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Volume 19 Issue 3
AMB ULA NCE
→→P2: Message from Dean, AP →→P8: IIT-B’s Mission and Vision →→P16: How Do Institute Finances Work?
2 DEAN’S LETTER
PARTING SHOT A message for students, a few weeks before my tenure as Dean Academic Programmes ends. The original intent was to clarify a few things about course feedback, but like most profs, I got carried away and wrote quite a bit more! Course feedback A big part of the institute’s activities and a significant chunk of a faculty member’s responsibility is teaching. It is important to keep track of this and to continuously improve. Honest and timely student feedback (students being the main beneficiaries of this activity) is essential. The current form for the purpose of feedback was designed some 5 years ago and perhaps it can be further improved, but with whatever imperfections the procedure currently has, this is an appeal to students to participate in this task. It has already been said that course feedback is the sole criterion for the Excellence in Teaching awards that the institute gives teachers. In addition, student feedback is compiled by the Head of the Department and a few senior faculty members as part of the annual performance appraisal of faculty, which has been recently introduced. In extreme cases, when there are complaints, for example, the Director or ‘the administration’ can take some actions based on course feedback by students. However, the most important aspect of course feedback is to provide individual faculty with constructive and specific inputs, which allows him or her to grow as a teacher, improve pedagogy, adjust contents, pace and support activities, and overall make learning a better experience. Unfortunately, this feedback will begin to impact only subsequent batches and offerings of the course. For immediate or mid-stream corrections, by far the best thing for students to do is to talk to the instructor and convey politely and specifically any problems they may be facing. It needs to be said that individual faculty members do go through their course feedback reports with attention and often are able to take corrective measures.
Two points to reassure students.One – course feedback is completely anonymous and the identity of the student (including the comments section) is NOT available to faculty. Two – course feedback does not affect grading in that semester, and is made available to faculty only after grades have been submitted to the institute. Over-registration Nowadays it is common to go out for meals (especially at weddings and high-end buffet restaurants) where one can sample a number of different dishes and perhaps then eat a little (or a lot!) more of one or more cuisines. The term ‘course’ may confuse you a little (main course, four-course meal, etc.) but course registration in a semester should be planned a little differently and with some commitment. You may like to consult the instructor, faculty advisor, senior students, whomever before you register for a course. The tone of a course is often set in the first week and it is very discouraging and disconcerting for faculty to find many students dropping out later and also seeing some others drifting in after a few lectures, hoping to find something of their interest in a languid way. While flexibility and tagging and additional learning is all very well, it has reached levels where too many electives are being tasted and dropped, and there is huge traffic in dropped courses, withdrawn courses, additional learning courses with low impact on CPI, to the extent that students have only a hazy idea of what they may do in a semester, even in the first week. This seems wasteful and the ‘real’ world later on will not permit such a casual approach to work commitments. There could be some hurdles for serious students to plan their work – for example, incomplete information about courses to be offered, slot information, timetabling, but we can work together on those.
Letter from Professor Narayan Rangaraj, Dean, Academic Programmes
Research at the dual degree and M.Tech level The M.Tech (and M.Phil) courses of the institute, and the B.Tech-M.Techdual degree courses have been planned with an expectation of significant research participation (14 months of work by a wellqualified individual who has made it through a tough system) and it is now clear that the delivered output of this is somewhat low, to put it politely. Faculty are debating how best to redesign these programmes, but in the meanwhile students should really make the best of this opportunity to do something significant. The students in these programmes are often “placed” (an annoying word, more suitable for pawns on a chessboard, but what to do?) in a big whirligig of pre-placement, internship, aptitude tests, interviews and endless CV-polishing, with a little hint of incestuous relationships with seniors who have gone through the same hoops a year or three ago. I have seen with interest how students have convinced themselves that all the desirable qualities that are required to get placed are somehow at odds with the contents of their degree! Used to be a time when good performance in a Master’s project would help in getting a good job– now it seems like IF a student gets a good job, and is sufficiently relaxed, THEN he/she may deign to work a little on a project. This is not what we had in mind! While wishing all the students the best in their careers, this anomaly needs correction. We are doing what strikes us as faculty, but students should come forward, too, as it is a question of good use of time during a very productive period of their lives.
Doctoral research We have increased our focus on doctoral research and the number of research scholars is slowly growing. A doctoral degree is the highest academic degree awarded by the institute, and it is given for some significant contribution to knowledge. Experts in a field assess the thesis, and the assessment is necessarily subjective and qualitative. It takes some maturity to do the kind of research that a doctoral degree needs. Some students who come in may not meet requirements, because of area mismatch or because of their background and performance at this stage in their career or for some other reason. All departments are increasing their standards and expectations from the doctoral programme and students would have to accordingly adjust. In particular, breadth through coursework and other means, and also the ability to communicate (both technically and in non-technical matters) are very important for your future careers. Finally… With all its warts, IIT B is a place where students and faculty come to study and work from all over India, and in a small way, from across the world. One should strive not to lose the openness as well as intellectual rigour that make it a good institution, and there I am most hopeful that our students will keep these institutional values intact.
4 IIT-B’s HOSPITAL REVIEW
It is a universally acknowledged truth that a residential campus in possession of a large populace must be in want of a good hospital. However, little is known about the functioning of IIT-Bombay’s in-campus hospital also referred to as ‘the hospi’, and an air of mistrust and resignation surrounds students when they talk about experiences with the hospital. It’s hard to escape the feeling that students think that the hospi is ineffective in dealing with issues it has been set up to face. Here, we hope to inform students of the hospi’s capabilities and limitations in turn (after a tete-a-tete with Chief Medical Officer Dr. Nisha Shah), and do so by looking at: →→Some general trivia. →→Is the hospital equipped to deal with mental health issues? →→The curious case of reimbursements. →→Problems plaguing the hospital. →→The issue of pink slips. →→An appeal from the CMO. General Trivia ☝☝What is the primary function of the IIT-B hospital? The hospi serves as a primary referral centre and is equipped to perform basic diagnosis and treat common ailments. For complex cases, specialist doctors visit the hospital, or the doctor refers the patient to other hospitals. The cases which are referred outside are usually of those students who had been initially admitted to the hospi, and the institute itself takes care of all the expenses. ☝☝What are the hospital timings? The Out Patient Department (OPD) remains open from 8 am to 6 pm on all working days (Monday to Friday). It also stays open from 10:30 am to 12 noon on Saturday and Sunday to treat patients.
HOSPITALITY @HOSPI IITB
Emergency services are available 24 x 7. If there’s an emergency, you can walk in at any time of the day and get first-aid treatment or a referral. ☝☝What procedures or rules exist to ensure a high quality standard amongst doctors working at the hospi? Similar to applications for staff and official positions at the institute level, an advertisement is released in the newspapers broadcasting the availability of positions. A written test followed by interviews conducted by a director-appointed board ensue, following which the final selections are made. Most doctors either have an MD or an MBBS with some having additional qualifications. ☝☝I want to get vaccinated for a certain disease. When can I visit the hospital? Vaccines are available every Monday between 3 pm to 5 pm. You need to pre-register for the vaccine on any day from Monday to Thursday before 5 pm in the hospital. ☝☝Can I get a surgery done at the IIT-B Hospital? Elective surgeries are discouraged as far as possible. However, if one is planned at the Hospital, the consent and presence of a parent or local guardian is essential for surgery. ☝☝Where can I lodge a complaint if I am not satisfied with the treatment provided? The first person to contact in such cases is the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the IIT-B Hospital - Dr. Nisha Shah. The best way to do so would be to send her an e-mail on nishas@ iitb.ac.in. If you’re not satisfied with the actions, you can also send a mail to the HHAC (Hospital and Health Advisory Committee) Chairperson on firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the ISHA in charge of the HHAC.
