Gauging Down Some Technical Fragments: Technical Society Review
Among all the societies, what gleams the most is the 'Technical Society' in any Technical Institute, and NIT Rourkela is one of the top technical institutes of India catering clubs related to nearly every reasonable arena be it coding, mathematics, race car designing, aerodynamics, etc.
Presently, there are 27 clubs under this society, which provides all the passionate students. a plethora of shots to persevere their scholarly interests all year round. Apart from having a wide range of clubs, the technical society is also accountable for organizing one of the biggest and most comprehensive techno-management fests of Odisha, The INNOVISION.
Investigating the pursuits of this society in detail, Team Monday Morning brings you yet another edition of the Technical Society Review.
The Working Body:
Under the directions of two VPs, the technical society is run by five society secretaries( four elected and one nominated ) who are the representatives. There are three Convenors for Innovision( two elected and one appointed). The details of the student representatives have been tabulated below:
Prof. S.K. Behera
Prof Manas R. Tripathy
Vanam Naveen Kumar
Kethavath Naveen Naik
Kakumanu Sai Reddy
Convenor, Innovision (Dean’s Nominated)
Shrantik Kumar Dey
With an increase in the seats of the Undergraduate Seats, the budget allocated to different societies has also expanded amongst which the total budget of the technical society estimates for about 15 percent of the total SAC budget. Out of those 30 lakhs, Innovision has a share of 16 lakhs, 1 lakh goes to TechX, another 1 lakh to different workshops and some other club activities leaving behind a sum of 12 lakhs for the clubs. Here is a detailed division of the club budget allocation:
However, this allocation seems a bit unfair as the tech society receives less budget to carry out its club activities as compared to other clubs. Although the clubs of other societies are equally important, the cost of materials required for the operation of technical clubs is higher than others. Satyaranjan Mallick, the third-year representative of the society had the following to say:
This year, the student representatives weren’t involved in planning the budget of the societies, it was only the president,the VPs, Dean SW and SAS Officers involved, so we didn’t have much role and couldn’t exactly ask the reason for the low budget of the society. Even we feel the need to increase and allocate the budget as compared to the earlier scenarios. This year the final Budget was allotted around august last. If the budget gets allocated before the beginning of the new academic year i.e around April last then the clubs will have sufficient time to plan out their upcoming events more easily.
Since the Elections happened late last year, student representatives’ opinions could not be incorporated in the distribution of SAC Budget, but individual society’s secretaries were involved in the budget allocation of the concerned society.
We stretched our search to a few clubs to have a glimpse of the real scenario. This is what the president’s of these clubs had to say,
We talked to the president of Udaan, Ajay. This is what he said,
The technical society comprises of around 27 clubs. The budget allocated gets reduces a lot. Also, the technical clubs have material requirements, that would be very costly and an increase in the budget should happen so that students can pursue their interests in the specified area. But it would be great if they screen out all the inactive clubs. Technical Society doesn't need quantity but it requires quality. If the number of clubs is limited, the remaining clubs get enough part of the share.
He further added,
We had requested for a budget of 43k and we got a budget of 20k. The previous year budget was 16k, which was not sufficient in the last academic year. No reason has been stated regarding that allocation and they said the club funding increases /decreases according to previous year performance. Technical society VPs, student representatives and club heads meet around once in 2 months. But recently this year there is a WhatsApp group for all the tech society representatives and club heads, in which all the queries are being answered.
Many students have a lot of enthusiasm to pursue their interests but they couldn't move further in that domain because of funding issues and sponsorship problem. We want a system where no student or club should wait or stop their work because of monetary issues. At the same time, students should know the importance of money and try to minimise their spending through various designs and simulations.
CEST President Bedank Agarwal said:
The Technical Society can be improved drastically if the paperwork and other bottlenecks are cleared off the paths of club personnel, and there is cooperation and collaboration amongst all the clubs under the umbrella of the society.
The delay in paperwork processing causes a lot of inconvenience to us sometimes causing us to postpone the event/work. An application/bill can spend months at the SAC tray without getting any attention, if the whole SAC could be brought online, it will certainly save the time of everyone involved. Some thought was given to the same I guess, but due to the lack of proper technical support, it too got shelved.
The budget allotment in our society was a bit delayed this year, because of which we had to postpone some of our financial decisions, as we were not sure of the budget we would be given.
