In 1970s, the founder members MDS realized that there was a dire need of people’s participation in development efforts in Mewat. Further, in the year 1984, a few individuals working on a joint sponsored project related to rural and artisan development implemented in Mewat region of Haryana jointly by the National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies (NISTADS), a constituent establishment of CSIR, New Delhi and the Mewat Development Board (MDB), Haryana started understanding the problems scientifically and developed a moral, social and emotional as well as ethical relationship with masses of the region.
They decided to work for the improvement of quality of life among people, particularly the rural masses, with a holistic view of development. Another basic fear of working in projects, which always remains is the discontinuation of their paid jobs after some period, since all externally funded projects are time bound in nature. They thought to create a platform by which they can collectively and continuously work may be as an NGO with or without government support even after the completion of the ongoing project. In this way, it was thought by them that they might remain engaged in constructive work and contribute to the development of masses in more notable way. Consequently, a group of selfless but dedicated volunteers working in diverse fields thought to join hands to integrate the ongoing developmental activities in the region and to initiate new activities through formalizing their collectiveness.
The genesis of MDS dates back to 1972, when a few individuals joined hands to work for the welfare of the people of Mewat, particularly the rural masses, with a holistic view of development. These individuals through their organized efforts started initiating and integrating developmental activities in diverse fields through awareness generation, mobilization, conducting surveys and implementing action programmes, etc. With the passage of time more and more people joined in this noble cause and led to the formation of a cooperation action group. All these activities were going on under the banner of an unregistered organization namely Mewat Students and Youth Organization (MYSO), which took birth in early seventies amidst rampant poverty, corruption, unemployment, social evils, and politico-economic backwardness and exploitation of people by thondas, the local touts and did commendable work in these areas.
One of the outputs of the well-thought and consistent academic and public opinion pressure put by MYSO was the creation of state level Mewat Development Board (MDB) on 16-1-1980 by the Government of Haryana as a high power policy making instrument under the chairmanship of Chief Minister, Haryana with its State Implementation Committee (SIC) under the chairmanship of Joint Secretary (Revenue) of the State and a field level agency namely Mewat Development Agency (MDA) under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Gurgaon with a sole stated objective of ameliorating the conditions of poverty, unemployment and economic and social backwardness and to raise the standard of living of the people of this area, which had shown few signs of upward trend despite the development programmes undertaken during successive Five Year Plans. In spite of this, there was still a dire need for a public led organization to complement the efforts of the government as the developmental was so monumental.
Mewat Development Society (MDS) was formally registered on 18-1-1988 with the Registrar of Societies; Haryana under the Societies’ Registration Act XXI of 1860. The focus of MDS initially remained mainly on formulating and implementing programmes aimed at social and economic development of common people. Subsequently, the activities of MDS have been extended to areas beyond the Mewat region also. Several projects have been carried out by MDS in different states of India. The main focus of MDS is on improving the ‘quality’ of life of the local people following an action research approach. Further, they undertook various awareness generation programmes to fight against inequality and injustice, for resolutely exposing the cause of the exploited and under privileged, thus significantly contributing to social change. MDS gradually took shape and dedicated itself to providing rural development and spatial information solutions to clients. Today, the society has diversified its areas of interest and collaborated with Government agencies in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of various developmental schemes. It has extended its area of operation to entire country and managed its activities through opening branch offices, project offices and appointing state coordinators etc.