Saturday, 22 November 2014

Third E-Learning Centre Launched by RC of Bombay West

Third E-Learning Centre Launched by RC of Bombay West

Rotary Club of Bombay West is proud to announce launch of its 3rd E-Learning Centre at Sane Guruji Vidyalaya, Santacruz West, Mumbai on Saturday, 22 November 2014.  Earlier this month, the Club launched E-Learning Centres at Municipal Marathi School, Vile Parle East, Mumbai and B.L.Agarwal School, Khar West, Mumbai.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

RCBW launches E-Learning @ Municipal School, Vile Parle, Mumbai

Launch of First E-Learning Module at Municipal School
11th November 2014 will go down in the history of Rotary Club of Bombay West as yet another red letter day when the First E-Learning Module sponsored by our Club was launched at the Municipal Secondary Marathi School, Vile Parle E, Mumbai by President Elect Shirish Rege in presence of PP Sukhdev Puri, R/Ann.Urmil Puri, Rtn.Shefali Shah and Vice President Rtn.Aslam Merchant.  Also present were Ms. Sangita Gupta, Vice Chairperson, Ms.Deepa Shetiya, Centre Manager and teachers Mehtab Jafferwala, Vinita Fernandes, Amit Banagi from the Vidya team which runs the Bhavishya Yaan programme at the same school since last three years. 

The equipment consisting mainly of LED projector and set of accessories was handed over to Ms.Neeta Gavit, Principal of the School and Mr.Sagar Kamble, Teacher amidst applause from those present at the brief ceremony. Children from the Bhavishya Yaan programme performed skits, dance, speech, etc. and impressed the Rotarians on personality development achieved by the dedicated team of teachers attached to the programme.  Later, a representative from Tirubaa Technologies conducted a training session for the teachers on the use of the equipments donated to the school.

The Rotary e-Learning program (RELP) is designed to bring quality education in such schools. It helps students to repeat lessons at their own pace, carry out extra studies and also give tests to hone their skills through use of technology and at an affordable cost. This is a proven Rotary program which has reversed negative trends leading to increased attendance, higher level of learning, employability and eventual empowerment of youth. The equipment with solar back-up option is a high definition LED projector with pre-loaded  educational software meeting the curriculum needs from standard 1 to 10. With its wi-fi capability and a USB port, it facilitates showing additional contents on health & hygiene, value education and other topics useful for students and teachers.

Kudos to the Literacy Team of RCBW led ably by Club Director Rtn.Hemant Joshi for having achieved the first successful launch of E-Learning with many more to follow in the months and years to come.

-       Report by Rtn.Aslam Merchant

SUPA FARMS ROTARY EXCELLENCE AWARDS to Adivasi Children in rural Maharashtra

Supa Farm Rotary Excellence Awards

On Saturday, 8th November, 2014, the first Supa Farms Rotary Excellence Awards Ceremony was held at Girinivas Education Trust School at Nareshwadi, Dhundhalwadi Village, Talasari Taluka, Dist.Thane in Maharashtra.

As you are aware, Supa Farms Rotary Excellence Awards were recently instituted by our Club with a donation of Rs.50 lacs received from Dr.Mohanbhai Patel through Surajba Charitable Trust for students from tribal belts in Dahanu and Talasari Talukas, in Maharashtra.  Students securing 1st, 2nd and 3rd ranks in their respective schools at the SSC Board Exams will be awarded cash prizes of Rs.5000, Rs.3000 and Rs.2000 respectively every year from the income earned on the corpus created from the donation.  This year, around 35 schools were selected cash awards were given away to more than 100 students to motivate towards higher achievements.

President Elect Shirish Rege welcomed the gathering and briefly introduced the activities of our Club to the audience.  He spoke about our community service projects – both permanent and one-off projects – which we have been successfully implementing over the last six decades.  He then gave glimpse of our proposed projects viz. Improvement in Infrastructure at Kosbad Ashram Shaala, Introducing E-Learning at schools in Mumbai suburbs as well as rural areas and Setting up of Language Lab at Sathaye College.

Dr.Mohanbhai Patel, Past President of our Club and Ex-Sheriff of Mumbai, graced the occasion whereas Dr.(Mrs.) Kavita Rege, Principal of Sathaye College, Vile Parle, Mumbai was the Chief Guest at the event.  The awardees were accompanied by the School Principals / Teachers as well as their parents / guardians.  Also present were Smt.Lilaben Kotak, Trustee of Girinivas Education Trust along with Principals, Teachers and Admin Officials of the Trust. PP Arvind Shah, Club Secretary Sandeep Vasani, Vice President Aslam Merchant, Club Directors Sampati Patel and Gautam Chande and Rtns.Mohanlal Gupta, Hiralal Suthar, Ramesh Damani and Nilesh Samant and R/Ann Shahin Merchant were also present.

Addressing the gathering, Dr.Mohanbhai Patel talked what “Excellence” meant to him.  The phenomenal work done by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to unite India post-freedom from the Britishers was epitome of “Excellence” and so was the communication skills of Mahatma Gandhi who could effectively communicate with 40 crore Indians without the availability of present day technology-based tools.  Today, every child in India has equal opportunity to excel.  In his several interactions with tribal people, he found them to be extremely intelligent and sharp though may have lacked opportunities in the past.  The intention of the Supa Farm Rotary Excellence Awards was to recognize the potential amongst the tribal children and encourage them to have high ambitions in life.  By bringing Rotary to the doorstep of these villages, his objective was to encourage interactions of rural students with urban professionals and contribute towards their  development.