Akash Chikhalikar, Anmol Gupta, Anant Jain, Jay Mardia, Pratyarth Rao, Rishabh Israni, Siddhant Jain and Suditi Laddha
☝☝What are the best places to obtain the medicines on my prescription? The Hospital pharmacy contains the common medicines prescribed by the hospital, while the chemist shop at Y-point gate has other medicines, which are mostly prescribed by specialists. Trying to reassure students who are worried about the quality of the medicines on offer, the CMO insists that hospi uses the best quality medicines possible, and that the hospital staff avail the same medicines when they fall ill. ☝☝What’s with the cough syrup they prescribe for almost every disease I have? The cough syrup merely provides a soothing effect to the throat. It has little therapeutic value, except perhaps in curing mild allergies. On Mental Health The issue of mental health and various mechanisms available in the institute to cope with stress and related problems has come to surface on a number of occasions. While the IIT-B hospital does have a clinical psychologist who visits the hospital bi-weekly, she mostly attends to the cases that require medical attention and not the ones related to psychological ailments such as depression, which is an issue we, at Insight, believe needs concerted, specific and effective countermeasures to be taken up by the Institute. Mental health on campus is an issue that isn’t just going to go away. The institute does, however, have an active Counselling Centre in place comprising of one Counselling Coordinator and two fulltime counsellors. Students can reach out to the counsellors via email or telephone, or can contact the counselling coordinator through the Facebook page ‘iCare IIT-B’ - an attempt by the institute to reach out to its students and address their stress, anger and related
issues in a friendly, unconventional and nonintimidating way, via social media. The Curious Case of Reimbursements: According to the Hospital Guidebook, all bonafide students of the institute are entitled to free medical attendance and treatment available in the institute hospital. The operative word here, of course, is ‘free’. Cases that can be reimbursed: The expenditures associated with indoor treatment, under the advice of the Appropriate Medical Authority (AMA) in a recognized hospital in the General Ward Category, will be reimbursed by the institute, with the reimbursement limit being Rs. 1 lac. Cases that can’t be reimbursed: Treatment of chronic cases or prolonged illness requiring special medical treatment for a long period will be responsibility of the parents or guardians of the patient. Any treatment taken outside of the headquarters during vacation will be the responsibility of the student. Cost of Medicines not available at IIT-B Hospital: Cost of medicines purchased from the market as well as pathological or radiological charges incurred in recognized hospitals, only on the advice of the AMA, is reimbursable. Accidental Injuries: Students have insurance for accidental injuries. They may be referred to any hospital for treatment. The reimbursement in this case is routed through Dean of Student Affairs Office. Special Cases: Dental treatment, cosmetic corrections and treatment of infertility are not reimbursable. No maternity reimbursement is available to students. Medical Advances: Medical advances can be availed from the Institute for treatment outside, only on recommendation by the IIT-B Hospital. The Medical Advance limit for students is fixed at Rs 50,000.
Pink slips are being freely exploited, and as a result, the cesspool of delinquency is getting murkier http://www1.iitb.ac.in/hospital/ specialists_new.html
Problems plaguing the Hospital We looked at some of the grievances that usually trouble students while visiting the hospital. Specialist appointment schedule Students have expressed concerns over the fact that most of the specialist appointments are scheduled during the regular class hours, which entirely defeats their purpose. Ojas Gupta, Institute Secretary for Hostel Affairs, stated that it is very difficult for the specialists to find alternate timings for their duty in the IIT-B Hospital since they have their own practice to attend to. Lack of equipment The hospital’s lack of certain basic facilities and equipment has been brought to light on a number of occasions. It is understandable that the hospital authorities don’t feel that buying expensive equipment like MRI machines, which require manpower as well as maintenance charges to operate is worthwhile; but, when it come to the basic needs like the plasters for fracture, the absence (even occasionally) of the same certainly puts a question mark on the service that the hospital is providing. Incorrect diagnosis and treatment Though no official complaint has been registered against the hospital as yet, unconfirmed cases of incorrect diagnosis and ineffective medicines keep circulating. Cases of someone who was put under observation for 3 days on suspicion of malaria that he did not have, someone who was prescribed
Y-point gate private clinic A policy point in the present GSHA’s manifesto was the establishment of a private clinic near the Y point gate at subsidised rates.The project is in the pipeline and the demand for space has already been put up. The GSHA states that the current hold-up is the space crunch in the institute; many other institute bodies have also placed their request for the exact same space. Even if the space is allotted, necessary permissions will have to be taken from different departments and authorities such as the Dean IPS office and the Estate Department to name a few. The project does not look like it will see the light of day in this tenure.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF
medicines that did not lessen the symptoms of the disease, or someone who got fed up of the treatment offered by the hospital and had to resort to outside medical care do regularly come to light among the student populace. The CMO is of the opinion that diagnosis is never 100 percent accurate. However, she emphatically states that the Hospital has always ensured the best quality of care from its side. Pink Slips The pink slip issued by the hospital is provided to anyone who wants proof that they visited the OPD. It usually provides a mechanism for students who are too ill on the day of an exam or a lab to opt for a re-test. But loopholes in the process have ensured that a pink slip is utilised for some ethically questionable actions, to put it mildly. The pink slip is now being used as a method to opt out of giving exams students are not prepared for. A student simply recites symptoms of a disease to a doctor, who is then coaxed into advising rest for a couple of days and issuing a pink slip to that effect. The pink slip is then presented to the professor, invoking the right to a retest. The process is
Isha, Nurse Isha is a nurse working in the Hospital. She got the job on the basis of a written test and interview. She typically works for 8 hours each day taking care of the long queue of patients at the hospital. She, along with her fellow nurses have to put in extra efforts nowadays to compensate for the shortage of staff which is supposed to cater to 10000 campus residents. Occasionally some equipment like plasters are unavailable. She has to make do with what she has or procure it using her ingenuity. Even though she is a permanent employee of the institute, she doesn’t get any meals at the hospital. However, she has been allotted a house inside the campus. She and her family are insured and can avail free treatment at the hospital.
helped by the fact that most professors do take pink slips as an unimpeachable proof of illness and conduct a retest willingly. Pink slips are being freely exploited-from students who did not prepare for a quiz to those who could not wake up at the required time to those who did not know the correct time-the cesspool of delinquency is getting murkier. The CMO has, in the past, suggested to previous Deans of Student Affairs (DoSA) to allow re-examination on the basis of pink slips only to admitted patients and not to those who haven’t been advised bed rest by the doctor, but the administration didn’t agree. The doctors at the hospital are aware of this problem too, but can’t refuse treatment to the students on ethical grounds. The current DoSA feels that professors should be more proactive and clearly examine the pink slip - this would tell if the student really was ill or faking it, in his opinion. He admits that this would happen on a prof to prof basis and that there is no institute wide overhaul of the process in the pipeline. He also points at a larger problem: the lack of a honour code among the students. The DoSA is of the opinion that cheating is
second nature to a large section of the student body and ethics are generally thrown out of “I’ve been here for 14 years, the window. What he wants from the student and in my first 2 years I community is suggestions on how to tackle could count the number of this problem. people who had consumed One way around this problem as suggested alcohol ever in campus by a doctor is the creation of a detaining center on my fingertips, now I’ve in the Hospital. In case a student is so sick that totally lost count!” he/she can’t go to the exam, they can go to the detaining center, where they will be properly taken care of. The CMO’s appeal The CMO, who has been with the Hospital for more than a decade now, has a few suggestions for the students to improve their health. As students, we need to take the issue of vaccination seriously - half of the hospital admissions are for the diseases that can be prevented merely through the use of vaccination. The IIT-B Hospital administration tries its best to make even the rather expensive vaccines available to the students, as a result of which, incidences of German Measles, Hepatitis A, and even chickenpox have been significantly reduced now. However, voluntary action by the student is a prerequisite in ensuring vaccination. The CMO also wants the students to understand that alcohol, drug, and cigarette abuse is detrimental for their future. She feels that the students should help each other, instead of promoting this culture, which has become prevalent in the campus.
