The Kudumbashree Story

Community Network

Area Development Society (ADS)

Area Development Society (ADS) is the middle tier of the Kudumbashree community organisation. ADS is formed at the ward level of the local governments. There is a one-to-one correspondence between the wards and ADSs except for the tribal ADSs which are formed with special permission of the government. Tribal ADSs can take into account the nature of tribal habitats and villages, and therefore the ADS need not necessarily by at the ward level. 

In a Gram Panchayat, the ward member is the patron of the ADS. Similarly in Municipalities and Municipal Corporations, Ward Councillors are patrons of the ADSs. In places where ward development committees exist, ADS works as its sub-committee. ADS is not a registered legal entity.


All the NHGs within the operational boundary of an ADS that are affiliated to the CDS automatically become members of ADS as well. A NHG can have membership in only one ADS; in rare cases where an NHG has members from more than a ward, the NHG decides on which ADS to take membership in.

ADS is formed if there are at least two Neighbourhood Groups (NHGs) in a ward of a local government. In case a ward has only one NHG, till the time another NHG comes up there, it is affiliated to the ADS in the adjacent ward.

ADS Structure

ADS form its general body is constituted by the presidents, secretaries, and the three volunteers (concerned with income generation, health and education, and infrastructure) of all the neighbourhood groups in its geographical area.

ADS has a seven-member Executive Committee elected from its general body. There are three office bearers, elected from among the members of the Executive Committee:

  • ADS chairperson
  • ADS vice chairperson
  • ADS secretary

An individual cannot hold any of the above three positions for more than two consecutive terms. In addition to the seven members of the Executive Committee, the following ex-officio members are part of the ADS general body and Executive Committee.

  • ICDS/Anganwadi worker
  • Saksharata Prerak
  • Two experienced members co-opted to the Executive Committee from among the former office bearers as per the decision of the current Executive Committee
  • Junior Public Health Nurse working in ward.

The size of the Executive Committee has been limited by byelaw (2008) to 15. The Executive Committee after assuming office, decides on the ex-officio members to be included in the committee in the very first meeting itself, so that the latter can start attending the second meeting onwards.

The ADS Executive Committee from among the members of the committee selects three volunteers:

  1. Volunteer (Income generation)
  2. Volunteer (Health and Education)
  3. Volunteer (Infrastructure)

The Executive Committee also decides on the individual responsibility of members in monitoring and supervising NHGs.

ADS - Functions

  • Regular meetings: ADS general body meets at least quarterly and the Executive Committee meets monthly.
  • Monitoring of neighbourhood groups: ADS monitors and evaluates the thrift and credit programme, financial performance, and state of micro enterprises at NHGs. It closely monitors the growth in savings by members of the NHGs.
  • Leadership: ADSs encourages and motivates NHGs in setting up and running micro enterprises. ADSs provide leadership to NHGs in taking up poverty eradication programmes. ADSs are also expected to support NHGs in documentation and reporting.
  • NHG-CDS Link: ADSs act as the link between NHGs and CDS. They are expected to collect, collate, and disseminate information as the mid-tier of the community organisation.
  • Capacity building: ADSs organise training programmes and conducts seminars and workshops for capacity building of women.
  • Social Action: ADSs are expected to take initiative in social development programmes such as promotion of Balasabhas.
  • Development: ADSs are to take up development programmes as directed by the government from time to time.

ADS – Funds

  • ADS has its own fund. ADS is entitled to 25% of the annual subscription charges that the CDS gets from the NHGs.
  • Proceeds from ADS activities such as those relating to Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and any other donations or contributions approved by the CDS add to the ADS’s working fund.
  • ADS keeps its funds in a bank account jointly operated by the chairperson and secretary; all expenses are made subject to the approval of the Executive Committee.