While freebies and tall promises are a feature of India’s general elections, aspirants for posts in the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay’s (IIT-B) student representative bodies are not far behind.
Free WiFi spots and better hostel facilities are no longer buzzwords, as candidates have moved on to offering disabled-friendly features, an eco-conscious campus and better health facilities. Solar-powered street lamps, waterless urinals, ramps on campus footpaths and the installation of disabled-friendly washrooms — all these have made their way to the manifestos of candidates.
Many have focused on the need for better medical facilities on campus. “If elected, I will push for the installation of ramps along campus footpaths, which will benefit the differently-abled,” states the manifesto of one of the general secretary (GS) candidates, Ravi Sharma. He promises to organise full-body check-ups, fitness and vaccination drives, and to install sanitary napkin dispensers in the girls’ hostels.
Ashish Kumar, another GS candidate, proposes that a nutritionist be appointed, so students can be served better food at the hostel mess. He also proposes to conduct an institute-wide referendum regarding the menus at eateries on campus, to cater to students’ demands. “I promise to organise frequent discounted camps to ensure checks on students’ fitness,” states Kumar’s manifesto.
Another GS hopeful has promised to conduct drives to sensitise students to the problems faced by the differently-abled.
With elections slated for February 15, the campus is abuzz with campaigns run by various candidates contesting the posts of GS Academics, GS Cultural Affairs, overall coordinator Techfest, as well as Mood-Indigo. “These candidates promise many things every year, but by the end of their tenure, nothing seems to materialise. The problem is that these students get only one year to bring about changes, so we have demanded a long tenure for those who are elected,” said a student, who did not wish to be identified.
What posts are up for grabs?
Apart from the GS post, elections at IIT-B are held for several committees including GS Hostel Affairs, GS Sports Affairs, GS Cultural Affairs, GS Technical Affairs, GS Academic Affairs UG & PG, overall coordinator Student Alumni Relations Cell, Overall coordinator for Techfest and Mood-Indigo.
Unfulfilled promises by previous candidates that are on current students’ manifestos
Introducing substitutes for eateries such as Sunrise Dhaba and Amul Café on campus
Allowing food to be delivered on campus late at night
Installing more free Wi-Fi spots across campus
Introducing cycle-pooling services
Conducting an inter-hostel student exchange program
Installing snack and beverage vending machines across campus
Installing CCTV cameras on all hostel gates
Fixing faulty exhaust ducts in all the hostels