Dr.(Mrs) Kavita Rege in her address to the audience at the function talked about overall development of personality for success in life. She emphasized the need to ensure everyone in the community grows by leveragng on diverse individual strengths.  Internet was a great leveler as irrespective of where you are located, you have access to the same information which any other child will have any where in the world. She encouraged children to look at their own competencies and listen to their own inner desires before selecting a vocation or career. Its only when you like what you’re doing and having fun in what you’re doing that you can build a successful career for yourself and thus contribute towards building a strong nation.

After distribution of the cash awards and certificates at the hands of the Chief Guest, the awardees were handed a framed photograph of their receiving the award before they left the venue with a broad smile on their faces.  Rtn.Aslam Merchant proposed a vote of thanks.

E-Learning Demo

Earlier, before the commencement of the Awards Ceremony, representatives from Tirubaa Technologies gave a demo of E-Learning Modules to the Principals and Teachers from over 35 rural schools.  Should the school authorities find the E-Learning useful for their respective schools, our Club has offered to consider investing in the capital cost of the E-Learning Equipment, subject to availability of sponsors / funds for the project.  The feedback received from those present was quite positive about the utility of the modules for enhancing quality of education amongst rural children.

- Rtn.Aslam Merchant

Friday, 31 October 2014

Vocational Excellence Award to Prof.Dr.Yashwant Trivedi on 29-Oct-2014

October is the Vocational Service Month at Rotary.

Vocational Service focuses on:

·         Adhering to and promoting the highest ethical standards in all occupations

·         Recognizing the value of all useful occupations, not just those that are pursued by Rotarians

·         Contributing one’s vocational talents to meeting the needs of the community

During October, Rotary clubs are encouraged to focus on this important avenue of Rotary service.

One of the suggested activities for the Club is to present a vocational excellence award to someone in the community who has exemplified outstanding professional achievement and high ethical standards. The Vocational Excellence Award is awarded to an individual who may or may not be a Rotarian.  The Awardee is expected to have demonstrated vocational excellence of the highest order. In doing so, they are expected to have set a clear example to others.  Past President (PP) Rtn.Arvind Shah, Chairman – Vocational Excellence Awards Committee began the proceedings of the day by emphasizing the importance of Vocational Excellence Awards and also naming some of the earlier recipients of this award from our Club.

Rotary Club of Bombay West chose Prof.Dr.Yashwant R. Trivedi for conferring its Vocational Excellence Award for the year 2014.  The Award and Citation was presented to him by President Mohan Joshi in presence of PP Rtn.Dr.Mohanbhai Patel, PP Rtn.Arvind Shah and Rtn.Dr.Anand Gupta, Director – Vocational Service.  Prof.Dr.Trivedi was introduced to the members by PP Rtn.Dr.Mohanbhai Patel and the Citation presented to him was read out by Rtn.Hemant Joshi.

Prof.Dr.Yashwant Trivedi is a well-known poet and a writer who has authored over 150 books on subjects as varied as literature, aesthetics, poetics, philosophy and religion.  His works have been translated into several languages including Hindi, Marathi, English, Tamil and Telugu amongst Indian languages and Greek, French and German amongst foreign languages.  The Saurashtra University and The South Gujarat University have honoured him by prescribing his book “Parishesh” as text book at post-graduate level.  His poems are prescribed in SSC and HSC textbooks in several States in India.

As a Professor at University of Mumbai, he taught graduate and post-graduate students for 31 years, including teaching M.Phil students and being a Ph.D guide for doctorate students.  He has delivered over 5000 lectures on Literature, Arts, Religions, Philosophy, etc. at various universities and cultural institutions in India. He has also delivered 65 lectures at institutions in Europe and America.

Prof.Dr.Trivedi is also known for his activities related with social service and human welfare. Motivated by Rev.Vinobaji Bhave, he has served in rural areas for several years. He has inspited over 400 upcoming poets and writers, giving them exposure and helping them publish their books and articles.  Currently, he is rendering services as Chairman of Sahitya Samiti – Kala Gurjari and President of literary organization ‘Anandotsav’.

For his contribution to the literary world and other related activities, Prof.Dr.Trivedi has been conferred with 51 prizes, awards and medals, including Sur Singar Samsad’s National Award for Post-Independence Poetry, Soviet Land Nehru Award, 5 times Sahitya Akademi Prizes, Gujarati Sahitya Parishad Award, 1st Prize in Kavilok, Best Laureate Award for enriching Indian literature, Chandulal Selarka Award, Kakasaheb Kalelkar Award, Sheriff Dr.Mohanbhai Patel Award, Saraswati Sanman Award, Samajratna Dr.Dipchand Gardi Saraswati Sanman Award, Kanhaiyalal Munshi Award, Life Time Achievement Award from Human Society of India, Priyadarshini Academy – Smt.Chandaben Mohanbhai Patel Award, KalaGurjari Award, Dr.Mohanbhai Patel International Literary Excellence Award.

In his acceptance speech, Prof.Dr.Yashwant Trivedi said that an award from a renowned organization like Rotary is like a Oscar to him and he thanked to all the Rotarians for recognizing him with this great honour and respect.

Rtn.Dr.Anand Gupta thanked him and also thanked PP Dr.Mohanbhai Patel for volunteering and taking the responsibility of introducing such a great personality.  Dr.Gupta also thanked the Chairman of the Vocational Excellence Award Committee PP Rtn.Arvind Shah and his team comprising of PP Rtn.Nandlal Chawla, Rtn.Dr.Prakash Trivedi, Rtn.Mohanlal Gupta, Rtn.Jayant Vasani, Rtn.Sandeep Vasani and Rtn. Gaurang Mehta for their contribution in selecting the right nominee for the Vocational Excellence Award. 

