The Kudumbashree Story

Community Network

Community Development Society (CDS)

Community Development Society (CDS) is the apex body of the three-tier Kudumbashree community organisation. It functions at the local government level, in both rural and urban areas. While typically there is a CDS per local government, there can be more CDSs for urban government institutions with relatively large number of NHGs and ADSs.


  • To work towards women empowerment, local economic development, and poverty eradication through the three-tier community organisation consisting of Kudumbashree Neighbourhood Groups (NHG), Area Development Societies (ADS), and Community Development Society (CDS).
  • To look after the expansion of the NHG network, coordination and monitoring of NHGs and ADSs within the local government area.
  • To work as a voluntary apex collective for the social, economic, cultural, and intellectual development of Kudumbashree NHGs.
  • To function as a community monitoring agency in the preparation of development plans of the local governments as well as in their implementation and monitoring.
  • To participate in the activities for strengthening of local self-government institutions and for good governance.
  • To participate in activities relating to strengthening local level planning and for quality improvement.
  • To take part and provide leadership in development planning in areas such as local economic development, poverty eradication, Women Component Plan (WCP), women empowerment, and good governance.
  • To plan and implement local development activities for livelihood enhancement in general and poverty eradication and women’s welfare programmes in particular as entrusted by the local self-government institutions.
  • To provide leadership to NHGs in efficient conduct of thrift and credit programme.
  • To link NHGs with government departments, development agencies of the government, financial institutions and other relevant agencies, help them in availing shares of cooperative institutions, making deposits, and availing credit with the objective of improving the economic independence of the people of the area in general and the NHGs in particular.
  • To encourage and support NHG members in finding self-employment opportunities and managing initiatives in self-employment.
  • To provide training to member families for social and economic empowerment.
  • To take up and implement programmes for local economic development.
  • To engage in activities for ensuring the rights of  persons with mental or physical disabilities, marginalised sections, and children, and work towards ensuring social justice for them.


In the case of CDS, members are NHGs, and mode of membership is affiliation of the NHG with the CDS. As per the CDS byelaw (2008), every women Neighbourhood Group within the operational area of a CDS, which agrees to ‘abide by the CDS byelaws’, and ‘functions under the auspices of local governments and as per the guidelines of central and State governments and Kudumbashree Mission’ is eligible for affiliation.

The NHG seeking affiliation fills up an ‘affiliation form’ and submits it to CDS through ADS. The NHG is liable to pay an affiliation fee and annual subscription at rates fixed by the State government. NHG gets an ‘affiliation certificate’ on completing the process for affiliation. Each NHG has a unique ‘affiliation number’, which is recorded in the ‘affiliation certificate’. CDS keeps an ‘affiliation register’ with details of affiliated NGOs.

Only the Kudumbashree women NHGs working under the auspices of the local government are eligible for affiliation. Other women Self-Help Groups promoted by any government agency or local self-government institutions should be brought into the Kudumbashree CDS structure before affiliating them.

CDS – Structure

The upper limit for the number of ADSs that can be affiliated to a CDS is 30; when there are 31 or more ADSs, more CDSs are formed.

The CDS general body is composed of all the members of the seven-member Executive Committees of all the ADSs within the local government area (or the operational area of the CDS if there are more CDSs).

CDS Executive Committee consists of one representative of every ADS within its area. The number of members in the Executive Committee is equal to the number of ADSs.

Executive Committees of the all the ADSs hold special meetings to elect their representative to the CDS Executive Committee. The Executive Committee of the CDS selects two office bearers – Chairperson and Vice Chairperson. An individual can hold either of these positions only for a maximum of two consecutive terms of three years each.

In addition, the member secretary is the ex-officio member of the Executive Committee. The local government nominates an appropriate official as member secretary as per the directions of the State government. Typically it is the Assistant Secretary of the Gram Panchayat who would be nominated as the CDS member secretary. In places where there is no Assistant Secretary, the Panchayat may nominate Village Extension Officer (VEO) to the post.

