Now the Code of Conduct
The code of conduct is enforced since 10.30 this morning. A lot of work is going to slow down – in fact, much of government decision making is going to come to a standstill – everything postponed till the new government comes in… Who knows whom they will appoint, and what that will change.
Quite a change from all the hectic activity of past couple of weeks, the crazy turning of the sometime sluggish, mammoth wheels of government machinery. Those in the service of government, even when not directly, are tired and worn out. Everyone was working round the clock to the same end: To close as many books as possible; Complete or start decisively as many works as possible. The number of tenders put out in last month is equal to all put out in may be 6 preceding months. The smaller the government entity controlling it, the more the lack in organisation.
No more foundation stone ceremonies from government, no more dedication of public projects – from over-bridges to crematoriums. No more lotteries promising people poor and rich a house, or free education. Behind the curtain, no running barefoot for permissions scribbled hastily over files, inked on dates actual or past (back-dated is the word commonly used), no seniors working late, no frantic calls, no juniors burning midnight oil preparing notices or uploading tenders. And certainly no more consultants/ contractors/ vendors going bonkers collecting documents, putting together bids and having nightmares over who will win the contract.
Now the calm after the storm. Sort of a hush in offices government and private – at least some. Time to catch a breath and gear up for what happens after the new government is sworn in, takes hold, and is geared to continue or convinced not to continue a project, idea, culture.
Difference is obvious, from the haphazard shooting, to complete silence. The badgering, ‘setting’, aligning on small scale, to make tiny (ok, sometimes not so tiny as well) profits is over. So is the interface of citizens and government at minor scale. Now while the aachar samhita tells us the code of conduct it is time for big things. Big alliances, bid deals – living in hope, teeter totter. And from accomplishments, the focus will now turn to promises. Of better things, a corruption free nation, a just nation, a safe place, a place with a future.
Mr. Doshi is ever a delight to hear. And the family has come a long way from fighting for territories. They now stand united, and the sons in law now have clearer roles. They have made significant contributions to built environment, and to the world of education.
Come if you want to know the renowned family.
Design education at IITs, a step towards a better future
The following came from a senior design faculty at a premier institute, as all are fond of calling it…
“I read through fully the draft of the Design Manifesto prepared by the MHRD for the introduction of design education in institutes of higher learning in India. I wish we had access to such a paper from the DIPP which has already put four stones in the ground without sharing any plans or vision document so far. I wonder when these administrators will learn that India is changing and that inclusive planning can indeed make a better offering in the age of the internet and social media. …the MHRD note was stimulating and very encouraging indeed for all in the design community. Hope to see the draft in an final approved for in the near future. …I was immersed in the very exciting MHRD Design Manifesto, full credits to the leadership at the helm of the MHRD who have moved design to centre stage at the IITs and NITs across India.”
The ministry’s page itself, @ http://mhrd.gov.in/, is a sight to see. Design, in it’s broadest sense, is getting it’s due from the decision makers it seems. But even as you will find a better focus on design in general in MHRD’s outlook, CoA page is a stub. Neither any real vision, nor any attempt to pare architecture colleges with institutes like IITs and NITs is visible. I wonder with opening up of norms and lowering of criteria (To get more students, rather than through some enlightened perception of the Arts and Commerce students being worthy, in my guess), it will even be called technical education anymore.
And I wonder when the design related institutions will learn to put forth such vision. Some are new, bubbling with enthusiasm. Yet others are lost without a hope.
However, I will give it to these guys at Durgapur. If engineering institutes try to embrace design, why shouldn’t it happen the other way round? Most of the Architecture schools were strapped to engineering institutions anyway…
“Architecture engineering offer various career possibilities for qualified individuals. They can either practice from home or be actively involved in the following activities and/or industries:
The supply and distribution of electricity i.e. hydro-electric, coal-fired and nuclear schemes; basic industries like steel, mining, chemical and petrochemical; manufacturing and related industries like anti-pollution equipment, automatic control systems, medical equipment manufacture and mass production; measurement process engineering control; medical x-rays, ultrasonic scanners, electrocardiograph equipment and magnetic resonance imaging; microprocessors, personal and main-frame computers; aviation electronics; specification development/technical administration and management; technical training and education; computer industry i.e. fabrication, design and modification; microprocessor control of industrial systems; electronic systems used in steel works, refineries and large chemical plants; manufacturing or electronic components and equipment; air, sea and rail transport systems where electronic control or monitoring is involved; transmission and receiving of electronic signals; television and radio; communication via satellite, microwaves, closed circuit television and fiber optic links; military radar, communications and related operations.”