Digitisation ☝☝Why aren’t the hospital records digitised? There is both good, and not-so-good news on this front. The institute has taken up the issue and is planning to also include the hospital in its efforts to go paperless via its ambitious Enterprise Resource Plan (ERP). However, a plan of such scale and impact will take at least a few years to implement and will be implemented in phases; there will be a considerable amount of time before hospi records are fully digitized.
Contact details of the Student Counsellors
Dr. Omi Meanwhile, Omi is a doctor working at the Hospital. He works 36 hours a week, which according to him is less than what the working hours of a doctor in a primary referral center should be. He has to work at least one night shift per week. He believes the hospital lacks in some areas such as digitisation of records and digital x-rays Interestingly, he has no say in the medicines prescribed. The CMO and the hospital committee decides which medicines to use. The hospital pharmacy contains common medicines, while the chemist shop at Y-point gate has other medicines, which are mostly prescribed by specialists.
Kavita, Receptionist Kavita is a receptionist at the Hospital. She works eight hours a day on weekdays. On weekends she has to work only during the OPD timings. She feels that there is an acute shortage of staff and a need of two reception counters during rush hours. She is a temporary staff member and thus has to rent an apartment outside the campus, which nearly costs half her monthly salary. She also has to spend money out of her pocket whenever she falls ill and requires treatment at the Hospital. When speaking to her about the possibility of digitisation, she feels happy as there are several instances of misplaced files and lost records that she has to deal with.
Ms Shivani Manchanda Telephone: 9072 FB: ICareIITB Ms. Anjali Bhatia Telephone: 9071 She is in her office on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and rotates between H16, H12 and H10 on the other three weekdays. Mrs Amita Tagore Telephone: 7071
Images: Hand from Flickr user Medisave; Computer from Flickr user mk94577 (Licensed under Creative Commons)
8 IIT-Bâ€™s MISSION AND VISION
MISSION 2021 IIT Bombay is in the process of preparing a strategy plan to direct its endeavours for the coming years. A few months ago, the Institute Strategy and Planning Committee was formed to study and give recommendations on how the institute should move forward. In April 2016, a survey was conducted among the graduating students on the different aspects of the strategy plan, particularly including academics, research and campus life. Based on the responses and discussions among the committee, the first draft has been prepared which is intended to be discussed and further edited based on the suggestions from the students and other stakeholders. In this article, we comprehensively analyse the document which is going to steer our institute into the future. We would like to thank Prof. Rangan Banerjee, Convenor of the Drafting Committee, for his assistance. The vision for our institute focuses on students as creators of new knowledge for the society. The institute has thus realised that the role and influence of IITians is restricted not just to the technology domain but affects the entire society. The mission includes creating an ambience for future leaders to grow and flourish while also stressing upon the need to address problems faced by the nation, to provide a transformative education system that sensitizes students to the needs of the society and to collaborate with other research institutes. The draft lists a set of goals that the Institute plans to achieve in the coming few years. We discuss the major ones below. Engagement with society and industry The aim is to create an ecosystem where deeper and sustainable collaboration with industry can result in product development and increasing manufacturing capabilities in the country. In order to harness the pool of talent that exists in the institute, many efforts have already been undertaken - Society for INnovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE), the Entrepreneurship Centre, and industry sponsored research centres and consortiums such as NCAIR, health consortium, and others, under the primary interface of The Industrial Research and Consultancy Centre (IRCC). A Research Park which will catalyse interactions with the industry through consultancy, sponsored research projects,
Aakriti Varshney, Himani Mehta, Kewal Bhat, Rishabh Israni, Tanuj Kaza
technology transfer and continuing education, has also been initiated with its first phase expected to be complete by 2019. Broaden educational spheres As premier educational institutions, presently, the IITs offers degrees through the following broad categories: engineering and technology, basic sciences and mathematics, humanities and social sciences, design and management. The existing well-established programmes provide a foundation for further expansion; both by starting new undergraduate curriculums and by starting new programmes in disciplines that are currently not present in the institute. To this end, a new undergraduate programme in Economics will be started, tentatively from 2017. Similar programmes in disciplines such as Mathematics, Earth Science Biology, Management, Humanities and Social Sciences are also in the pipeline. Masters degrees in filmmaking and fine arts are being considered while a Ph.D. programme in policy studies, with a focus on technology policy, shall start in the near future. Improving internal support systems Having doubled its intake of students over the years, the complexity of institute activities has increased thus necessitating strong linkages with various professional institutions and society. There is a deficit of specialized technical and managerial staff for administrative purposes which has led to the faculty devoting their time and effort to these jobs. The institute envisages having a pool of manpower to assist the faculty in these processes to enable them to focus on research and academia. A comprehensive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system will be established to improve efficiency and transparency in institute processes. Technical staff with higher qualifications shall be allocated to each department along with additional staff for routine administrative work. Enhancing student experience The need to improve student experience during his/her stay is being stressed. A multipronged approach is thus being followed:
Infrastructure New hostels, including one for married students, are in the pipeline. The existing hostels will be upgraded or reconstructed, depending on the state of the structures. The ultimate goal is to have single rooms for everybody, which is however going to take some time due to resource constriction. Education The aim is to have smaller class sizes especially in departmental courses to improve engagement of faculty with students. The faculty advising system will be enhanced as well to help students with academic problems. Environment and Aesthetics IIT Bombay takes pride in retaining its flora in the midst of a crowded, heavily concretized city and wants to encourage students to appreciate its natural beauty. Students will thus be included in processes for planning of campus development, including green campus initiatives. There are also plans of expanding the student counseling unit and carrying out an annual student satisfaction survey. Broaden funding base Both plan and non-plan grants on a per student basis have decreased sharply over the years, when corrected for inflation. Hence, depending solely on government grants, which now account for 55% of the total income, is likely to constrain future growth of the institute. The primary sources of income other than government grants from MHRD are fees, research and consultancy income, and interest on corpus funds and donations. The institute will continue to make a case to the government for a base level of support to take care of its expenses and its maintenance, and at the same time work to increase alternate sources of funding. Fees for students are unlikely to be increased significantly in the near future. Research funds have been increasing and this needs to continue with a greater emphasis on industry funds. The growth of consultancy income has been slower and the fraction of faculty involved in this activity is small. Schemes to enhance consultancy projects will thus be developed. Donations have also been growing. To further enhance this, alumni, foundations and other well-wishers will be systematically tapped. The spending of the funds will also be more carefully planned.
Fees for students are unlikely to be increased significantly in the near future.
Multiple initiatives are being proposed to increase the number of international undergraduates and postgraduates to 10% of the student population.
