AMA with Atal Ashutosh Agarwal

The Scholars’ Avenue, in a unique initiative, organised an ‘Ask me Anything’ on reddit in association with Atal Ashutosh Agarwal, Vice-President of the Technology Students’ Gymkhana on 8th of September 2015. The initiative was aimed at gathering student’s opinion about life and work in Kharagpur and fostering discussion to solve the problems faced by the campus community. The AMA proved to be a success with more than a 100 people participating in the discussion and many others reading on. Atal enthusiastically took on the deluge of questions that the students had for him about various topics including campus infrastructure, academic pressures, placements and extra-curricular activities.

AtalAMA

The Vice-President  of TSG, IIT Kharagpur, is the highest representative of the students’ body for the administration as well as any other purpose that highlights the interest of the students and the institute. He coordinates activities between different committees of TSG and chairs the Academic Committee and the Student’s Senate. He is also an important member of the organising committees of Spring Fest and Kshitij. The AMA was an opportunity to interact with Atal anonymously, so that students could voice all their concerns and problems without any apprehension. Highlights of the AMA are listed below.

Internet Access

The student community also seemed very concerned about the restrictions on the web access in the campus. Also, they asked about the declining web speed and WiFi. To this, Atal’s response was that the internet services are handled by the CIC in Takshashila. If there are any complaints regarding the issue people can mail him at vptsg@hijli.iitkgp.ernet.in, which will be forwarded to CIC. Also, he is in talks with CIC regarding the limited port use that force people to use VPN or mobile data, and soon they’ll sort it out.

Placements and Internships

One of the major concerns of the students was regarding the placements and internships. For the internship woes of the dual degree students, Atal responded that companies coming for recruitments have the choice to exclude students who are not in their pre-final year. While the institute does allow some students to go for an internship in their 4th year, technically the curriculum does not allow this. The Dean UGS can change the curriculum to facilitate this by submitting a proposal to the Senate. The curriculum is already undergoing revision and in the new proposed curriculum this issue will be reconsidered.

Another important issue highlighted the dearth of placements for the Research Scholars within the institute. The solution proposed by Atal was that there should be a representative from the research scholars in the T&P Cell. Currently, there isn’t an adequate representation of the PG students. Scholars are also not barred from taking up industrial internships. Regarding the issues of provisional certificates and fellowships, research scholars can contact the RS representative, who has already raised these issues with the director. Also, the delay in disbursement of fellowships due to manpower shortage is being dealt with by linking the ERP with F&A section and work will probably be completed in a month.

On the issue of the reducing number of core companies coming for recruitment, Atal pointed out that many candidates join non-core companies because of better offers and this discourages core companies to come again next year. CDC and Placecomms, who are allotted 2-3 departments, try their level best to open up companies for all the relevant departments.  About outsourcing of CDC , Atal pointed out that it has not been done because of the student feedback in favor of this being handled by the students’ community, as received in the last open house with the Director.

OP
There were some pertinent questions about ragging and student harassment inside the residential halls. There were questions regarding the utility, enforcement and consequences of OP and also what role, can a VP play with regards to this. Atal gave his personal opinion about this as he mentioned that OP is a completely optional thing and students can withdraw at any moment. He mentioned that to take an absolute stand on OP is not possible because of the differing perspectives inside the campus regarding OP. However, in his own words, ” The fact of the matter is that ragging is illegal, and punishable. Whenever any complaint comes up, I have done everything in my power to address it. I’m available at any time of the day for all students who want to approach me with any problem they  are facing, OP or otherwise.”

Miscellaneous
There were various other queries for which Atal clarified the matters and shed light upon the situation as in the increase of fee for Technology Aquatic Society membership, which was levied  to manage the expenses for new cylinder purifiers. Also, a separate slot for the pool can be allotted if a group of 20 or more students comes forward together and drop him a mail. There is work being done regarding cleanliness of the institute and a provision of 100 new dustbins in the campus is being made. He told about the implementation of AMBAR as a community and a future society to raise awareness about and increase representation for the LGBT community residing in the campus. Also, the decision to cut down on number of days of SF and KTJ  was made on grounds of professors citing their inability to complete curriculum due to missed work hours. Atal also discussed the consequences of making mess enrolment optional.There is also a proposal of getting a functioning central food-court in KGP.

Update: To accommodate student interest, Kshitij and Spring Fest have been extended to 4 days each.

Apart from this there were numerous micro issues that Atal addressed specifically. The complete AMA can be found on the link. : https://www.reddit.com/r/thescholarsavenue/comments/3jz0g8/i_am_atal_ashutosh_agarwal_vice_president_of_the/

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