How Committees Have Fared in Performing their Duties and Other Important Things the Student Body Ought to Know
Editors’ Note: We owe a huge thanks to all the SBC representatives and student auditors who spoke with us and took time out to respond to us. This piece would not have been possible without their cooperation and contributions.
The Student Bar Council (SBC) in the 2016-17 academic year comprised eight committees and a 7-member Executive Council, elected by the student body. With every election, SBC Committees come and go, often functioning laissez-faire, unless the activity facilitated involves high-stakes and constant student body scrutiny. Individual students tend to judge SBC Committees based on their immediate interactions with their representatives or by the memorable and visible initiatives undertaken by the committees. However, the opinions students form on the various committees tend to be based on insufficient information and assumptions. This is because there is no comprehensive account that aggregates and presents all the activities undertaken by each of the committees during the academic year.
There is a lack of oversight on whether these committees adequately fulfill the purposes for which they were set up. Conversely, there is little appreciation for committees when they go above and beyond their obligations, whether they be to encourage and facilitate student endeavours or ensure that student grievances are speedily addressed. There are also situations of asymmetry in the expectations that students have and the capabilities that committees possess. Administrative decisions, budgetary restraints, lack of adequate facilities and genuine personal issues may impede the performance of committees. Furthermore, a public record of the functioning of committees enables benchmarks to be established for the future.
Through this post, we hope to ensure some independent oversight over committees, address the information asymmetry that prevails and allow both appreciation and criticism of committees. Most importantly, we hope that this post provides the holistic information the student body needs to make a balanced and nuanced assessment of the various committees’ performances.
On July 13th, we reached out to the eight SBC Committees and all the members of the Executive Council via email requesting a comprehensive list of all the activities undertaken by them for the academic year of 2016-17. We also requested committees to send us their budgets and attach documentary proof for all expenses incurred. The following day, we clarified the purpose of the post to the committees and underscored its importance. We requested committees to send in their representations to us by July 25th so as to give us sufficient time to carry out independent fact checking. We also encouraged all committees to use this post as a platform to communicate to the student body the external restraints that impede their functioning. Furthermore, we consulted auditors to gather information on the finances of their respective committees.
It is important to note that neither the Academic Committee nor the Moot Court Committee can furnish budgetary proofs for reimbursements since these are submitted directly to the administration by the participant students. Nevertheless, the Academic Committee sent us photographs of certain receipts and thereby provided proof of expenses incurred. First, we laud the Committee for being the only one to account for certain budgetary allocations and expenses and provide documentary proof. Second, we contend that all committees ought to maintain a photographic record of receipts and expenses as a best practice for transparency and financial accountability.
In the interests of indicating the responsiveness of committees to student queries relating to transparency, we would like to point out that only the Sports Committee, Student Welfare Committee, Moot Court Committee and Academic Committee sent in their representations within a reasonable period of time. The Cultural Committee, Mess Committee and Hostel & Campus Welfare Committee neither replied to our email nor acknowledged its receipt. The Cultural Committee only responded in part. The Mess Committee did not make a representation. The Hostel and Campus Welfare Committee’s Convenor refused to participate in this process or contribute to the post. Therefore, the post falls short of providing more information than that which is present in the public domain with respect to the three committees. Further, the Literary and Debating Committee was unable to make a representation as it was awaiting the audit of the recently concluded Literary Festival.
Before we begin the discussion on the functioning of the Executive Council and the various committees, here is the 2016-17 President Yugal Jain’s advice to future SBCs. (We have paraphrased our conversation for the purpose of brevity.)
The President Reflects
Yugal characterises his time as President as a good experience overall. Although there were low points, he is happy that he was able to deliver on initiatives and help build a long-lasting framework for NALSAR through the institution of the Constitution Review Committee, the institution of the Hostel Rules Committee, increased funding for ADR competitions and lobbying with the administration to increase library resources.