Other ex-officio members of the CDS Executive Committee and general body are:

  • Five women ward members / councillors nominated by the local government.
  • Two experience former office bearers of the CDS, selected by the current Executive Committee.

In addition to the two ex-officio members typically selected by the Executive Committee in its first meeting after election, CDS can bring in appropriate officials as invitees to the committee. Each member of the Executive Committee gets the responsibility of an ADS; this is allotted in the first meeting of the committee. Volunteers (for income generation, health and education, and infrastructure) are also selected in the first meeting.

As per the CDS bye-laws, proportionate SC/ST participation is to be ensured in the general bodies and Executive Committees of CDS and ADSs.

CDS – Functions

  • Meetings: Kudumbashree CDS general body meets quarterly and the Executive Committee meets at least once a month.
  • CDS Action Plan: Every CDS prepares an annual action plan including the Kudumbashree programmes and other programmes of various government departments, agencies, and local governments implemented through CDS. CDS submits it to the consideration of the Welfare Standing Committee of the respective local government. The action plan is further submitted to the board/ council of the local government with the comments and opinions of the Welfare standing committee. Once the CDS submits the action plan to the Welfare Standing Committee, the Gram Panchayat or the Municipal Council is expected to decide on its approval. If no decision is taken within 30 days, the CDS Action Plan is deemed approved, and can be taken up for implementation.
  • Programme Review: CDS has the responsibility to review and evaluate the various Kudumbashree programmes and poverty eradication programmes under implementation in the area.
  • Monitoring: The CDS Executive Committee discusses and takes necessary decisions on the detailed reports that the member secretary presents on the performance of NHGs and ADSs. CDS has the responsibility to ensure that the NHGs are able to avail the benefits of the poverty eradication programmes implemented by various government and quasi-government agencies.
  • Capacity Building: CDS organises training programmes and seminars to improve the capacities and efficiencies of NHGs and ADSs.
  • Coordination: CDS is the agency to coordinate the poverty eradication programmes of local governments and other departments and organisations for effective implementation.
  • Audit: CDS looks after the annual audit of receipts and payments of the NHGs and ADSs affiliated to it. CDS gets its own accounts audited by a charted accountant and submits copies of audited statements to the local government and the District Mission.
  • Affiliation: CDS takes leadership in affiliation, renewal of affiliation, and re-affiliation of NHGs. Re-affiliation here means the affiliation of those NHGs that had lost their affiliation in the past.
  • Registration: CDS is expected to renew their registration under the Charitable Societies Act annually as per the requirements of the Act. Annual general body meetings are to be held for this in October in this connection, and get the annual report and financial report approved so that these can be reported to the district office of the Registrar of Societies.
  • Elections: CDS takes steps to conduct the elections to the three tier community organisation once in three years; elections are typically held in November.
  • Data collection: CDS provides leadership in data collection efforts for local as well as national level development programmes.
  • Thrift and Credit: Strengthening of thrift and credit at the CDS level is the responsibility of the CDS.
  • Local Economic Development: CDS takes steps to strengthen traditional enterprises and marketing initiatives for local economic development.
  • Children’s Programmes: CDS takes care of the expansion of Balasabha activities including the conduct of Bala Panchayats and coordinate related activities.
  • Micro Enterprise Promotion: CDS is expected to take steps to register and train activity groups for promotion of micro enterprises.
  • Women Empowerment: CDS provides leadership in gender studies and women empowerment and also organise activities relating to Jagratha Samithi. CDS also has the responsibility to plan and implement women empowerment programmes entrusted by the government from time to time.

CDS – Funds

Kudumbashree CDS has a working fund of its own. Entry fee/ affiliation fee, annual subscription, donations, grant received from government, the three-tier local government, other organisations, individuals, and financial institutions, earnings from economic activities, and incomes from regular activities are added to the working fund.

CDS keeps its savings account in a nationalised, commercial, or cooperative bank. The account is jointly operated by the chairperson and member secretary subject to approvals and decisions by the Executive Committee.