Financial Procedures for WSF-India ( 2006 )

(as approved by IWC Meet 22/23 April 2006)

1. As decided by IWC, WSF-India funds are now to be moved to and operated from Delhi. Funds currently being held in Mumbai would be suitably transferred to Delhi with the understanding that Accounts for 2005-6 would be audited in Mumbai. The previous IWC Meet had decided that fresh Procedures for handling WSF-India funds in Delhi should now be properly laid down
2. Accordingly, Razia Ismail Abbasi and D.Raghunandan, Members of the Finance Group as well as, respectively, Chairperson and Executive Trustee of the WSF-India Trust, have drew up “Draft Financial Procedures” keeping in mind the original decisions regarding the Trust taken at the time of founding of WSF-India, earlier experience of handling WSF-India funds in Delhi and during the Asian Social Forum, procedures worked out during WSF-Mumbai and discussions since then. The Draft was discussed by the Finance Group (Razia Ismail Abbasi, Gautam Modi, Jaya Velankar and Raghunandan were present, and had available written inputs from Nandita Shah) on 23 April 2006 and the resultant modified version was presented to the IWC and discussed. While most limits of financial powers at different levels of decision-making have been retained, some amounts have been slightly raised in light of past experience and so as to match current prices and level of WSF-India activity. This document represents the Procedures as approved by the IWC at its Meeting in Delhi on 22-23 April, 2006.
3. At the outset, the status and role of the WSF-India Trust, and hence of the Trustees, as envisaged at the time of founding, may be recalled. The appropriate Resolution of the then Co-ordinating Team and IWC, also adopted at the first Meeting of the Trust on 21 September 2002, are reproduced below:
“The WSF India Trust has been formed as an instrument of the WSF India, its India Working Group and other organisational bodies set up by it. As such, the Trust exists and would work chiefly in pursuit of decisions taken by these bodies of WSF India and to implement such decisions as are mandated to it by these bodies, and would not initiate or take any steps outside of the framework of such decisions. The Trust would be fully accountable to the WSF India Working Group and bodies set up by it and all Trustees hereby affirm their primary responsibility towards these WSF India bodies notwithstanding the legal status of the Trust. The Board of Trustees of the WSF India Trust hereby solemnly affirms that it would implement this resolution in both letter and spirit, and act only in such manner as called upon by the WSF India Working Groups and bodies set up by it and as to further the interests of WSF India activities and process.”
3.1 In keeping with the above, it had also been resolved that, “in order to ensure this character of the Trust, all Meetings of the Trust Board would take place along with Meetings of the Co-ordination Team/IWC unless some emergent or exceptional circumstances warrant an urgent Meeting of the Board.” In practice this would imply that items requiring Trust Board decisions/resolutions would be placed on the agenda of IWC Meetings with due indication that the matter pertains to the Trust formalities. Separate Trust Meetings either co-terminous with the IWC Meeting or otherwise would also be held for special purposes such as for Annual Audits and periodic review of fiduciary/regulatory requirements etc, with IWC informed before and after. Costs of travel of Trustees for such Meetings would be covered as per IWC norms including if separate Meetings are held.
4. In line with this framework as earlier decided, the Trustees/Trust Board would act as executors of the policies, budgets and financial decisions taken by the IWC and/or its designated Functional (or otherwise delegated) Groups. The Finance Group of the IWC would oversee the implementation of IWC decisions and would meet as necessary between IWC Meetings.
4.1 For information, Finance Group as presently designated by IWC comprises Razia Ismail Abbasi, Gautam Modi, Soni, Jaya Velankar, Nandita Shah, Sheelu and D.Raghunandan.
4.2 To facilitate these processes, Chairperson or ExecutiveTrustee would convene such Meetings which could also be called for by any Finance Group Member or Trustee. Where necessary, requisite decisions would be taken by Chairperson and Executive Trustee, (Trustee Members of the Finance Group) between Finance Group Meetings subject to guidelines for decisions to be taken by Finance Group, Trustees, Office Staff etc as detailed below.
4.3 For now, D.Raghunandan would act as Facilitator of the Finance Group.
5. A Bank Account of the WSF-India is presently being operated in Delhi at the State Bank of Hyderabad, Zamroodpur Branch, chosen at that time because of the location of the WSF-India office at Zamroodpur. Authorised signatories of this account are Any Two out of Four (founding) Trustees viz.: Razia Ismail Abbasi, D.Raghunandan, Vijay Pratap and Kamal A.M. Chenoy.
5.1 It is proposed that a new Account be opened in UTI Bank, Malviya Nagar, very close to WSF-India office, which has “anywhere-banking” facilities by which cheques issues in Delhi are treated as local cheques in other cities/towns, withdrawal/deposits can be made at any branch etc and telephone-banking facilities are also available. Consequent upon opening of the new account, the existing SBH Account would be closed and funds transferred to the UTI account.
5.2 Signatories would remain the same as above with the proviso that at least one of the signatories should be the Chairperson or Executive Trustee, following the earlier practice adopted in Delhi (since these two are most closely involved in day-to-day financial management of WSF-India funds).
5.3 It is also proposed to open a separate FCRA Account in UTI Bank to handle FCRA funds with the same signatories, procedures etc as for the Rupee account.