According to Yugal, the role of the President of SBC requires one to strike a balance between the often competing demands of the administration and the student body. Yugal’s advice for future SBCs is that they publish minutes for all meetings in the interest of transparency and to make students aware of what the SBC is working towards. He particularly stressed on the importance of having a proper, long-term agenda. Often, firefighting and dealing with students’ personal issues took away from working towards long term goals and collective interests of the student body. He also cautioned the Executive Council to be accountable and sincere as from his time in the SBC, he found that it was easy to fudge SBC accounts. Upon being asked about transparency and accountability in his Executive Council, Yugal shared that he and Srimukundan (the Treasurer) wanted to release all the accounts publicly. He states that while they did push for it, the Conveners and auditors were not cooperative.
Yugal identifies the inadequacy of need-based scholarships as an important matter for the future SBCs to look into, particularly in light of the increased fees and larger number of incoming students every year. While attempts were made during his tenure to work with the administration to address this issue, no headway could be made. Thus, his advice for the future SBC is to re-examine the scholarship policy and revise certain aspects to suit the changing circumstances. Further, he stated that the policy ought to allow room for discretion in cases where the income availability of a student is only marginally above the scholarship’s eligibility criteria.
Another issue he identifies is the exclusivity of research centres in NALSAR, with the student body sometimes being unaware of their existence. He suggested that research centres be opened up to students through a more inclusive process rather than the current practice which often involves professors only telling those students whom they favour about particular projects and thereby restricting participation in projects to a close circle. To address these issues, he stated that the SBC could inform people about the Centres and highlight that there are other academic pursuits for students to channel their energies into, besides mooting.
Yugal also shared his views and experiences on making the campus more accessible to students with disabilities. During his tenure, the Executive Council had collaborated with IDIA Hyderabad Chapter to draft a short report on certain small changes that could be introduced in order to make an immense positive difference in the lives of students with disabilities. While the administration responded favourably at first, further discussions never materialised despite the SBC’s best efforts. He lamented that till date, the college has failed to provide a scanner for visually impaired students, despite it not being a very costly investment. He stressed that the needs and interests of disabled students are not prioritized.
Yugal also spoke about how the administration often makes decisions unilaterally without consulting students. While they might consult the President or another Executive Council member, he reasoned that this was not the same as consulting all the members of the student body and suggested that there is a need for a more deliberative process.
On a personal note, Yugal stated that he thought the exclusion of students from MBA and LL.M. courses in the organisation of or participation in fests and other activities was detrimental to the larger student interest.
I. The Executive Council
Members: Yugal Jain (President), Kunal Parashar (Vice President), Srimukundan R (Treasurer), Prabudh Singh (General Secretary Male), Renuka B (General Secretary Female), Aditya Sarkar (Joint Secretary Male), Enakshi Jha (Joint Secretary Female)
(Note: The Vice President resigned during his term. No explanation was offered to the student body for the resignation and no elections were conducted thereafter to fill the vacant post.)
- A Constitution Review Committee was constituted early in the academic year to ensure that the NALSAR student body had a permanent document governing its elected representatives. The Executive Council went beyond merely constituting the committee and the President ensured that it was actively working towards its goal. Last week, the new Constitution passed with an overwhelming majority voting in favour of it.
- In light of incidents of selective enforcement of the harsh punishments present in the Hostel Rules, the Executive Council entered into negotiations with the administration and formed a committee to review the Hostel Rules in order to make them more fair and reasonable.
- Another important accomplishment was the change of the mess contractor. Despite many previous SBCs working towards changing the mess contractor, it was finally achieved under this SBC.
- When the student body became aware of the tender for CCTV cameras to be placed on campus, the Executive Council expressed the spirited student resistance to the administration. It was agreed in an Open House that the CCTV cameras would only be installed after the student body drafted a policy concerning the same. A committee was set up in pursuance of this goal.
- With respect to medical facilities on campus, the Executive Council acquired a new ambulance for students to use in emergencies. The Executive Council also tried, through the Health Secretary, to improve health facilities on campus.
