The Dirty Picture: 'SAC'red Games of NITR

The Dirty Picture: 'SAC'red Games of NITR

Animesh Pradhan N Manyata | Apr 08, 2019

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DELVING DEEP INTO THE MUDDY WATERS:

The clock strikes 5:15! Choose any random day of the year at NIT Rourkela and you could visualize the streets and corners a busy hub of people sharing ideas, discussing agendas, planning strategies, implementing innovations and making memories. From making all-terrain cars to debating assertively on leading issues, from tuning into the rhythms of melody to scoring heart stopping screamers at the Dilip Tirkey Stadium, NIT Rourkela prides itself for harbouring myriads of clubs and numerous fests. Some 5 fests, 60 clubs, 6000 students and the infamously famous ‘Student Activity Centre’ together prevents Jack to fall under the trap of ‘all work and no play’ and make him everything but a dull boy!

Today Monday Morning recaptures a year of SAC and brings you the unfiltered review. The annual year starts with the General SAC elections and its inherent malpractices and zone politics. Then we touch upon SACs doleful ineffectiveness and inefficiency that persists throughout the year in clearing bills and organizing multiple fests with ‘shared benefits’ (read corruption). SAC finally caps off the year by giving itself a pat on the back, impressed with itself for ‘saving’ huge chunks of money.


APNA SAPNA MONEY-MONEY: BUDGET ANALYSIS

Sl.No

Particulars

Allocated Budget (In Lakhs)

Expenditure (In Rupees)

01.

SAC Office Expenses

3.00

1,78,336

02.

Technical Society (excluding Innovision)

12.00

1,85,889

03.

Games and Sports Society Review

12.00

13,86,800

04.

Literary Society

15.00

7,90,488

05.

Art and Cultural Society (Except Musical Night)

9.00

12,47,305

06.

Innovision

11.00

12,42,825

07.

Spring Fest

13.00

13,85,710

08.

Musical Night

20.00

7,42,810

09.

Inter NIT Events

7.00

9,06,541

10.

Miscellaneous Expenses (Director)

10.00

 

 

11.

Swimming Pool

13.00

10,65,580

12.

Souvenir

6.00

9,97,450

13.

Counselling

20.00

3,48,937

14.

SPIC Macay

5.00

1,78,401

15.

Miscellaneous Expenses (DEAN)

15.00

1,15,431

16.

Miscellaneous Expenses (President)

15.00

45,885

17.

Remuneration of SAC Official

 SAC Trainee Staff

Swimming Pool Coach

Gym caretaker cum coach

11.00

20,000

18.

Sports Fest

8.00

7,20,248

 

Total

205.00

1,15,58,636


The table below shows the micro-budget of the unspent amount of Financial Year 2017-18:

Sl. No.

PARTICULARS

AMOUNT IN LAKH

01.

Overhauling of Swimming Pool

22.00

02.

Purchase of Sports Equipment for Inter NIT Tournament

06.00

03.

Purchase of new treadmill and repair of old treadmill

05.00

04.

Mat for Central Gym

04.00

05.

Purchase of new Xerox Machine

05.00

06.

High-frequency Sound System for Dance Floor

02.00

07.

Sound-Craft Digital Mixture machine for studio

02.00

08.

High-resolution Camera

01.00

09.

Projector backup Battery

01.00

10.

Mat for Dance Floor

02.00

 

Total

50.00

(All the above data has been collected on 21 March 2019)

Out of the allocated budget of 2 Crore, SAC Expenditures sums up to 1 Crore 15 Lakhs till 21 March. A huge chunk of money gets ‘saved’ every year which are diverted towards the ‘Corpus Fund’. After serious efforts of investigating, we were disappointed in not getting any concrete management of the left-over money. On being asked about this, Prof. Snehashish Chakraverty, SAC President responds:

Last year also we saved around 60-80 lakhs from the budget that gets consumed in developmental activities of the institute. The left over money is utilised on the discretion of higher authorities and diverted towards Corpus Fund.

Two major thoughts that arise in this scenario include:

  • Most of the clubs have expressed their grief and concern of not being able to organize a lot of club activities due to non-approval of their plans and estimated event budgets. As per the officials' opinions, the clubs might have to face disapprovals if they feel the requirements are not genuine or the events are redundant. Moreover, many clubs participate in the competitions of national importance but struggle through the ordeals because of outdated machinery and equipment. At many instances, the club has to bear money from their pockets to meet their requirements.
  • Secondly, if half of the money gets unused at the end of the academic year, it is practically correct if the administration reduces the SAC fees worth Rs. 2500 per semester. Although the claims state that the money gets eventually utilized, the collection of this additional money under the ‘SAC Fees’ seems impractical.