That came from Rani Rashmoni School of Architecture, of SET Group @ http://setgoi.com/college/rrsa/arch.do
MHRD, please pay some attention to ‘Design’ in the narrower sense of the term too?
Garba Garbad at CEPT: Part II and I
Garba Garbad Part III
It wasn’t about fake passes, but forced passes.
800 odd cops wanted Garba to continue because they had a handle on CEPT…
Some lost soul certainly did try to bring in prohibited substances. And was caught red handed. Sure, there was a scuffle amongst students’ councils from various schools. And much time was spent in these meetings, so much so that the student leaders chose to miss out on classes and submissions… But the biggest beneficiary were the cops, who, in return to not punishing the student further and sort of underplay the issue, managed to blackmail students into allowing them and their friends free entry into the campus festivities – where else could you find a safe heaven like this without having to pay?
And when the councils wanted to shut down the garba, the pressure was not from students but from these freeloaders – “Where would our families go then?” they asked. Those alumni who paid for the passes, those genuinely fond of the campus garba (or whose kids are safer here than elsewhere) protested too, specially when they didn’t know what was going on. But I say it was a good idea to stop the Garba and the fighting, and of course the blackmail.
Like I said, it is part and parcel of growing up. Hope the institute and the students evolve, and become better.
CEPT Logo Design Competition is now open:
‘The competition is open to Students, Alumni & Staff of CEPT University. It is also open to individuals who have taught or worked at the university. (The belief that educating professionals requires practicing professionals and academics to work closely together firmly underpins CEPT University’s pedagogic philosophy.)’
Other than the image of the logo, the entry is required to comprise:
1. Image depicting minimum ten different proportionally smaller sizes
2. Image of the logo composed on a letterhead (A4 sized paper), giving a contextual idea of how the logo may be used.
3. Polychromatic AND monochromatic (black and white) version
4. The original design files (editable digital vector files)
The winning entry will be awarded a prize of Rs. 25,000/-
For the prize of 25,000 Rs., a lot of work is expected of you. As the money is certainly not worth the effort, unless, perhaps, you are a student and out of work at the moment; it is a labour of love. And, what rules!
‘Clipart and pre-made templates should not be used. It could serve to be a ground for disqualification of the entry.’…
‘Any sign of any identifying mark on a digital / print submission shall be grounds for disqualification. Please ensure that file properties of digital files being submitted do not have any identifying marks.’
What about the scanner/ camera/ software signature? Also, half the people who might design good logos would not be conversant with the way digital world works. In a way, it is a young generation bias.
‘…there is no requirement for the type of program used to create the logo. Entrants are free to use any type of software to draw, paint and create but to allow the University to use the logo in all its digital glory, please follow the vector guidelines.’
That, is another catch. Most young people can’t have paid for the softwares required to fulfill the above demands. So, in a roundabout way, is CEPT approving piracy/ open source when it is very elaborate in terms of where it’s own copyrights lay?
‘The winner/s will surrender all rights of ownership of the logo to CEPT University. The winning entry/ies shall become the intellectual property of CEPT University and the designer shall not have any rights over the same. CEPT University retains the rights to enhance / edit / modify the winning entry/ies to prepare the final logo.’
‘All submitted work must be original and not based on any pre-existing design. Any signs of plagiarism will be grounds for disqualification of the entry.’
It has to be ORIGINAL. There, THERE. Now they are telling you they don’t want anything to do with the old one.
For the sake of whoever knew the story behind the ‘original’, I wrote this: http://architectureindeed.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/story-of-cept-logo/
With the elections coming up, corruption is finding a new high by the day.
And this is no news to anyone. Those 4000 people who called the helpline set up by Mr. Kejriwal have seen it. As they are part of the system, so are those officers who work hard all their lives and retire from small government jobs with meagre pension and benefits. But their life’s work is undone by those who don’t see it as a big problem. Till the time it IS too big for their pockets… Bhupati Shukla, a lone crusader against what he believes is wrong, and who fights everyday temptation to make his life easier, observes that: “There was a time when I thought our politicians are corrupt. My view has changed over the years. It is the people who are corrupt. As long as the common man agrees to pay, corruption shall continue to thrive.”
So everywhere there are people who yield to small demands due to a dearth of time or simply because they prefer paying under the table than spend their precious time in running from pillar to post, in his words. But then there are others. More ambitious, with a lot more at stake, or with a lot more to gain.
