News & Notes 900:FAMC monthly report for July and August 2021

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900 icon.jpg   News & Notes 900
11 December 2021


FAMC monthly report for July and August 2021



The FAMC monthly report does not include regular liaison work with other working groups unless there is a final outcome, in which case the items may be reported in the reports of the respective working groups such as the Auroville Town Development Council (ATDC), Working Committee, Housing Board, Land Board, Auroville Council or the Budget Coordination Committee (BCC).

Please bear in mind that this is a report of decisions or events of a certain month and in the meantime changes, progress, or/ and collaboration might have occurred in any given subject.

Please note: That the FAMC is furthering its effort to have more resource people or groups such the recently formed Finance and Asset Resource Group. The FAMC has requested Carel to serve in such a capacity and he agreed to a trial period.

At the end of July Mathan, an FAMC administrative secretary, informed his resignation to be able to give full time commitment as a newly appointed BCC member. FAMC wishes him all the best.

Units and Trusts

New Applications for approval

  • 'Subhari Supplies & Services, a new unit under Service Trust. Executives are Mr. Angelo Salerno & Mr. Iyyappan Jayamurthy. Scope of work is procurement of material and equipment: installation, providing support for equipment maintenance and repair, equipment rental, related material and equipment contracting and consultancy; hardware store for Auroville.
  • Re:Think Consulting, a new unit under ABC Trust. Executives are Ms. Idoya Tobar & Ms. Monica Tobar. Scope of work development of business and strategic consulting projects. Business analysis, intelligence, strategic plans, models, and development. Oddo implement (ERP). Organizational and operational efficiency. To provide clarity, progress, and efficiency to Auroville organisation in order to provide better service and better profitability in a way that contributes to the wealth of the community.

New Activities Approved

  • Go Nature, an activity under AFA (Auroville Food Activities). Manager is Mr. Rajaram Abhimannan. Scope of work is the processing and sale of items made from / based on coconut.
  • Akshaya Farm Kitchen, an activity under AVA (Auroville Food Activities). Managers are Mr. Ramalingam Ramachandran & Mrs. Shakila Ramalingam. Scope of work restaurant and kitchens, food processing and training.
  • Hibiscus Heroes, an activity under ASSA (Auroville Small Scale Activities). Managers are Hans Van Baaren & Sowmiya Parameswaran. Scope of work is a design Studio (Clothing and Accessories brand).
  • Mitra Kitchen, an activity under AFA. Managers are Ms. Lijun Liu & Mrs. Usha Kaliappan. Scope of work, a not-for-profit oriented project initiated by Mitra Hostel with the aim to provide quality food to Auroville and potentially becoming a base to run cooking and baking apprenticeship programs for Auroville youth. For now, to provide breakfast and lunch.
  • Tube Thambi, an activity under AVArts. Manager is Aurotaranti Maiolini. Scope of work is to provide digital marketing, archiving and social media support to organise, strengthen and develop Auroville’s presence on the web and education activities that are related to this.
  • SeZen Design, an activity under AVArts. Manager is Scott Anthony Bella. Scope of work is one-of-a-kind designs and crafting unique functional sculptural artwork.

Appointment, reappointment or resignation

of activity managers, unit executives. Changes concerning Trust trustees are approved with the Working Committee:

