57th Governing Board Meeting

Final Minutes of the 57th Governing Board Meeting held on 2nd November 2021.

Present: Shri. R. N. Ravi, Chairman, Auroville Foundation, Dr. Tamilisai
Soundararajan, Shri. Aravindan Neelakandan, Prof. Goutam Ghosal, Prof. R. S.
Sarraju, Members, Governing Board and Dr Jayanti S. Ravi, Secretary, AF.
Dr Nirima Oza, Smt. Darshana M. Dabral, Joint Secretary & Financial Advisor
and Smt. Neeta Prasad, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Education, Government of
India attended online. Prof. N.G. Basappa could not attend.
Dr Nirima Oza could not participate in the online meeting effectively due to
connectivity issues.

Secretary, Auroville Foundation (AF) welcomed the Hon’ble Chairman and
Governing Board members and gave a presentation, which includes a work plan
outline for the period 2021-2022 to 2025-2026 focusing on the growth of
Auroville as per the vision of the Mother.
Secretary informed the Board that she had prepared the presentation after studying
and compiling decisions already taken in previous Governing Board meetings and
her interactions with various Auroville working groups and residents.
Chairman and members of the Board appreciated the detailed and comprehensive
analysis of the various issues, challenges and proposed ways forward for the
integral development of Auroville. The Board took decisions and made
observations as detailed below.

