From an early life Durgabai was associated with Indian Politics. When the Indian National Congress had its conference in her hometown of Kakinada in 1923 she was a volunteer and placed in charge of the Khadi Exhibition which was running side by side. Her responsibility was to make sure that visitors to the exhibition were not allowed without tickets, and even forbade Jawaharlal Nehru from entering. When the organisers of the exhibition saw what she did and angrily chided her, she replied that she was only following instructions. After the organisers bought a ticket for Nehru, he then praised the girl for the courage with which she did her duty.
She was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi in India's struggle for freedom from the British Raj, and a prominent social reformparticipation in Gandhi-led Satyagraha activities, British Raj authorities had imprisoned her three different times.
• She was the President of the Blind Relief Association in and in that capacity, she set up a school-hostel and a light engineering workshop for the blind.
• Durugabai was a member of India's Lok Sabha. She was instrumental in the enactment of many social welfare laws.
• She was a member of in the Planning Commission, and in that role, she mustered support for a national policy on social welfare. The policy resulted in the establishment of a Central Social Welfare Board in 1953 As the Board's first chairperson, she mobilized a large number of voluntary organizations to carry out the Board programs, which were aimed at education, training, and rehabilitation of needy women, children, and the handicapped.