  • NESS Trust. Appointment of trustees Mrs. Abha Prakash, Mr. Juergen Axer, Mr. Lavkamad Chandra & Mrs. Elaine Phillips, the resignation of trustees Mr. Anbu K, Mr. Ramesh Tulyani & Mr. Manas Chakrabarti and reappointment of trustee Mr. Martin Littlewood was approved.
  • Vijayasri Consultancy, a unit under ABC Trust, name change to Vtime was approved. The executives are Mr. Saravanaram Egambaram & Mrs.Vijaya Rajendran.
  • Functional Forms, a unit under ADPS Trust. Reappointment of executives Ms. Shama Dalvi & Ms. Monica Tobar Alvarez was approved.
  • Team Trust. Appointment of trustee Mr. Kumbha Young Grenier was approved. Current trustees are Mr. Marco Feira, Mr. Min Murtaza Ameen and Ms. Ambra Feira.
  • Dynamis, a unit under Swagatam Trust. Executive resignation of Mr. Giacomo Colombo was approved. Current executives are Mr. Pashi Kapur & Mr. Luigi Zanzi.
  • Easy Procurement Solutions, a unit under Swagatam Trust. The Executives resignation of Mr. Angelo Salerno & Mr. Iyyappan Jayamoorthy was approved. Current executive is Mr. Balu Kuppusamy.
  • Auroville Village Action Trust. Appointment of trustees Ms. Bridget Horkan, Mrs. Lawrence Selvi and Mr. Tixon Mohan was approved. Current trustees are Mr. Alain Bernard, Ms. Anandi Vaithialingam & Mrs. Yorit Rozin.
  • Auroville Printers, a unit under Artisana Trust. Change of “parent” Trust to Kattida Kalai Trust was approved. Current executives are Mr. James Raju & Mr. Alok Aurovillian.
  • Pharmacy of Auroville Health Centre, a unit under Artisana Trust. Change of “parent” Trust to Kattida Kalai Trust was approved. Current executives are Ms. Uma Tewari Sharma, Ms. Hilde Dhiedt and Ms. Lili Achram Ep. Desplanque.
  • Stone Age Handicrafts, a unit under Swagatam Trust. Change of “parent” Trust to Kattida Kalai Trust was approved. Current Executives are Mr. Hendrik Jan Van Poederooijen, Ms. Monique Francoise, and Ms. Marie Louarn.
  • Dream Craft, a unit under Auromics Trust. Reappointment of executives Mr. Kathiravan & Mr. Gunasegar was approved.
  • Auromode Apartments, a unit under Hospitality Trust. Reappointment of executives Mr. Andre Hababou and Mr. Louis Albert Cohen, and new executive appointment of Ms. Kumar Sowmya (Pavithra) was approved.
  • Auroville Safety & Security Team, under Auroville Service Trust. Executive resignation of Mr.Samuel Charpentier and new executive appointment of Mr.Jean-Francois Pion was approved.

Budget Coordination Committee

Research was started into structures for entities with clear mixed income-generating and service providing parts and their contributions to Auroville economically and otherwise. The partner for this research is Auroville Art Service and Botanical Gardens.

Housing Board / Service

Constituting the new Housing Board (HB). After Elaine withdrew as a community at large member, as she had joined the ATDC team, and Housing Board already had an ATDC member present, a replacement had to be chosen. The FAMC reviewed the applications and chose Iyyappan to replace Elaine. The FAMC received feedback which was investigated and found to be inaccurate or not relevant to Iyyappan’s appointment to the HB. The feedback givers and the AV Council were answered to and Iyyappan announced as new Housing Board member to the community.

L’avenir d’Auroville (ATDC)

  • ATDC forwarded the Crematorium application for preliminary design approval. As far as the FAMC purview, we have no objection to the application. The financial security is confirmed. This was communicated to ATDC.
  • ATDC approached FAMC, BCC and Project Coordination Group (PCG) with a request to vacate at the earliest the office space used by them, as they were in urgent need of additional office space (the whole second floor in Townhall), as the new Secretary has directed them to complete the DDPs within two months. The meeting room/library used by FAMC and BCC and the BCC office space was surrendered to ATDC as the BCC moved in for the time being with Housing Service on the ground floor. The FAMC is unable to surrender its office space without a suitable and workable alternative to move to.
         After evaluating the spaces in the Town Hall, there was a proposal that AV Radio could be moved to the first floor of Archives, as there is already a “Communication Hub” proposal from AV Radio & Outreach Media for that space. The BCC/FAMC could occupy the current AV Radio space adjacent to Housing Service. This would be quite convenient. The FAMC agreed with the “Communication Hub” proposal in principle, and having verified that Auroville Radio had the plans and funding ready FAMC gave its approval and requested them to fast-track vacating the Auroville Radio space in Town Hall.