  1. Governance
    The Board noted the following in relation to the present status of governance and
    organisation in Auroville:
    1.1. There is a proliferation of groups and discussion forums.
    1.2. There seems to be decision paralysis or the inability to put decisions into
    1.3. The Residents Assembly is seen by many as a decision-making body for
    even operational issues that are under the responsibility of working groups.
    1.4. The absence of wo r k plans or governance and organisation that ensures
    implementation of work plans.
    1.5. Culture of “stakeholders” seems to have replaced the culture of “voluntary
    contributors” / “willing servitors”.
    1.6. Working group member selection processes include conventional
    canvassing and voting.
    The Board is of the view that the following action needs to be taken in relation to
    Auroville governance and organization:
    1.1. Decision-taking in Auroville needs to be driven by the ideals given by the
    1.2. There is a need for the preparation of work plans for each work area of
    Auroville by the respective working groups. These work plans must relate
    to the realization of the ideals of Auroville including township
    development, governance, economy, education and research.
    1.3. Selection of human resources for working groups must be done with
    reference to the skill sets, experience, commitment and engagement
    needed for the implementation of the ideals of Auroville in general and
    work plans of working groups in particular.
    1.4. There is a need to promote a culture of engagement, transparency,
    commitment, accountability and integrity.
    1.5. The initiative to have contact persons / coordinators for residential
    communities to engage with residents for cultural, academic and other
    activities that strengthen the spirit of goodwill and harmony may be
    continued through periodical interactions with the contact persons /
    1.6. The Working Committee must assist the Governing Board with the
    implementation of decisions taken by the Board within a time frame.
  2. Township Development
    The Board noted the following in relation to the present status of Auroville
    Township development:
    2.1. Presently Auroville has a population of about 3,500 persons scattered over
    a large land area (also outside the Auroville Master Plan area).
    2.2. There is scattered, sporadic and ad-hoc development resulting in high-cost
    infrastructure and lack of a cohesive social fabric.
    2.3. Master Plan right-of-ways (the Crown, radials, outer ring and international
    zone loop, etc.) have not been cleared, resulting in haphazard infrastructure
    development at high installation and maintenance costs.
    2.4. There is a lack of focus on the development of the township amongst the
    various working groups and Auroville residents.
    2.5. The low population dispersed over a vast land area, results in scattered
    habitation and land protection issues.
    2.6. Housing and other facilities to be developed to welcome more people with
    commitment to the ideals of Auroville.
    The Board is of the view that the following action needs to be taken to accelerate
    the development of the Auroville Township:
    2.1. On the occasion of Sri Aurobindo’s 150
    th birth anniversary, a fresh impetus
    must be given to realise the Auroville Township in accordance with the
    Auroville Universal Township Master Plan within a time frame.
    2.2. The Governing Board noted and endorsed the decisions already taken by
    the previous Governing Board on Auroville Township Development
    including planning and development as per the Auroville Master Plan and
    engagement with the Tamil Nadu Government to obtain statutory land use
    regulation (New Town Development Authority) for the Auroville Master
    Plan area to ensure land use as envisaged in the Auroville Master Plan.
    2.3. The ATDC (Auroville Town Development Council) needs to have a work
    plan, with clearly defined deliverables, time lines, a human resources plan
    and annual budget.
    2.4. ATDC membership selection / nomination to be done with a focus on
    competence, skills, work experience, and a commitment to plan and
    develop the Auroville Township in accordance with the Auroville Master
    2.5. The ATDC needs to complete the work of preparation of Detailed
    Development Plans (DDPs) based on the Auroville Master Plan.
    2.6. Build the township infrastructure backbone (water, electricity,
    communication, sewerage, etc.) along the fully cleared RoWs to enable
    planned urban development.
    2.7. A tree plantation drive may be initiated with immediate effect only in the
    green belt and the green corridors / network inside the city area as provided
    for in the Auroville Master Plan.
    2.8. All Master Plan deviations on the land earmarked for the Crown have to
    be cleared so that the circular Crown Road and related infrastructure can
    be built without further delay. A similar exercise shall be implemented for
    the twelve radials and the outer ring road, where land ownership permits.
    2.9. The work on the completion of the Matrimandir gardens and the lake may
    be accelerated.
    2.10. Housing development to accommodate (young) Aurovilians must be
    2.11. New education facilities may be built, while ensuring utmost utilization of
    the existing ones.
    2.12. Development of the Industrial Zone is essential to make Auroville the selfsupporting township as envisaged by the Mother.
    2.13. The Board endorses Office Order 491 dated 15th July 2021 (read with
    corrigendum dated 25th October 2021) issued by the Under Secretary AF
    with the approval of Secretary AF for the nomination of members of the
    Auroville Town Development Council (ATDC), including a nominee by
    the Secretary, Auroville Foundation (AF) on behalf of the Governing
    Board. Secretary AF is authorized to nominate the Governing Board’s
    nominee on the ATDC as and when required for smooth and efficient
    functioning of the ATDC.
    2.14. A budget outlay of Rs. 1,000 Crores is approved by the Board for Auroville
    Township development for the period 2021-22 to 2025-26 on the basis of
    the budget prepared by the ATDC. Detailed budget estimates may be
    prepared by the ATDC and scrutinized by the Secretary, AF for submission
    to the Ministry of Education. Expenditure to be incurred with an effective
    and transparent monitoring and reporting system.
  3. Land
    The Board noted the following in relation to the present status of Auroville lands:
    3.1. There are private developments (residential and commercial) both in the
    city area and in the greenbelt.
    3.2. There is slow progress in city land consolidation.
    3.3. Some lands of the Auroville Foundation have been encroached upon.
    3.4. Some lands of the Auroville Foundation are not utilised, underutilised, or
    not utilised in accordance with land use as envisaged in the Auroville
    Master Plan.