International students and faculty The institute recognises that a multicultural and multi-ethnic experience is a must for the future graduates to perform better in a global economy. Students, at the moment, do not get proper exposure in sharing ideas and thoughts with students belonging to different nations. There is also a mismatch between the number of students from the institute going abroad and the number of foreign students coming here. Multiple initiatives are being proposed to increase the number of international undergraduates and postgraduates to 10% of the student population. The institute plans to enhance hostel and other facilities to welcome international students. The admission process will be streamlined and made online to facilitate student applications. JEE and GATE will be conducted in several countries and the institute will participate in conducting these examinations. There are currently very few international faculty members. The Institute is working to put in place programmes to attract international faculty on a contract basis for a period of up to 5 years. Advance frontiers of knowledge Research is arguably the core activity of IIT Bombay. To enhance this, the aim is to create a stimulating intellectual environment by being home to internationally recognized faculty and research groups. It is also planned to encourage collaborative research with partner universities and facilitate the study of PhD students in these universities. The institute has envisaged the establishment of multidisciplinary research centres and other facilities to provide an optimal environment for research. Post Doctoral students shall be provided enhanced office facilities and additional space will be set aside for laboratories to assist them in their work. Creating future leaders and innovators The institute aims to create a talent pool that would provide future leaders and innovators for the nation. The institute accepts that students should have an option to take a wide range of elective courses, as it looks to strengthen the undergraduate research programme. Undergraduate students will be given opportunities to participate in projects of societal and industrial relevance. There are plans to increase the engagement of students with the industry through supervised internships for longer periods of up to six months and industry visits. International exchange programmes will also be boosted through partial financial support.
Enhancing gender diversity IIT Bombay strives for equal representation from men and women among its faculty, students and staff members. While the institute acknowledges that the representation of women may be low due to societal/ cultural reasons, it would like to create as conducive an environment as possible for women to be a significant part of the IIT Bombay community as possible. The number of women undergraduates are particularly small (8%). Efforts will be made to increase these numbers. Specifically, an information campaign will be carried out to inform school children and their parents of the opportunities for women in engineering, particularly engineers graduating from IITs. Enhancing alumni engagement The alumni of IIT Bombay, who are in an excess of 50,000, have always been one of the key stakeholders in the institute’s evolution and growth. They are influential in shaping the curriculum and enhancing the research environment of the institute. Our institute is committed to a lifelong involvement with all of its students and it will focus on adding value to their lives and support their research and professional careers. Alumni have been given access to research requirements and are welcome to the hostels in the campus and opportunities will be provided for interaction with students. An alumni centre will be established to cater to these visits and other forms of engagement. Conclusion The institute over the many decades has expanded greatly in many arenas. However, more often than not, growth has happened when opportunities were seen, rather than orienting the growth towards clear cut targets and devising a plan to achieve them. The latter is what the strategy plan seeks to achieve. On November 30, 2016, an open house was conducted in which the draft we dissected above was presented by the Director to all students and faculty. The Director invites student feedback on various aspects of the document, in particular academics, hostel and campus affairs, and research. The form for submitting feedback, along with the draft, is available on surveys.iitb.ac.in. Students are the core stakeholders when it comes to policy making in the institute. It is important that the vision and goals are oriented keeping student expectations and ideas into perspective. In Prof. Banerjee’s words, “We would like feedback from the students as it is a shared vision for the future. It is thus imperative that students fill up the feedback form and help guide the planning process forward.”
B.DES.: A REVIEW
DESIGN FOR DUMMIES: A REVIEW OF B.DES. Aakriti Varshney, Abhinav Garg, Akash Chikhalikar, Chinmay Talegaonkar, Jibitesh Behera, Kewal Bhat, Omkar Masurkar
Six years of progressive efforts from the top leadership of the institute teamed up with the ever-enthusiastic professors of the Industrial Design Centre (IDC) brought up the four year long Bachelor of Design programme, which commenced in the year 2015. Keeping in mind the innumerable applications of Industrial Design needed in the world today, the B.Des programme is aimed at grooming students interested in design and can be the vehicle to develop essential skills to be applied to various problems. Looking at the initial years of the programme, there seems to be less participation in institute-level activities as compared to their engineering counterparts. They do have dancers, musicians and performers, however, time management is a significant problem since their schedules are laid out differently than the rest of the institute. With an aim towards doing away with any stereotypes present, let us have a closer look at this programme. Keyaar Image: Pepin Compendium
How does one get in? UCEED The admission procedure through UCEED for the B.Des programme is very different from the JEE exam for the B.Tech programme. UCEED (Undergraduate Common Entrance Exam for Design), an exam to test the right-hand side of the brain, is the qualifying examination for B. Des courses offered in IIT Bombay, IIT Guwahati and IIITDM Jabalpur. It broadly covers topics such as visualization, observation and design sensitivity, general awareness, analytical and logical reasoning, language and problem solving. Unlike JEE, this is hard to be ‘coached’ for by a practice and conquer approach. Besides questions based on logic/reasoning there are a few questions based on simple concepts of physics (e.g. Newton’s third law) and mathematics too. There indeed are questions based on design aptitude but none of which need a prior expertise on the subject. The B.Des curriculum The B.Des programme here begins with basic introductions to design, establishing fundamentals in photography, videography, typography and image representation in the first year. The second year goes deeper into visual and form studies, introducing courses like creative thinking processes while also delving into storytelling and narrative as a problem solving process. The programme here does not impose a specialisation at this level, rather the third
Every course runs for three weeks. Each course has three professors, one for every week and the grading is spread over the entire period through assignments and projects.
year offers a list of electives to choose from where one can go into topics ranging from moving image design (Yes! Cinema!) and animation design to product, transportation or game design. The last year mainly consists of a project including a design research seminar completing a total of 286 credits. Every course runs for three weeks. Each course has three professors, one for every week and the grading is spread over the entire period through assignments and projects. Even after all the assignments, the final grading is based on a presentation at the end of the semester in front of a jury of professors where a student presents his work done throughout the semester. Compulsory Semester Exchange An interesting part of the curriculum is the compulsory semester exchange in the seventh semester. It is a semester wherein the student has to undertake one course, one major project and participate in a seminar for a total of 34 credits in a completely different institute. In order to make this hassle-free for every student, the department has already signed over 10 MoUs which are open for B.Des as well as M.Des students. It has also signed 3 MoUs with universities such as the Kyoto Seika University of Japan specifically for B.Des students. Apart from this any MoU signed by our institute originally for engineering students is applicable to B.Des students as well. This means a total of 67 MoUs are added to the list. When asked about the primary motivation behind this, Prof. Chakravarthy, Head of the IDC, said that a ‘paradigm shift’ occurs and learning can be accelerated to a great extent due to a semester exchange. Let us have a look at how this curriculum compares with other such programmes across the world. Comparing curriculums Objectively speaking, the total credits are 286 and 295 for the B.Des programmes at our institute and at IIT Guwahati respectively. A decisive advantage of the Guwahati B.Des programme is that a B.Des student can pursue
I had already planned to do a B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering and then MDes at IDC. However, specialising from bachelor’s level seemed to be a better idea. Thereby, joining the B.Des program was a natural choice. Also, UCEED being an aptitude based test allowed me to realise my own potential as a designer. Initially my inclinations had been towards product
design, but upon joining the programme the professors managed to expose us to a variety of disciplines that I had previously not come across. Our courses involve a lot of unconventional thinking and a very hands on approach. The course work keeps us on our toes for most of the time. It definitely has managed to boost our productivity and grasping
a minor from any department of his/her choice. This luxury is not yet available in IIT Bombay. The Guwahati B.Des programme demands six projects worth 50 credits comprising of four academic projects, one interdisciplinary project and one exhibition project. IIT Bombay, on the other hand, has five academic and two summer projects (after the fourth and sixth semesters) as well as the opportunity to pursue a self-initiated project in the summer vacations after the second semester. The total credits allotted to projects are 90 in the IIT Bombay B.Des programme. In terms of electives, there are four department and four HSS electives in the IIT Guwahati curriculum while there are a total of five electives (min. two and max. three of either department or institute electives) in the IIT Bombay curriculum. The semester exchange system, however, does not exist in Guwahati. Apart from IIT Guwahati, most of the B.Des programmes available within the country as well as abroad have a three year duration and mostly offer some sort of specialization as a part of the degree (for eg. animation) which is not the case in our institution. The fundamental reason behind this lies in the selection process. It is very rare for a design institute to select students purely on the basis of an objective exam. Most institutes request students to send a ‘design portfolio’ based on which he/she can be enrolled in a programme with the appropriate specialization. To quote Prof. Chakravarthy, “The whole ethos with which we started the programme was that students here are very smart and are selected from a very tough competition. When the students came in, we realised that it was too early for them to specialize. We thought that we could develop the necessary skill set in the first two years, and in their third as well as fourth year, we allow them to take up electives while pursuing a project which is completely based on one particular topicanimation, for instance. So, even if the student is actually doing a project in animation, he gets a basic degree in B.Des with a much wider understanding of everything like film making, product design etc. as compared to
skills. We’ve learnt a lot more in the given amount of time than what I’d have initially believed possible. To any new student, I’d only say that if you’re looking for a stream which lets you think freely, allows you to interpret your exam questions and assignments however you want, and provides you uncountable opportunities to explore
and learn, then IDC is the place to be. I feel lucky to have access to such faculty and infrastructure. It is definitely an opportunity I intend to make the most of. Maulashree Shanbhag 2nd Year B.Des at IDC, IIT Bombay and AIR1 in UCEED 2015
an animation specialization wherein skills specific to animation are honed.” The bachelor’s degree programme in the National Institute of Design (NID) follows a different pattern. It has a two semester long ‘Foundation Programme’ followed by three years of specialised study in fields like furniture design, interior design, communication design, etc. The Foundation Programme is geared to assist in the development of values, attitudes, sensorial skills and aesthetic sensitivity necessary for specialisation in design in general while the next three years focus on the specialisation you choose.