Miscellaneous

  • Roma’s Kitchen: As the FAMC MoU was very clear about the liabilities to be borne by Nowana, FAMC does not find sufficient ground to demand further compensation from Nowana. Process to settle remaining liabilities such as supplier dues and closing bank accounts and creating a nil balance sheet for closing the Roma’s Kitchen unit under ABC Trust are underway.
  • Solar Kitchen update: The FAMC made a call out for new executives for the Solar Kitchen. The new four-member executive team were selected through short listing the applications and interviews by FAMC, a Solar Kitchen subgroup (FAMC, BCC, Wcom), and members from Prosperity and Foodlink as resource persons.
         The new selected team are: Campus maintenance: Manimaran, Admin: Vanitha, Kitchen management: Shakthi, Procurement: Harshini. They were selected for a two-year term, with a six-month trial period to settle in.
         The FAMC, BCC and WCom subgroups handling the Solar Kitchen dissolved after this process. A new FAMC-BCC subgroup was formed for three months with the scope of work to provide additional support and encouraged the new executive team to work together and share responsibilities.
  • Wood Saw Mill: Chandresh was asked to take the issue forward by forming a small group to review the feasibility of this idea and come up with a proposal. Suggested persons to be a part of the subgroup are those involved directly or indirectly with wood processing, production or sale. A proposal could then be made to the FAMC.
  • Small Guest House matters: Beginning of July an opening developed between the executives and core group of small guest house managers under Exploration (umbrella unit for small guest houses) to come to some working solution. FAMC felt that these negotiations should be allowed to continue without direct FAMC interference, but with updates. By August end the FAMC felt that the cooperation from the executives and trustees has not been adequate e.g., no progress in discussions and no updates even after repeated requests.
  • Meeting with new Auroville Foundation Secretary, Mrs. Jayanti Ravi on 17 July 2021 and other matters with the Auroville Foundation: The FAMC had its first interaction with the newly appointed Secretary of the Auroville Foundation Mrs. Jayanti Ravi. The first meeting included introductions and general overview of the FAMC, and a broad understanding of its interactions with its subgroups and other working groups. Then going over general objectives such as: to secure and manage finances and assets; support to the income generating sector also in terms of human resources; connected to human resources is the housing deficiency; the value of assets is not necessarily in a monetary sense e.g., of forests, farms; the support needed for a “Prosperity Service”; coherence and harmony with internal policies and procedures related to funds and assets such as housing repair funds criteria, maintenance policy and in-kind services. Work towards no exchange of money/cashless interaction. In addition, the Secretary emphasised the need for a vision-focused work plan, with short- and medium-term goals. She wanted to understand the dreams of FAMC members and the aspiration for outcomes.
  • Morning Star update and next steps: Morning Star was requested to proceed to fill in a new Entity Application form for starting a maternity education and consulting unit under Health and Healing Trust.
  • Vibrance housing: Vibrance project holders requested FAMC for an overdraft to finish the project without further delays that had already hampered the project and affected the overall cost of the project. In principle, the FAMC agreed with the proposal to allow them to get the overdraft. They were requested to share a proposal with the details of repayment. The Vibrance project holders, Sumark executives, presented a sound usage plan for the overdraft should it be granted. Once Financial Service had vetted this and minor improvements were made and as all parties agreed, it was approved. An overdraft MoU was drawn up between the Vibrance project team and the FAMC.
         The project holders also requested to be allowed to increase the percentage of Friends of Auroville (FOA) occupying flats in this project. This the FAMC did not approve.
         It is suggested to review what happened with this project for future reference, as there have been different problems and complications along the way.
  • Loan / overdraft requests: An Aurovilian requested a housing loan approval. As it was above the sum handled by the Loan Group the matter was passed to the FAMC to decide. After reviewing the loan repayment schedule and guarantor status the FAMC approved the loan request.
African Pavilion: Omar made a generous offer to pay off some of the pending liabilities to Patta and refurbish some metal materials which are needed to complete the unfinished building. It was his contribution to support and safeguard the material. The FAMC reviewed the matter and did not feel this interfered with the ongoing conflict resolution work concerning the management of African Pavilion. FAMC gave its approval.
