A good deal of time was devoted at the Disha meet on the importance of e-voting by both RI Director Manoj Desai and RIDE C Basker, with PRIP K R Ravindran chipping in to tell the DGEs that manipulation or malfeasance in elections will not be tolerated. Both of them pointed out that when the ballot form was being followed there were a spate of complaints, and hence e-voting was the way forward.
Said Basker, “Don’t forget that it is your job to conduct free, fair and transparent elections. We have introduced e-voting because there were continuous reports and complaints when you followed the ballot. Last year for the first time, RI introduced e-voting for Directors and I also went through e-voting. You must have seen the system was robust, and clubs had no problem because more than 2,500 clubs in our Zone had to vote to elect a Director.”
Desai added that RI leadership felt that the way forward in this digital world is e-voting, as it is cost-effective and efficient. About 15 districts have elected their DGNs unanimously and this is commendable.
Added Basker: “This is what we expect governors should do. Your role is to ensure that you don’t have elections in your district. If you are able to do this, 90 per cent of your problems are solved. But if your district is going through an election, please ensure free and fair elections. Get in touch with RISAO on how to conduct an election, and follow the procedures.”
About 15 districts have elected their DGNs unanimously and this is commendable.
– RID Manoj Desai
He added that some of the DGEs, who went through e-voting had expressed some concerns to him and RID Desai, who was headed right from the Disha Meet to Evanston, would take them up with the RI Board on how to address them.
Some of the important points flagged by RIDE C Basker at Disha
RI Director Manoj Desai talks about the Strategic Plan of Rotary International. But few in the clubs understand what it really means. It is the DG’s job to break it down into simple components and explain it. The most important component is to support and strengthen clubs because they are the most important component of the district. Without clubs, there is no district and without districts there can be no RI. How will you do it? First of all, we’ve found that many clubs do not have a constitutional bylaw. But in 2017–18 every club will have one and those who don’t have it, we are going to help them to get one. I’m getting the help of Raju Subramanian, a constitutional law expert.
- Strong and vibrant clubs should have a good number of members. If the membership is very low or the club is weak, or exists just for voting, close it. We have no problem.
- A lot of discussion on PETS being organised in exotic locations. We have standardised the format this year for all the zones telling the president what to do and what not to do; you can add anything to it, but do not subtract.
- Some of the district assemblies have become mere speaker meetings. We’ve decided that these will now become exclusive training programmes of the club officers. This is the most important training event in your agenda, if your focus is on strengthening the clubs and making them most vibrant, training district officers is very essential.
- At Kumarakom, we agreed to reduce the number of district events; we need less events, so membership and public image will be clubbed together, and Literacy and WinS will come together to reduce four events to two.
- Governors’ official visits are being taken very lightly. I want to take it very seriously; try and complete it in the first six months, because only then you’ll be able to identify shortcomings in clubs and address them. DGs should visit as many clubs as possible, and use the services of Assistant Governors when this is not possible.
- Communicate with your presidents in the language they follow, and bring out the GML in the language they prefer, otherwise the effort is wasted.
- Always get feedback through proper forms on meetings: did the attendees get anything useful, is change necessary, etc. Unless you seek feedback, you won’t know and can’t improve.
- Rotary Club Central: By July 31, I want 100 per cent clubs to update their data here. I expect 100 per cent compliance; let’s become the first country in the Rotary world to do so.
- Focus on humanitarian services. Some clubs have become more of recreational clubs. This has to change and only you can inspire them to change.
- You’ve learnt how to do Global and District Grants. Go back and educate your club presidents and office bearers.
Even now some Rotary clubs use the old logo. Branding is very important and for that, uniformity is essential.
– RIDE C Basker
- Concentrate on service projects and constitute specific awards for doing service projects. We were known for doing service and we have to regain that identity in the community. Give awards to clubs doing excellent service projects.
- From next year we are going to use a lot of digital technology to showcase the good work we are doing across the country.
- Even now some Rotary clubs use the old logo. Branding is very important and for that, uniformity is essential Today DVDs cost just Rs 10; give these to the clubs so that the logos and print material are uniform across the country.
- Every club in your district should get a Presidential citation next year.
- Under-reporting of membership is a big problem; such as a club having 50 members and reporting only 20. One district has dealt with it by giving ID cards. Can all districts do this?
- District dues and Rotary magazine dues are compulsory. Subscription to at least one Rotary magazine is compulsory. The deadline for both is September 30. Some clubs are sending district dues even in June. If by Dec 31, the money has not come, the clubs can be suspended. The clubs which have not paid by Sep 30, will not be eligible to vote in the District elections.
- Submit accounts within three months of demitting office. You are responsible for all district finances… send all the accounts to the clubs with a copy to RI.
- PETS attendance is mandatory; ensure you get every single president to attend.
- Leaders will be those who empower others, says Bill Gates… you have a very good team; train, empower and guide its members so that our Himalayan targets for next year will be achieved.