The Independent Student Newspaper of Ashoka University

HoR Convene to Discuss Biannual Budget

by Dhiya Sony, Batch of 2021.

The fifth House of Representatives convened on 11th March, with a two-fold agenda: to discuss the eligibility of the Chairman of the Committee for Legislative Research and the First Bi-Annual Budget. In addition, the House also held a Question Hour on the February Report of the Student Government.

The February Report was taken up for consideration first. The Ministry of Academic Affairs addressed the concern raised by certain members regarding the Academic Advisory Board which is currently being constituted. The Campus Life Ministry meanwhile was questioned about the progress in the cat sterilization and mess food tasting program. The frustrating problem of the sluggardly WiFi and the procurement of spare phones were the main issues raised with the Technology Ministry. The minister reassured the members that he had scheduled a meeting to understand how the WiFi network has been set up at the University to find possible bottlenecks.

The newly formed Ministry of Community Well-being informed the house that it has facilitated the appointment of a psychiatric nurse. The Ministry is also planning on launching a series of events called “Let’s Listen”, a platform for people to discuss and share their experiences. Surprisingly, nearly 40% of the total budget has been allotted to this Ministry. When questioned about the disproportionate allocation, the Minister explained that the funds would be used in unforeseen circumstances which are likely to arise because of the newness of the Ministry.

The Environment Ministry has a varied platter of programs and policies planned for the semester. They are in the process of launching a new brand for the Ministry, tentatively titled “Tarang”. Apart from it, an ambitious project of placing 3-minute hourglasses for managing shower time is also in the works. The Sports Ministry, in the meantime, proposed implementing steps to take proper care of gym equipment and is in the process of planning a sports calendar. A competitive yoga event is also in the pipeline as the Ministry wishes to introduce and promote unexplored variants of sports. The Cultural Ministry, as usual, has numerous events planned for this semester- Holi, Spring Gala and Finals Rewind are just a few of them.

The Finance Ministry came under severe backlash as members voiced their displeasure at the late disclosure of the budget to the student body. Deep Vakil, the President of the current House, apologised for the process not being as public as it should have been. The budget presented was called an ‘ambiguous budget’, owing to the lack of detailing and a clear break-up of the finances by the Chief Election Commissioner of the AUEC Isha Dattanwala, while expressing her ‘deep disappointment’.

The two principal issues that stood out at the end of the hour and a half long House Meeting are the questionably high amount of the budget and the plethora of events that are being planned for remaining seven weeks (excluding the Finals week). Both the concerns were raised and discussed to a large extent in the House meeting which led to a considerable cut in the asking total in the final draft of the budget. However, the question of how to address the inevitable clashes between the exceedingly high numbers of events planned out has not reached a satisfactory conclusion. Combined with classic Ashokan apathy, it remains to be seen how the proposed events could be successfully conducted in a cost-effective manner.

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