While most of the societies have a considerable consumption of their allocated budget, the Technical Society’s expenditure sums up to only 1,85,889 INR out of the allocated 12 Lakh budget amount. While enquiring about the same, the Vice-Presidents of Technical Society, Prof. Manas Ranjan Tripathy and Prof. SK Behera respond:

It’s not that we do not want to approve the bills or are being an obstacle for spending the allocated budget money, but the clubs do not come up with their expenditures and bills with proper documentation. We cannot help if the clubs could not spend the allocated money.

Interestingly, the collection of SAC Expenditure proved to be a herculean task for Team Monday Morning. We were redirected by the President, SAC to the SAC office for the same. But, SAC does not maintain any organized or society/club-wise segregated records of the expenditures. A single register contains the information of all clubs, societies or associated expenditures in it without any proper demarcation. Putting it in simple words, for say, if anyone would like to track the expenditure of ‘Monday Morning’, you would receive only disappointment.

Regarding the budget utilisation, Prof. Snehashish Chakraverty, President, SAC responds:

If funds are saved from the SAC’s money it rightfully belongs to the students and is utilised for their benefits. It is in the hands of the administration to oversee such savings. It is going to the Corpus Fund and is utilised for the benefits of the students of the institute. We want students to come and give us proposals for the development plans for the SAC. 

THE ‘FANTASTIC’ FOUR:

 SAC comprises of 04 Societies, namely Technical Society, Literary Society, Arts and Cultural Society and Games and Sports Society. Prof. Snehashish Chakraverty, President, SAC has led the team in accomplishing various developmental goals and conducting various events.

TECHNICAL SOCIETY:

POSTS

NAMES

Vice-President

Prof. SK Behera

Vice-President

Prof. Manas Ranjan Tripathy

Secretary

Satyam Agrawalla

Secretary

Tamatam Krishna Reddy

Secretary

Tirumala Revanth

Secretary

P Dutta Sampath Kumar

Secretary(Dean’s Nominated)

Ayush Pradhan

Convenor, Innovision

Sainandan Mohanty

Convenor, Innovision

 Subhranshu Sahoo

Convenor, Innovision (Dean’s Nominated)

Rishitha Paga

 

LITERARY SOCIETY: 

POSTS

NAMES

Vice-President

Prof. Rohan Dhiman

Vice-President

Prof. Nivedita Patra

Secretary

Adarsh Choudhary

Secretary

MD. Tousif Ansari

Secretary

Ishan Jee Dhruv

Secretary

Braj Gopal

Secretary(Dean’s Nominated)

 Gaurav Panda

Convenor, NITRUTSAV

Anubhav Sharma

Convenor, NITRUTSAV

 Ranjeet Kumar

Convenor, NITRUTSAV (Dean’s Nominated)

Swapnil Sahoo

 

 GAMES AND SPORTS SOCIETY:

POSTS

NAMES

Vice-President

Prof. NK Vissa

Vice-President

Prof. Samit Ari

Secretary

Supreet Mohanty

Secretary

Dharamsoth Rajgopal

Secretary

Boda Ramu

Secretary

Mani Chandra Kunche

Secretary(Dean’s Nominated)

 Sri GV Nikhil

Convenor, VRIDDHI

Lankireddy Sashidhar Reddy

Convenor, VRIDDHI

 Subhakanta Sahoo

Convenor, VRIDDHI (Dean’s Nominated)

K.Vishnu Vardhan

 

ARTS AND CULTURAL SOCIETY:

POSTS                                                        

NAMES

Vice-President

Prof. SN Alam

Vice-President

Prof. Paresh G. Kale

Secretary

Sanatan Panda

Secretary

Suyash Ratan Pandey

Secretary

Rakesh Kumar Rabya

Secretary

Boddu Prithvi

Secretary (Dean’s Nominated)

 N Vivek Kumar

 Let’s take you to the land of Zimbabwe where the controversial political leader Robert Mugabe ruled the country for four decades. Among the myriads of controversies Mugabe is associated with his involvement in conducting corrupt and biased elections which speaks about his unethical practices the most. As a result, he won elections continuously for forty years and continued his legacy of pathetic governance. The land of NITR has a story not far from the same. The only difference that one can find is that we do not have a single Robert Mugabe but the numbers are many. The SAC Elections are nothing more than a scam where zone politics contribute to the final results. Influence of zone might not concern many, but this culture has been detrimental in producing responsible and efficient leaders and blocked the roads of various potential representatives.

