A resident welfare association (frequently abbreviated as RWA) is a Non-governmental organization that represents the interests of the residents of a specific urban or suburban locality, particularly in Indian cities.
RWAs are registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. Each state may have amendments included from time to time and these shall be applicable on all RWAs in that particular state. Being registered under the Societies Registration Act, means that the RWA is governed by constitutional documents and cannot work according to its own will. The documents ensure that RWAs have special powers but their powers are also checked, if need be. It can be sued and can sue, as well. For all legal purposes, it is a legal body with rights.
Within a society, there are many aspects to be taken care of, where the RWA or its president’s role is crucial. These may include looking into the condition of internal roads, improvement in amenities and common facilities, drainage, street lights, overall cleanliness, water harvesting and civic amenities such as water and electricity. In bigger societies, the RWA may have more work, for example, looking into commercial activities within the society in the form of shops, bazaars, banks or even transportation in the area.