Prerana, the District Conference of RID 3232, was unique in some aspects. First and foremost, there was no core team led by a chairman, secretary or treasurer. The presidents of all the 118 Rotary clubs in the district shared various responsibilities and delivered a seamless, memorable programme. “This paradigm shift made it absolutely unique and path-breaking. Imagine an Indian cricket team without a captain and all the eleven players collectively strategising and winning the World Cup! Yes. It was like that,” said District Secretary S Vijaykumar. Another novel aspect was nominal registration charges, that made it affordable for Anns and Annets to participate. “Earlier it used to be ₹3,000-plus, and included food. This time we pegged the fee at ₹1,000 and left the choice of food to the visitors,” he said. About 3,300 people attended the conference.
The conference was inaugurated by Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit in the presence of RID C Basker and DG Babu Peram. The Governor expressed his admiration for Rotary and Rotarians for the phenomenal service rendered to the community and presented Rotary’s ‘Service Above Self’ Award to PDG Sv Rm Ramanathan for his contribution to Rotary’s cause and the Foundation. RID 3211 PDG John Daniel was the RI President’s Representative.
RID Basker congratulated DG Babu Peram and club presidents for adding 12 new clubs and 685 new members. “It is remarkable that your services have inspired so many people to join Rotary and do accept my appreciation for inducting 134 new women Rotarians as well,” he said. He complimented the clubs for setting up dialysis centres which is “the need of the hour, especially as the incidence of diabetes is on the rise”.
DG Babu Peram summarised the district’s performance through an AV presentation. A panel discussion on Changing Business Trends and Emerging opportunities was moderated by Rtn S V Veeramani. Panellists P Ravichandran, Managing Director, Danfoss; M Ponnuswami, former Chairman, CII-Tamil Nadu Region; Sangeetha Sumesh, Executive Director and CFO, Dun & Bradstreet; and Rahul Saraogi, MD, Atyant Capital, shared their perspective on the subject. Neelam Jain, Founder, PeriFerry, that works for social inclusion of transgenders, highlighted the idea of creating employment and business opportunities for transgender community. “Rotary can include upliftment of the community as a focus area, identify relevant job roles and provide training for them,” she said.
A debate on ‘Rotary — then and now’, moderated by PDG A S Venkatesh, reinforced the fact that Rotary as an organisation is renewing itself continuously to remain relevant forever.
Sudanshu Mani, former GM of the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Avadi, shed light on the newest Vande Bharat Express, better known as ‘Train 18’. It was designed and built in 18 months by the ICF under the Indian government’s Make in India initiative. Hence the name ‘Train 18’, he said. The indigenously-made semi-high-speed intercity vehicle costs 40 per cent lesser than a similar train imported from Europe.
The participants were treated to an inspiring account of the adventurous expedition by six women officers of the Indian Navy. They circumnavigated the globe on the sailing vessel, INSV Tarini. The expedition known as the Navika Sagar Parikrama was the first-ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew. The vessel was skippered by Lt Cdr Vartika Joshi, and the crew comprised Lt Cdrs Pratibha Jamwal, P Swathi and B Aishwarya and Lieutenants S Vijaya Devi and Payal Gupta. The officers spoke about their preparation, training, and experiences during the journey.
Chitra Ravi, Founder and CEO of Chrysalis, made schooling seem so much fun through her presentation on New trends in education, while the Chairman of the Chennai Port Trust P Ravichandran highlighted the significant roles played by ports in the economic development of a nation.