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The Economy Group

and the Maintenance Group

Mandate

  1. Accountability. The Economy Group is directly accountable to the FAMC.

  2. Composition and Selection of Members

    1. The Economy Group shall be composed of between 7 and 9 members with at least 1 representative from the Auroville Board of Commerce, 1 representative from the educational units, and 1 representative from service units.

    2. Members of the Economy Group shall be nominated by the FAMC. Nominations will then be submitted to the Residents Assembly for a three week feedback period. If there are no reasonable objections within this period, those nominated will be considered members of the Economy Group.

    3. Members shall serve for a period of three years, and termination of office shall be staggered so that no more than 3 members complete their service at one time.

    4. A member may be reappointed in accordance with section 1b for a maximum of two consecutive terms, following which a minimum of one year must pass before s/he is eligible to serve again.

    3. Guiding Principles. The guiding principles of the economy group are to:

    1. facilitate the development of strategies that nurture and promote the vision of Sri Aurobindo and the directions of the Mother in relation to the Auroville economy;
    2. stimulate sustainable economic development within Auroville;
    3. bring transparency and accountability to public budgets.

     

    4. Main Responsibilities. The main responsibilities of the economy group are to:

    1. propose budgetary policy and procedures;
    2. propose annual Central Fund budget allocations within an overall budget amount which will be determined by the FAMC. The FAMC will ratify this subject to Residents Assembly approval. This will be completed by 30 April each year.
    3. monitor monthly budget allotments and make adjustments;
    4. approve or reject proposed budget changes that exceed 10% of any budget heading from an approved budget;
    5. propose to the FAMC justified budget allocations that may cause the overall budget to be exceeded;
    6. develop and submit to the FAMC contingency plans in case of possible foreseen budgetary deficits, and propose to the FAMC uses of possible budgetary surpluses;
    7. manage a discretionary fund to cover expenses outside of approved budgets. The amount of the discretionary fund will be proposed by the economy group with approval from the FAMC;
    8. compile regular income and expense reports against approved budgets;
    9. determine internal reporting requirements among receiving funds from the Central Fund;
    10. assess and monitor units receiving funds from the Central Fund to prioritize budget allocations;
    11. constitute and oversee the Maintenance Group;
    12. monitor and report (financial and otherwise) on economic trends within Auroville's economy.

5. Access to Information. The Economy Group will be provided with financial information and general information related to performance from the Central Fund and any other units receiving funds from the Central Fund to carry out its duties.


6. Meetings

    1. Regular meetings of the full Economy Group will be held once a week.
    2. Special Economy Group meetings may be called if one-half of the members of the group feel that either a decision or additional discussion is required to expedite a critical decision before the next scheduled Economy Group meeting;
    3. The Economy Group may form subgroups to work on various pieces of its mandated responsibilities. These may meet as necessary, and all Economy Group members shall be informed of the schedule of meetings of the subgroups.

7. Quorum and Decision-making

    1. Decisions may be taken by the Economy Group only at scheduled meetings where a quorum is present. A quorum shall consist of at least five members of the Economy Group.
    2. The Economy Group will seek consensus among its members for its decisions. Consent will also be considered an acceptable level of agreement for decisions. If a decision cannot be made because consent cannot be reached within a reasonable or necessary period of time, the issue will be brought to the FAMC for a decision.

8. Offices: the Economy Group shall have a chairperson, deputy chairperson, and a secretary.

    • Chairperson
      1. The chairperson will be selected from among the Economy Group members.
      2. The chairperson will be selected at a regular meeting of the Economy Group, and will serve for a period of one year.
      3. The chairperson may be reappointed for an additional term after which a period of one year must pass before s/he is eligible to serve again as chairperson.
    • Deputy Chairperson.
      1. The deputy chairperson will be selected from among the Economy Group members.
      2. The deputy chairperson will be selected at a regular meeting of the Economy Group, and will serve for a period of one year.
      3. The deputy chairperson will serve as the chairperson whenever the chairperson is unable to attend meetings.

The Central Fund will be responsible for making monthly allotments in accordance with the approved annual budget. It may independently make adjustments within any budget heading so long as it does not exceed 10% of the approved budget for that heading and so long as the overall budget is not exceeded.