Future prospects There are a vast number of opportunities for the Bachelor of Design graduates to secure a job in the private sector in organizations such as Hotels, Fashion Media, Furniture Manufacturing Units, and Quality Control Offices, etc. However, Prof. Chakravarthy said that he doesn’t want to link up the placements of the B.Des students with the Placement Cell of IIT-B. He wants to open up the placement scenario such that students apply themselves and get jobs - the process usually followed at most of the foreign universities. “I feel that the current placement scenario at IIT Bombay is highly money centered, which isn’t good. This race for money is definitely not good for the young bright minds that we have nurtured here at IDC”, he adds. In addition to the variety of jobs offered in India, the candidates can also look out for a profession in various foreign countries. Exhibitions and auctions of one’s creative works can be conducted in various parts of the world. Higher studies in other Indian or foreign universities is also an option for students enthusiastic to further explore the research areas in design.
IITs are known for. Apart from the formal projects at the end of every year in the summer, the course evaluations also happen on presentations which are scheduled at regular intervals. For instance in a course on Mechanism Design, the students had to make catapults with a given small amount of material- so that they know the loads, the situations, the bending, etc. In Prof Chakravarthy’s words, “The idea is to impart powerful experiential learning to the B.Des students.” B.Des students have definitely benefitted from the small classrooms, which have led to effective interaction between students and professors. Considering the large intake of B.Tech students, this is hard to implement there but something that should definitely be given a thought. It is fairly obvious that the B.Tech and the B.Des programmes are as different as can be and thus require very different approaches. But the positives that can be noted about the B.Des programme can largely be attributed to its relative novelty and how it has taken inspiration from other successful programmes across the globe. Following a similar approach, maybe a revamp to the B.Tech curriculum is in order. After about a year and a half of its inception, the B.Des programme at IDC, IIT Bombay has simply grown in stature and its popularity has increased tremendously among aspiring designers. The feedback in general has been positive and it is definitely here to stay.
What can the B.Tech programme learn from B.Des? Being a Design programme, the course load is heavily practical-tasked and project-based which is very different from the traditional problem solving and engineering approach Ever since completing my matriculation, I had always had an inclination towards design. I was pursuing B.Tech in civil engineering at IITB for one year. But, after a year of being relatively disinterested in the B.Tech academic curriculum, while also having spoken to the B.Des freshmen about their courses, I became quite sure that the B.Des programme is where I
belong. Since IDC is a more reputed school than IIT-G’s Department of Design, I chose B.Des at IIT Bombay. I did a fair amount of research before making the jump and haven’t experienced any major gaps between the expectations I had and the current reality. Well, to future aspirants–this isn’t a programme you should enrol in if you’re not genuinely interested in design, engineer-
→→There is an option to convert to M.Des at the end of the third year and get a dual degree instead, much like how the B.Tech and M.Tech dual degree works. →→Students admitted to the B.Des programme will not be eligible for branch change to any other undergraduate programmes offered by IIT Bombay at any time during the entire duration of the programme.
ing is far better in that respect, if you can get in. The workload here can and will burn you out if you’re not into it. If you are interested in design, and especially if you have some vision of what you want out of IDC, this is probably the best place to be. Vineet Srivastava 1st Year B.Des at IDC, IIT Bombay
→→The students in the B.Des 13 programme are not allowed to take up a minor in any other department of the institute, unless you are enrolled in the Guwahati B.Des programme, in which case you are! →→With just 30 students per batch and 22 eminent faculty members, the students undoubtedly have the opportunity to explore into the fields of their choice and learn the skills and experience required to excel in them.
Being a Design programme, the course load is heavily practical-tasked and projectbased which is very different from the traditional problem solving and engineering approach IITs are known for.
Comparing B.Des. Programmes IIT Guwahati
Total Credits: 295
Can pursue minors in other departments
Can’t pursue minors in other departments
6 projects worth 50 credits
7 projects worth 90 credits
No such compulsion
Compulsory semester exchange
14 CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE
CENTRE STAGE: IIT-B’S CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE
In recent years, the institute has targeted endeavours to enhance research in particular fields. There are several such “centres of excellence” that are collaborations between the institute and other institutions, organisations and industry with the aim of providing solutions that have a real world connect and impact. What distinguishes these from conventional research labs is that a center of excellence works on a “focussed activity with dedicated funding and the scale of operations is larger” whereas research labs
GPU Center of Excellence Institution IITB was awarded an NVIDIA GPU Center of Excellence (GCoE) in 2013, the first of its kind in India. Steered by Prof. P.S.V. Nataraj as the PI (Principal Investigator), Prof. Sachin Patkar and Prof. Shiva Gopalakrishnan as Co-PIs, GCoE serves as a hub for all heterogeneous high performance computing activities in the country. To tackle the mushrooming need for speed in computation, in 2015, India launched the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM). Along the lines of NSM, GCoE envisions to develop the GPU computing ecosystem in India. The motivation behind promoting GPU computing is its potential in terms of both efficiency and feasibility. The versatility of GPU computing transcends the end-user packages that are available in the market.
Current projects and impact Over the three years since its inception, the GCoE has been promoting awareness about integral GPU computing methods that would play a crucial role in accelerating computational challenges faced by engineers and scientists in the modern era. With 13 workshops & conferences spanning 11 institutes and 9 cities nation-wide, GCoE has managed to make its mark when it comes to being the pioneer in GPU computing. As a part of their HRD and training initiative, the GCoE trained over 300 women undergraduate engineering students and 75 professors in essential topics like CUDA HPC, applications of medical imaging and optimization on GPUs, running MATLAB on GPUs and embedded supercomputing on Jetson TK1 kits; the focus has largely been on promoting the latter. The team has also put up an online video series on getting started with the kits, for distant education.