At the end a standing ovation was given to Prof.Dr.Yashvant R. Trivedi as a mark of respect for his outstanding contribution to the society and to the world of literature.

-       Reported by Rtn.Dr.Anand Gupta

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Club Celebrates 25 Years of Women in Rotary

Club Celebrates 25 Years of Women in Rotary

Since its inception in 1905, Rotary was a “male only” bastion.  In 1989, Rotary International’s Council of Legislation voted to eliminate the “male only” provision of Rotary's Constitution.  Since then, women have become members and leaders in the Rotary Clubs and Districts throughout the world.

To celebrate the 25 years of this landmark change, our Club organized a Fellowship Event hosted by the lady Rotarians on Wednesday, 26 September, 2014.  An evening of fun and enjoyment filled with the melodious voice of Ms. Rochana Dahanukar was the essence of the with a special dinner spread of Mexican cuisine and an evening of musical entertainment.

Starting off the evening with the national anthem being sung by all the lady Rotarians taking the stage followed by a welcome address by Past President Rtn.Maya Bhatt, the first female member inducted into the privileged echelons of our Club way back in 1991. Rtn Maya Bhatt welcomed all present on behalf of the 11 lady Rotarians of our Club and went on to introduce the highlight of the evening viz., Ms Rochana as a person with an inimitable style, melancholy voice and stunner looks, traditionally a ghazal singer with two albums to her credit and who explores her music in soul raga. Besides being a superb singer, Rochana is a voice training guru, a music composer and director, she is a link that connects classical music to love poems!

Rochana began the musical evening with us by saying that she was happy, nostalgic and proud to be with us that evening. Starting with the deeply melodious “tere nainon ne jaadu kiya”, the vintage of the songs rendered that evening dated back to 1949! Farid Khanum’s ‘aaj jaane ki zid na karo’ was greeted with wah-wahs and thunderous applause. A special dedication to rtn Kalpana was ‘babuji dheere chalna’ which was followed by Bollywood melodies like ‘kajara mohabbatwala’, ‘jabaan pe laaga re…’, ‘ae dil mujhe bata de, ‘jawaan hai mohabbat haseen hai zamana..’, ‘hoton se chulo tum’, ‘ishaaron ishaaron mein dil lene waale’. Each of the songs rendered were special in their own way, with the audience clapping in appreciation. The evening ended with ‘damadam mast kalandar’ with the audience freaking out completely and enjoying the rendition to their utmost!!

Kudos to the lady Rotarians of our Club for arranging such an entertaining and well enjoyed evening!!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Membership Seminar – RISE hosted by our Club

RISE - Retain and Induct for Service Excellence,

Membership growth is the life-blood of Rotary, as they say…  With a view to creating awareness amongst members about importance of membership retention and growth as well as apprising the newly joined Rotarians and prospective Rotarians of the immense potential of Rotary to enhance their lives – both professional as well as personal – a Seminar was organized by Zone III of District 3140 under the leadership of Avenue Chair Rtn.Chetan Desai on Friday, 19th September, 2014 at Rotary Service Centre, Juhu, Mumbai.  The Seminar, which was hosted by our Club jointly with Rotary Club of Mumbai North Island with 15 other clubs from Zone III being the co-hosts, received overwhelming response from members and prospective members.

Forum Leader of the Seminar, PDG Bharat Pandya kicked-off the Seminar with his opening remarks followed by audio-visual presentations by Rtn.Chetan Desai.  This was followed by a slick presentation on the guiding principles and objects of Rotary by District Secretary & Convenor of the Seminar, Rtn.Virendra Widge. He also gave a glimpse of the various humanitarian projects being undertaken under the Rotary banner by various Rotary Clubs as well as its partner organizations viz. Inner Wheel Clubs, Rotaract Clubs and Interact Clubs.

Dist.Training Facilitator PP Rtn.Indumati Gopinathan spoke from her heart on how Rotary connects through everlasting friendships, fellowships and bonding while engaging in implementing sustainable projects in the community in the six common areas identified by Rotary International.  She gave personal examples from her life on how Rotary had positively shaped her persona and how unknown Rotarians from another country had come to her rescue to save the life of her nephew who had taken seriously ill at Bali in Indonesia. Apart from the global connect, Rotary also connects generations, families and communities through Interactors (rotary wing for school going kids), Rotaractors (for college students), Inner Wheel Clubs (for wives of Rotarians and women from the community), Senior Citizen Groups and Rotary Community Corps.
A few of the Rotarians shared their personal experience in Rotary.  Rtn.Vinod, a Rotarian since 19 years, had introduced as many as 56 members to the Rotary World.  Rtn.Saif Quereshi, a recent entrant to the prestigious Arch Klumph Society of The Rotary Foundation started his connect with Rotary as an Interactor and later was selected for Rotary Youth Exchange programme.  Rtn.Phanish Shetty spoke on how his Club – RC of Lokhandwala Complex Kandivli was transformed from a low membership to an enthusiastic and vibrant club with one of the best membership growth through involvement of members and prospective members in club projects.

Dist.Trainer PDG Rtn.Bansi Dhurandhar explained on importance of servicing the new Rotarians with an analogy of treating them as ‘our customers’.  As in the case of any business, existing customers need to be retained, so was the case with new Rotarians who need to be paid special attention by the senior Rotarians for effective assimilation and retention.

PDG Rtn.Bharat Pandya summed up the discussions with some very interesting and thought provoking slides and quotes. At the end, DG Rtn.Ajay Gupta thanked everyone for organizing the Seminar in a very professional way.  He was confident that the District would achieve its targeted growth of membership in the current Rotary Year.  He however cautioned the Clubs that the growth should not be achieved at the cost of quality of membership.