- The Executive Council worked with the administration to allocate a corpus for procuring new books for the library in a phased manner over the years
- Joining hands with the students administrations of NLSIU and NUJS, the SBC contributed to a joint manifesto urging the government to appoint a panel to assess the NLUs and consider them for the Institute of National Importance status.
- A substantial increase in funding for ADR activities from Rs. 2 lakhs to Rs. 8 lakhs was secured. This enabled students to participate in more ADR competitions, winning prizes both nationally and internationally.
- Lack of funds is a major issue plaguing the SBC and this was apparent even in the functioning of the Executive Council. The Executive Council pushed for a book bank where students could access books for mandatory subjects, but this was rejected by the administration due to lack of funds.
- Further, the SBC budget provides insufficient funds for Carpe Diem with only Rs. 2 lakhs allotted while expenses tend to be around Rs. 5 lakhs. This requires channeling unspent funds from other committees towards the event.
- Another issue is that, with respect to some initiatives, the Executive Council can only facilitate but student participation is necessary to ensure that the initiative is successful. For example, the Executive Council constituted a Standing Committee on Student Diversity comprising members of various under-represented groups of the NALSAR community. While one member of the committee took it upon themselves to organise a book donation initiative, the Committee as a whole was largely dormant.
- Time is very valuable and when on the Executive Council, much time is inevitably consumed in addressing short term problems. This makes it difficult to actualise long term solutions. The Executive Council wanted to establish an alumni association portal but couldn’t prioritize it.
- With respect to sexual harassment, the Executive Council found itself at a loss on how best to address the needs of the victim because it realised that it found itself lacking the training and resources to deal with the issue. In our society, it is only now that sexual harassment is being discussed widely and openly. There is much ground to cover on how to tackle the issue and ensure safety for everyone. Moreover, while administrative mechanisms for complaints regarding sexual harassment exist, there are no open resources are provided to the students to deal with the issue on the ground-level. Thus, the Executive Council could only provide support for victims who approached them and dealt with the issue on a case-by-case basis.
II. Academic Committee
Members: Aishwarya Joshi (Convenor), Eshwar R, Aayush Mallik, Abhijeet Singh Rawaley, Nishanth Vasanth Kumar, Aparajita Kaul, Rudra Deosthali
Auditors: Pranahita Srinivas, Balaji Subramaniam, Shivsaai Prasad
- The Academic Committee successfully secured an adequate budget to facilitate student activities, particularly national and international ADR competitions.
2016-17 Rs 8,04,300
2015-16 Rs 3, 25,000
2014-15 Rs 1,30,000
- Much of the Committee’s functioning related to ensuring the smooth functioning of academics everyday across batches. This primarily involved liasoning with teachers, tutors, the Examination Committee and library staff.
- The Committee made the case to the administration to allow students to receive a reasoned evaluation on projects.
- In October 2016, certain instances of course allocation were arbitrary. Therefore the Committee successfully lobbied for the process of course allocation to be transparent. Consequently, the Examination Committee now clearly specifies the criteria for course allocation when course details and registration calls are sent out at the beginning of the semester.
- The Committee proposed that the administration provide certain courses to the student body and some of these recommendations saw fruition.
- The Committee proposed the institution of a separate Clinic on non-binding ADR methods apart from Arbitration to the administration.
- The Committee successfully lobbied for the institution of an ADR Committee in the new Constitution so as to allow ADR activities to be given sufficient financial and institutional support.
- It also coordinated with the ADR Board to conduct ADR workshops and orientation sessions. Additionally, it provided the ADR Board with financial assistance, where necessary.
- The Committee instituted selection rounds for each of the three ADR formats. The Committee organised Selection rounds for mediation, client counselling and negotiation which saw the participation of 96, 24 and 81 students respectively.