Vision The vision of GCoE is to provide infrastructure, knowledge, research and education in heterogeneous computing to a wide scientific community in the country. Utilizing the equipment and the grant provided by NVIDIA, the approach opted by GCoE for this purpose encapsulates four missions - HRD and training, Infrastructure setting up and expansion, support for research projects and collaboration with other institutes.
Academic tracks On the academic front, the GCoE has been conducting 4 semester-long courses on GPU computing at IIT Bombay, and one such course at VIT Pune, attracting over 300 students in the last year alone. It has made available GPU clusters and Jetson kits for academic and research projects including 8 doctoral, 6 graduate and 2 undergraduate projects. It also hosts K40/K20 servers and other GPU workstations uses for the National CUDA.
National Center of Excellence in Technology for Internal Security Institution The institute has been conducting week-long training courses for senior police officers for the past 10-12 years. However, recently a need was felt for developing technology projects for the police forces. A concept paper was written by Professor Abhay Karandikar of the Electrical Dept in 2012 and submitted to the Maharashtra Govt. Interest was shown by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEIT), as it fell within their objectives of electronics system design manufacturing for strategic sectors. Various stakeholders like the police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were brought on board and the project was approved in 2015 to address needs of police forces of all states. Current structure The steering committee includes representatives from the state police forces, several government agencies (including CRPF and the National Intelligence Agency) and two industry professionals. Faculty members from several departments (including Electrical, IDC and Mechanical Engineering) are involved in the various projects being undertaken. Efforts are being undertaken to increase student involvement to address problems through electrical design problems. Current projects The center is focused on developing prototypes and products, rather than papers and patents. Some of the projects the center is working on include development of complete broadband emergency communication systems, sensors for
Abhishek Andasu, Deep Tavker, Dhruv Shah, Siddhanth Reddy, Tejas Srinivasan
are based on faculty member’s interest. Often such specialisation and degrees of involvement from external stakeholders shapes an identity to the work of these centres while also providing improved avenues for funding. Despite these centres proving to be such a vital part of the institute’s interaction with the world outside, little is known about these centres and their operations. This article aims to provide some of that perspective by analysing the work and activity of a few of these centres.
explosive detections, landmine detections, video analytics for monitoring motions, recognizing faces, tracking from CCTV footage, crime mapping using GIS data and machine learning. The projects are in various states of completion and demonstrable products could be presented in another 3-6 months. Goals In the short term the center is focusing on completing a few projects; the aim is to develop demonstrable prototypes in the next 3-6 months. In the long term the main objective of NCETIS is technology development for state and central police and to develop a focused approach to deal with the unique problems of internal security. Funding MEIT is the main source of funding for the implementation of the projects of the center, and has contributed 85 crore for a five year period. The center is accountable to MEIT and the institute. Center for Policy Studies Institution The idea of instituting an independent academic unit that focuses on policy efficacy and implementation has been in the pipeline for 10 years. It was initially spearheaded by Prof. Anil Kakodkar, an erstwhile professor at IIT Bombay. The Global Business Forum organized last year in Goa, an endeavour by the IIT alumni association was when this endeavour received the impetus it needed. Keen on starting, a proposal was floated
to the board of governors. A resolution passed by them allowed for the institution of CPS. Current structure Right now, it has a head that is chosen as per existing institute procedure; and three students. The core committee formation is in the pipeline. The core committee will comprise of all core faculty from different streams. An advisory committee to direct research of which Prof. Kakodkar has consented to be a part of is in the pipeline. The two committees would work in tandem, one suggesting avenues of research and the other working on execution. Current projects This structure aims to cater to the Centre’s two main objectives - academic and research oriented. On the academic track, the aim is to launch the Doctoral Programme in July 2017 and the Masters Programme in 2018. For a programme to be part of the institute curriculum it has to be approved by the IDPC, PGPC and the Senate. Currently the main goal is to ensure that the programme is in place for incoming students of the 2017 batch, including resources and faculty appointments. Research is largely in doctoral domain, hence the initial push for the Doctoral Programme. At present, the Centre is conducting relevant policy discussions every month. The motive behind this, apart from the galvanisation of interest
on campus, is to gain visibility and credibility. Such credibility would improve Doctoral interest and ease faculty appointments for such a nascent body. The primary target is to provide this concrete structure to the body and undertake measures that would facilitate the same. Long-term goals Monthly sessions on policy are likely to continue. They serve a forum between the social sciences and technology on campus. In January, CPS will be organising the Annual Policy Dialogue, “Coping with COP21”, as a platform to facilitate discussions about policy. On the longer time frame, the goal is to conduct independent evidence based research. The Centre would aim to operate through collaborations with professors and existing policy think tanks and research like Brookings and Centre for Policy Research. Student-faculty involvement As the Centre becomes more established there will be projects that students can contribute to, perhaps even institute projects of their own as final year projects. Current involvement however is quite limited. Funding The institute provides the funds right now. As it is a small group there is no pressing need for large funds. In the future, as it becomes more established, maybe canvass for more funds that can possibly be used to recruit faculty and to direct research. Policy is a specialist’s domain. The idea is to have specialists that can be consulted upon whenever there is a need.
16 INSTITUTE FINANCES
HOW DO INSTITUTE FINANCES WORK? Pratyarth Rao, Kewal Bhat
Plan Funds (180 CR) Expenditure Lab Dev., etc. Equipments Library Maintenance
‘To create an ambience in which new ideas, research and scholarship flourish and from which the leaders and innovators of tomorrow emerge.’
Unbeknownst to many, the above line is verbatim the vision statement of IIT Bombay. Scholarships Arguably the best technical institute in the country, it strives to nurture the top minds Non-Plan Funds (322 CR) of the country which it judges by one of most Expenditure Other Running gruelling exams in the world. Being a public Expenses (15 Cr) institution, it is aided by the government in carrying out this mission while operating with Establsihment a certain level of autonomy. The outstanding Expenses (307 Cr) infrastructure and research facilities available here are second to none in the country. It is pretty obvious that this system cannot be merely sustained on students’ fee. However, Internal Revenue (112 CR) though we may take educated guesses at how the institute finances its activities, not many of us are actually aware about the workings of the system. Well, most students couldn’t care Entrance exam, 36 CR registration and less about the nitty gritties as it may seem admissions like a bother. Nothing wrong with that, except 27 CR Tuition Fee that over the past year or so, things haven’t been exactly hunky-dory. Amid news of the IRCC Funding recent fee hike, decisions by the HRD ministry Govt.Sponsored to found new IITs etc, a mixture of fact and 15% Research fiction has pervaded into conversations in the Industry Funding institute regarding what exactly is currently 85% the situation, which has necessitated an acquaintance with the way the institute’s finances work. The institute’s funds and expenses are split into four major verticals: →→Funds Towards running the institute— Plan and Non-Plan funds (Govt support through MHRD) →→Funding for research projects undertaken (From Govt Bodies & Industry) →→Donations from external sources →→Internal Revenue Infrastructure
MHRD funding Plan funds In the previous financial year (2015-2016), the institute received about Rs 180 crores as Plan funds. Plan funds are directed towards investments in capital assets (including buildings, equipment and library
infrastructure), major and minor renovations, various scholarships/assistantships, etc. Around 60 cr (33% of the plan funds received last year) were spent on scholarships, ranging from Merit-Cum-Means scholarships to TA/RAship stipends. Around Rs 110 crores were spent on development of new infrastructure and Rs 17 crores on building renovation and maintenance. What many of us might not know is, an astounding Rs 20 crore— though only Rs 4.5 crores were spent last year— goes towards the library, mostly for various journal subscriptions and a small amount for purchasing new books every year. Dept. specific equipment costs were around 18 cr (10% of the Plan funds received). Around 59 cr was spent on major central research facilities, laboratory development in departments and other special development projects. Adding up the figures clearly shows that there was a substantial deficit in the plan funds during FY 2015-16. A committee called RIFC (Research Infrastructure Fund Committee) has been set up to oversee the spending of these funds to help increase the focus on development of central institute facilities and catering to needs that are an intersection of several departments. Other than that the institute takes up SIPs (Special Institute Projects) which involve the development of facilities in the departments and modernization of offices and service units across the institute. In the past financial years, around Rs 30 crore was spent towards SIPs and another 30 crores were allocated towards RIFC commissioned projects. Non-Plan funds: Non-Plan funds form a much larger chunk of the total MHRD funding. About Rs 322 crores was received by the institute as NonPlan funds last year. Non plan funds along
Myth 1: The budget cut is real. No, technically it isn’t. The total budget (plan+nonplan) allocated to the institute over the past four years has more or less been the same. However, with an increase in the intake of students and also considering the effects of inflation over the years, the budget/student has certainly taken a nosedive which is leading to the ‘shortage’ of funds that we are now witnessing.