5.4 Signatories to the accounts, who are also Trustees, shall be responsible for day-to-day financial management subject to oversight of and acting as per decisions of the Finance Group which in turn implements policy-level decisions of the IWC to whom it reports, and subject to various provisions outlined further below.
6. All expenditures incurred would be based on budgets approved by IWC for specific programmes, activities, running of WSF-India office etc and other exigent items of expenditure as approved in advance by the IWC, and would be subject to the following provisions:
6.1 All expenditures arising from activities governed by specific Functional Groups, and within Budgets earlier approved by IWC, should first be verified and approved by the Functional Group both as regards the task specification as well as the amount of payment and party to whom it is being made. All Bills/Claims must be raised in this manner and duly signed by Facilitator or other designated representative of the concerned Functional Group and will only then be taken up by Finance Group for approval, especially with respect to financial procedures, and release of payment.
6.2 In light of the above provisions, it is advisable that Members of Functional Groups do not also serve on the Finance Group since this may involve the same person being involved at both levels of the approval process and may therefore impede checks-and-balances.
6.3 Advances or Imprest amounts up to Rs.15,000 for emergent purposes may be approved and released for Functional Groups or other activities upon written request by Facilitator of the concerned Functional Group or designated person responsible for the activity.
6.4 Variations of 10% in Expenditures on approved budget heads, but not exceeding total approved budget, may be incurred by approval of the Finance Group. Any larger variations should be approved in advance by IWC.
6.5 For particular programmes/activities or particular phases of work thereof, on a case-by-case basis, IWC may specifically authorise the Finance Group as regards wider variations from approved budget lines or other special provisions regarding expenditures as may be felt required or desirable.
6.6 Within such IWC/Finance Group approved budgetary provisions, and/or based on specific emergent requests by the WSF-India Office and/or relevant Functional Group or formally delegated bodies/individuals, the designated cheque-signing Trustees are authorised to incur expenditures up to a maximum of Rs.10,000 under normal circumstances and Rs.25,000 for emergent requirements in consultation with Finance Group and in any case to be ratified by the Finance Group and subsequently by the IWC at their respective next Meetings. Any and all expenditures above Rs.25,000 would require specific approval of the Finance Group.
6.7 Cash imprest for petty expenses in/by the WSF-India Office shall be subject to a maximum of Rs.15,000. No individual item of non-budgeted expenditure (i.e. not including rent, utilities, salaries etc) would exceed Rs.2500 without express prior approval of the Chairperson/Executive Trustee acting on behalf of the Finance Group whose approval or subsequent ratification would be sought
6.8 Purchase and disposal of any asset worth more than Rs.5,000 would require specific approval by IWC and should be recorded in the Trust minutes. In special cases, approval of Finance Group may be obtained subject to subsequent ratification by IWC.
6.9 All Expenditures relating to procurement, contracts etc involving amounts of Rs.15,000 or more would require at least 3 Quotations and scrutiny through a specially-constituted process first on Technical terms by the concerned Functional Group and then on financial terms by the Finance Group which may co-opt such technical experts as felt necessary to assist in its evaluation. IWC may specify Tendering requirements for larger contracts as may be felt necessary. All such decisions would be duly reflected in Trust Minutes. All Contracts shall be signed by the concerned Functional Group Facilitator, Finance Group Facilitator and Trustee. Finance Group along with the Office would facilitate compilation of a roster of approved service providers and equipment/consumable suppliers and rate-lists for which Tenders would not be required.
6.10 In case of payments to other parties for tasks/activities undertaken on behalf of WSF-India and involving advances, subsequent instalments of payments may be made only subject to clearance of at least 75% of advances previously made with all necessary accompanying bills, vouchers etc.
6.11 Outstation travel costs would be reimbursed only to representatives of WSF-India duly authorised by IWC or its specifically authorised Functional Group(s) to undertake such travel for specific purposes. Costs for travel only upto AC 3-tier railway fare would normally be approved, except under compelling circumstances (eg. travel to far-away places, journeys requiring 24 hours or more travel time, sudden programme, unavailability of reservations etc) with prior approval of the Finance Group if not earlier approved by IWC.
6.12 Finance Group will prepare and get ratified a set of detailed expenditure and accounting guidelines adopting best practices as have evolved through the WSF-India processes to date and as may come to light through other means.
6.13 A simple “ready-reckoner” of these Procedures with flow charts etc would be prepared for the convenience of IWC members, Functional Groups and others associated with WSF-India.
7. The Finance Group, inter alia through day-to-day financial management by Chairperson/Executive Trustee/other Trustees, would ensure the following:
7.1 Full and proper cash books, ledgers etc would be maintained in the Office under supervision of the Finance Group and Trustees. A monthly statement of receipts and expenditures would be prepared both as a review, planning and monitoring tool and exercise, and also to assist in the final Audit to be undertaken.
7.2 Finance Group would regularly report on incomes and expenditures to the IWC especially at its Meetings, as well as on the WSF-India website, and obtain ratification by the IWC of decisions taken and approval for expenditures to be incurred subsequently.
7.3 Statutory Auditors would be appointed with approval of the Finance Group and subsequent ratification of IWC, and the appointment would be suitably reflected in the Trust Minutes. Audited Accounts and Auditors’ Report for each fiscal year would be approved by IWC and reflected in the Trust Minutes.
7.4 All necessary formalities would be completed as per requirement of all statutory and regulatory authorities such as Registrar of Trusts, Income Tax, FCRA etc.