The Economy Group
and the Maintenance Group
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.
7. Quorum and Decision-making
8. Offices: the Economy Group shall have a chairperson, deputy chairperson, and a secretary.
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)
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 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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