with Internal Revenue cover everything else under the sun required to run the institute. However, of this, broadly speaking, the Non-Plan funds from MHRD primarily cover only the Establishment expenses (salaries, pensions, employee allowances & benefits) part of running expenses. In FY 2015-16 of the Rs 322 cr of Non-Plan funds Rs 307 was spent on Establishment expenses and rest towards ‘other running expenses’ that include: →→ Operational and Administrative expenses (O & A) (electricity bills, running of offices, expenditure in legal processes, travel etc.) →→ Academic and Student expenses (A & S) (incurred towards running of labs, conduction of exams, conference travel, Gymkhana and other student expenses etc.) →→ Estate/Infrastructure Maintenance & Repairs (E/I M&R) Expenses in FY 15-16 →→ 1. O & A - 57 cr (of which Elec 33 cr) →→ 2. A & S – 27 cr (largest chunk 12.5 cr on Admissions & Exams JEE/GATE/CEED/ Mtech&PhD admissions etc) →→ 3. E/I M&R – 44 cr Internal Revenue: The Internal Revenue provides for all the operational, academic and administrative expenses other than salaries & pensions. It constitutes the money earned from payments made to the institute, namely tuition fee, application and examination fee (JEE, GATE etc), residential license fees and electricity charges, interest income, royalties on patents and miscellaneous fees, among other things. About 27 cr of a total of 112 crores in FY 2015-16 came from the tuition fee paid by the students and 36 cr from entrance exams, registration and admission fees. Internal revenue gets clubbed with non plan funding towards running expenses of the institute, whose constituents have been discussed above. Palash Bawankar
IRCC funding Like every top university across the globe, IIT Bombay undertakes a host of research projects in collaboration with the industry. Funding/donations for all such pursuits are handled by the IRCC (Industry Research and Consultancy Center). The government sponsored research funding is about 85 % and Industry funding constitutes about 15% of IRCC funds. Apart from this, the research funding from sponsors is brought in by faculty and faculty groups in cases of large projects which are called Centres of Excellence. IRCC is a facilitator, enabler for supporting faculty in these endeavors. It also helps in administrative and financial management aspects of the projects, and also manages all the IP related support including commercialization and licensing of technology. The IRCC funds are used to provide all such support such as Seed Grant funding, internal awards and bridge funding support to faculty and several other schemes to facilitate the research ecosystem in the Institute. Donations The institute receives donations from various sources like alumni, philanthropic foundations and other corporate organizations. Alumni and other donation funds may be directed towards any of a number of possible causes like institution of chair professorships, scholarships, development of certain infrastructure (VMCC), setting up Centres such as Tata Center for Technology and Design, Desai Sethi Center for Entrepreneurship, Wadhwani Research Centre for Biosciences etc. However most donations are earmarked for a specific purpose/activity with an MoU towards its utilization and hence the institute has to honour it if the donation is accepted. These funds cannot be used for general running expenses of the institute.
Stat-is-ticked The Plan funding on per student basis, adjusted for inflation, has changed over the last five years from Rs 2.64 lakhs in FY 2010-11 to Rs 1.23 lakhs in FY 2015-16. The corresponding figures for Non-Plan funding (excluding internal revenue) are Rs 2.98 Lakhs & Rs 2.19 Lakhs respectively, but this is mainly on account of inflation. The receipts per student not considering inflation have been actually increasing. The running expenses (i.e. excluding Plan expenses) have been somewhat flat with corresponding figures of 2.98 lakhs & 3.14 lakhs. Showing that expenses have been controlled in spite of inflation. Myth 2: The fees has been hiked by nearly 100%, surely the days of shortage of funds are behind us now. Well, not exactly. The UG fee hike has brought along with it a new set of concessions in rules for fee payment, as a result of which the institute ‘treasury’ so to speak is expected to become richer by a meagre sum of about 8-9 crores, progressively over 4 years. Meagre, when you put things in perspective. For e.g, The electricity bill alone last year was total of Rs 33 crores and the total collections from UG + PG tuition fees were about Rs 27 crore. Yes, we cannot even pay the electricity bill with just our fee.
18 GS TECH
GS TECH: WHAT’S IN A NAME? Anmol Gupta, Karan Trichal The Institute Gymkhana Elections are just round the corner and there are some new tidings for those fond of dabbling around with tech—a new post, General Secretary Technical Affairs (GS Tech), shall be introduced at the institute level this year. The structure of the institute technical council is set to receive a bit of a shake-down this year. In this article, we look at the bearings that this change will bring on the tech scene of the institute, Students’ Technical Activities Body (STAB), and the general dynamics of all the councils. Why do we need a separate post? We talked to Chirag Shetty, ex-STAB Overall Coordinator (OC), for his opinion on the need of restructuring the post from STAB OC to GS Tech which, on the surface, appears like a nominal change. Here’s what he had to say and why this post has been introduced. On STAB being a distant cousin STAB is one of the largest bodies in the institute, comprising of about 50 Position of Responsibility (PoR) holders as managers and convenors. It acts as an umbrella-body to several clubs, has its own GCs, organizes its separate competitions and conducts various events through the course of the year. Thus, it does almost everything that other institute councils and their representatives do. In light of this, one is forced to reevaluate the current status STAB holds - which is just an umbrella-body consisting of a few clubs. Tech has played a part, at some point or the other, in the life of an average insti student. It thus seems fair to better integrate the primary tech body of the institute with its work dynamics. Lack of involvement in insti-affairs Institute councils and the various General Secretaries have a major say in the affairs going on within the institute. With no institute council for tech, however, STAB has often been kept out of the loop of some big decisions owing to its absence from the Senate and the Undergraduate Programme Committee (UGPC). It was collectively felt that an Institute technical council would be a decent way of fixing this.