- The Committee facilitated students’ participation in a number of competitions where NALSAR saw the maximum participation it has had in national and international ADR events, with students bagging some of the most coveted prizes. The ADR Board and student enthusiasm are to be lauded for this as well the Academic Committee’s efforts.
- Upon receiving requests from the student body, the Committee made a representation to the administration to have the end-semester examinations concluded before popular and widely celebrated festivals.
Issues faced by the Committee:
- Although the Committee attempted to propose changes to attendance requirements, the same could not be done due to the paucity of time required for extensive student body consultations. Therefore, it suggests that future Academic Committees take note of this.
- The biggest issue for the Academic Committee was the lack of transparency in NALSAR’s academic sphere. The Committee found that neither the Academic Regulations nor the policy were clear and, as a result, were being implemented inconsistently. Particularly, there is no specific definition or understanding for what qualifies as a “major illness” for the grant of medical exemption for exams.
- The Committee found itself overburdened with ADR-related activities as no administrative structure existed for ADR. Further, due to the high stakes involved for the student body in relation to ADR, there was more pressure on the Committee to perform these functions which took away from time that could be utilized towards core academic issues.
- Though a larger budget had been allotted to the Committee, significant hurdles were faced at the time of making requests for reimbursement of reallocated money. It is unreasonable to expect any Committee to provide for all competitions or expenses in the budget proposal as certain events are contingent on factors beyond the Committee’s control. This was not adequately reflected in the administration’s response at various instances.
- The disbursal of funds for various heads and maintenance of financial records is facilitated by the administration which is overburdened and not knowledgeable of student activities. Therefore, the Committee in certain instances found itself in a delay or having to re-clarify positions to the administration.
- The Committee finds that it is not able to develop adequate solutions at a consensus with the Examination Committee on issues such as the process of course selection and availability of electives.
- Lastly, the Committee faced the issue of attendance records being incorrect or not being published to the student body in a timely manner.
- The auditor stated that two GB meetings were held.
- According to the auditor, the committee did not pass on all receipts of expenses in a timely manner.
- The auditor did not find any unaccounted expenses, instances of conflict of interest, or disputes regarding reallocation.
III. Cultural Committee
Members: Arshiya Sharda (Convenor), Sanchita Aidasani, Mark Papang, Siddharth Sunil, Saumya Sharma, Arvind Kumar Tiwari, Kumarjeet Ray
Auditors: Sanchit Verma, Suyash Dhodawat
- The Cultural Committee’s mandate is to organise various cultural events throughout the year. This Cultural Committee ensured that at least one event or cultural activity was organised nearly every month.
- The Committee arranged celebrations for the festivals of Holi, Sankranti and Navratri. On Valentine’s Day and Friendship Day, the Committee organised a Secret Messenger Service, whereby students could send anonymous notes for their friends, batchmates and seniors.
- There were also number of events organised which allowed students to blow off steam and showcase their talents. These included an antakshari game, two DJ nights, an acoustic night, band performances, a NH7 Weekender band performance and a dance night.
- The Committee screened two movies throughout the year as well as screening the Federer-Nadal Final of Australian Open.
- A dance workshop was organised over one weekend.
- The committee facilitated participation in the NUJS fest Outlawed.
- Throughout the year, the Committee organised Themed Thursdays where students were encouraged to dress up on particulars themes such as Desi, Pop Culture, Retro and Twin Thursday.
(The Warbler has not received any information from the Committee on the issues it faced.)
- It appears that only one GB meeting was held by the Committee.
- According to the auditor, the need to pass on the receipts did not arise.
- The auditor further stated that there were no instances of conflict of interest, disputes regarding budget allocation or unaccounted expenses.
IV. Hostel & Campus Welfare Committee
Members: Arhant Madhyala (Convenor), Renuka B, Prabudh Singh, Pallavi Dehari, Ayush Mishra, Himanshu Joshi, Utkarsh Mittal
Auditor: Rohit Beerapalli
- The Hostel Committee introduced a complaint procedure for addressing day-to-day grievances.