But what’s more problematic is the inherent malpractices that have been imbibed in the system: the students, especially the freshmen are forced to share their ID and passwords and further used for voting purposes by the concerned parties. Although you might revolt against it, you would be dragged to vote in public in a single computer system. You could find such numerous unofficial ‘polling booths’ at various corridors of the hostel regulated by the infamous zones of the institution.

Regarding the issue, Swapnil Sahoo, Dean’s Nominated Convenor for NITRUtsav shared his opinion:

Most of the jeopardy associated with SAC is the result of unethical practices involved in the elections. If we could root out the influence of zone politics from the system, half of our war has been won. I would suggest that similar to the hall elections, we could conduct SAC Elections in LA itself; the turn out would be low and the process might be cumbersome, but transparency would be maintained. Eventually, we would get the best leaders.

Extending his views to the selection procedure of Dean’s Nominees:

Since the executive body of SAC witnesses some changes every year, the selection procedure for Dean’s Nominee should have panels consisting of Ex-Vice Presidents and Ex-representatives of the societies and fests. They might not have the final say but owing to their experience, their inputs must be considered as well.


CLUBS CONUNDRUMS:

NIT Rourkela has a club system where the clubs enjoy self-independence to an almost full extent keeping aside the issues involving the allocation of a budget under SAC where they feel like a flightless bird. Most of the clubs feel that the decreasing budget under SAC year by year for their respective clubs is a major hindrance to their club activities. Also, most of the clubs are oblivious to the creation of new rules and the modification of the existing ones. According to a new rule, the clubs first need to submit what they need to buy and its approximate cost. After citing the product from the government’s e-marketplace the SAC plans to buy the product directly.

As a result non-conformation to such updated rules and regulation poses a major hurdle in getting their bills passed. The majority of the delays stems from the fact that the authorities of the SAC are busy with academics as well, so their involvement in SAC as well as academics results in a plethora of administrative difficulties and complex procedural formalities. Team Monday Morning talked to a number of club heads holding different positions of responsibilities who shared their share of problems.

According to Team BMR,

The budget for SAE is declining year by year and the soaring inflation rates further fuels the fire. This year the rules for budgetary approvals were updated which was notified to us by September and as our competition is held in January, we have to start procuring items from July. Hence, due to this, we could not get reimbursement as the rule to take permission beforehand was not known by then. There was a hassle for the financial support from the SAC for SAE and other technical clubs due to which we are unable to get a complete clearance of the budget despite having transactions higher than that, which led to monetary pressure on the team members. The lack of e-limited tender process is also a issue we face as when posts are done to vendors, it results in a delay, even sometimes the posts don't reach. We would also suggest the online process for a limited tender, preferably below 1 lakh. However, we strongly believe to witness an improvement on our side and the SAC management so that the students have to worry less about the monetary issues and work more for the betterment.

The plea of technical clubs to increase the budget goes in vain. In spite of enhanced records of academic activities in the last academic year, the budget of many technical clubs was cut down. Such problems hamper the smooth functioning of the clubs.

Pratik Mohanty, the President of ASME further highlighted the plight of technical clubs that are bugged by such problems. According to him,

“The main problem faced by us was the procurement of materials and processing of bills.

We are engaged in the manufacture of Human Powered vehicles and Electric Solar vehicles. We had to procure seamless mild steel pipes and Chromoly pipes for our teams. We also had to buy new solar panels for our solar vehicle. We were asked by SAC officials to take pre-approval for all the purchases that were planned to be bought by ASME. We didn’t have any problem with initially but the thing is even if we provide a letter seeking permission it would be lying in the SAC office for weeks. This is what exactly happened while we were trying to procure new panels. Moreover, since the panels are quite difficult to procure we were asked by SAC to go through the tendering process and we found out that there was only one vendor who was supplying the panels of our requirement. We informed this to SAC and then they told that we should bring a written letter from the vendor that they are sole suppliers of such panels throughout India and only after that a tender would be put up by the Institute for the procurement of panels. However, in the whole country, there are other vendors too who are not listed on the internet but do local supply of panels and the vendor refused to issue any such letter. Our current system demands that purchases must be made through online mode. So due to this, we were not able to utilise club funds to procure panels and eventually our members had to pay totally for the panels from their own pockets. There is no ease of procuring costly vehicle components through SAC. Again previously there was no such rule of pre-approval for purchases so when we submit even the complete GST bills at SAC now, the bills are not accepted citing the reason that we had not taken any pre-approval.