Towards an independent body Until a few years ago, STAB was under the purview of the Academic Council of the institute, with the prevailing belief that ‘tech’ and ‘acads’ go hand-in-hand. Hence, all the proposals regarding technical matters were routed through the GSAA (UG) which was clearly inefficient and imposed a lot of constraints on the independent working of STAB. In addition to this, the STAB OC did not have mailing rights for GPO and had to send all mails through the GSAA (UG). A decision was taken to make STAB independent from the Academic Council and mailing rights were given to the STAB OC, in 2015. The introduction of this new post will be another big step in increasing the autonomy of STAB (henceforth known as the Technical Council). More competitive elections Even though open elections are conducted for the position of STAB OC, it has received few interested applicants over the years. It is no secret that very few people are enthusiastic to take up the roles of club managers as well, which is definitely a concern for such a vast body. The post of GS Tech and the new Council structure aims at ensuring more people come forward and take up these positions of responsibility. Diversification and breaking of hierarchy STAB managers are nominated by the hierarchy of the incumbent council than by any concrete objective measures. The ex-managers choose a candidate from the ex-convenors and this process has been followed over the years. The need for an alternate selection procedure was thus felt in order to bring more diversity and a wider range of ideas into STAB. Ease of communication Most other IITs have a General Secretary of Technical Affairs, or an equivalent post. It is strongly believed that pan-IIT discussion over technical affairs would certainly be eased out by the introduction of the GS Tech post. What has delayed the introduction of the GS Tech post, then? The DoSA speaks... “Each co-curricular activity that happens in the institute takes time to develop and to get more organised. People have been involved in
tech far earlier than sports and culturals and were always very enthusiastic to go on with it. But tech was more or less done in an informal way; on the other hand, the activities of cult and sports soon grew rapidly and demanded strong organisation, hence the GS posts for these were introduced. For Tech, the need was felt later on, because till the time the decision was initiated, the informal way in which Tech was being conducted was satisfactory. However, the need to make these activities and GCs more structured, and attract more people towards the post, was always at the back of our collective minds.” Technical Council Hierarchy and the first elections A big change that will be brought about due to this restructuring would be the new technical council hierarchy and the closed elections for the posts of Institute Technical Secretaries, who were until now referred to as Club Managers. The Revamped Technical Council Structure will be as follows: →→General Secretary, Technical Affairs (GS Tech) →→5 Institute Secretaries (Institute Electronics and Robotics Secretary, Institute Web and Coding Secretary, Institute Maths and Physics Secretary, Institute Aeromodelling Secretary, Institute Astronomy Secretary) →→1 UG Nominee, 1 PG Nom-
inee (In order to increase the participation of PGs in tech, which has been really low in the past few years) →→2 project nominees (1 for Technical Projects, while the other one for the Technical teams) →→2 Nominees for Tinkerers’ Lab →→1 Web Nominee →→1 Club manager (nominated by the GS Tech) for BioTech Club (might be converted into Institute Secretary from next year onwards) →→Club Manager (Elec+Robo, WnCC, MnP) →→Convenors (number will be decided by the next GS Tech) The 5 Institute Technical Secretaries will be elected through a closed electorate, comprising of 3 nominees from each hostel (nominated by the General Secretary of the Hostel, in consultation with the GS Tech) who have been active in that particular genre. In addition, the Tech Councillor of each hostel will be the de facto member of this electorate. Impacts in the short and long run With the new post of GS Tech up for taking from this year, how exactly are the institute dynamics going to change because of this decision? Is there going to be some improvement in the tech culture prevailing in the institute? Turns out, the impacts aren’t nominal, contrary to what some people might
think. Atish Aloor, the present STAB OC, also shared with us his views on how this position is going to have an impact. Stronger voice in institute matters With the formalization of STAB OC as the General Secretary of Technical Affairs and a better-defined technical council, the integration of technical activities in institute-wide decisions related to student matters will definitely be increased, both on a formal and an informal level. Accountability Both Chirag Shetty and Atish Aloor feel that accountability won’t change much. Even as STAB OC, they had to individually go through open elections and were also answerable directly to the Dean of Student Affairs regarding institute matters, hence this part of the position is not expected to undergo many changes. Funds As far as funds are concerned, the introduction of this post won’t bring about any drastic change. STAB is majorly funded by Gymkhana. The technical teams receive their funds from the Dean R&D, and the Tinkerers’ Lab is funded by the office of Dean Alumni & Corporate Relations (ACR) via alumni donations. Chirag, however, feels that since most of the funds that are allocated to STAB go unutilised, with this change
the new GS Tech should make 19 an effort to use those funds smartly and efficiently. Infrastructure Keeping in mind the adequate funds that are allotted to STAB every year, Atish is of the opinion that tech infrastructure of the institute will definitely receive a boom since now the extensive plans that are prepared by STAB every year will get approved and executed more easily. He feels that the entire process of decision-making and implementation will get smoother and more efficient than has been the case in the past. Technical scene of the institute Atish stated that till now the role of the UG Nominee for Tech wasn’t defined properly; however, from next year onwards the UG Nominee for Tech would be primarily involved in hostel related tech activities, especially the GCs; hence, the number of Tech GCs organised will go up in the years to come. Besides, they will also be conducted in a better manner, now that there are posts focusing exclusively on these. In addition, one of the two Project Nominees will be looking into the activities of the technical teams of the institute, which will ensure better interaction and communication with students as well as orienting them towards a common purpose of promoting tech in the institute.
A MESSAGE FOR THE RIGHT CANDIDATE “I just want that more people should stand up for this post, and they should know that a tech background isn’t a necessity here. The only requirement is that they should be ready to put in the time and effort for this and should have good management skills. I would like someone who values the position, to become GS Tech, not someone who does this for the resume point.” Prof Soumyo Mukherjee, Dean of Student Affairs, IIT Bombay
“We want people who have not be a part of STAB to come for the post of GS Tech. It’s a post that doesn’t really require technical expertise unlike the convenors or to an extent, even the club managers. Just anyone who wants to bring about a change in the technical scene in the institute and will be sincere enough to his contribution should stand up for this post.” Atish Aloor, STAB OC, 2016-17
“It’s a wonderful post to have! If a person is into engineering and Tech, then what better job than to be the GS Tech of an institute of such an astounding national importance? If you want to be remembered, to have an impact on the technical scene in the Institute, or even to hone leadership skills etc, it’s an amazing opportunity. I can easily claim that being STAB OC for IITB has helped me a lot personally.” Chirag Shetty, STAB OC 2015-16
Hey, We’re glad to have worked on some pressing issues in our past newsletters like the efficacy of course feedback and inefficient utlilization of our water resources, and are grateful for the response that they have generated among the readers as well as the tangible outcomes coming from the administration. This time around, we have tried to delve into issues that would chart the course of how IITB will grow as an institution, bringing into light the new Vision for the institute, the Centres of Excellence, the financial systems in place and also a glimpse into the B.Des. program, two years since it was introduced. General concerns of health at IITB also prompted us to look at the Hospital system, where it has succeeded and where it
The Team Chief Editors Shreerang Javadekar Shreeyesh Menon Editorial Board Aakriti Varshney, Abhishek Andasu Akanksha Manghrani Akash Chikhalikar Chinmay Sankhe
Chintan Savla Febin Mathew Harshit Sahay Himani Mehta Jay Mardia Karthik Sankaran Kewal Bhat Pranjali Gupta Pratyarth Rao Rahul Ramchandani Rishabh Israni Sapan Shah
falls short. The interaction with the populace that we aim to achieve with this newsletter is only partly complete till we have a dialogue on a regular basis. The Insight Discussion Forum on Facebook is an attempt towards that end. We sincerely hope to see people posting their thoughts and concerns there and recognising the collective responsibility we have of continuing to ask questions and make our voice heard, for that is what’s engrained in the very spirit of the institute. Regards, Shreerang and Shreeyesh Chief Editors, Insight Tathagatha Biswas
Tejas Srinivasan Yash Mehta Team Abhinav Garg Anant Jain Anmol Gupta Chinmay Talegaonkar Deep Tavker Dhruv Shah Jibitesh Beher Karan Trichal
Omkar Masurkar Siddhant Jain Siddhanth Reddy Suditi Laddha Tanuj Kaza Cover Art Chaitanya Mandugula Design Keyaar
The first print issue for the semester is out and has hopefully made its way to your doorstep. This time around, we have covered issues pert...
Published on Feb 7, 2017
The first print issue for the semester is out and has hopefully made its way to your doorstep. This time around, we have covered issues pert...