- The Committee got the washing machines in both the boys and the girls hostels repaired several times. However, there were instances where the washing machines were found to be out of order for considerable lengths of time.
- The Committee had proposed plans to install refrigerators in the hostels and air fresheners in the washrooms. However, these proposals did not come to fruition due to the insufficiency of funds after meeting other obligations.
- A few GB meetings were called in the beginning of the academic year. However, the Committee had no choice but to cancel these GB meetings due to a complete absence of student turnout. The election of the auditor could only be conducted in the third GB meeting called for such purpose and even then, an extraordinary GB meeting had to be called due to lack of quorum. The absence of student turnout at GB meetings also resulted in a complete lack of discussion regarding the allocation of the Committee’s funds.
- The auditor was not provided with any receipts.
- The auditor is not aware of any conflict of interest or what could be considered as inappropriate spending or behaviour.
- The auditor did not find any unaccounted expenses.
- The auditor notes that leftover funds were reallocated to Carpe Diem.
V. Mess & Hospitality Committee
Members: Shubham Sharma (Convenor), PSS Bhargava, Amritam Anand, Ujwal Chowhan, Sachit Kapoor, Uma Mahesh Rathod
Auditors: Prakhar Nidhi Bhatnagar, Alok Prasanna Kumar
- The Mess Contractor was changed and the Mess Committee, as well as the Executive Council, were involved in lobbying and negotiations for the same.
- The Mess Committee coordinated with students organising fests and facilitated the serving of specialized menus.
- On request of student groups, the Mess Committee also arranged for snacks and tea/coffee to be served in the Academic Block.
- The Mess Committee tried to be responsive to student demands and communicated grievances to the Mess Contractor.
(The Warbler has not received any information from the Committee on the issues it faced.)
- The auditor was not aware of how many General Body Meetings had occurred, if any were.
- The auditor did not receive the receipts of expenses in a timely manner.
- The auditor found that there were no instances of conflict of interest, disputes regarding allocation or unaccounted expenses.
VI. Moot Court Committee
Members: Lavish Paliwal (Convenor), Lakshmi Dwivedi, Robin Sharma, Aashna Chowdary, Maitreyee Dixit, Yuvraj Rattan Mehra, Piyush Rathi
Auditors: TPS Harsha, Bhavini Singh, Angeline Benny
- The MCC organized the 10th edition of Justice Bodh Raj-Sawhny Memorial Moot Court Competition.
- The MCC conducted 15 Open Challenges for both international and national moots.
- Additionally, for the first time, the MCC opened the international moots – Asia Cup and Nelson Mandela Human Rights Moot Court Competition. Furthermore, despite not receiving funds for these moots, the MCC conducted internal selection rounds.
- The MCC made the whole scheme of allocation of funds for international moots accessible to the entire student body.
- Over its tenure, the MCC approached a set of firms for sponsorships and talks are ongoing. The same is being done under the leadership of Mr. Sourabh Bharti (Faculty Convener, MCC).
- The MCC was unable to fund all the international moots that the students were interested in. The Committee found that more members of the NALSAR student body were willing to participate in international moots and were performing exceedingly well. However, the Committee could not always encourage participation due to the lack of funds. Thus, the Committee advises future SBCs to provide greater funding for international moots.
- The MCC also found that there was a lack of quorum for GB meetings and the participation of students in the deliberation of important policies was sometimes dismal. For example, the Committee only received around 30 votes on the MCC policy across the 5 batches even though the vote was conducted online and did not require the students to be physically present.
Food for Thought:
- The student body could reflect on whether there may need to be an interview or some screening criteria for the eligibility of candidates who contest for MCC, as is the model in other law schools such as NLSIU, where representatives are selected rather than elected. This is because there is a fair amount of organisational work that needs to be performed by MCC representatives. Thus, certain specific skills (for example, communication skills) are sine qua non for the efficient functioning of the MCC.