Echoing similar views, Manisha Rath, the President of AIChE Club said,

“For AIChE, we have faced problems in reimbursing bills of the club. First we were told to submit the details of the expenses and amount required, signed by the Faculty Advisor prior to the event, so that they sanction it before the event. When we went with the above mentioned procedure, they told us the money will only get sanctioned after the expenses are done. Hence, we have to submit bills after expenditures. Though this is valid enough it lands the post holders in trouble. The members of the club can't contribute money to run the club, for long time. This hampers the club activities. Even Faculty Advisors are reluctant to give money to students prior to the event. Even there was a concern that out of a club of 60 people , why only 15 are participating and they won't sanction money for the competition unless the club get the signature of all the 60 members. As far as I know the faculty advisor and President has every right to decide where and whom will attend an event/competition. It feels that the SAC VPs have different policies for different clubs when we realised the such a treatment was not meted out to other clubs.”

Visibly disappointed by the indifference of the SAC officials to get their bills sanctioned, Abhinash Agasti, a member of Astro Club of NIT R said,

I had gone to SAC for getting a form for money withdrawal in advance which was not applicable from this year onwards. However, I was given this form without the knowledge of this updated rule and had to fill it up and submit. The month of December was “wasted” while I was staying here for some academic work related to my department, and the form turned to be of no use.

He further added:

This recently introduced initiative is a lengthy yet good one and certainly increases the transparency of the process but the loopholes need redressal as well. The government e-marketplace has a limited range of products. We had to contact a private vendor and cite a quotation from them.  After that, we submitted all the requisite documents and on each step, they pointed out the flaws. We submitted the documents by February after the rectification of each of those flaws. Even after that, I had been running to SAC and behind the concerned officials for sanctioning it. The official asked me to answer to the comments written on each of the documents while no comments have been written. I once saw him coming out of the SAC building and then I asked him if he had seen to that. He denied having found our documents but when I went inside I found them lying there. I don’t know how to go further if they don’t want to get it sanctioned.

Clubs like Axiom and Codehub mentioned how the unending SAC rules and regulations to pass the bills, reimburse the money or book money in advance make the students face heavy brunt all the time in terms of their valuable time and money.

Sometimes you feel rules cannot be generalised for all the clubs. Speaking in favour of this statement, Akshita Singh, the President of Leo Club of NIT Rourkela said,

The major problem faced by us is that the bills are sanctioned towards the end of the semester. It hampers the functioning of the club due to the lack of funds. Also we are asked to submit the pre-approval form 15 days prior to the event but since we are a social service club and we have to visit orphanages, old-age homes, etc.  the dates may change based on their convenience due to which at times we get less than 15 days to inform.

Speaking about the dilapidated condition of the SAC building, Shradhanshu Padhihary, the President of Euphony said,

We are facing a serious issue on the maintenance of music room. The music room is not being cleaned properly. Their is a shortage in space. It becomes very clumsy. With the lack of proper ventilation it gets really warm inside the room. Besides this, there is no proper check on the gears and instrument used in the music room which makes it very easy for fellow students both club as well as non-club to take the gears to their room or give it to someone else who doesn’t belong to any of the music clubs. Besides this there are many malpractices going on. For example a duplicate key was made by a club to practice beyond the permitted time and then a melodica was given to a non musical club guy for his personal recording purpose.

As the popular saying goes, it takes two to tango, the truth stands inevitable. While the clubs face the heat due to woes like the administrative lacunae, complex and time-consuming procedural formalities, indifference of the SAC officials, failure to revamp the dilapidated SAC building, the SAC officials continue to accuse the clubs of non-compliance with the existing rules and regulations and ignorance to the revised ones for the same.

In such a sticky situation, the encumbrance lies on both the parties to reach a mutual understanding through talking and asking questions. Most importantly, it becomes ineluctable for both the parties to realise the gravity of their positions of responsibility and authority as well as be conscious and vigilant to the call of their duties. Team MM reasoned with various heads of the clubs who suggested a few ideas to address these loopholes.

According to them,

We would suggest that a number of seminars and sessions must be conducted about the procedures, methods and changes for a better mutual understanding. It will benefit the new officials as well as the new team members and remove the air of doubt surrounding their rules and regulations. Also there is need for the proper documentation of the existing rules and the changes made along with the measures to increase the awareness among various clubs about the rules. At times there is a confusion between authorities and clubs regarding the intent of rule resulting in referring of the documents to senior authorities which was again time-consuming and discouraging.

TRANSPARENCY: ERROR 404

At multiple instances, especially in post-fest articles, Team Monday Morning has brought up the various malpractices involved in fests and events to the limelight. The claims had proofs which upon investigation can yield fruitful results. One such incident needs to be shared:

One of the secretaries of Technical Society, Ayush Pradhan had submitted a written complaint stating the instances where one of the convenors of Innovision was indulged in unethical malpractices. The application hinted at the part of the sponsorship amount being transferred into Convenor’s personal account instead of SAC’s account. The case did not witness any progress until our investigation started last month. The Vice Presidents of Technical Society have redirected the case to the higher authorities and justice can henceforth be expected.

