News & Notes 923:Report of the FAMC over the month of April 2022

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923 icon.jpg   News & Notes 923
21 May 2022


Report of the FAMC over the month of April 2022



Members: Amy, Angelo, Jonas, Lisa, Marc, Palani, Ranjith, Stephan
Invitee: Under Secretary Mr. Srinivasamurthy
Secretaries: Svenja, Balaji; Madhan (Finance Secretary).

Errata – we shared with you our 12 April 2022 report to the Governing Board in which one topic is ‘strengthen and support the Knowledge Economy’ and we stated, “Purnam Center submitted a practical proposal for growing the Knowledge Economy which we understand has already received support and funding.” We have been informed by Purnam that the statement about funding is incorrect. Kindly make note of this correction.

This 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 (Wcom), Housing Board (HB), Land Board (LB), Auroville Council (AVC) or the Budget Coordination Committee (BCC).

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

Cooperation with the Auroville Foundation Office (AVFO)

Which authority appoints the FAMC

In our report of the month of March we mentioned that some meetings with the AVFO are taking place, while the issue of which authority of the Auroville Foundation appoints the FAMC, the Governing Board or the Residents’ Assembly, is still unresolved. During the month of April, this issue was not further addressed.

Minutes 58th Governing Board meeting

The FAMC has requested the AVFO for copies of the meeting notes of the 34th meeting of the Finance Committee and for the ‘township development budget for FY 2022-23’, approved by the Finance Committee. Neither has been received by the date this report was sent to the News and Notes.

House occupation by non-Aurovilians in Equality community

The Secretary has still not taken any action, as earlier requested by the FAMC, to use her authority as Estate Officer to remove the family from the house.

Delay in authorisation letters for land purchase

In our report over the month of March we mentioned that, in order to prevent delays at the office of the Auroville Foundation in the signing of authorisation letters for registration of new land purchases, a new process has been worked out for approval by the AVFO where the Working Committee will give the Land Board the authorization, instead of the AVFO. The new Due Diligence Procedure has been sent to AVFO and its approval is still awaited.

59th meeting of the Governing Board

An FAMC report was submitted for the 59th GB meeting held on April 12th. This report was published on the Auronet on 12 April and sent to the N&N. Some FAMC members attended a brief, partially live and online, interaction with some of the Governing Board members. The chairman was not present.

Unity Fund standing order

A revised draft standing order was received. The FAMC has some suggested changes to be shared with the AVFO.

SAIIER staff quarters

The FAMC has written to the executives of SAIIER on how they are planning to handle the demand by the AVFO for reallocation of Auroville staff quarters to AVFO staff and employees.

Aranya Forest access problem

The steward of Aranya Forest informed the Secretary first, and then the Working Committee and FAMC, about a problem with the access road, which has been in use since 1994. The road has been narrowed by adjacent landowners so that only a width of 9 feet remains due to which no 4-wheel vehicle can pass through to reach Aranya. As the Aranya Forest Centre is visited by 5,000 students, public servants, local people, government officials, and researchers from all over the world throughout the year, the problem needs to be resolved. So far, no response has been received.

Meeting

FAMC met with Dr. Ravi, Secretary, Auroville Foundation, and Mr. Srinivasmurty, Under Secretary Auroville Foundation on 22 April 2022 in the Office of the Secretary, Auroville Foundation. The meeting minutes were prepared by Mr. Srinivasmurty. We requested corrections and changes to the draft minutes however no response has been received as of the end of this reporting period. We note here some of the highlights:

