Bouquets or Brickbats: SAC Budget Allocation 2015-16
The SAC budget allocation is one of the unarguably most important, debated and controversial management implementation of NITR. Each year, the budget release is met with an exodus of emotions ranging from sheer exuberance, stark astonishment, sharp anger and going all the way to withering disapproval and plain disappointment at the other end of the spectrum.
Moving on the major changes in the budget allocation and implementation from last year, the principal modification effected in the modus operandi of budget revision was the inclusion of student council in the allocation process, unlike last year, where the decision was announced without prior consultation, leading to tumultuous chaos. This time around, conveners and elected student representatives were asked to provide inputs in order to revise the initial drafted bill into its final form.
Owing to the enhanced intake in students, the budget was slightly increased from last year’s 210 to 230 lakhs this year. In a fitting response to persistent demands of the legions of students demanding an increase in the technical society’s budget, its allotted distribution of funds has been ramped up by 9 lakhs (including the fests) from last year’s allocation. In the spirit of promoting sports, games and physical fitness, upholding a long-stand NITR norm, the sports society’s budget has been augmented to 21 lakhs from the measly 12 lakhs that was last year’s split. The swimming pool budget has been increased by two lakhs to accommodate the additional burden of increased chlorination and raised maintenance and coaching costs.
The cultural society scored a bountiful tribute this year too, especially for the multi-ethnic fest, by four lakhs, despite repeated concerns by a major chunk of the student populace that the budget was being grossly underutilized, and the multi-ethnic fest was staid and boring each year, apart from furthering zone differences. However, to prevent wastage of funds, it had been thought of to discontinue funding for inactive clubs and organizations. This new clause might lead to lesser clubs going defunct after being established. On the other hand, the ISM fest has had 5 lakhs deducted from it, reallocating the funds to the FMS and other societies.
The Film and Music Society has acquired 2 lakhs more this year, which will definitely appease the clubs associated with the society.
On the key issue of sponsorship, especially on students raking in sponsors from outside, the primary change in the sponsorship mechanism entails the sending of correspondence to various companies seeking sponsorship for the events, coordinated by a soon to be appointed student sponsorship coordination body. There is however no prospect of allowing or encouraging students to secure sponsorship for events at the expense of class attendance and is unlikely to change in the future. It has been deemed preferable to make do with institute funding than depend heavily on sponsors. When asked about the reason behind these stringent laws, Dean of student affairs, Prof. K.C. Pati stated,
The financial assistance procured through sponsorships is miniscule as compared to the requirements and SAC funding. We don’t want sponsorship money at the expense of academics.
Also the budget is still open to changes and future revisions, taking into account the exact number of students enrolling in the institute. A final revised budget will be presented in the month of December-January.
The Miscellaneous SAC funds have been revised to ensure that lesser instances of fund re-appropriation are deemed essential. Last year, poor allocation and planning forced the moving of the Miscellaneous SAC fees to the technical society, due to the grossly inadequate funds provided to the technical society. This wiped out the entire Miscellaneous Funding, posing serious questions and pointed fingers on the soundness of the budget composition. The changed fund appropriation hopefully should prevent the instances of requisitioning of fund shifts in the upcoming budget year.
Coming to the requirement of subsidizing the prices of workshops conducted at various tech fests by the technical society clubs, at least for NITR students, it has been confirmed that the SAC will not be directly responsible for the funding of workshops, and instead the clubs will have to pay for it out of the funding provided to them.
In new and interesting developments in SAC functioning, the bill reimbursement system has been restructured so that the process is now partially online. Though physical verification is still necessary, starting this July, bills posted by the students at the SAC will be uploaded online. This can, and will reduce the hassle involved when bills get misplaced, damping the reimbursement process. This should definitely ease the reimbursement process and make it more effective. On the other hand, there is still no provision for students to submit bills online in a scanned version, or similar.This will go a long way in wasting lesser time unlike the current scenario where students spend a lot of time trudging between SAC and their hostels, and are forced grind through the entire cumbersome procedure. To appease this situation, the intervention of the faculty adviser has been suggested. Bills and expense ledgers may be submitted to the faculty adviser who in turn, will analyze the expense and submit accordingly.
“Students should focus on organizing the event”, said Prof. K.C Pati.
On a concluding note, the budget definitely seems better and more structured than last time. This should be a great year for NITR. Yes, there are hiccups and points of conflict, but it does look like it just may work. Team MM wishes luck to all the people associated with the functioning of SAC, and hopes that it would be a bountiful and magnanimous year ahead.