KOS Conference 2016

MINUTES OF THE EXTRA ORDINARY GENERAL BODY MEETING KOSCON 2016 – 35 th Annual conference of Karnataka Ophthalmic Society, UDUPI

Date: 19 Nov 2016 (Saturday)
Planned Time: 5:45 pm — but was postponed to 6:30 pm as everyone had to be shifted to Udupi from Kundapur 6:30 pm – due to power failure, again postponed. Started finally at 7:15 pm To validate the Online Voting System for the election of the Office Bearers of the Karnataka Ophthalmic Society.

Dr Sai Giridhar Kamath said: Manual ballot can be had for full day, or two, as done this time or can be done during the GBM. The problem with both types are that- it is time consuming and necessitates the physical presence of the voter at the site of the election. As a result of long waiting times and elaborate process for validation, most of the members would shy away from participating in the electoral process. Hence most of the times, only a handful of members will make themselves available to cast their votes. There will be many important points to be discussed during the GBM and if manual election takes away most of the time, there will not be time available for discussions on other resolutions.

Besides this hardly 35-40 people usually come for the GBM. The Online voting system has its unique advantages, as there is no restriction of time and space. The voters can sit comfortably in their house or office and participate in the electoral process without any of the above said disadvantages. Hence, more members would take part in voting process, thereby making it truly democratic. Having online voting system has its own disadvantages also. If the election is started before the conference and continued during the conference as ‘on-site’ election, in case of problems of internet connection, bandwidth or failure of hardware etc, election process could not be completed before the general body meeting. This can create severe confusion and havoc. To site an example he said, in the present venue of the GBM itself, in spite of so elaborate, perfect planning and organizing, still there was no power and the GBM had to be postponed by almost an hour. Even though the Local Organizing Committee tried their best to make us comfortable, still the fans and all lights are not working. GBM in such a condition can be continued with some ‘adjustment’ by the members present, but if the election cannot be conducted due to technical issues, it will lead to severe consequences.

Dr Santhan Gopal also proposed a resolution that online elections include — discussions/ Election of Office bearers/ Managing Committee meetings/ Extraordinary General body meetings/ debates and it can be in the form of email, whatsapp, sms or any other such form of electronic communication. It was accepted unanimously and validated by the general body.

When the conference is held in Metros or larger towns, this can be somehow tackled, but we will have much more expenses for getting backup equipment etc, we have to be cautious and sensitive to spending as KOS is already cash strapped. We are getting meagre cash infows from the Local Organizing Committees and many have not paid at all after their respective conferencesciting various reasons. But since KOS conferences are held not only in large cities but also in smaller towns, there can be practical and technical problems to organize it perfectly in such smaller towns. To solve this potential problem, it is proposed to have the online voting, few weeks or a month before the conference, and the results are declared several days before the conference itself. As the election will be totally online, there will be no need to have ‘on-site’ election. The General body accepted the Online System but there was lots of debate with the pros and cons of ‘On-site’ Election. Few members said that they do not have email and so want to have manual ‘on-site’ election with Electronic Voting Machine also. 

Dr Santhan Gopal said that these days, email is mandatory even to file income tax returns. It is a very simple process to make an email and anyway it is free. So there is no excuse for not having email in this era. Again Dr Sai Giridhar Kamath said, this is going to add to the expense as well as increase possibility of something going wrong when we have combination of online and on-site elections. Then Dr Santhan Gopal, called for show of hands of members in favour of only ‘online system’ vs members in favour of ‘online’ plus ‘on-site’ system. Majority of the members, except for 3 out of almost a hundred, were in favour of only ‘Online System’ and so, it was decided not to have ‘on-site elections’ during the future KOS conferences, either manual or electronic henceforth.

In summary, the office-bearers of KOS for the year 2016-17 were as follows:
President: Dr. Santhan Gopal K. S.
President elect: Dr. Sai Giridhar Kamath
Vice President: Dr. N. S. Muralidhar
Hon. Secretary: Dr. Krishna Prasad K
Hon. Joint Secretary: Dr. Sulatha Bhandary
Hon. Treasurer: Dr. Vikram Jain
Scientific Committee Convenor: Dr. Shrinivas Joshi
Editor, Journal: Dr. Chaitra Jayadev
Webmaster: Dr. Sai Giridhar Kamath
Vote of Thanks was given by Joint Secretary, Dr. Ajay K.