- The auditor notes that four GB meetings were held, none of which satisfied the actual quorum requirement. The auditor could recall only two GB meetings where constructive dialogue occurred – the very first GB meeting and the GB meeting during which allocation policy was discussed.
- To the best of the auditor’s knowledge, the MCC strictly and meticulously followed the accountability policy.
- As stated in our methodology, the administration is responsible for reimbursing domestic and international moots after verifying the bills. Since the reimbursements are vetted by the administration, the auditor need not verify the same. Thus, the MCC auditor’s role is restricted to vetting open challenges and other moots conducted by the MCC.
- The auditor commented that, in the prevailing scheme, the task of MCC auditors has been limited to ensure that the Committee follows the allotment and re-allotment policy adopted in the GB meeting.
- The auditors did not find any unaccounted expenses or conflicts of interest. The auditor advises that a mechanism be instituted to report unaccounted expenses or conflicts of interests to the auditors.
- The auditor found that allocations adhered to established procedure.
VII. Sports Committee
Members: Pranjal Gupta (Convenor), Alby Joseph, Vishal Vishwas, Balaji Naik Azmeera, Avinash Reddy, Yash Bhagwat, Prateek Mogili.
Auditors: Kushal Garg, Shubham Patsariya
- One of the most important achievements for the Committee was participation in the NLS-NALSAR-NUJS trilateral series where NALSAR dominated the tournament by winning Cricket and Volleyball and finishing second in football.
- The committee organised a year long tournament under the name of NALSAR Sports League (NSL) in order to to improve sporting culture on campus and encourage more people to play sports. Sporting events across a wide range were organised by the committee including Arm Wrestling, Reflex Ball, Athletics, Cricket and Football.
- The Committee organised multiple inter-batch tournaments for Football, Cricket, Basketball, etc. and helped in organizing various sports events for Carpe Diem.
- A new 50 kg set of Home Gym was procured for the girls hostel gym. Other equipment was repaired regularly.
- The Committee went beyond providing facilities for mainstream sports and invested in games like Poker sets, Monodeal cards, Carrom Boards and Chess etc., broadening the idea of sports in NALSAR to meet the demands of students.
- According to the Committee, the biggest issue faced by it is the misuse of sports equipment by the student body. The Committee’s hands are tied up in this matter as this entirely depends on how students choose to respect that sports equipment are commons used by all.
- The Committee also faced instances where some equipment was not working properly, but its hands were tied due to a lack of funds.
- Though the Committee successfully lobbied with the administration to have a professional volleyball court built, the same did not come to fruition. The tender for the same had been released last semester, but due to a lack of interest from the student body the plan was tabled.
- Since there is a set idea of what extracurricular activities law students must participate in, the Committee found it difficult to be taken seriously by both the administration and the Executive Council on several instances, specifically in instances concerning the release of funds or reimbursement for student participation in inter-college sporting events.
- The Committee found that the administration and Executive Council only supported mainstream sports such as cricket and football, and were not too keen on providing support for other sports. Further, the Committee found that even the support for these mainstream sports was lacking.
- The Committee had to overcome significant hurdles in securing funds for the NLS-NALSAR-NUJS Trilateral Series as funds were not initially allocated for the same.
- A significant amount of money in the Sports Committee’s budget was allocated to Carpe Diem. Of such allocated amount only a portion was used for sporting events during Carpe Diem. The remaining amount was not allowed to be fully utilised in other sports activities and was channeled to other events for Carpe Diem.
- The auditors note that the Sports Committee held a GB meeting at the start of its term. During this GB meeting, auditors were elected by way of nomination. No vote was required since there were only two nominees. As an aside, the auditors stated that although the present Sports Committee only conducted one GB meeting and worked very efficiently throughout its term, this is not always the case. The auditors suggest that significant decisions such as reallocation of substantial amount of funds be taken by the general body. Citing the instance of reallocation of money from Invicta to the Trilateral Series, the auditors stated that although the decision to reallocate funds was bona fide and in the best interest of all the parties, such discretionary exercise of power opens up the possibility to misuse funds. Further, the auditors stressed that the GB meeting acts as a platform for suggestions and discussions, giving all students a chance to voice their grievances. The auditors also pointed out that GB meetings could allow MBA and LL.M students, who have little representation in SBC, to voice their concerns.