Quoting one of the secretaries of Literary Society (anonymous):

One of the major issues in SAC is the way of working of the SAS officers. As most of the Vice-Presidents of different societies are new, the SAS officers tend to manipulate the VPs regarding monetary issues and involve in money manipulation. There is a huge issue regarding transparency with the SAS officer. For example, the entire decorations of any fest could be possible within 1 Lakh but they would pass the tender of 2 Lakh which raises eyebrows. Another example include the case of Jerseys provided to the Institute players where the Jerseys are billed upto Rs. 1800 per set but these are of inferior quality. Better sets are given at much lower price of Rs.1000 and Rs.1200.

The cases of fake tendering as reported during the management of Celebrity Night also raise severe questions on the transparency of the Student Activity Centre. Although SAC has numerous vendors registered under it who provides services on credit, as a matter of practice, most of the transactions involve 1-2 vendors only. These vendors get the estimated budget amount through their sources and claim the exact amount of money while sending enquiries. For example, although a printing task has been allocated a budget of 1.5 Lakh INR, the vendor asks for exactly 1.5 Lakh but practically, the task could be accomplished with 1 Lakh INR itself. This practice serves to be a win-win situation between both the parties.

Discussing these issues, Prof. Snehashish Chakraverty, President, SAC responds:

For such cases, we have the ISDC. We can only forward the matter to them. Investigation can be initiated only if there is a complaint in written form. I once noticed that one of the certificates had my digitally generated signature. I did not approve of it. They should take approval from me before uploading such digitally signed documents. Many students leave the institution to participate in the competitions, then come back and tell that they had gone for the same. I cannot run after the students so I feel more careful and responsible students should take the lead. Comparing it with the situation that prevailed two years ago, I think the situation is far better now considering the savings, paper work, etc. Now every certificate issued bears a number along with the name and roll number of the student entered in the SAC record book. 

Although the malpractice cases at SAC tend to become open-secret, no enquiries are conducted for the same. Regarding the issue, Prof. Rohan Dhiman, Vice-President, Literary Society tells:

It would require an official complaint regarding any such malpractice. Since I haven’t received any, I could not take any step towards the issue.

For the same queries, Prof. Nivedita Patra, VP (Literary Society) responded:

I have heard that some student co-ordinators are involved in money making. However most of the times students understand and admit their mistakes and then we are liberal with them and no one punishes them. Our approach is to make them realize their mistakes and let them mend their ways in order to avoid making bigger blunders when they step out in the job arena.

THE PROTOCOLS AND PROCESSES: A MARATHON

While it’s an additional burden on the Vice-Presidents to look into SAC affairs along with their primary works involving researches and lectures, going by the same narrative, it’s a humongous task for students to cope up with the tiring processes. Despite reminders and a lot of coaxing, SAC officials and clerks never really bother to get even a signature done. The Club heads have to go through a series of protocols to get approval or reimbursement.

We clear all the bills within 1-2 days but if there are any discrepancies we recommend changes in documentation and demand clarifications. But the clubs fail to adhere to the rules which results in delay.

-Prof. MR Tripathy and Prof. SK Behera

Most of the times, due to either unawareness or negligence, the clubs commit mistakes in drafting bills and applications. Those official documents after being processed demand clarifications from the club side which further delays the process. Due to lack of manpower in terms of SAS officers and other working members, the bills even after being approved by VPs get piled up in SAC Office and takes months for its clearance.

The reimbursement process also takes a huge time and upon asked about it, Prof. Rohan Dhiman responds:

SAC serves as the initiation point for reimbursement process. The files have to be processed by other departments including Internal Audit and Finance because of which the entire process gets lengthened.

On asking about the pathetic speed in processing files and bills at SAC, Prof. Nivedita Patra responded:

I agree it is a very tiresome process. I lost a lot of weight just to get one band show bill passed. The process is so time consuming because there are so many bills to be processed in every event. At the same time the cumbersome process of passing through three departments is necessary in order to avoid processing of spurious bills.

On this issue, Prof. Snehashish Chakraverty responds:

The procedure is certainly lengthy. Coming to the online mode, we do not have a fully developed SAC website yet. It becomes the responsibility of the students to do that. So let the students find a way out.

SAC requires automation where a particular database has to be maintained regarding the budget and associated expenditures of the particular clubs and societies. This would, in turn, bring transparency and reduce the efforts in the compilation of data.

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: DO THEY EXIST?

