A Think Tank takes shape

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It was a power-packed group that met in Mussoorie in the last week of September. Put together by RI Director Manoj Desai and labelled his “Think Tank,” the dozen-odd men — all PDGs and wearing various hats such as those of RCs, RPICs, EMGAs (Endowment Major Gift Advisors), Training Leaders, etc, they brain stormed with the RID over two intensive sessions. The objective — devise and crystallise a strategic plan on how to meet the core goals and objectives of Rotary.

Desai said each of them was a brilliant performer who delivered results. This was the second review meet; the third would be at the ­Jaipur Institute in December. He told them that no institution that lived in an era when changes were taking place outside but not within could survive, leave alone thrive. “At the senior leadership level we realised that at this hour we have no vision statement — missions and objectives are there — but no formula to define our vision of what we have been doing for over a 100 years. So we’ve decided that we have to change radically.”

This he was doing through structured and planned District visits; in three months he has already visited 11 districts across the country, preferring first those with problems or weak spots. “I find tremendous enthusiasm in the districts and passion to do good work. But there are issues, such as siphoning of funds, in one case TRF funds by a PDG. I also found PDGs who are sitting on their surplus for 10 years and their motive can be guessed.”

He told the group — Vijay Jalan, Ravi Vadlamani, Ashok Panjwani, C Basker, Asoke Ghosh, A S Venkatesh, Bharat Pandya, Kamal Sanghvi, Vinod Bansal, Gulshan Thakral, Sam Patibandla, Rajendra Rai and ­Ashish Desai — that his role was that of the ‘middleman’ to take information and issues from the “grassroots to the Board and vice versa. In many districts the DG, DGE and DGN do not see eye to eye, and meeting all the three is helping. Also, there is going to be zero tolerance for financial irregularities.”

After polio eradication, the vacuum has been filled through new challenges such as WinS, Asha Kiran; Rotary was committed to building 10,000 toilet blocks in schools this year, and to send 100,000 children back to school towards the total literacy goal. In Uttaranchal District 3080 had done phenomenal work in building schools, of which 25 were ready. At the Udaipur Retreat for senior Rotary leaders it had been decided that henceforth there will be only one job for one man.

Desai announced that at the ­Jaipur Institute the TRF seminar will be replaced by the Vision 20–20 seminar. The meeting threw up several ideas on the road ahead and how to improve performances in core areas of Rotary — membership, TRF and public image. There were suggestions that prior to the International Assembly, Governors should also be trained on cultural sensitivity, etiquette and accepted behaviour norms.

Desai urged Rotarians to send him 90 seconds video clips on their projects, which would be shown at the Jaipur Institute.

Picture by Rasheeda Bhagat

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