Visitor of the Month

We had an interesting visitor yesterday: Srinivas Gogineni is his full name, he is unassuming, soft-spoken and polite. He runs a company called the Global Business incubators, set up barely 5 years back but its progress is mind-boggling. Two hours that Mr Srinivas spent with us were a revelation for the CIPS team and for me as we heard his story spell-bound. Srinivas was doing his graduation course in Bio-Technology from a US university. During his years as a student he helped his professor set up more than one start-up in the health sector which they later sold making big profit. After completing his graduation Srinivas chose to return to India and tried introducing innovative practices in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Coming from a family with agricultural background his heart was set on improving the condition of the farmers. Through contacts he once visited Chhattisgarh and tried his ideas in some of the most backward and violence-hit areas of Dantewada and Sukhma. After some struggle, his perseverence paid off. Some things clicked: he came across a few committed bureaucrats, a few passionate youth searching for exciting jobs and that’s when Srinivas made Chhattisgarh his second home..
Srinivas got a group of 1200 tribal persons to set up a collection, packaging and marketing enterprise of Minor Forest Produce: honey, mahua and bamboo. With Srinivas’s intervention each of these tribal family’s income has now gone up by at least Rs 300 a day, i.e. Rs 8,000 a month. Next, realising the huge demand for chicken in the Hyderabad market he set up women’s Self Help Groups of interested women. He got 80 such groups started with women opting for poultry farming. Through the District Collector, the Forest Officer, MGNREGS and tie-up with traders to take forward the supply chain, Srinivas has got the enterprise going. While each poultry bird fetched Rs 25 earlier, now the SHG women entrepreneurs can get Rs 450 for a bird. Truly, this is empowerment!
Srinivas can take credit for ideating, hand-holding, even financially assisting at least 39 start-ups which are all functioning in different parts of AP and Telengana. Two of the start-ups: Be my Tailor and Glossytrends are doing especially well.
As a precocious 13 year-old Srinivas had come up with his first recorded invention, converting plastic into bitumin for which he won the Intel award and also won a patent. He tells us how his farmer parents had no patience for his innovative ideas; they would rather see him settling down to the life of a farmer. But Srinivas is special, he is restless to improve the lives of those living in rural India. His eyes well up as he relates to us how Dantewada has a special school for children orphaned by the violence and how he loves to spend time with the 1200 kids who cannot remember a mother’s embrace but who direct their energy to sports, to science, to music. These young innovative minds are buzzing with ideas and Srinivas is just the right mentor.
Not having had the opportunity of seeing a proper science lab as a school student, Srinivas has through his own funding set up a lab in this backward district of Chhattisgarh which will open the world of science to young inquisitive minds. Starting 2nd of October it will become functional and the CIPS team readily agrees to visit the lab and meet the children sometime soon.
You may be wondering how old is Srinivas? He turned 30 last month! He has been able to achieve so much is this short span of time with his humility intact. He is in a great hurry to introduce more and more social innovations to improve the lives of the most vulnerable, he says. If there were a provision to recruit District Collectors from the external market, Srinivas would be on the top of my selection list. I compare the attitude, the knowledge and the passion for public service that drips from every word that Srinivas utters with the swag and the disinterest one sees among some of the new recruit IAS officers in the Mussoorie Academy. Alas! if one got even one batch of Srinivas clones, what a difference that could make.
In the last 7 years that Srinivas has worked in AP and Chhattisgarh he has learnt the bureacratic systems and has understood how to dovetail different programmes to reach the benefits to the target group. In our country there is no dearth of plans and programmes and projects. The problem lies in reaching the benefits to the targetted persons. Officials sitting in their offices can show 100 percent financial achievement without any thought towards the physical achievements.
Persons like Srinivas, passionate social innovators whose only motivation is to be a change-maker to improve our society, are like roving ambassadors for CIPS. They help us come up with ideas that can bring about systemic changes. They also enable us to reach the fruits of innovations to the remotest corners of the country.

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