Interview of Candidate for President of Students Union - Abhinav Eittireddy

- Rohitt Vashishtha , Journal Club



Why did you stand for president and what do you feel about going unanimous?
From the beginning, I was not a post oriented person. I was more of a work oriented person. The thought of standing for President came across my mind only after the the SU elections of last year. Even then, my priority was working for the campus as a whole. No matter what the other potential candidates were doing, my main focus was to work. Later on, even when I got to know that in all probability, I would be the only one contesting, I did not stop doing the work. This is what caused a delay in the submission of my Manifesto as well. Being a unanimous president might not be something I cherish because I strongly believe that the best in a person comes out only when there is competition to push them.

There was a notice issued to you regarding late submission of manifesto. Any reason behind that?
See before the submission deadline, I had asked EC to extend the deadline by 4 to 5 hours so that I could finish my manifesto because on 8th and 9th April, I have a Make-a-thon planned in the campus by INK Talks, which is a national conference that's happening in Hyderabad this time. So, on the last day of manifesto submission, two people from INK Talks came to our campus and I had to be with them throughout the day and arrange for their accommodation and handle their schedules. And the participation was disappointing - only 5 teams have registered so far- that I had to try to get more teams by any means necessary. We went and talked to the Micro Processors instructor to get him to convince students to come with their Projects as well to the Make-a-thon.
All in all, I got free at 8 PM and started writing my manifesto, with the Election Commission meet being scheduled for 10:30 PM. At 11:45, they called me to ask why I hadn't submitted the manifesto. I explained that my points were ready but I hadn't yet framed them and that I needed some more time. They then said that they would put up a notice. I was okay and kept writing the manifesto till 6 the next morning.

You have planned to bring together all the digital needs of our campus under one name, the "SU Android App". Despite being made aware of how infeasible the scope of the app as a whole is, you plan on building the complete feature set. Why?
Well, as we know right now we have many forms of communication in the campus. But many people are annoyed. The reason being not everyone wants to open several different apps for different purposes. I wanted to have a "single app" where all the needs of the BPHC junta gets satisfied. Be it ordering food or notifying about the cabs or any events happening right now, this app will cover it all. It will also cover important and must to attend classes and might give notifications about tests :P. This app would be very helpful to the Bitsians. I will be looking at assembling a team of app developers from the campus to start working on it during the summers.

Also, to address your feasibility point, my priority is bringing out the application as early as possible in my tenure and thus, the initial version would not have all the promised features. I will continue adding the features once an initial version with the main functionalities, that is, the ability to contact the SU and push notifications for important events, is released for the General Body.

What do you plan to do regarding the inefficiencies encountered regarding healthcare on campus?
The current medical centre staff consists of three doctors hired on a contractual basis, and the contract of one of the doctor expires in May 2017. Thus, I am looking at re-drafting the contract. Also, the plan is to tie-up with one of the elite hospitals of the city like L V Prasad or others. I also am planning on talking to the SWD Dean regarding this. There will be attempts to get a round-the-clock medical centre to replace the current medical centre.
The bigger issue that plagues us currently is that we can't have regular health check-ups to catch potentially life-threatening illnesses like diabetes easily. One has to travel a long distance and that is a huge deterrent. To solve this issue, we will try to get monthly health check-ups, both generic and specific to a particular ailment, for the students.

In your manifesto, you mention setting up individual committees for the three major festivals. What is the idea behind that?
Our fests need to grow and currently there are several difficulties faced by the department people, especially DePP has trouble finding people to call for publicity. So, I will be setting up a dedicated team which tries to get these contact details of participants of the colleges where our college students have gone to participate in their festivals or events. Also - and this is a somewhat radical plan - I plan to look into ways to make the fests more autonomous, as in, reduce the influence of the SU Council directly so that the SU council can work for the welfare of students the whole year round.

Why do you feel the need to distance the Students Union Council from fest work?
This is my personal belief that the SU needs to work on all round development of the campus and not just the three festivals. The everyday life of a student won't be affected by how big a fest was but by small things. For example, the current academic year, Keshav helped in extending the in-time of girls, as well as setting up cycles. I plan on working on more similar stuff, and with this in mind, I also want to get a comprehensive list of what are the problems that the student body is suffering from.

How do you plan on communicating regarding this with the General Body?
Currently the EC didn't allow me, but after the elections, I would put up a Google Form for people to submit their problems and their expectations from the SU. I will also make those results public so that the general body can monitor the progress on the issues raised. Also, once the Bitsian's Mobile Application gets released, anyone can open any complaint over there as well and they will thus be able to directly contact the SU on an open forum.

You talk about an initiative called 'Build to Sell'. This part of your manifesto is rather confusing. Can you elaborate on that?
Sure. Currently, we have a lot of talent in our college that goes underutilised and also there are a lot of work opportunities for thinking and implementing new ideas in the public sector as well as the private sector. Here, I see a gap that needs to be filled. We will get real life projects, initially from the government and then from private companies as well, and task our students with finishing those. The students would solve these problems and then pitch their solutions back to the organisation, and they would be paid for their work. Thus, we would be helping the students grow in experience in real life projects.
In addition to that, the SU tech challenge that we had this year, we'll have it on a slightly larger scale next year and the top 5 projects would be pitched for crowd funding to our Alumni Network. We will take measures to help BITSAA find its campus outreach representatives and also collaborate with them to fund the top projects.