Our Club President Rtn.Mohan Joshi proposed a vote of thanks.  

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Celebration of Youth Month with Rotaractors

As we all know, Rotaractors are a part of the global community of young adults taking action for positive change.  Rotaract Clubs bring together youth ages 18 – 30 to take action in their communities, develop their leadership and professional skills and have fun…

To celebrate the Youth Month in September, Rotaract Clubs sponsored by our Club were invited to showcase their talents in singing, dancing and drama in our regular meeting held on 10th September, 2014…  Five of our Rotaract Clubs viz. Rotaract Clubs of Andheri, Mithibai College, N.M.College, Sathaye College and Usha Pravin Gandhi College accepted the invitation and performed to a full house of almost 150 in the audience.

The show began with two outstanding street plays by UPG College and N.M.College.  While UPG College play depicted atrocities and ills in our society, more particularly on the women, the play by N.M.College focused on child abuse in India.  Both the plays were enacted with very strong performances and well-written scripts conveying extremely powerful messages to the audience. If these are the concerns of the educated youth of today, we can be sure there is a ray of hope for a new India free of the present day evils and tribulations.

This was followed by hi-energy dance performances by N.M.College, Mithibai College and Sathaye College which were quite entertaining and applauded by the appreciative audience. Surely, the participants had put in a lot of hours practicing the steps as the groups were hip-hopping to the Bollywood numbers in perfect sync.

After the street plays and dances the rotaractors presented their singing talent.  Ritu Kapadia the sole representative from Rotaract Club of Andheri enthralled the audience by singing two numbers, one in English and the other one in Gujarati.  A group of participants representing UPG College performed ‘Accapella’ which is singing without accompanying musical instruments and using the beauty of human voice entirely for musical entertainment.  The performance was truly enjoyable.  Rotaractors from Sathaye College sang the soul-stirring Tujhe Sab Hai Pata Meri Maa…” accompanied by Guitar.  

The show ended with a trained classical singer, Devyani from Mithibai College, singing three melodious numbers to leave the audience asking for more.

Rotary Ann Neelima Raval, President of Inner Wheel Club of Bombay West and Rtn.Rajul Doshi adjudged Rotaract Club of UPG College as no.1 entertainers.  The no.2 position was shared by Rotaract Clubs of Sathaye College and Mithibai College.  The cash prizes to the winning Clubs were sponsored by Rtn.Apurva Nanavati.  Calvin Klein, well-known for its range of frangrances and co-sponsors of the event gave away free-gifts to each and every participant. The sponsorship was arranged by Ms.Poorna Doshi, daughter of Rtn.Rajul Doshi and Late Rtn.Satish Doshi.

Rtn.Chandramohan Saigal ably compeered the programme while Rtn.Harminder Patheja gave a hearty vote of thanks.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

First Chandaben Mohanbhai Patel Rotary Excellence Awards Ceremony

The first Chandaben Mohanbhai Patel Rotary Excellence Awards Ceremony was held on Friday, 5th September, 2014 at Rotary Service Centre where over 100 students from neighborhood schools and institutions were felicitated and awarded cash prizes.

These awards  were instituted recently by Rotary Club of Bombay West (RCBW) with the help of donation of Rs.1 Crore by Past President Rtn.Mohanbhai Patel through his family trust to Rotary Service Public Charitable Trust (RSPCT). Earnings from the dedicated corpus created by RSPCT would be utilized every year to give away cash prizes of Rs.10000, Rs.5000 and Rs.3000 to students ranked 1st, 2nd and 3rd in their respective schools / institutions at Board/University level examinations. Rtn.Mohanbhai Patel has also given a further donation of Rs.50 lacs to RSPCT for institution of educational excellence awards project for toppers at board exams at schools in the tribal belt of Dahanu-Talasari Talukas in Maharashtra.  They are being named as Supa Farms Rotary Excellence Awards.  Perhaps, this is the largest single donation received by any Rotary Club in India for a project aimed at encouraging academic excellence.

The cash awards and certificates of excellence were handed over to the students by Ex-Vice Chancellor of SNDT University, Rtn.Dr.Rupa Shah in presence of Past President Rtn.Mohanbhai Patel, President Rtn.Mohan Joshi and Past President Arvind Shah who also headed the Club Committee for the Awards.  Inspirational talks by Rtn.Mohanbhai Patel and Dr.Rupa Shah were the highlights of the evening which the students and parents will cherish for life.  Before the awardees left the venue, they were personally handed over framed picture of them receiving the awards which was a delightful surprise element planned and executed meticulously by the Club.

The ceremony was witnessed by jam-packed hall with several principal and teachers of the select schools, parents and family members of the awardees, specially invited guests, Inner Wheel President and members, Rotarians and Rotary/Anns.  Rtn.Shefali Shah ably compered the event while Rtn.Anand Gupta and R/Ann Kavita Rege respectively introduced Rtn.Mohanbhai Patel and Dr.Rupa Shah to the gathering. 

Teachers' Day@RCBW

Inner Wheel Club of Bombay West in association with Rotary Club of Bombay West celebrated Teachers' Day on Friday, 5th September, 2014 at Sheila Raheja Hall, Rotary Service Centre, Juhu, Mumbai.  A tradition established by the Club since over 20 years, outstanding Teachers from the neighborhood schools were felicitated by Ms.Neelima Raval, President of IWCBW and Rtn.Mohan Joshi, President of RCBW along with several members from both the Clubs.  Also invited at the function were children from select schools to perform at the event in honour of their teachers.  Motivational songs, poems, dances and skits were on display from the young ones which was appreciated by the audience.  The programme was followed by a brief demo of eLearning module from a well-known Pune-based social enterprise for the benefit of the teachers and students present at the function.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

An Evening of Awards - 2013-14

An Evening of Awards – 2013-14

The evening of Wednesday, 06 August 2014 saw the felicitation of various Rotarians for their contribution to Club activities in the Rotary year 2013-14. PP Rtn Krishna Kejriwal gave out awards under various categories to his Rotarian team members who have contributed to the success of various Club activities in his presidential year. The Rotarians receiving the awards were cheered on with thunderous applause as they went on stage to receive their respective trophies.