On asked about the roles and responsibilities of Secretaries, Prof. Nivedita Patra, Vice-President, Literary Society responded:

I only have idea about VP, student co-ordinators, faculty advisors and SAC officials. I don’t have any idea about the existence of any society secretaries.

Most of the secretaries agreed to the fact that they are quite unsure about their roles and responsibilities. SAC lacks a proper constitution and rule book stating the roles, rights and responsibilities of various stakeholders of the Student Activity Centre. For example, during NITRUtsav, the convenors were not very sure about the conduction of Celebrity Night which comes under the radar of Arts and Cultural Society.

Sanatan Panda, Secretary, Arts and Cultural Society comments:

The secretaries were not invited even to discuss club budget allocation or annual schedule of SAC Activities. As a result, the officials who decided the budget allocation forgot to mention the annual budget for ROOTS 3.0. I never get a mail to attend any meetings of SAC as well.

Regarding the issue, Prof. SN Alam, VP, Arts and Cultural Society states:

It is not true that society secretaries are not called for regular meetings. Many a times they have been called for the meetings. However this point should be noted and in future all secretaries should be called for the meeting. Budget allocation is done by the VP but is shared with the secretaries and along with it any suggestion is incorporated and in future, I would suggest that the secretaries are more involved.

Contributing to the above fact, Satyam Agrawalla, Secretary, Technical Society also responded:

We are not involved in the regular meetings of SAC and hence there exists a miscommunication between the officials and student community. Moreover, while the bills and approval requests of the clubs are srutinised, we should also have a say so that we could convey the demands and problems of the clubs properly.

Sanatan Panda further states that:

The administration has been more concerned about the Director’s choice rather than caring about students’ ideas or needs. Ironically, the Director never shared his ideas or interacted with the students or the representatives to know about the problems. To procure something, you need an approval that requires signatures of 6-7 persons and the entire process takes weeks to get accomplished. Moreover, the paper work here is quite complex which adds on to the already cumbersome process.

While we enquired about the roles and responsibilities of SAS officers, Prof. Snehashish Chakraverty, President, SAC states:

We have 2 SAS officers, one for Sports and other for Music, fests, etc. Anything related to the above areas must get the approval of the concerned officer. Students might be involved in the tendering process along with the SAS officers, VPs, etc. Students are always welcome to lend a helping hand. However at the end of the day if things go wrong the onus is on the SAS officers, VPs, the President because they have made the final call.

The Assistant Registrar, Student Welfare has been on leave for around 4 months and there has been no one in charge of the post. Since all the documentation and filing processes have been carried out without any substitute of the post, the roles and responsibilities of the post are doubtful. But it’s a matter of fact that the convenors found it difficult to carry out the administrative procedures without the Assistant Registrar.

The Secretaries and Convenors opine that the scrapping of posts like the Director’s Nominee and Student Representative in Purchasing Committee has led to poor communication between them and the administration in general.

Regarding the involvement of students’ representatives, President, SAC responds:

The celebrity night ritual during the NU was cancelled this year. If we allocate a budget of Rs. 85,000 to any club, it is the responsibility of the students to mobilise the funds efficiently and inform us about their needs. We cannot ignore the loopholes. Student representatives are always called but they do not turn up for the meetings. Earlier they used to receive emails but now I believe they do not receive emails for all the meetings. When we decide on the micro-budget of the clubs, we take into account the opinions of all the student representatives. If the secretaries of the societies are not called then it might be an individual case concerning a few VPs but they should be called and most probably they are also being called.

“UN”AWARENESS:

It’s nothing but a tragedy that secretaries do not understand their roles and responsibilities and one of the VPs is not very sure about the existence of Secretaries. But what makes the entire scenario worse is the lack of awareness among the Clubs of the institute. Although a meeting was called during the initial weeks of the academic year that covered the agendas of processes and protocols, it did not serve the purpose. The complexity of the rules and regulations make it difficult for both the officials and clubs to follow the norms.

Secretaries need to serve as a bridge between the clubs and the administration to facilitate a dialogue and improve awareness. Regular meetings could improve the situation where the administration could hear the progress and grievances of various clubs. It is doubtful if such meetings are conducted but the involvement of secretaries in such meetings is quite low.

But the story does not end at unawareness. At multiple times, the clubs do not adhere to the norms and regulations. Although a mail was circulated to most of the club heads and faculty advisors regarding the protocols of approvals, clubs tend to disobey them. One of the instances includes a case where a club of Technical Society copied the signatures of the associated Vice-President which can be classified under a heinous crime. The club members participate in various state and national level contests without seeking approvals for the same. But the Vice-Presidents of SAC have been cooperative in such extreme scenarios as well. The clubs do not comply with the comments/queries asked by the officials in the submitted applications as well.