a. Update on implementation of Centralized Accounting – it was estimated that the work is 70% completed.
b. Forest and farm groups accounts to be consolidated in the Auroville Foundation Consolidate Balance Sheet 2021-2022 – Farm Group accounts had been submitted; Forest Group accounts would be submitted by the deadline.
c. Goods and Services Tax (GST) registrations – it is proposed by the Secretary to reduce the number of GST numbers (GSTIN) to the minimum, i.e. one or two.
d. Details of Aurovilians being given Auroville maintenance with work / service and the quantum – reports previously submitted as per a request will be analyzed by the AVFO.
e. Standard Chart of Accounts – any outstanding queries are to be addressed at the earliest.
f. 2019-2020 CAG audit queries – a majority of the queries had already been answered; the balance would be done as soon as practically possible.
g. Supporting bills and vouchers required for all the buildings made from the Government grants for the period 2016-2022 required by the Internal Audit Team of the Ministry of Education, Government of India, urgently. – AVFO is following this.
h. Uploading the details of donors and donations as per IT Act – information was provided as requested the morning of the meeting.
i. The Secretary stated that, “All decisions taken by FAMC from April 2021 to 31st March, 2022 to be reviewed for any formal approvals as may be necessary. Minutes of FAMC Meetings after proper review from October, 2021 can be considered for approval by the Secretary – to be taken up by Mr. Kalyani & Mr. Srinivasamurty, Auroville Foundation).” At the time of this reporting the FAMC was formulating a response.
j. In comments on the minutes to Mr. Srinivasmurty the FAMC added a point, “A request to discuss topics of concern from the FAMC, such as Swagatham Guest House, was dismissed.”

General issues

TDC representative on the Housing Board

The FAMC approved that Elaine, who returned to work in the TDC in April, become the TDC representative on the Housing Board replacing Anbu.

Center Field house formerly stewarded by Tapas

The FAMC has informed Tapas and Mita that they were not ‘asked to leave’ and that the FAMC offered the Samasti housing asset due to their distress of the situation and the impending Crown Road development through Center Field. The asset in Center Field will now be made available for temporary house sitting. (Decision meanwhile rendered infructuous due to the demolishing of the asset, without any prior notice, by the Auroville Foundation on May 2nd, 2022.)

Appeal process

At the request of the Auroville Council, the FAMC has worked together to make some corrections and suggest changes to a proposed revision of the appeal process. The outcome of this work will soon be shared with the Auroville Council.

Aurovilians who purchased land inside the Master Plan area

A subgroup has been created to review the answers already provided to the former Working Committee with regards to the funding sources for the land purchase(s).

Contribution Policy review

The FAMC will invite the Citizens' Assembly to take this topic as their next project and give their recommendations to the FAMC. The Citizens' Assembly process should ideally be finalized by the end of July 2022, so that, if the FAMC follows the recommendations, a new policy could be in place by August 2022. Look in the May report for an update on this.

Eateries in the city area

The residents’ summary of inputs to an FAMC inquiry shows a preference that city area eateries are managed as services. The matter will be taken up with the BCC and the eatery’s executives.

House tax

Several panchayats of the surrounding villages have asked for an updated list of building assets in order to properly assess the house tax to be paid. The FAMC has asked TDC and Housing Service to send their building asset list, with information about the panchayat included.

Units and Trusts issues

a. Kinisi. As Kinisi is now also doing bike rental to guests and vehicle sales to Aurovilians, members recommended that the new Kinisi unit be registered under the Aurore Trust or that the unit be split into two, with the research section under the CSR Trust and the income-generating section under the Aurore Trust.

b. Morning Star Women’s Wellness Center. After receiving a new cost estimate for the building and a statement on the availability of funds, the construction is approved. The executives are requested to change / update the scope of work once the building is ready and obtain the necessary license(s).

c. AVDzines. A discussion is ongoing on transferring the unit from Auroville Service Trust to Artisana Trust and to move the “Graphic Section” under City Service as a budgeted service. It is also necessary to develop a business plan for the unit at the Mangalam location. FAMC awaits further information from the executives.

d. Afsanah Guest House, a unit of the Guest House Trust. The proposal from the trustees to close the guesthouse for three months has been rejected thanks to the efforts of the interim executives, Afsanah Guest house is now running well and is profitable. The trustees are expected to cooperate with Afsanah GH interim executives and immediately transfer to the guest house collection account all payments held since April 1st, as previously intimated by the FAMC.

e. Guest House Trust (GHT). The GHT trustees have been reminded that a third (mandatory) & fourth (optional) trustee is to be appointed as soon as possible. The FAMC is still waiting for their recommendations.

f. Farms & Forests. At the advice of Chartered accountant Mr. Prabakaran the FAMC decided that the farms and forests accounts will be consolidated directly under the Auroville Foundation as part of the consolidated balance sheet (ie not under any unit or Trust entity).

g. AuroMira. As no business plan has been submitted as requested in December 2021, and after reminders for the same, the FAMC decided to ask the executives to put hold on all the activities related to the unit, also as the executives’ term of office has expired.

h. Bharat Nivas sustainability. The question how the pavilions of the various countries can become self-sustainable was discussed and will be further researched by the FAMC Resource Group (FARG), which has also been asked to make recommendations with regards to Bharat Nivas as a sample case. At present Bharat Nivas has an income from the two guest houses situated on the compound, but the waiver of the mandatory contribution to the community has only been given for the present financial year.

