Thus Ends The Prologue: SAC Restructuring Committee
The institute has been abuzz with the groundbreaking ideas of our newly appointed Director, Prof. Animesh Biswas for quite a while now. While a student body had been on the cards for many years, no serious work was actually ever accomplished in this direction. With a new visionary at the helm of things and promises of better times ahead for the institute, the expectations of the NITR junta elevated exponentially. Delivering on his promise to bring about swift transformation to NITR, Prof. Biswas took his first step towards improving the current scenario in November by appointing the SAC Restructuring Committee. This committee has been entrusted with the responsibility to suggest ways to restructure SAC, and it is their suggestions that shall serve as the voice of the student community as a whole and the basis for the implementation of new rules.
SAC Restructuring Committee was appointed on the 30th of November by Prof. Animesh Biswas, as the consequence of a meeting held on the very same day with the SAC President, VPs, Student Representatives and officials. The agenda of the meeting was to discuss ways to streamline SAC activities, which was realised to be unachievable unless and until reforms were introduced to the currently existing system. Hence, this committee was put together with SAC President, Prof. Japes Bera as its Chairman, VPs of the 4 societies as its members along with 2 SAC officials and 9 student representatives, with 2 Secretaries from each society enjoying a position on the committee.
When asked if this committee shall also serve as the Student Body, Prof. V.K. Reddy, Vice President, SAC stated:
This committee is completely different from the Student Body, the concept of which might or might not be implemented in NITR depending upon the recommendation of this committee.
Why SAC Restructuring Committee?
While there is a huge scope for improvement when it comes to SAC of NITR, three of the major reasons why SAC needs to undergo major reforms were commonly decided to be as follows at the meeting held on Nov 30th:
- To streamline SAC activities: The current system owes its complexity to the large number of fests that are organised on an annual basis in the institute, which keeps the SAC representatives and officials busy throughout the year. This is also a reason why quality of the fests have not been at par lately, thus leading to dissatisfaction among the junta even after the tremendous amount of effort that is put in by the respective organising teams. Thus, in order to simplify the scenario, the number of fests need to be reduced, which can be achieved by either scrapping few of the fests or merging them together.
- To make SAC procedures faster and more transparent: Although the authorities are satisfied with the existing level of transparency in SAC procedures, the speed at which every procedure is completed remains unsatisfactory. With files travelling from one department to another, located in different buildings, the speed is further hampered by the dearth of clerical staff in SAC and a big enough building to cater to the needs of a population as large as ours.
- To address students’ issues: Somewhere in the middle of organising so many fests, the distresses of the students are often dismissed and if not, there is no particular body to resolve these issues. Hence, the common NITRian goes on suffering. To put an end to this, a new system needs to be introduced.
Thus, the need to amend the existing SAC constitution and rules was felt in order to address these issues effectively. Since SAC currently comprises of 4 societies, only concerned with organising the fests that fall under their society, the need to form a new committee was felt and thus, SAC Restructuring Committee was born. This committee will be responsible for looking into the lapses of SAC and suggesting ways to rectify the same.
Role Of The Committee:
The committee shall start-off by inspecting the earlier stated 3 lapses and deliberating upon possible solutions to fix the loopholes. The first step ahead will be analysing the structure of SAC/Gymkhana of different IITs/NITs and borrowing some of their features which they feel might be feasible if implemented in NITR. The election procedure, number of fests and the nature of student body shall be decided accordingly.
Once this job is accomplished, the committee will contemplate and debate upon a new structure, which shall be submitted to the administration in the form of a recommendation draft. This draft will then go on to face the BoG and upon approval, shall become a legal document, ready for implementation. While the deadline for the initial report is 31st March, the whole procedure can be expected to be wrapped up by the next academic year.
Status Of Completion Of Work:
No work has truly been accomplished till now, since the committee was waiting for an order to come officially from the Director. Regarding the need of an order from the authorities, Prof. V.K. Reddy stated:
Without an order, your work has no validity or authenticity, which is the reason why nothing has really happened till now, to be very frank. We were waiting for a confirmation stating that the following people have been appointed to take care of this job and submit their reports to the Director as soon as possible. Now that the confirmation is with us, we shall start working immediately.
The reconstitution is scheduled to begin from 19th of February and is expected to be completed by 27th of February. A meeting shall be held on every Tuesday starting from this week, wherein the way ahead will be discussed by the VPs with the student representatives.
Plans In The Pipeline:
The current SAC structure consists of 4 societies, which shall be cut down to 3. While the Technical society and the Games and Sports society will remain intact, the committee plans to suggest the merging of Literary and Cultural society and the Film and Music society into one single society.
The committee also plans to recommend a society/committee which will look into the problems faced by the students and seek out solutions. This society shall act as a replacement for the earlier existing fourth society. This society will feature officials such as new counsellors who will be appointed under SAC and not Health Center, to help students in distress break out of depression. This society will stand responsible for every student-related activity barring the fests, which will be taken care of by the respective societies under which they fall.
The second idea that has been floating around is that of one committee for festivals and another one to deal with student issues. However, these are mere ideas at this stage, subject to deliberation by the committee, and nothing has been finalised yet.
The committee shall also organise an Open House Debate to gauge the opinion of the students regarding issues ranging from the scrapping of fests to general ideas about what the new structure of SAC should be like. If feasible, these opinions will be incorporated in the recommendation draft. This OHD can be expected to be arranged within a span of 2 weeks.
Moreover, students can expect a substantial cut-down in the fees. In this regard, Prof. V.K. Reddy added:
Lesser number of fests would mean a dip in the costs incurred, and hence there would not be any point in collecting so much money from the students.
Elections will not be scrapped, as a few instances of malpractices and the common complaint of petty politics cannot quite defeat the importance of democracy in an institute like NITR, according to Prof. V.K. Reddy.
Mohit Gupta, Director’s Nominee and member of the committee, is confident about the work that the committee has been entrusted, in spite of the unwelcome delays faced initially:
With NU and other activities lined up, we had been unable to give sufficient time to the draft till now. The ideas have started pouring in for the framework and we hope to do some great work as soon as NU is over.
Prof. V.K. Reddy is equally hopeful about the committee’s future. He went on to add:
The change shall be positive. I hope that SAC does not only remain synonymous with fests. The new system should involve students in other ways too. Then only the true purpose of it will be fulfilled.
Although the work has already been delayed by almost a month, with the original deadline being 28th of Feb, the optimism in the NITR populace regarding the committee’s work remains intact. Here’s to wishing that the recommendation draft fulfills the expectations of the general NITRian and brings about groundbreaking reforms in the way SAC operates in NITR.