Also, due to lots of clubs in the tech society, each club gets limited funds
Overall, technical society having the same budget as other societies makes no sense when our stuff is much more costly.
He further added,
As far as leaves are concerned, my club hasn't faced any issues till now(since 2017)
In terms of budget allocation, I really think technical clubs need more budget, technical fest needs more budget than cultural fests.
Clubs such as SAE, ASME work on big projects and competitions that even take up to a year or more to complete. These clubs need to start working from summer itself and for this, they require a budget and all the paperwork including permissions and grants to buy equipment. But the budget itself gets allocated around mid-august to august end leaving clubs with no option other than saving previously allotted budget and using it.
On being asked for a solution of more efficient budget allocation system, Satyajit Raiguru, Deans nominee had the following to say:
There is a plan to make a list of all the clubs who have not utilized their budget for a particular year. It is obvious that if they don't utilize their budget then their budget would be reduced next year. But at the same time, we must track the activities of those clubs so that they don't repeat the same thing. To tackle this problem, there should be a method of semester wise expenditure review specifically for those clubs who have not used their budget in the previous year.
He further added,
In this process, SAC should ask those clubs to give a budget plan semester wise; where they must spend their budget of the first semester in the first semester itself. If they don't utilize the part of their allocated budget in the first semester then that fund should be transferred to a club in the society who is actually in need and has used its allocated budget.
Post-Innovision period is all that clubs have in hand to carry out technical activities but this too becomes a tedious work for them due to lack of slots to conduct events or workshops and much time-consuming permission granting process.
TECHX Why did we miss on it again?
TechX is supposed to be held every year and a separate budget is allotted for the same. but even this year, TechX couldn't be organized due to lack of slots and timing of other institute events. Unlike last year, this year the budget seemed to be sufficient for the organization of various workshops and exhibitions of TechX but due to late allocation of budget and lack of slots and timing clashing with other institute events, TechX couldn't take place this year as well.
Regarding the bill clearance and reimbursement process, Satyaranjan Mallick had the following to say:
The bill from SAC officials gets cleared within 3-4 days and is redirected to the Financial Department of the institute which takes more than a month to get cleared. Since the financial department of the institute deals with all the financial activities of the institute, it isn’t surprising that the SAC related bills take too much time to get clearance. It doesn’t matter at what time of a month you apply for reimbursement, it takes more than a month to get cleared. In order to get any particular bill cleared quickly, it is more effective if students approach the financial department, through professors, faculty advisors or personally go and request for quicker bill clearance.
INNOVISION- their esteem:
Every year some proportion of the budget allotted to the Technical Society is dedicated to the conduction of workshops, Technical seminars, and projects. But a notable part is held by Innovision. This year too, Innovision had in its share 15 lakhs (16 lakhs was for the pro shows). Establishing its excellence, Innovision each year sets a new benchmark by being the largest techno-management fest of the region. Innovision'19 was the 16th edition since the rebranding from the confluence. The fest this time saw a total of 2103 check-ins making it the most extensive Innovision in the history of NIT Rourkela. Along with the bracing pro-shows, this Innovision brought 60+ events and workshops, making it a tremendous breakthrough. With the provision of a fully-function website and a successful app, Inno'19 took care of all the small needs of the participants providing them live updates over the application.
NITR Junta also witnessed the first edition of INNfluence which served as a warm-up package to the college students and a set of significant events for the young minds from various schools of Rourkela.
In a meeting held at Senate Hall on 14 February 2020, in the presence of President, SAC, VPs of various societies, SAC Student representatives, club representatives and MM Chief Coordinators, SAC has the following to say:
Delay in processing bills and reimbursements is usually not at the SAC level. SAC tries its best to process the bills as early as possible. Moreover, during the peak weeks like any fests or crucial events, the processing might be delayed because of the lack of manpower in SAC. We are always ready to cooperate with the club and assist them in any of their productive ventures.
There is still much scope of improvement in technical society when it comes to proper budget allocation on time, bill clearances and reimbursements, clearly explaining the post holders about the SAC rules and proper interaction between technical society representatives and club post holders. Clubs should also take up their issues with much seriousness and bring any major issue in the notice of the society representative on time. Being a technical institute, more quality output is expected from the clubs of NIT Rourkela in terms of competitions, projects, and international representation of our institute. Team MM hopes that these flaws are amended and the NITR populace gets to experience the best that SAC can provide.