- According to the auditors, the committee passed on most, if not all, receipts of expenses in a timely manner.
- The auditors found no explicit instances of conflict of interest. However, the auditors stated that there are always undercurrents of such conflicts in the functioning of the committees since members of the Committees are themselves active stakeholders.
- The auditors stated that there were no unaccounted expenses. However, they were provided with kutcha bills on few occasions.
- The auditors did not find any instances of misappropriation of funds by the Committee.
- On the handling of SBC finances in general and not with respect to the Sports Committee, the auditors noted that under the present system it was relatively easy for a Committee to appropriate funds, if it chose to do so. Auditors do not exercise oversight over whether funds allocated are spent accordingly; they can only check the receipts of expenses but not the quality of products procured. The auditors urge the student body to reflect on this and devise adequate mechanisms to address the same.
VIII. Student Welfare Committee
Members: Yash Karunakaran (Convenor), Srimukundan R, Kunal Parashar, Yash Singhal, Abhay Raj Singh Bundela, Shrey Som, Nikhil Sharma
Auditors: Maitreyee Dixit, Kanwar Inder, Sahir Boppana
- The Committee made more food options available on campus by introducing new stalls which was a considerable achievement and took a great deal of effort.
- The Committee also facilitated the mentorship program as well as the anti-ragging redressal anonymous complaint Google Doc.
- The Committee arranged for Nalsar Tee’s to be sold to the student body.
- The Committee lobbied with the administration to provide a litigation stipend. However, there is much to be done in order to ensure that it is functional.
- The Committee also worked towards establishing an Alumni Database although this did not come to fruition.
- According to the Convener, most of the members of the committee failed to pull their weight and he had no choice but to do everything on his own.
- The Committee attempted to procure new cycles at the very beginning of its term. However, due to administrative delay and bureaucratic hurdles, the cycles never arrived.
- A major portion of the SWC budget went into funding Carpe Diem, leaving little for the Committee to work with.
- The SWC did not have free access to the funds allotted to them in the budget. The administration acted as a gatekeeper and prevented them from realising certain initiatives such as cooking lessons.
- The idea of the Student Venture fund was introduced. However, no policy could be established for its use.
- The auditor noted that only one GB meeting was successfully held; the turnout for any subsequent attempts were significantly low.
- The auditor found that receipts for the NALSAR T-Shirts were received on time and that the other expenses, which were related to Carpe Diem, were audited by the Treasurer of the Executive Council.
- The auditor found that there were no instances of conflict of interest, disputes regarding allocation or expenses that were unaccounted for.
- The auditor also stated that the administration thoroughly checked through the accounts. The auditor added that on some occasions, the SWC Convener contributed personal money to cover expenses.
With another election right around the corner, we hope this piece provides a realistic account of the space in which SBC functions, balancing committee capabilities with student expectations. Our intention with the piece is to equip the student body with information on the performance of committees and allow them to draw their own conclusions on what the threshold of performance for each committee ought to be in light of the issues it faces. However, we wish to flag certain issues that consistently plague the functioning of SBC committees – the lack of quorum for GB meetings, the reallocation of funds from committees for Carpe Diem and the lack of financial transparency and accountability. We also hope that this piece encourages students to collectively think about the processes in the SBC and the ways in which we can make it better. Further, the continued engagement of the student body, beyond just casting our vote, is crucial to ensure that the SBC is effective and efficient.
– Srujana Bej and Amani Ponnaganti (Batch of 2019)
EDIT: (9:58 PM, 03/10/17) Included information regarding the resignation of the Vice President and the subsequent vacancy of the post.