver: Auroville Language Lab had repaid a loan from FAMC in its entirety but asked for a waiver for a pending accrual amount of approximately Rs. 7 lakhs. Their request was not granted.
  • Fundraising Cell: A new fundraising cell, which includes a team of Bertrand, Sigrid, Nadja and Slava has been created and will be periodically monitored with a review at the end of 1 year. Financial support for this administrative set-up has been agreed to for this period. This cell needs to be registered as a unit to enable release of funds from Unity Fund.
  • Govt. of India (GOI) Administration Budget for FAMC: The FAMC duly utilized the sanctioned GOI grant for Administration by sanctioning creation of the Audit Management Cell and the Asset Registry, strengthening systems in Financial Services and getting some needed office supplies.
  • Use of vacated Abri space: Upon the recommendation of the Green Group, FAMC has agreed to a process of using the vacated Abri with Philipp Klingspies (TreeHouse Community/Newlands) as a caretaker. Philipp is supported in his role by a support group comprising Green Group, Forest Group and FAMC members. A Memorandum of Understanding has been drawn between the concerned parties detailing the process. Activities to our forests will be given precedence in the use of the space as Abri is in the greenbelt and interested parties are asked to contact Philipp directly.
  • Space Optimisation in the Town Hall area: Together with the Auroville Council, the FAMC resolved to arrive at a proposal for the use of spaces in the administrative zone that would utilize the spaces better and accommodate each user in a more appropriate set up. This task had been assigned to a team of Vikram D and Suhasini as consultants, who are non-stakeholders in this exercise. It is hoped that a proposal will be ready by October.
  • Growing Auroville’s Economy Initiative (GAES): FAMC, with the help of Elvira and Joerg (GAES coordinator), has started this initiative to collaboratively review all new economic proposals being made by individual and concerned groups. A report comprising recommendations that can be implemented, which will be presented to the community and the Governing Board, is an expected outcome of this exercise.


In community,
Bindu, Chali, Chandresh, Daniele, Dhruv, Lyle, Prabhu, Nicole, and Yuval