These are not the people who will log onto I Paid a Bribe to report what they have to do. These are people who are given work to do. They have to run their offices, hire a huge staff, produce reports and work hard to get the money they are going to get. And provide for others’ money within that, all sounding legitimate. Start with ‘investing’ before getting the work order, and go on paying a percentage at every bill. It doesn’t matter who one is dealing with – a Junior Engineer, or SE. The clearance comes all the way from CE and the Minister (and in this case, the Chief Minister). It isn’t easy for them: There are competitors lurking, willing to do the same. There are transfers, added costs, and the pressure to deliver the work. They too are worried about making ends meet.
But they have one less worry. They don’t have to worry about where this world is going. They are leading it there.
The bribe analytics on http://www.ipaidabribe.com/ showing a total of 41 lakhs paid as bribe make me laugh. If I don’t, I’ll surely cry.
This sculpture by Jaume Plensa, earlier meant to be on loan, is now gifted to MIT by an anonymous Alumni. MIT already has a rich collection of art and prides itself in it, even as it maintains it’s excellence in engineering fields.
Read the article here:
May be CEPT shouldn’t wait another 1o0 years… or wish it needn’t have to.
Welcome to the world of full fledged practice, Mr. Chhaya.
It’s official… beloved of many, professor Neelkanth Chhaya is retiring from active duty as Dean at Faculty of Architecture, CEPT University.
A farewell speech on Tuesday the 19th at CEPT.
1. Typical contractor’s life is not elite anymore. Despite the Audis and BMWs…
- The respect and reputation once enjoyed by civil engineer run construction companies are now shifting to PMCs
- It is assumed your product would be the worst possible
- Most of those who know the problems you face create all the safeguards in contracting to protect themselves, against you, assuming you are scheming
2. Every side you are dealing with expects you to bear their costs and expectations:
- Labour force expects you to pay them more
- Client expects to pay you less
- The designer wants you to carry out their wishes
- Other professionals e.g. services, lighting or landscape designer, are either ordering you around or questioning your performance
- The project management peeps want to prove their worth by cutting down on project cost, and so, are ever trying to find ways to shrink areas open for profit
- Third Party Inspectors are ever calling your bills inflated, or your work substandard
3. You are dealing with the severest pressure to complete the work
- All delay and time lost at all other stages of the project planning is supposed to be rectified at execution stage
- You have the most unskilled and unorganised bunch of folks at your disposal to do that work
- You need a lot of money upfront to carry out the work - because most people have not heard of mobilisation advance, certainly not of timely payment – excepting your daily wagers
- Huge capacities are required on your side – It’s not easy to pack up and just leave once the work begins
4. Most big projects will be decided based on, or negotiated to, the lowest quote – even where technical competence/ good quality work is a prerequisite
- So you are expected to complete on your (high) quality but compete on the quality of the lowest bidder
- Governments are increasingly adding the clause of no extra payment to the contracts, but there is almost always extra work
- Even the contracts which are fair to begin with turn into financial nightmares because of delays, not always from your side
- The line between what may be termed reasonable and beyond reasonable time is blurred, and so the revisions are not easy to come by
5. Your calculated profit is very often punctured
- There are almost always delays and extra work. Time is a cost and the prices rise and rise:
- Now, you are expected to absorb the cost of occasional whims within the same price – when earlier, extra work was where you made your money when the quote had to be competitive
- You are expected to charge only on the work finished – No one wants to pay for delays caused on their side
- The work that you are doing is not always guaranteed to be paid up, tempting you to plan it in such a way that you can’t be shown the door abruptly. This is the enemy of doing the right thing
- Often the last payment won’t come – and it doesn’t surprise you anymore
6. The shadyness in this profession is mind boggling
- If you are dealing with land, the laws are over a century old, and you get to see the worst of government bureaucracy and legal system in your course of work
- The paperwork is a mess, and the land ownership status, permissions and transactions are grey at best of times
- There’s more black money finding its way in your profession than anywhere else
- Use of force is common. Squatters and forceful occupiers, as well as those who are required to remove them by using force, are invariable parts of the game
7. It’s not a great world you inhabit, being treated as a scum and/ or a meal ticket
- In a government contract, nearly everyone involved wants you to pay them a percentage
- In a corporate set up, either the sleaze is the same or more than in a government project
- The individual client is in no doubt that you are ripping her/ him off, and so is weary of trusting you
- The only people you can exploit are poor. The most money you can make is by pinching on the safety and benefits of the unorganised and poor workers
8. Your payoffs go beyond the work even when you are expected to charge only for work
- In order to survive and prosper, you ought to keep an open mind towards cops, politicians and their relations, local government officials, unions, naxalites and local gangs