  • FAMC “Leadership and Cooperation” Team Building Workshops: At the end of both July and August the FAMC dedicated two full Saturdays (09:00 – 17:00) for a team building workshop facilitated by Elvira and Julia. The emphasis was on cooperation and leadership. We explored aims, vision and mission, expectations, agendas, the work experiences, comfort zones, motivation, skills and talents, stakeholders, as well as team phases and what does the team need. There was also a discussion on the need for collaboration and delegation of some of the workload.
  • Matrimandir executive selection process: The FAMC reiterated its stand about its role and responsibility to be part of this selection process. Its reply to the Auroville Council and Working Committee was that Matrimandir is a unit/registered entity with executives and is not a working group and hence the FAMC has a very large role in this topic, much more than Auroville Council and Working Committee who has no mandate for this task. As the FAMC will be issuing the resolution appointing the executives and will have to approve the selection, it is in the best interest of all that the FAMC is involved as much as possible from the beginning. The FAMC is aware of Matrimandir’s special functioning and role, and the difference to an income generating entity, but it should be understood that in future we see this task largely falling to the FAMC.
         For this selection process it is a joint effort of Auroville Council, Working Committee and FAMC.
  • Unity Fund: It is noted there is no current ‘mandate’ for the Unity Fund, as the previous combined BCC & Unity Fund mandate became obsolete after community approval of the current FAMC mandate. In this current FAMC mandate the Unity Fund is “under” it (like Housing & BCC) however there is no structure in place for conducive up-to-date information sharing. The unity Fund team made its first presentation to the FAMC.
  • ACUR: FAMC with members from ACUR management, Service Trust and Free Flow trust took up the task of creating an overall vision for ACUR management to work out parameters, guidelines that also include food services at Town Hall.
  • TalamPay: A subgroup of the FAMC met Shankar to gain an understanding of the functioning of TalamPay, its potential, and hurdles that still exist. The subgroup also reviewed testimonials of entities already using TalamPay, and the role and responsibility of Financial Service and in a wider sense the FAMC.
  • ACARAT: The Auroville Consolidated Asset Registries and Application Tracker (ACARAT), is an application designed to store and manage electronic records for land, building applications, income generating and other entities, for Land Board, ATDC and FAMC respectively. It was started in late 2017, completed in 2018. Then gradually improved till early 2020. Since 2020 it has been in ‘maintenance mode’. During this phase, only essential changes were performed at a steady pace. Some crucial requirements have emerged, exceeding the scope of the maintenance mode, such as Asyncto, a synchronization service designed to duplicate datasets across Auroville, so that services e.g., Resident Service, AV Library, AVES, Gas Bottle or Telephone Service, etc data can be linked. The second project is the Land data clean up pilot. FAMC is in process to study these two work proposals, its scope, goals, budget and timelines. The FAMC reviewed the ACARAT administration and agreed to engage Daniel (sysop) as administrator for ACARAT access and password issues. Fine-tuning over the next months will be needed, such as the process and procedure for granting and revoking access to the database. The Secretary was given access to ACARAT and the AV Foundation office was encouraged to use ACARAT.
  • Code of Conduct (CoC): The Task Group that reviewed the ‘CoC’ met the FAMC with its suggestions. One of the main objectives of the Task Group was to arrive at a revised, concise “core” document, with all the separate guidelines/ regulations removed and kept as separate policies to be worked on separately, such as contribution, expense, loan and maintenance policies. This core document could then be presented to the Residents Assembly (RA) & Governing Board (GB) for ratification/ endorsement. The FAMC needs time to review the revised document and get back to the Task Group. Further on the revision and updating or elaboration of the appendix documents will be needed. This would require first to compile existing policies / regulations for each appendix document. As of now the Task Group, FAMC, FARG and BCC members will give input for further work in this progress. Some points still require further thought, such as units directly under the AV Foundation and not under a Trust, community feedback on FAMC resolutions, and maybe the need for a renaming of the document.
  • PTPS: The Service Trustees and FAMC met for updates concerning the implementation process of the RAD decision of changes for PTPS. The outcome from these discussions were: We agree to appointing four executives for a 6-month trial period: Naren, Joel, Kumar, Kumaran. FAMC requested more specific details about how the unit has transitioned into a service till date, and will require monthly finance statements and price lists including specific margins for each product during the six-month trial period.


~ FAMC