(EG Mandate 23 November 2004)

Members


Dirkk (Admin)
Joseba
Jyotiprem
Kathryn
Lumiere
Lyle
Manou
Sanjeev
Ulli (Admin)

 

The main direction

Mother wanted to create a new, spiritualized society when she founded Auroville. After more than 30 years, on the firm basis of what has already been achieved, it is urgent for us to take whatever steps are necessary to make this goal of hers a living reality. The objective, as she defined it, is "no circulation of money in Auroville."

Going towards a "kind" economy. As much as possible, needs are to be provided in kind through goods and services so that we may ultimately achieve the moneyless internal economy that Mother wanted for Auroville. The Solar Kitchen and Nandini are key activities for moving further in this direction. Other essential services need to be reinforced or further developed and a few other key services are yet to be established.

Taking care of our people. In any organisation, people are the main resource. It is probably true in even more crucial ways in the case of Auroville: the "cradle of the superman" must manifest through willing servitors of the Divine Consciousness. However remote the present Auroville may seem to be from such future manifestations, the necessary emphasis on "people" is all the more crucial. Despite limited resources, we strive to create the space and provide the means for each one to discover what they truly need. As such, the work involved in this part of the mandate has been largely delegated to a sub-group called The Maintenance Group, who work in tandem with the Economy Group. This group administers the Bridging Fund, which provides temporary support to Aurovilians according to their individual needs during a period of transition. The Bridging Fund also includes a maternity fund for pregnant and nursing mothers, a fund for elders unable to work regularly as well as temporary support for those who are unable to work due to illness or an accident. Otherwise this sub-group focuses awareness on those maintained through the Central Fund while liaising with all activities under its umbrella, and from time to time initiates and observes experiments with a view to finding better ways of taking care of Aurovilians. Particular attention is given to adolescents and young adults through a wing known as Gratitude which in turn has several aspects: supporting youth through the transition period from living at home to living independently, scholarship funding and arranging opportunities for apprenticeships.

 

Short glossary of familiar names or terms often used in connection with Auroville economy and Economy Group:

Auroville Fund is the official receiving, disbursing and accounting channel through which Indian and foreign donations for various projects reach units and projects in Auroville.

The Financial Service was started in the seventies as an attempt to do away with cash transactions in Auroville by keeping accounts of the cash holdings of Aurovilians. Since then, nearly all transactions between units and Aurovilians are done through transfers using these accounts. The Financial Service is the shorthand name that Aurovilians use for the Auroville Maintenance Fund, but they are actually identical.

The Auroville Maintenance Fund Since July 1995, the Central Fund has successfully increased its income on deposits, by asking Aurovilians as well as projects and activities in Auroville to transfer the amounts they had in low interest-generating bank accounts to their Financial Service accounts, and to forgo interest on these amounts. This has resulted at present in a total capital of over 10 crores (approx. US$ 2 million). The interest on this capital is now mainly used to finance the monthly budgets of the Central Fund.
The Central Fund was started in 1989 as a system to collectively support Auroville's services and other collective responsibilities. Its income is generated from commercial units, which contribute varying percentages of their profits; from contributions from guests; from donations by individual Aurovilians; from the Rs 1200 scheme, under which each unit pays Rs 1200 a month for each Aurovilian working for that unit; and from interest on deposits with the Auroville Fund and of individual account holders.

The Central Fund distributes its income of approx. Rs 44 lakhs per month (approx. US$ 90,000) to more than 40 activities and services. The Central Fund accounts are published each month in the AV News. The Economy Group is responsible for administering this Fund.

Over the past two years there has been a marked shift in emphasis from the services to the individual. The Central Fund budget specifically for the maintenance of Aurovilians receives a great deal of attention. As of today, the allocations for the basic subsistence of about 640 Aurovilians and their families is under intense observation with the will to secure a strong base for the well being of each one. In August 1999, the Auroville Maintenance Fund/Financial Service introduced a new software, which provides the possibility for each Aurovilian to have both a cash and a kind account. This is meant to be a tool to help us to move into an internal economy where there is no exchange of money. It is hoped that the needs of Aurovilians who are now covered either by themselves, by projects or by the commercial units for whom they work will progressively be covered in a different way through the combined resources of the community.

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