- Because the work deals with materials, stealing and associated worries are yours to deal with
- Designers/ other consultants are often expecting a cut from you – to make up for the money the client refused to pay them, or out of plain greed
- Money is required to be poured to clear your pending dues – something the Government Schedule of Rates doesn’t account for
9. This is after the already high social costs
- Praise is difficult to come by
- It is a crude profession, many people you’d spend your time with are rough at edges and low on sophistication
- People are pleasantly surprised, and never miss pointing out the fact, if you turn out to be educated or articulate
- Those who dig you are after your money and what it can buy
So you are expected to, and blamed if you do not, deliver the best quality work. This is fair to expect, except that all the others don’t keep their end of the bargain. It is very difficult to have a long term perspective on things if everything is so hurried and unorganised. Things are not always formal, and when they are, the burden of paperwork is truly depressing. Tweaking a famous saying, ‘it’s not that being a contractor corrupts, but it sure attracts the corruptible’. So either you are not nice, or the world you’re in is not nice. You are required to forgo your respect for a legit, honourable and transperant society and the law of the land if you have to make decent money. Those who know the problems don’t want to address them, and nobody wants to pay for them. The way things are, it has severe constraints and great temptations. In this aspect, this profession is the same as a business. It basically needs people who can swim in murky waters. This often throws out the good within you. And it’s not fun anymore.
Till yesterday there was some hope, at least for students as Garba continued on a small scale, only for ‘insiders’ i.e. students and faculty.
Now that the Garba is cancelled ‘on account of heavy rains’ and the stage dismantled, all one can do is to contend with rumors and half truths. One of them stating that the student’s councils refused to shoulder the burden of any controversy and carry on with the Garba and so it is called off.
Already there is shock and anger over faking of passes: @
If the stories doing rounds are true, then someone couldn’t hold their drink, and misbehaved. If true, it raises many questions on how the growing big/ growing up process is going to be painful for CEPT. Also, there are incredible stories about someone misbehaving with some very important persons (a concept properly understood only in India) and also about students carrying prohibited substances into the campus (that part is credible, to tell the truth) So notably, being rounded up for that.
The ownership, liberties, and casualness with which campus life has carried on for the past years will and ought to change, with growth in numbers and statutes. Bigger things are at stake, both from students’ side, as well as from those who have the responsibility to run the show. Just hoping both parties would become more responsible as they go along, and nurture the spirit that supported this place for all this while, without losing the responsibility that the future is placing on them.
If any or all of the hushed stories be true, these are the troubles of coming of age, I hope. And also, I wish Garba is not sacrificed because of individual stupidities or systemic lapses…
Its truly disheartening and disappointing – what is happening at School, and CEPT.
Navratri has always been a point to look forward to for all who are associated with CEPT. There is a lot of energy and students are willing to go the extra mile by making decorations, manning the gates and in general, dancing and yet showing up for regular classes/ submissions. Many alumni plan to visit school and meet during this time. Faculties, past students, their children, all come and everyone has fond memories of learning or teaching garba, warm atmosphere, glowing diyas, enhanced by some of the young children coming back as students.
For many years, the profits made during Navratri were able to support the Students’ Festival held in February each year. So it always was a big event, smaller in stature only to the once hot rock shows. Only for Navratri it was easy to get sponsorship. Those who are not from CEPT, are always eager to drop by; and passes to CEPT Garba, as they are available in very limited numbers, are endowed with privilege, and difficult to come by. People who are otherwise pricey will recognise the obligation of the one who got them an entry.
When passes were expensive and there was a cap on the number of people students could bring in, there was always the temptation to create fakes, or work around the system by using the same pass twice. Some students knew the places where the campus boundaries were porous and where one could get an illegal entry or transfer the pass once used. Also because of the same, those involved in checking the security would always keep checking the perimeter during any events.
In the beginning, they put students from each school on campus to ascertain the alumni and students were not finding a false entry at the gates. Those guys sacrificed their garba time to do this duty. Most student sentries overlooked alumni getting a couple friends or family members under the names of their batch-mates; also recent past students using their student id cards to gain entry. All in all, the system worked on trust and was loosely monitored. But that changed this year.
This year, someone thought of shaking that trust. Of creating fake passes and selling them for a profit.
There are more skeletons in the CEPT closet… Part II will break your heart if you loved School.