Appointment, reappointment or resignation of trustees, unit executives and activity managers

Note: changes concerning trustees are approved in collaboration with the Working Committee.

a. Exploration, a unit under the Guest House Trust. Appointment of new executives Mr. Iyyapan Jayamoorthy and Ms. Sonja Van Dam. Approved.

b. Udavi School Trust. The termination of the trusteeship of Mr. Sanjeev Agarwal due to his passing was noted. The appointment of Ms. Vidhya Angurajan and Ms. Miriam Eckelmann as new trustees. Approved.

c. Affordable Water Solutions, a unit under Team Trust. Executive reappointment of Mr. Igor Drobot & Mrs. Svitlana Gobulenko. Approved.

d. Auroville Water Service, a unit under Auroville Service Trust. Executive reappointment of Ms. Roberta Keeping. Approved.

e. New School Crafts, a unit under Free Flow Trust. Executive reappointment of Mr. Ami Van Poederooijen. Approved.

f. Kimaya, an activity under Auro Small Scale Activities (ASSA), under Artisana Trust. Transfer from ASSA to Auroville Activities (AVA) under Kattida Kalai Trust and additional manager appointment of Mr. Iyyappan Jayamoorthi. Approved.

g. International Pavilions, an umbrella unit under Auroville Service Trust. Additional executive appointments of Ms. Helena Becker and Mr. Claude Jouen. Approved.

h. Rangoli, a unit under Artisana Trust. Additional executive appointment of Ms. Dorothee Rumpf and executive resignation of Ms. Agnes Gastmans is pending due to a financial review of the unit.

i. Auroville Press Publishers, a unit under Artisana Trust. Executive reappointment of Ms. Jayalakshmi Lakshmanan. Approved.

j. Naturellement, a unit under Free Flow Trust. Executive reappointment of Ms. Roberta Keeping. Approved. Executive termination of Ms. Nadia Sol Cordi Palella and Mr.Paul Ralph Mayer. Approved. The FAMC have suggested that the Naturellement executives find another active executive for the unit or a team member to be mentored and trained for future executive responsibility.

k. Comfort Design, a unit under Kattida Kalai Trust. Executive reappointment of Mr. Manjini Jagadeesan is pending due to a financial review of the unit.

l. To be Two, a unit under Auromode Trust. Executive appointment of Mrs. Parameswaran Sowmya approved.

m. SEWA, a unit under Auroville Service Trust. Additional executive appointment of Ms. Buvana Sudharsan. Approved.

n. Capabality Landscape, a unit under Artisana Trust. Proposal to move the unit from Artisana Trust to Kattida Kalai Trust is pending, awaiting a clarification on the reasons for the move.

o. Aurosoya, a unit under Free Flow Trust. Executive resignation of Ms. Catia Ginetta Ducaepcordonnier. Approved.

p. Happy Foods, a unit under ABC Trust. Executives reappointment of Mr. Ganesh Rajamani & Mrs. Gunalakshmi Rajamani approved for a one-year period.

q. Purnam Centre for Integrality, a unit under ADPS Trust. Executive resignation of Mr. Lalit Kishor Bhati. Approved.

r. La Boutique d’Auroville, a unit under Artisana Trust. Executive reappointment of Mr. Sundar Rajamani. Approved.

New units and activities

a. Korean Pavilion, an activity under the umbrella unit International Pavilions. Managers: Ms. Mihong Lee & Ms. Mint Kim. Approved.

b. Overmind Instruments, an activity under AVArts. Manager: Mr. Erisa Neogy. Approved.

c. Holistic Health Care, a unit under Health & Healing Trust. Executives: Ms.Christine Pauchard and Mrs. Janani Karthik. Approved.

d. Sudha’s Kitchen, an activity under Auroville Food Activities (AFA). Managers: Mrs. Sutha Velu & Mr. Arun Velu. Approved.


~ FAMC