It was a double bonanza for all those present as the 85th birthday of PP Rtn Mohanbhai Patel, which was on 01 August 2014 was celebrated that evening amidst cake cutting and PP Rtn Mohanbhai’s daughter Nisha sharing her thoughts with us all. All the Rotarians receiving awards that evening had the privilege of receiving the same from PP Rtn Mohanbhai alongwith his blessings. PP Rtn Mohanbhai also gave the Club a cheque for Rs 50 lakhs for starting off the educational excellence awards project for toppers at board exams at tribal schools in Dahanu Taluka in Maharashtra with immediate effect. The Club has insitituted Supa Farm Rotary Excellence Award. This was in addition to a Rs.100 lakhs donation given by him for educational excellence awards for toppers in board exams from schools and institutions in western suburbs of Mumbai and the award instituted by the Club was named Chandaben Mohanbhai Patel Rotary Excellence Award.

Indeed a very happy and encouraging evening at the Club.
-          Rtn. Dr Usha Jayachandran

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Union Budget Analysis Meeting at RCBW

Budget of Optimism : Achha Yug Aayega

Union Budget Analysis Meeting was organized by our Club on Wednesday, 17th July, 2014 jointly with Bombay Industries Association, Christian Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Rotary Club of Bombay Airport. The Guest Speakers were Rtn.Shalin Divatia and Shri Ameet Patel, Practicing Chartered Accountants.  Also present were senior officials from Bombay Industries Association and Christian Chamber of Commerce.

Past President Rtn.Chandramohan Saigal introduced Rtn.Shalin Divatia and President Mohan Joshi introduced Shri Ameet Patel.  Rtn.Shalin Divatia (B.Com, LL.B, FCA & ACS), a member of our Club since 1996, is a partner at M/s.S.R.Divatia & Co., Chartered Accountants which focuses on taxation, appellate matters, corporate matters including mergers & acquisitions.  Rtn.Shalin has co-authored a book on Employee Stock Options (ESOPs) which is published by Bombay Chartered Accountant Society.  He has delivered speeches on varied topics at Indian Merchants Chambers, Indian Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and Management Institutes.  He regularly contributes Articles in leading publications including The Economic Times.  Shri Ameet Patel (son of Shri Navinbhai Patel associated with publication of our weekly bulletin Flying Carpet) is Past President of Bombay Chartered Accountants Society, Member of Taxation and Accountancy Committee of Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industries and Member of Taxation and Finance Panel of Confederation of Indian Industries.  A regular speaker at various conferences and forums, Shri Patel has specialized in Disputes and Interpretation of Tax Laws.

Rtn.Shalin Divatia gave an overview of the Union Budget presented recently by the Hon’ble Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley in the Parliament.  While controlling inflation is a major challenge facing the Government, the budget estimates a GDP growth of 5.4% during 2014-15 against actual GDP Growth of 4.70% during last fiscal.  The budget also estimates a lower fiscal deficit at 4.10% against 4.60% for the last year.  What is different about this year’s budget is that it estimates the growth to occur by controlling the fiscal deficit on the one hand while focusing on revenue growth on the other.  Another significant difference in the budget is phased reduction in subsidy bill and utilizing the welfare outlays for creation of capital assets instead of just doling out the subsidies.  The budget also aims at industrial recovery and better tax administration for growth of the economy.  Among the medium to long term measures indicated in the budget document are the creation of Smart Cities along with industrial corridors, boost to infrastructure financing, improving infrastructure for  tourism and encouraging defense and electronics manufacturing for employment generation, reducing import bill and achieving self-sufficiency.  According to Rtn.Shalin, with this budget, we can look forward to Stronger Economy – Sustainable Growth, Lower Subsidies, Lower Deficits & Lower Inflation and Manageable Current Account Deficits.

Shri Ameet Patel began his talk by listing out the expectations of the people from this budget which included simplification of law, steps for reducing inflation, introduction of GST, changes in subsidies doled out, spurring economic growth, removal of retrospective amendments of past and clear signal to foreign investors to come to India.  Against these high expectations, what the budget has delivered is not too many heavy duty policy decisions, no clear indication of what is being done about inflation, no roll back on retrospective amendments, a few changes aimed at reducing litigation, quite a few changes affecting stock markets, resolve to push GST forward and a committee to review expenditure of the Government.  He then explained in detail the changes in direct and indirect tax regulations notable amongst them being increase in threshold limit of taxation for senior citizens from Rs.2.50 lakhs to Rs.3.00 lakhs and for others from Rs.2.00 lakhs to Rs.2.50 lakhs, increase in deduction of interest on Self Occupied Property from Rs.1.50 lakhs to Rs.2.00 lakhs, increase in limit of Investment under section 80C from Rs.1.00 lakh to Rs.1.50 lakhs.  Simultaneously, the Government will soon take steps to increase the limit of investment in PPF A/c from the current limit of Rs.0.70 lakh to Rs.1.00 lakh.   He further explained the changes in provisions dealing with capital gains, dividend distribution tax and how these will impact the individuals and corporates.  The budget has removed certain ambiguities related with FII investments in India which will further attract investments into India.  However, similar clarity should be available for domestic investors too to have a level playing field. 

