News & Notes 913:Summary of the minutes of the 58th meeting of the Governing Board

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913 icon.jpg   News & Notes 913
12 March 2022

Summary of the minutes of the 58th meeting of the Governing Board

Report of Secretary, AF

The action points of the 57th Governing Board meeting of 2nd November 2021 have been discussed with the concerned Working Groups of Auroville.

Each Working Group has taken up one or more action items for implementation. Some Working Groups have taken the help of resource persons.

The Working Committee, ATDC, FAMC and SAIIER have prepared presentations with the highlights of progress made thus far and the plans ahead.

There have been follow-up meetings with officials of the Tamil Nadu Government for the acquisition of city lands and the establishment of a New Town Development Authority (for land use regulation).

Secretary also informed the Board that Auroville Foundation has recently signed an MoU with Pondicherry University, so that the students from the Auroville Institute of Applied Technology (AIAT) can obtain certificates for recognized courses of Bachelors of Vocational Training (B.Voc) and masters’ certification also.

Secretary informed that a collaborative urban planning tool known as “Dream Weaving” has been developed in Auroville and will be used to provide inputs for the detailed development planning of the Crown. The Governing Board welcomed and accepted this initiative with the following stipulations:

i. Plans and proposals will be consistent with the Auroville Master Plan;
ii. Ongoing works, including the Crown Road will remain unaffected.
iii. The outcome of the Dream Weaving exercise will go to the Auroville Town Development Council as an input for detailed development planning of the Crown.

Additional items discussed with the approval of Chairman

Systems and audit

It was noted that a systems and processes audit can rectify anomalies and ensure transparency of the financial systems in Auroville. This exercise may include transaction and forensic audits, as required.

The Board decided that a systems and process audit will be conducted, for a complete audit of all the trusts and units and entities in Auroville by the CAGs office, which can be taken up after consulting the CAG office. Additionally, if there are established auditors in the private sector, they may also be considered for the proposed detailed audit. A budget of approximately Rs.30 lakhs may be allotted. The audit will take place under the overall supervision of Secretary, AVF who will keep the Governing Board and the Finance Committee informed about progress and findings.

Organization and Governance committee

In the 57th meeting of the Governing Board on 2nd November 2021, the Board had noted that:

  • there is a proliferation of groups and discussion forums.
  • there is a need to simplify the governance and organization structures (trusts, units, activities and committees) of Auroville.
  • there seems to be decision paralysis or the inability to put decisions into practice.
  • the Residents Assembly is seen by many as a decision-making body for even operational issues that are under the responsibility of working groups.

The Board also noted that there seems to be a lack of clarity amongst some Auroville residents about the roles, responsibilities and decision-making authority of the Residents Assembly as provided for in the Auroville Foundation Act.

Secretary, AF suggested that a Governing Board committee can be formed under sections 16(1) and 16(2) of the Auroville Foundation Act with two members of the Governing Board and Secretary AF as member-convener to look into these matters.

It was decided to establish an Organization and Governance committee to look into organization, governance and related matters with the following Governing Board members as committee members:

  • Dr. Nirima Oza
  • Dr. Gautam Ghoshal
  • Joint Secretary, (ICC & Planning), MoE
  • Dr. G. Seetharaman, OSD
  • Dr. Jayanti S. Ravi, Secretary

Secretary, AVF will be the member-convener of the committee. The committee may co-opt additional members and invite inputs from experts.

Chief Vigilance and Security Officer

The need for a better coordination of security in Auroville was recognized and it was decided to designate an Officer of Auroville Foundation as a Chief Vigilance and Security Officer, who will report to Secretary, AF.

Commitment to the values for adhering to the ideals of Auroville and to the Constitution of India the residents of Auroville

The need for a declaration to be given by all residents of Auroville (including newcomers, volunteers and friends of Auroville) was considered and found to be appropriate. The content of the commitment was discussed and approved.

Topographical survey of master plan right of way

The proposal of conducting a drone survey of master plan right-of- ways (RoWs) was approved. It was noted that the topographical survey may take 2 to 3 months and that the work will be executed in two-phases. It was further decided that Crown RoW clearing and infrastructure work must proceed, while tree clearing can happen after the Stay issued by the National Green Tribunal (South Zone) in Original Application No.239 of 2021 is lifted.

Township development budget

During the 57th meeting of the Governing Board on 2nd November 2O2l, the Board had approved a budget outlay of Rs. 1,000 Crores for township development for the period 2021-22 to 2025-26. The abstract budget with phasing was approved in-principle.

Nomination of member of the Auroville Town Develop Council

During the 57th meeting of the Governing Board on 2nd November 2021, Secretary AF was authorized to nominate the Governing Board’s nominee on the ATDC as and when required for smooth and efficient functioning of the ATDC.

The Board approved the nomination of Dr. G. Seetharaman, OSD, Auroville Foundation as the Governing’s Board’s nominee in lieu of Mr. Debabrata Sahoo, who had resigned from ATDC membership.

The Board noted that the ATDC had elected Dr. G. Seetharaman as Member-Secretary with additional charge of finance and accounts in its meeting of 10.01.2022.

It was decided to have the next meeting of the GB in April 2022.

The Meeting ended with thanks to the Chairman.