Chaitanya, Shimoga, January 16, 2021: The Diocese of Shimoga and the Shimoga Multipurpose Social Service Society, Shimoga on 16 January 2021 honoured the newly elected Gram Panchayat members belonging to the Self Help Groups motivated by SMSSS. 55 newly elected members gathered in Mother Teresa Hall at Chaitanya at 10.00 am for a day’s orientation. Mr Wilfred D’Souza, a well known resource person from Uppinangady, Dakshina Kannada district elaborately explained the roles and responsibilities of the elected members and also made the members aware of the powers of the elected members. He also highlighted the importance of Ward Sabha and Gram Sabha and how an elected member can make a difference in the Gram Panchayat through systematically conducting these meetings.

The felicitation programme began at 3.00 p.m. Most Rev. Dr Francis Serrao SJ, the Bishop of the Diocese of Shimoga and the President of the Shimoga Multipurpose Social Service Society. Dr Sadananda J. S., Retired Professor of Political Science, Kuvempu University inaugurated the programme. Mr G. R. Jagadeesh, Professor, CBR National Law College, Shimoga was the Chief Guest. Mr Wilfred D’Souza, the resource person for the day participated in the felicitation programme.

Rev. Fr Clifford Roshan Pinto, the Director of Chaitanya and Secretary of SMSSS in his key note address highlighted the words of John C. Maxwell and said, “Leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.” The elected members have to know the way, should walk that same way and above all support others to walk the same way. To do this one should first know what the best way where all can walk together is. Transparency and accountability should be the guiding principles of all the elected members. Following the values of SMSSS all should work towards creating a humanitarian society where justice, peace and peace reign supreme was the advice to all the elected members.

In his inaugural address, Dr Sadananda J. S. noted that the activities which the members plan and execute in their Gram Panchayats should be people friendly and should benefit the citizens of that Panchayat. The elected members should respond to the people. Everyone should work towards making their Gram Panchayat as a model Gram Panchayat. Mr G. R. Jagadeesh too stressed the need of transparency and availability.

In his presidential address Most Rev. Dr Francis Serrao SJ congratulated all the newly elected members and wished them every success in their future service to the society. The president highlighted the importance of value based service to the society. The main aim of SMSSS in promoting leaders is that the leaders should reach to the least, the last and the lost in the society. As Gram Panchayat members one should reach out to each and every member in the society without any discrimination of caste, creed, culture, etc. If the poorest in your area are happy with one's services then one can say as an elected representative I have done justice to my office.

During this felicitation programme, the Director gave brief information about SPARSHA: Mission Against Cancer and highlighted the need to mobilize funds for the support of Cancer patients. 10 cancer patients were provided a monetary support of Rs 10,000/- each.

It is impressing to note that 186 members from our Self Help Groups contested the recently concluded Gram Panchayat elections of which 70 have been elected. All the elected members have expressed their gratitude to SMSSS for motivating them to contest the elections and emerge as leaders.

Mr Shanmukha Naik compered the programme. Mrs Pramila Daisy welcomed the gathering. Mrs Gracy R thanked everyone. Mr Jagadeesha K. H. conducted the felicitation ceremony. The President of SMSSS and all the dignitaries on the dais honoured the elected members. The entire team of Chaitanya toiled as a unit to make the programme a success.    

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