One of the major mistakes, as indicated by the SAC officials, include the problem of low participation of clubs in various Institute-organised conferences, talks, seminars or fests like Roots. The empty BBA and TIIR auditorium paints a very disappointing picture in front of the esteemed guests and dignitaries that eventually put the institute’s image at stake.

THE FETID GROUND OF MISCONDUCTS AND INEFFICIENCY:

A fiasco occurred during the tendering process of Celebrity Night which was managed by Ranjeet Kumar, Convenor, NITRUtsav 2019 and regarding the same his response was:

We had sent 14 enquiries and received 5 quotations via post and these were accepted by SAC but we came to know that few quotations have been stolen from SAC itself. The number of stolen quotations remain unclear. Out of these 05 quotations, 02 were present inside a single envelope and other 03 had problems in the documentation.

On the contrary, our sources also hinted about the possibilities of fake tenders responsible for the cancellation of Celebrity Night. But the fact that baffles us the most is, no enquiries or actions have been taken to discover the root problems. Although complaints might not have been filed since the tendering process of Celebrity Night concerned all parties and any discrepancies in it should voluntarily be looked into by the SAC officials.

Regarding the conduct of Celebrity Night, Prof. SN Alam, VP (Art and Cultural Society) says:

The tender for Musical/Celebrity Night has been floated and is under process. 19th of April has been fixed for the show and we hope to successfully host the show this time. Sanatan, Vikas and Ranjeet are involved in the process. I strongly feel that the Celebrity Night should be successfully hosted this time.Moreover, E-tendering is being done for the event this time and hence, chances of any malpractice is negligible now.

Prof. Snehashish Chakraverty states:

Any action can be taken against the defaulters only if the proof exists. Even in the fake tendering we might know the defaulters but we are helpless since we don’t have the proof to punish them. We cannot take action based on their confessions because someone might be lying to protect the other.

Talking about the state of Sports Society in NITR, Supreet Mohanty, Secretary (Games and Sports Society) states:

Considering the fact that we are an institute of National Importance, the emphasis given to sports here is inadequate and the funds provided to the society is not enough. We lack the required employees, both for official and groundwork. We have a lot to do in the infrastructure, for example, the football stadium is not maintained. No steps have been taken for growing grass in the field nor we have facilities for watering at DTS. The processes involving monetary issues are quite lengthy and cumbersome. Moreover, the working space in SAC is terribly small and it becomes quite difficult during the fest.

THE (SAC)RED DECREE:

In a meeting held at SAC on 29 August 2018, the following rules have been laid down regarding the protocols involved in approvals:

 

Sl. NO.

Budget    

The time required for the approvals prior to activities

1.

Without financial assistance  

Before 7 days

2.

Less than 25,000/-

Before 15 days

3.

Rs. 25,000 or above

Before 30days

 

The initiation (signature from the Faculty Adviser) for different clubs must be done before the time period mentioned as above.

Budgetary approvals for the major functions in SAC (Tech Fest, Nitrutsav, Sports Fest and Multiethnic) should be taken by the concerned VPs of the society from the competent authority before 3 months.

The purchasing rules are as follows:

Ref.

Rule of GFR 2017

NIT       Rourkela    Purchase Limits

The process to be followed

Competent Authority for Approval

 Competent Payment Authority for Approval

Rule 154.

Purchase of Goods without Quotation

Up to Rs.25000

Without Quotation:

Purchase can be made through GeM/NITR Rate Contract/Directly from the supplier

HOD/HOC/PI/Registrar

Registrar

   Rs.25001 to

Rs.50000

Without Quotation:

Purchase can be made through GeM/NITR Rate Contract Only

HOD/HOC/PI/Registrar

(Except frequently used common items such as stationeries, Printer cartridge)

Registrar

With Quotation:

  Single Quotation through a duly constituted three-member committee (if the item is not  available through GeM or not covered under NITR Rate Contract)

HOD/HOC/PI/Registrar

Registrar

  Rule 155. Purchase of Goods through Local Purchase Committee

  Rs. 50001 to

 Rs. 100000

  Limited Tender/ Local Purchase Committee (at least 3 member Committee)/ NITR Rate Contract

 

NOTE:

Efforts to be made to purchase through GeM in the method of Limited Tender/Bidding

Else through NITR Rate Contract/ Three member Local Purchase Committee

HOD/HOC/PI/Registrar

Registrar

   Rs 100001 to

 Rs.