Both the speakers were unanimous on the positive impact of the budget and expressed their optimism when they opined that people of India can expect not just better days, but a better era if the vision portrayed in the budget document is translated into reality.

Rtn.Kevin Colaco, President, Rotary Club of Bombay Airport gave a hearty vote of thanks.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Bhavishya Yaan Launched at Sane Guruji Vidyamandir, Santacruz West, Mumbai


Rotary Club of Bombay West (RCBW) launched its second Bhavishya Yaan project at Sane Guruji Vidyamandir at Santacruz West, Mumbai - a well-managed marathi (a regional language) medium school - in association with Vidya, an NGO acclaimed for its initiatives in the field of education.

Bhavishya Yaan is an on-going project series implemented by various Rotary Clubs in India in association with Vidya at schools where the primary medium of education is the regional language.  Under this project, intensive structured coaching is imparted to students from secondary section in Conversational English, Computer and Life Skills beyond their regular school hours.  This program is designed to benefit the students from the lower economic strata by equipping them with skills required for a successful career. It believes in equal opportunity for all students. The goal is to enroll students of Class V & above and empower them with education and skills that are necessary for excellence in higher education and gainful employment.

The Literacy Committee of RCBW led by Past President Sukhdev Puri along with his spouse Past Inner Wheel President Urmil Puri supervises the progress made by the students under overall guidance of the Board of Directors of the Club.  In addition to the curriculum drafted by Vidya, RCBW arranges motivational talks, outings and hobby workshops for the overall growth and development of the students enrolled for Bhavishya Yaan.  High ranking students are also rewarded with cash prizes and scholarships by RCBW for pursuing higher education.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Rotaract Clubs Participate in Blood Donation Drive

On July 1, 2014, Rotaract Clubs all across Mumbai organized Blood Donation Camps.  The Rotaract Clubs of Mithibai College, UPG College and Andheri sponsored by our Club participated in this project under the banner Rotary Club Of Mumbai Borivali.

Active participation in registrations and admin work at the Camp by the rotaractors made the entire process smooth and effortless at M.K.School, Borivli where 79 bottles of blood were collected by the Blood Bank Team.

Rotaract Club of N.M.College participated in a Blood Donation Drive at Growels Mall, Kandivli East, Mumbai where they were successful in collecting 71 bottles of blood for the Blood Bank.

Good beginning to the New Rotary Year by Rotaractors. 

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

RCBW : Rotary Annapoorna Day

Rotary Annapoorna Day

1st July 2014, will be a historic day for Rotary. It is the beginning of a new Rotary year for DG  Ajay Gupta of District 3140 2014-15 for.

In District 3140 which extends from South Mumbai to Dahanu on the western side and on the eastern side Bhiwandi, Kalyan Ulhasnagar New Mumbai, we are feeding over 100000 people to highlight this acute problem of Hunger. This is part of a large initiative of Rotary Dist 3140, Project A.C.H.E. (Acting Continuously for Hunger Eradication). The aim and objective of the project is to first highlight the acute problem of malnutrition in children and hunger in adults.

We Rotary Club Of Bombay West have  Served Lunch to 52 Children of Kamalaben Jani Balwadi.  President Mohan Joshi, First Lady R/Ann.Geeta Joshi, Rtn.Samapti Patel, Giants  Fed.Vice President Naresh Marchant, Rotaractors from Rotaract Club of Sathe College, Rotaract Club of Andheri and Rotaract Club of Mithibhai College graced the occasion. 

Our Rotract Club of Andheri and Rotaract Club of Mithibai College too arranged lunch for 20 Children of Manilal Sunderji M.R Section.

The event was cooordinated by Rtn.Sampati Patel.
- Rtn. Samapti B. Patel

Monday, 30 June 2014

Bhavishya Yaan Programme Celebrates 3rd Anniversary !!

RCBW’s Bhavishya Yaan Programme Celebrates 3rd Anniversary !!

RCBW’s Bhavishya Yaan Programme at the Municipal Secondary Marathi School, Vile Parle E, Mumbai completes three academic years.  To celebrate this event, a function was organized by the second batch of students undergoing this programme for the benefit of members of our Club and Inner Wheel Club of Bombay West on Monday, 30th June, 2014 at 11:30 AM at the School premises.  Those present included President Krishna Kejriwal, Incoming President Mohan Joshi and R/Ann Geeta Joshi, PP Sukhdev Puri and R/Ann Urmil Puri, IW President Kirtida Dave, PE Shirish Rege and R/Ann Kavita Rege, Rtn.Hemant Joshi, Rtn.Chandrashekhar Khobrekar and Rtn.Aslam  Merchant.  Also present were the dedicated and committed Ms.Deepa Shetiya, the Centre Manager for the Programme and Ms.Mehtab Uttanwala, the English Teacher.

The students performed a skit, a dance, recitation of poetry and speech on importance of monsoon season.  Two students also gave a brief on the Bhavishya Yaan Programme and how it is was benefiting them in their overall development.  Everyone present applauded the efforts which went into the programme as also the confidence with which the students performed.  Our Club also took the opportunity to felicitate students of Bhavishya Yaan’s first batch who had passed the recent SSC Exams with flying colours.  The first three rankers were Sonali with 82%, Deepak with 81% and Prajakta with 80% marks.

