Presidential Address

Executive Committee


The concept of development has had a radical shift from being a mere social service provider scheme to that of a people’s participatory initiative.  In this metamorphosis of conceptual change and implementation process, several community-based organizations have adopted a decentralized approach to their community operations.  Rashtriya Seva Samithi (RASS), a national CBO has weathered this thought that approach transition in community development initiatives very well for two reasons.  The first being that vast network of grass root level operators and the second being the totally decentralized approach to work in every project taken up by RASS. Currently, RASS is consolidating the previous efforts, which have gone into community development programmes being implemented for all categories of population from the infant to the aged.

The emphasis is on people’s empowerment by creating opportunities for building local infrastructure, developing assets, promoting skills for income generating activity and arousing social consciousness through attitudinal changes for self management of livelihoods in communities.  For all of this to happen RASS has been striving to improve its efficacy in community development initiatives through capacity building efforts for the RASS personnel to enhance their field operational skills and improve programmes efficacy.  Women, children and the rural populace have always been the ‘priority’ for RASS and this continues to be so.  Networking of NGOs engaged in development related activities for wider geographical coverage has also been taken up by RASS through its project.

The rapidly changing development scenario has also placed greater responsibility on RASS.  Through its long and enduring association of two and half decades with the community - the quality of work, credibility, accountability and transparency in operation by RASS has led to bigger demands by the communities.  Partnering communities for progress has built an element of sustainability in programmes at RASS and to attain ‘Grama Swaraj’, which is a cherished goal of Mahatma Gandhi and Acharya Vinobhave ji.

The multifarious action oriented development projects have led to building of sound people’s organizations, construction of local infrastructure, access to educational opportunities and freedom for women from the clutches of avaricious money lenders.  More importantly, the strong emphasis on the process of empowerment has led to gender sensitization amongst the community members.

As always, every effort of RASS has a history of a band of silent development practitioners, working as a team to scale further, greater heights of development and prosperity.  May the Lord Venkateswara and Goddess Padmavathi continue to bless and inspire RASS to work for community development with renewed vigor

Jai Jagat!

Dr. (Ms.) Nirmala Deshpande
Member of Parliament
(Rajya Sabha)
President, RASS