250000

All Deans in their respective areas

Registrar

Rule 158 & 160 Purchase Goods Through

 

      i)Advertised Tender Enquiry

 

ii)

Limited Tender Enquiry

 

iii)

Two Stage Bidding

 

iv)    Single Tender Enquiry

 

v)

Electronic Reverse Auction

Rs.250001

To

Rs.25 Lakh

GeM/e-Procurement

Director

Director

Rule 160 & 161  Purchase

of Goods   through Open Tender

Rs.   2500001 to

Rs.

5 Crore

GeM/e-Procurement

Director

Director

Rs.

  50000001

   And above

GeM/e-Procurement

FC & BOG

Director

 

  • While the budget is under 25,000 INR and the mode of purchase is Direct Purchase, you have to present original GST Bills for the expenditure for approval and reimbursement.
  • Rate Contract: To speed up the process, Rate Contract can be opted instead of Limited Tendering where the goods and services are procured from the registered vendors in SAC, NIT Rourkela and the purchase can be made directly on credit basis without any tendering process.
  • Limited Tendering: This involves sending enquiries to at least 06 parties and must receive 03 valid quotations and the lowest priced quotation gets the Purchase Order.
  • GeM: Government e-Marketplace is an online site hosted by Government of India for commonly used Goods and Services. The Govt. has invited the prospective suppliers to register themselves in the site and simultaneously made it mandatory for all ministries, departments and all statutory and autonomous bodies to procure their Goods and Services through this site. In case, your desired product is not available in GeM, you are expected to go for Limited Tendering Process.

 

In case, the club wants to organize an event in April when the budget allocation has not been done yet, special permissions and budget approvals can be done by the President, SAC.

We had circulated a rule book consisting of around 20 rules in the month of July last year. No student seems to follow that. However, students come to us at the eleventh hour and if we refuse to accept they report it to the director. Even some Faculty Advisors request to us accept their demands. Earlier we used to conduct meetings club-wise on a regular basis but the students did not turn up for the same as a result we had to stop the practice. If students genuinely have any grievances, they should report it to me and not just go around ranting about the same.

-Prof. Snehashish Chakraverty, President, SAC

THE CRUMBLING FORTRESS:

The SAC Building demands major revamps and renovations. The building is quite small to harbour the various clubs and their needs. Many clubs have been requesting for separate rooms for storing their equipment or practice sessions. The SAC lacks female washrooms and on enquired, Japes Bera, Dean, Planning and Development responded:

We were not aware of that. Put a requisition to SAC and we shall construct once we get a request from SAC.

On this issue, President, SAC tells:

This is an administrative problem. Some changes have been initiated but by the time they are completed my tenure as the President would have ended.

Moreover, the SAC website is hardly functional and doesn’t serve the major purpose. It does not include any updates regarding the ongoing activities. No database is being maintained regarding the budget and expenditures of clubs as well.

THE TEARY EPILOGUE:

NITR's SAC isn’t SACred. But the responsibility of making it one lies with us. Us here refers to everyone including the NITR Junta who are expected to cast their vote with integrity and elect honest and reliable leaders; Us also refers to the elected or nominated Secretaries and Convenors who need to make the processes and protocols more transparent; Us also includes the officials who would channelize their efforts in improving the quality and credibility of the Student Activity Centre and Us comprises of the myriads of clubs which prove to be the soul of NITR.

In the words of Prof. Snehashish Chakraverty, President, SAC:

We have improved enormously.We have been maintaining records where every paperwork contains a duplicate copy. No event was hampered due to funds issue but I feel there should be genuine spending of the budget that would be channelized for the student’s benefits. I, personally do not sign on any document blindly rather send back the documents needing approval with a few questions and comments, if discrepancies exist.We have humongous talents in our campus itself and it’s the need of the hour that we must explore them. This provides exposure for such talents and we can also cut down on the unnecessary spendings.

More than anything, SAC demands automation taking care of budgets and expenditures. To keep the vibrant club culture of NITR growing, the sets of rules and regulations need to be optimised to reduce delays and fasten the pace. Right from the elections, zone politics and vote tamperings must be rooted out from the system. Student Representatives need to proactively bridge the gap between the administration and student community and deservedly provide us with integrity and transparency. While every stakeholder has his fair share of valid story, the plots do not together become meaningful because of lack of appreciable communication among them. The practice of stringent actions against the culprits and corrupts is entirely missing in the practical rule book of SAC. Strong cooperation is required from the clubs and societies to adhere to the norms and implement innovations that would enhance the quality of events and fests. The ‘SAC’red Games at NITR has numerous Ganesh Gaitondes and if such a situation continues, doomsday would reach earlier than ‘Pachees Din.’

Team Monday Morning wishes the Student Activity Centre to witness multiple improvements in the upcoming years and contribute to providing larger than life experience to the people of NIT Rourkela.

 

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