Bhavishya Yaan is a skills enhancement programme for less privileged children studying at Municipal Schools acclaimed by Rotary International as the most innovative project in the field of literacy.  The Programme at Vile Parle E Municipal School is being managed by our Club in partnership with NGOs Vidya and Women’s India Association.  PP Sukhdev Puri and R/Ann Urmil Puri have been at the forefront of this initative on behalf of the Club.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Rtn.Mohan Joshi Installed as President for 2014-15

With a new day comes new strength and new thoughts. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Every year, the installation of a new President at the Rotary Club of Bombay West ushers in new vigor, new ideas and fresh optimism to reach out further for the alleviation of human misery and improving the quality of life in the neighboring communities.

On Wednesday, the 25th June, 2014, our Club witnessed the Installation Ceremony of President Mohan Joshi and his Board for the Rotary WOW Year 2014-15 which begins on 1st July in presence of the Chief Guest Rtn. Ajay Gupta, District Governor (2014-15).  A meticulously planned event, attended by several Past District Governors (PDGs), District dignitaries, WOW Presidents of other Clubs in District 3140 and leaders from Partners in Service, began with an invocation song, seeking blessings of the Almighty by the Past President of Inner Wheel Club of Bombay West, R/Ann Prakruti Vasani.

President Krishna Kejriwal welcomed the dignitaries and guests present, in particular PDG Sajjan Goenka, PDG Prabhakar Store, PDG Bansi Dhurandar and PDG J.T.Vyas.  He also extended a special welcome to the ex-Sheriff of Mumbai and Past President Rtn. Mohanbhai Patel, Past President of International Inner Wheel Club R/Ann Pallavi Shah, Inner Wheel Chair R/Ann Himadri Nanavati and District Rotaract Representative Rtr.Hemang Jakhia.

President Kejriwal recalled the publication of “Yatra – the Journey”, a coffee table book during the Club’s Golden Jubilee Year 2004-05 under the then President Rtn. Saroj Rao.  The current year saw the Club celebrating its Diamond Jubilee and to commemorate the glorious event, a team led by PP Saroj Rao was given the challenge to publish a sequel.  The Yatra Team has designed and published yet another masterpiece -  “Yatra – Hands of Hope” encompassing the Club’s contribution to society in the decade since the golden jubilee celebrations and giving a glimpse of what we aim to achieve in the coming years. The Yatra Team had the privilege of the DGE Ajay Gupta to release the publication Yatra – Hands of Hope amidst thunderous applause from those present.

The main highlights of the Club’s activities during the year gone by included:
·         A donation of Rs.100 lakhs in May 2014 Past President Rtn. Mohanbhai Patel with the objective of creating a corpus under the Rotary Service Public Charitable Trust under the Chandaben Mohanbhai Patel Rotary Excellence Award and utilizing the income (approx.Rs.9 lakhs per annum) for giving cash awards to students from neighbouring schools / colleges for excelling in their Board / University level exams.  To meet any gap in funding for the first awards to be announced shortly, PP Rtn. Mohanbhai Patel has committed a further donation which was appreciated by all.  President Kejriwal felicitated PP Rtn. Mohanbhai Patel with a memento for his generous contribution to the cause of education. 
·         Another key event of the year was the receipt of further donations of Rs.10 lacs from Rtn.Narendra Parekh towards the Cochlear Implant programme which benefits less privileged children with hearing impairment. President Kejriwal also felicitated Rtn.Narendra Parekh for his generosity and continued commitment towards a noble cause. 
·         Another major initiative, the brain child of our PP Rtn. Rajendra Ruia, our one man army on the RI peace programme, was the start of a certificate course on Peace & Conflict Resolution. A 4 day intensive course spread over 2 weekends, designed and conducted by some of the outstanding Rotary Peace Centres Alumni of RI District 3140 and attended by over 20 participants, it now features in the list of permanent projects of Bombay West
·         The other notable projects included the blood donation drives in partnership with the Inner Wheel club of Bombay West and the Rtaract clubs – 4250 bottles of blood were collected for the Rotary DG Goenka Blood Bank, the donation of a 25-seater school bus in partnership with the Inner Wheel Club for tribal students of a school run by the Srimad Rajchandra Aatma Tatva Research Centre at Parli village near Khopoli.
·         Some other highlight achievements of the Club included:
o    Meeting the TRF commitment, thanks to a contribution of USD 10000 by Rtn.Madhu Narang,
o    making a contribution of Rs.7 lakhs towards the Uttarakhand Disaster Relief Fund,
o    providing mid-day meals at schools and
o    helping build 5 Rotary Kutirs under the District Project of Low Cost Housing for the rural poor. 

The incoming President Mohan Joshi, was described as an intelligent, analytical mind with a golden heart - a right choice for leading this prestigious club by outgoing President Rtn Krishna Kejriwal.  Holding a a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from BITS, Pilani and a Management degree from the University Business School, Chandigarh, Mohan is a hard core professional with global experience of over 3 decades across diverse regions and business environments. He has recently retired as President of German Multinational SCHOTT Glass but continues his association with the company as Strategic Advisor. Mohan is now engaged as an independent Management Advisor in areas of Negotiation, Strategy, and Leadership to some German and Indian companies. In his acceptance speech, President Mohan Joshi reiterated his deep commitment to the rotary values for serving humanity.  In his year as President, the Club would focus on identified areas under the LEAP Programme viz. Literacy for all, Environment, Water and Sanitation, Ability and Challenges of the Disabled and Elderly and Poonar-nirman (revisiting the earlier projects of the Club). 

