Inking A New Canvas: Literary Society Review
The Literary Society, one amongst the four pillars of SAC having a total of twenty clubs underwent various modifications in the recent SAC restructuring. The recent SAC reorientation brought about several reformations in the SAC societies to accommodate the best interests of the student community. After the fest overlooking body was separated from the SAC society secretaries in order to bestow unbiased attention both to the clubs and fests, the number of secretaries was reduced to five for each society (earlier ten secretaries).The five conveners for the literary society now comprise of four elected and one nominated member as opposed to eight elected and two nominated members earlier.
STRUCTURE AND FUNCTIONING
The society consists of four elected secretaries, one each from 2nd, 3rd, 4th year, and PG & research constituency. It further consists of one Dean Nominee (and one Director’s Nominee, who got nominated owing to the absence of candidates belonging to PG & Research community who were unwilling to contest elections to be a part of the society). The entire society is supervised by two Vice Presidents Prof. Debarjyoti Choudhuri and Prof. A.K. Rath who keep a track of its expenditure and evaluate its performance. Furthermore, literary society along with the arts and cultural society organizes NITRUTSAV which has three conveners, two elected and one nominated by the Dean. Recording the expenses serves as a basis for deciding future budget allocations to the clubs. All decisions are made by hosting meetings and their implementation involves the approval by the President SAC and Dean (Student Welfare).
The SAC office bearers for the year 2017-18 are as follows:
- Dean’s Nominee for Literary Society: Swayambodha Mohapatra
- Director’s Nominee for Literary society: Abhinav Gupta
- Dean’s Nominee for fest: Samyak Das
- Secretaries: Saurav Kumar Saraf, Harsh Saini, Rajyashree Lenka
The literary society was allotted with 15 lakhs INR by SAC this year, for the year-round performance of the clubs and organisation of events, fests coming under it.The budget for the functioning of clubs is 6.6 lakhs INR whilst operating budget is 8.4 lakhs. Club budget is the budget allotted to a club for specific club activities (organizing an event). Operating budget entails the expenditure of the fresher’s welcome ceremony, Independence Day Celebration, year-long cultural events and SpicMacay.
CLUB BUDGET DISTRIBUTION
Swami Vivekananda Youth Club
AISEC, NITR Chapter
Society for History
The club budget is divided among 20 clubs of the literary society based on their performance in the previous year (utilization of previously allotted budget). In the beginning of a new session, the club post holders are required to submit their estimated budget proposals for the upcoming fiscal year. The clubs failing to do so even after repeated reminders are excluded from the budget and the ones submitting the estimation late are penalized by cuts in their budget.
This year after the SAC restructuring, the Literary society saw the addition of two new clubs under its wing namely Monday Morning and Degree 361, and this led to the club budget increment from INR 5,24,000 to INR 6,60,000.
PROCEDURE FOR CLUB DISSOLUTION
The official procedure for club dissolution is by submitting an application but often the clubs are too inactive to carry out such procedures. Clubs like Umang, TedX have been pretty dormant for a long time but still, they have been allotted a small budget considering the benefit of the doubt. When this matter was put forth before Prof. Debarjyoti Choudhary, VP Literary Society he said,
We have removed a couple of clubs this financial year, because of them being dormant for quite a time now. We also try to convince the clubs to perform by giving those funds trying to overlook their dormancy. It might be true that they are potentially active but had nothing exciting to offer. We track their overall activities for the previous two years and then the decision is made in an open meeting involving the President, SAC and Dean.
ADDITION OF NEW CLUBS
The interested members should give a proposal to the VPs by submitting a signed application. They need to convince the VPs on grounds; of the need for a new distinct club amongst already existing clubs which function in the same domain. This decision is completely under the jurisdiction of VPs and they have the sole authority to annex a new club into the Literary Society. The club should also meet with the demands of availing a faculty member as a faculty advisor who would vouch for the establishment of the new club. Last year Akriti was established and officially became a part of the Literary Society.
The idea of merging the clubs that conduct similar sort of activities under a single umbrella, to facilitate funding procedure, has often been debated upon. But the healthy competition induced between such clubs can’t be neglected. Whereas, if at any point of time, clubs themselves are interested in collaborating with their counterparts or are willing to merge, then it’s their discretion to do so and the society doesn’t have any say in it.
ROUND THE YEAR
Degree 361, the official institute magazine is on an online platform now and invites entries in the form of prose, poem (both in English and Hindi), art and photography to promote creative literature and art around the year. The magazine has been launched on 2nd February, on the inaugural day of NU. The Leo club under the society conducted events like Rhapsody, Hourglass organized a Toastmasters International event by inviting student chapters from all over North and East India. They also want to organize public speaking workshops and intra-club competitions in the future. Clarion is focusing on the preparation of The National Level Parliamentary Debate, scheduled to be held in March.
PROBLEMS IN THE SOCIETY FUNCTIONING
The club post holders faced a lot of hurdles while claiming for the reimbursement of their bills. The recent disabling of the file tracking system (FTS)- an online portal in which the reimbursement forms are stored and the file numbers for them is lodged which makes it possible to track the status of each file in the finance department, added to the woes of the clubs. According to this, Debarjyoti Choudhuri, Vice President, Literary Society:
It’s a temporary bug that will be mended soon. I don’t exactly know when will the newer version of FTS come back, but all I can say that it’s a temporary change done unintentionally.
Earlier the booking of rooms for club meetings and activities was quite cumbersome with repeated visits to the security office. But off late the process has been simplified as the club members can go and contact the PIC of LA and book the rooms as per their required timings.
Clubs like Inquizzitive and Chitraang over the last financial year cumulatively have hefty sums of more than 30000 INR still left to be reimbursed. On clarification of this matter with the VP Debarjyoti Choudhuri, he had to say that with the FTS disabled it has become difficult to track the reimbursement files and it will be done very soon.
Almost all the clubs are of the view that the process of reimbursement should be more flexible to simplify the hectic procedure and hence promote club activities in NITR because the authorities in power are rigid when it comes to sanctioning of advance payments. The advance payment form of more than INR 15000 needs to be duly signed by Dean Student Welfare but for an amount less than that the signature of the SAC President suffices. Recently, guidelines got more streamlined and its easier for students to understand the functioning of SAC.
This year the delayed process of elections and nominations also impacted the functioning of entire society and should be done away with in order to avoid future hassles.
SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT
The SAC although after being restructured has improved but still has many scopes for improvement. To start with, clubs such as Pantomime are found under the Literary Society but have no connections with literary activities. Several clubs focussing on the same domain is another major issue that needs to be solved. There is still no clear discretion about the roles and responsibilities of the elected and nominated SAC society secretaries. There should be a proper system to review the annual performance of the clubs, which would prove effective during the allotment of the budget at the beginning of the financial year. Creation of an online portal for the bill reimbursements and advance payments would also prove to be helpful.
According to Dean’s nominee for Literary Society, Swayambodha Mohapatra,
If a club is organizing a large event, an advance payment should be helpful which they would get upon proposing the event to the faculty advisor. They can use the money and then submit their bills accordingly. This is an easy procedure. The opening of an online portal also would be of great help.
Several revamps have led to some of the problems being solved while some still remain unattended. Albeit hiccups along the way the Literary society has overhauled itself to set the pace of things right. Team MM hopes that the society keeps performing in the same way and achieves greater height in the future!