It was a power and agenda packed meeting titled Lakshya that took place in the Pearl City of Hyderabad from April 16–18. It had several goals; RI Director Manoj Desai’s Think Tank — comprising RCs, RRFCs, RPICs and EMGAs — unveiled Rotary India’s vision and achievements on Rotary’s important and focus areas. These include membership, TRF goals, particularly during the Centennial year when the Foundation will be headed by PRIP Kalyan Banerjee, and improv-ing Rotary’s public image through a constant engagement with the larger community.
I’ve been a Rotarian from 1988, but I’ve never seen an RI Director such as Desai. He is efficient, enthusiastic, and such a stickler for time.
— RIDN C Basker
The focus of the meet were of course the incoming DGs, and one of the important sessions was on goal setting for them — in membership and TRF. Addressing the DGs, RID Desai warned them that even though the goals set before them were challenging, there “is no room for fictitious growth, as such things are going to be dealt with very strictly. You also have to concentrate on getting more women members.” Against the global average of 22 per cent women in Rotary, in India, women’s membership stood only at 12 per cent.
Another important area was their presence on Rotary Central, or else the work they do will not be recognised by the world.
It was also time, added Desai, when the DGs and other Rotarians would have to get real about bifurcation of Districts. “But while doing all this, your eye will have to be all the time on two of our important goals — WinS and Literacy.” Underlining the need for transparency, he said that electronic voting was the norm of the day and more and more of their votes should be done thus.
The RI Director told the DGEs that if they saw around them any hanky-panky in the way TRF funds were collected or disbursed, “blow the whistle immediately. TRF is sacrosanct and no irregularities will be permitted; please bear this in mind.”
Desai also urged the incoming DGs, who he calls his “Smiling Sheriffs” to be innovative in celebrating the TRF Centennial. If Indian Rotarians wanted to double their TRF giving goal and hit $26 million next year, they will have to be both imaginative and innovative in motivating people to give. Already special dinners had been planned in Mumbai, Goa, etc to honour the new AKS members, just as was the custom in Evanston where AKS members are regularly honoured through special receptions in Evanston.
Addressing the meet, PDG and RRFC Kamal Sanghvi said the DGEs should start planning from now on how “you will showcase to the world what you have done. You have to share your story of 100 years with the entire community, the world. So how will you do it, tell me?”
Among the suggestions received were marathons, cross country rallies and the like.
RRFC Raja Seenivasan urged the DGEs to concentrate on TRF funds, public image, “and don’t forget that our primary goal is to end polio now and forever.” He said this year India had raised $13.9 million.
RCs Rajendra Rai and Vijay Jalan pointed out how they should focus on increasing Rotary’s membership by getting women, younger people, etc. “Membership is the most important internal priority of Rotary International, just as TRF’s priority was and is to get rid of polio,” he added. PDG Bharat Pandya unveiled details of RID Desai’s Strategic Plan, on which he was asked to make a presentation at the recently concluded COL.
Chair of Lakshya and EMGA (Endowment Major Gift Adviser) Ravi Vadlamani spelt out the details and nitty gritty of the Named Endowment Fund and Term Gift programmes. “I know all of you, and all of us are all enthused and we hope to get for the TRF Centennial 100 new Named Endowment Funds in Zone V under the leadership of RID Desai.”
Expressing the hope that “we emerge No 1 in the world in this area,” he added that at present India was No 2 in Named Endowments and No 1 in Term Gifts. “But then we are the only ones doing Term Gifts,” he added.
EMGA Ashok Panjwani urged the incoming DGs to be alert to the fact that the coming Rotary year was the TRF Centennial and they should leave no stone unturned in getting maximum funds from their Districts.
If you see any hanky-panky in the collection or disbursal of TRF funds, blow the whistle immediately. TRF is sacrosanct and no irregularities will be permitted.
— RID Manoj Desai
Desai congratulated PDG A S Venkatesh (Venky) for being selected as the Lead Facilitator at the next International Assembly in San Diego and said, “No Indian has achieved this honour yet!” Venkatesh made a presentation on the art of making presentations, without fumbling and getting tripped by technological malfunctions.
Addressing the DGEs, RIDN C Basker said that by coming to the DG level “you’ve already proved that you are successful leaders. Now it’s time for action. Your training, at various platforms, including the International Assembly, is over.” Of course this will be a challenging year, what with the Centennial goals, “but you’ve been equipped with the necessary tools to meet that challenge.”
Becomes Desai’s fan!
Complimenting RID Desai for the meticulous manner in which he had planned and executed all the three meetings — Rotary News Trust meet and election of its Executive Committee, Goal setting for the DGEs and other training sessions — Basker said, “I’ve been a Rotarian from 1988, but I’ve never seen an RI Director such as Desai. He is efficient, enthusiastic and look at the way he conducted the entire meeting … such a stickler for time, to the second. Watching him do this, I’ve become his fan!”
(Desai’s response in a lighter vein: “Every incoming RI Director profusely praises his predecessor!”)
Basker added that the concept and execution of the Think Tank conceived by Desai was an excellent tool that was going to strengthen RI and “I am going to continue it with your support and hope to improve upon it.”
He told the incoming Governors: “You’ve set your goals very high, but I am sure you will not only deliver on them, You will do more than what you’ve promised!”
Lakshya Secretary Sam Patibandla and PDG Ashish Desai urged the DGEs to work hard to get the youth of India engaged in Rotary through various programmes, as RI was targeting Gen Next.