Pres. Mohan Joshi identified 3 major challenges for bringing about improvements in the literacy rate viz. water, infrastructure and e-communication.  While the enrolment rate is quite high, there is a problem about attendance at schools and the need to bring about reductions in dropouts.  These issues need to be addressed in a holistic way to enable us to get desired results.  The young population is our country’s ‘strength’ as well as ‘weakness’.  Strength because it means the availability of a young work-force with innovative ideas.  However, this strength turns into a ‘weakness’ if they don’t receive adequate training for required skills to enter their productive phase. Hence, the need to address the needs of the youth in partnership with Rotaract Clubs.  He further mentioned that all the permanent and regular community service projects of the Club will be continued with renewed zeal to take the achievements of the Club to greater heights.  Lastly, he talked about the importance of Fellowship Events in Rotary which he compared with team building and leadership development events of the corporate world.

President Mohan Joshi then introduced individually his team of Directors who were pinned by the chief guest DGE Ajay Gupta.  Rtn. Dr Usha Jaychandran, Editor of the Flying Carpet had the privilege of having the DGE release a special issue. Group Co-ordinator Vikas Upadhyay expressed his happiness with the projects done by the Club and those envisaged by the new team during the next Rotary year.  Asst. Governor Designate Dr. Raju Sahetya thanked DGE Ajay Gupta for appointing him as the AG of our Club, which he described as a “shining jewel in his AG crown”.  He assured his support in all the activities of the Club and formally introduced DGE Ajay Gupta.

Rtn. Ajay Gupta, DG (2014-15) expressed his complete amazement with the community service projects being undertaken by our Club year after year, for the last six decades.  He saluted the founder members of the Club whose vision has made this Club what it is, with one of the best infrastructures in the form of the Rotary Service Centre in the heart of Mumbai city. Expressing his confidence in the leadership of Rtn. Mohan, the DGE looked forward to working closely working with him and his team in the ensuing Rotary year.  Lastly, he urged the Club to enhance its goals for increases in membership as well as contributions to TRF. The meeting ended with a vote of thanks from President Elect Rtn.Shirish Rege.
The installation programme appeared to have charged up our members and we can look forward to another successful year ahead.  As a member sitting in the audience, I was reminded of a famous quote by St. Francis of AssisiStart by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
Here’s wishing President Mohan Joshi and his team a wonderful 2014-15

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

E-Communication@Rotary by Rtn.Aslam Merchant

Meet Report : 4th June, 2014.


Rotary International has been emphasizing use of e-Communication to the Rotary Clubs around the world.  Our DGE Ajay Gupta too is extremely enthusiastic of taking the e-Communication in Rotary District 3140 to the next level.  His vision is to ensure all Clubs in the District are E friendly, E Alert and E Savvy to be able to make maximum use of eCommunication techniques and social media for internal and external communication as well as a powerful PR tool.  With this in mind, the District has created a position of E-Administrator for every Club…. perhaps the first District globally to make this move.  For the Rotary Year 2014-15, I have been appointed as the E-Admin for our Club.

Thanks to President Krishna Kejriwal, PE Mohan Joshi and PP Chandramohan Saigal, I was given the opportunity to address the Club on eCommunication@Rotary... to understand where we are currently and where we would like to go with the support of 150+ Members using various eCommunication channels available at our disposal today.

The responsibilities of any Rotary Club are sustaining and increasing membership, participation in service projects, supporting TRF finances and programmes and developing leaders beyond the Club level.  E-Communication is a very powerful tool to fulfil these responsibilities. Use of technology facilitates seamless communication with members, with the District and other Clubs globally as well as with public at large.  The possibilities are endless if every member of the Club joins in this mission by actively participating in it.

Our Club has been at the forefront of using technology in its day-to-day functioning.  Our Club’s Website is one of the most comprehensive websites in the Rotary World giving information relevant to every visitor, be it our own member or a member from another club, district officials, potential members and anyone interested in knowing about rotary in general and about our club in particular.  A regular visit by our members will help them in keeping updated about the programmes and events, view photo-gallery, know the latest news from RI, access to club’s weekly bulletin and much more.  Members are encouraged to share the links on our website with their friends and relatives either thru’ emails or on social media. 

Social Media is gaining immense popularity since the last few years and Rotary International has been encouraging the Clubs to have a presence on it to connect with members and non-members alike.  Our Club has a presence on Facebook where a Closed Group of more than 90 Members has been created.  However, lack of ‘posts’ and visits by the members on the FB Group Page has served limited purpose.  Once the traffic on the FB Group increases and more members use it to talk about the projects or project ideas, the fellow-members can share what they like on their personal timelines thus making their circle of friends aware of the rotary projects.  The Club is yet to try out other social media channels like Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Video Conferencing, Group Chats, etc. and suggestions / views of the members are invited to expand our social media presence to achieve our goals.

Our Club was one of the first to subscribe to “Roster on Wheels” (ROW) – an App for Smartphones.  This revolutionary App has been developed by a Mumbai-based IT Company and has received the approval from District 3140.  This App gives access to all the details of the Club Members which are otherwise available in the printed club roster, but with quick search modes by name, classification, family or blood group.  The other exciting feature of this App is the ability to communicate with fellow-members and club officials about meeting schedules, birthdays and anniversaries, events, announcements and flash news on a real-time basis.  Members are requested to download this App and use it for staying in touch with the club activities.

Our District will be launching a new website this July, which will be a permanent district website unlike the earlier ones which changed every year.  The website will be extremely interactive requiring the Clubs to post details of projects, events, minutes of the meetings, attendance, OCV files, etc.  Certain features of the website will be synced with ROW to avoid duplicating data entry efforts for the Club.

It is once again emphasized that to successfully use e-Communication as a tool to achieve our goals, we need active participation of all the 150+ members of our Club.

I thank Rtn.Haituk Desai for my formal introduction at the meeting and PP Rtn.Prakash Shah for the formal vote of thanks.

-Rtn.Aslam Merchant