The opportunity to start something from scratch towards catering to the development of the country attracted my attention to Swaniti Initiative. The chance to work under the able leadership of Jay Panda was an offer which I couldn’t refuse, and thus took a sabbatical from my legal apprenticeship and joined the office of India’s one of the most charismatic and creative politician till date.
The project assigned to us was “Strengthening Healthcare in Kendrapara”, the constituency of Jay Panda. The ambit of the task at hand was wide and broad, which allowed us to play with various intellectual ideas until we finally narrowed down our plan to the deployment of Mobile Health Units.
Kendrapara is a town, which desperately lacks in the number of Primary Health Care centers under function. There is only one Major Hospital, and therefore there is no doubt that health care was an important issue, which needed immediate attention. With elections round the corner, the idea of improving health care made political sense as well. So all the boxes were ticked perfectly in the quest to spark a life of difference to the people of Kendrapara.
We gave an initial pitch to the office of Mr. Panda, and after much deliberation and consideration, we prepared a case study detailing the amount of funds needed to be raised, the companies to be approached, the specification and diagnostics of the MHU along with a compliance, delivery and feedback system for implementation of the same. By the end of the first week of engagement, the research analysis with respect to the MHU was prepared and ready for exploitation in real times.
An important aspect of the fellowship consisted of convincing the Public Sector Enterprise to fund our potential program in Kendrapara. Though the letterhead of Jay Panda, along with his inputs, phone conversations and overall planning certainly added quite a weight to our proposal, it was indeed imperative to clinch the deal right from the word go. We conducted meeting on the phone and in person, while at the end of the first round of talks, a couple of big players in the oil sectors agreed to play the development game with us. Slowly but gradually, more cards started to show up in our favour. We achieved a hit rate of more than 50% out of the total number of companies we had approached to fund, support and execute (if required) our program in Kendrapara.
By the end of March, we were convinced that the project would go ahead as envisaged. The only unknown was the time factor. To speed things up in that regard, we made a trip to Kendrapara in second week to conduct a study for the deployment of MHU in Kendrapara. We analyzed and understood the pros and cons of the MHU plying in a neighboring district. Subsequently, we gathered information from the ground and suggested improvements for our project.
While in Kendrapara, we continued to push for the execution of the vehicle within the time frame allotted to us. Finally, after returning from Kendrapara, in the last week of April, the news broke from HPCL that an MHU sponsored by them would start running in Kendrapara from the 1st of May. We were able to achieve our objectives of the fellowship and it was truly one of the proudest moments of my life.