Dear IIT (BHU) Alumni,
This has been a challenging year for most all around the world. However, it is no secret that the people worst affected by this crisis are those in our society's lower economic strata. A few months ago, we reached out to the Institute's Alumni community to help our mess workers who have had their livelihoods financially disrupted in this Covid-19 pandemic era. We are happy to say that the support from all of you allowed us to alleviate and provide relief to more than 400 families. This initiative couldn't have been successful without the indispensable help from the Institute's Students' Parliament, Alumni, AIBA, IBGAA, and the IIT BHU Administration. We are highly thankful to the entire alumni fraternity for their generous support and monetary contribution.
As with any new initiative, we faced quite a few challenges, learned a lot about the system, identified few gaps, and had few essential learnings to improve the plan. This post is our sincere attempt to share the same to ensure complete transparency.
A brief status of all the accounts is as follows:
- The total amount collected by IBGAA: 36 Lakhs INR
- Other Collection: 25 Lakhs INR
- Complete Collection: 61 Lakhs INR
- Target Disbursal Amount: 14,200 INR/worker for 430 workers.
- Amount Disbursed till date: 33 Lakh INR
- 8,800 INR/workers paid for 379 workers.
- Amount to be Disbursed (should be done in 15 days): 28 Lakh INR
- 5,400 INR/workers to be paid to 379 workers.
- 14,200 INR/workers to be paid to 51 workers.
We all know about the Maharaj system in IIT BHU hostels. Most workers in the mess system belong to unorganized sectors. Therefore, there is no proper data maintenance; the number of workers is ever-changing. Many of these workers didn't have their bank accounts. A majority of them went to their respective remote villages during the lockdown without proper communication available to them. This posed many hurdles during the entire process, due to which the fund disbursal took longer than we initially expected. It was essential to ensure transparency and reliability that the amount should be remitted to the verified mess worker. This was a considerable challenge to be resolved by the Institute's students, hostel caretakers, and the entire administration. Nevertheless, appropriate steps were executed for the successful implementation of funds disbursal, procedural details of which have been shared below as a process divided into the following stages:
- Stage 1 (Early June) - Workers data Collection
A team of students was formed by the administration, which primarily had members from the Hostel Affairs Committee (HAC) of the Student's Parliament and the Hostel Executive Committee (HEC) of every Hostel. They collected the bank details of each worker (or their relatives' if they don't have one) by contacting the respective Maharajs.
The students called individual workers to collect their account information, photos, and passbooks.
A total of 525 entries were recorded, which comprised dhobis, mess & canteen workers.
- Stage 2 (Mid & Late June) - Date Verification & Filtration
The Registrar Office cross-examined the recorded data, verified the correct ones, and filtered out the ones that had any discrepancies to ensure payment reliability.
A total of 430 entries were finalized, and a total of 14,200 INR is finalized to be disbursed to each worker.
- Stage 3 (July) - Data Cleanup & Fund Transfer
The Hostel Administration played an active role, especially the Hostel Caretakers. Hostel Caretakers collected the passbook copy of the beneficiaries, maintained a register, got them signed by Hostel Warden, and then approved by the Council of Wardens. After approval, the following amount was transferred.
- No. of Verified Account: 343
- 4,400 INR/worker for 249 workers
- Stage 4 (August) - Opening up new accounts for remaining workers.
Hostel Caretakers took the responsibility of opening new accounts for workers who didn't have one, or their relative account was referred to, whichever seemed suitable according to the worker's situation.
- Stage 5 (September) - Fund Transfer to New Accounts
- No of Verified Account: 379 (Includes 343 from stage 3)
- Additional payment:
4,400 INR/worker for same 249 workers as in stage 3
8,800 INR/worker for 130 workers
- Total Payment till September: 8,800 INR/worker for 379 workers
- No. of workers whose account is not yet verified: 51 (=430-379)
- Stage 6 (October-November) - Rest of disbursement
The bank accounts of 51 workers were opened and verified. We expect stage 6 will be completed by the end of November.
- Additional payment to be made:
- No of Verified Account: 430
- 5,400 INR/worker for the same 379 workers as in stage 5
- 14,200 INR/worker for 51 workers
Despite having faced several difficulties like the lack of a database of workers, lengthy verification process, absence of workers' bank accounts due to their rural background, a lot was learned from this endeavor.
With the help of IBGAA, the student parliament is implementing a more efficient Mess Maharaj System (MMS), where the hostel administration will officially keep all the mess workers' data. Mess workers will be given a hostel identity card. It will be made sure that they have legitimate bank accounts before their employment. All this allowed us to look carefully at our mess system and develop new ideas to improve upon it. It also helped enormously financially support 400 families in this Covid pandemic era for which we're indebted to you, the alumni. Our initiative included setting up bank accounts for the mess workers; this will help us formalize the economic system.
We will keep you updated on the proceedings. We would once again like to give out a heartfelt thanks to all members of the IIT BHU alumni fraternity on behalf of the mess and canteen workers, dhobies, AIBA, and IBGAA generously to this noble cause.