    The Board is of the view that the following action needs to be taken in relation to
    Auroville Foundation land:
    3.1. The land acquisition proposal for the remaining private lands in the City
    Area according to the Auroville Master Plan is ratified by the Board.
    3.2. The Board also endorses the proposal to engage with the Tamil Nadu
    Government for the establishment of a New Town Development Authority
    (NTDA) for the Auroville Master Plan area.
    3.3. The Board advises that stewardships of Auroville lands are changed
    3.4. Appointment of experts (on contract basis) for land consolidation.
    3.5. Prepare a land and building assets database with details of present and
    potential utilisation.
    3.6. Optimise the utilisation of all land and building assets.
  4. Economy
    The Board noted the following in relation to the present status of the economy of
    4.1. The Mother had envisaged Auroville as a self-supporting township.
    Auroville is not yet self-supporting and is unable to meet the basic needs
    of all residents of Auroville.
    4.2. It is not clear how many adult Aurovilians are contributing through work
    towards the realisation of the aims and objectives of Auroville.
    4.3. Auroville’s cost of living seems to be high.
    4.4. Auroville is still a monetary transactional society.
    4.5. There is no pan-Auroville annual budget.
    4.6. There is no medium and long-term economy plan.
    4.7. Human resources are not evaluated for their contribution to Auroville after
    the completion of the newcomer period.
    4.8. There is a large number of trusts and units with multiple GST registrations
    and accounting systems.
    The Board is of the view that the following action needs to be taken in relation to
    the economy of Auroville:
    4.1. Preparation of an annual Auroville budget that includes all resources and
    all needs.
    4.2. Preparation of a medium and long-term economy plan including financial
    plans of the income-generating units of Auroville.
    4.3. Make capital available for the growth of existing income-generating units
    and start-up capital for new income-generating units.
    4.4. Establish an innovation and incubation centre for the youth to be actively
    4.5. Strengthen and support the knowledge economy.
    4.6. All Auroville lands, buildings and other assets must be utilized to generate
    collective resources for Auroville as whole.
    4.7. Use some of the outlying lands of Auroville for income generation through
    joint ventures or ventures in which Auroville has a passive stake.
    4.8. Elimination of internal money exchange.
    4.9. Ensure that all basic needs of all residents are met and that all residents
    contribute to the realisation of Auroville.
    4.10. Enhance Auroville food production to meet the needs of Auroville.
    4.11. Simplify the go ve r na nc e and o r g a n i s a t i o n structures (trusts,
    units, activities and committees).
    4.12. Integrated common accounting systems to be implemented for more
    effective and transparent financial management.
    4.13. Contributions by income-generating units to be reviewed (rationale of the
    33% contribution; utilisation of surpluses).
    4.14. Reduce construction costs with innovative construction practices and
    effective and transparent price discovery mechanisms
    4.15. The Mother envisaged Auroville as a self-supporting township. All
    Auroville residents are expected to contribute to achieving this goal and
    work for the collective welfare of Auroville.
  5. Education and Research
    The Board noted the following in relation to the present status of education and
    research in Auroville:
    5.1. There is a mix of conventional education systems with the envisioned ideal
    of integral education with a dedicated team of teachers.
    5.2. There seem to be under-utilised facilities.
    The Board is of the view that the following action needs to be taken in relation to
    education and research in Auroville:
    5.1. Establishment of various Centres of Excellence in Auroville.
    5.2. Auroville to become a hub for integral education and research.
    5.3. The Board noted that the establishment of the Sri Aurobindo International
    Multiversity as an affiliating network for integral education, research,
    teaching, training and extension is a good and appropriate initiative to be
    launched during the 150th birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo.
    5.4. The Centre for International Research on Human Unity (CIRHU) may be
    established as planned.
    5.5. Auroville may engage with other institutions and organisations and
    conduct exchange programs, thereby sharing the experience and skills of
    Auroville with the world at large
    5.6. Youth hubs and innovation labs may be established in the township.
    5.7. The students of Auroville schools may be given a broader exposure to the
    philosophy, teachings and vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
  6. Entry Process
    The Board is of the view that the following action needs to be taken in relation to
    the entry of new residents into Auroville:
    6.1. The entry process of Auroville should be more welcoming and the
    Auroville population should grow to 50,000 as envisaged while ensuring
    that newcomers understand, and subscribe to, the ideals of Auroville. A
    population of 15,000 by 2025 may be achieved.
    6.2. There could be active engagement with Auroville International Centres
    and Sri Aurobindo Centresto facilitate the joining of volunteers and interns
    while maintaining international diversity and commitment to the ideals of
    6.3. The Board noted that the Mother had envisaged Auroville as an ideal town,
    and that when Auroville residents live by the ideals given by the Mother,
    Auroville will become a magnet that attracts people from all over the
    world, who also wish to contribute to the realization of the Auroville
  7. Sri Aurobindo’s 150th birth anniversary
    7.1. The Board advised the Secretary AF, to pursue the proposals for events,
    programs and projects with Government of India and approved an initial
    budget for the programs, events and projects of Rs. 50 Crores.
    7.2. The Board expresses a strong aspiration that the 150th birth anniversary of
    Sri Aurobindo may be the beginning of a new phase of accelerated
    development of the Auroville Township as the City for the Future, the Ideal
    Town and a Laboratory of Evolution as envisaged by the Mother.
  8. Meetings of the Governing Board:
    8.1. The Board decided to meet at least once in every quarter.
    8.2. During these meetings the Board will review progress made with reference
    to work plans of the various Auroville working groups and the overall
    progress of Auroville’s development.
  9. Conclusive remarks
    9.1. Chairman and the Board appreciated the presentations made by the
    Working Committee, FAMC, ATDC and SAIIER.
    9.2. The meeting concluded with a vote of thanksto the Chairman of the Board.

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