From Sebi to start-up: Damodaran begins a journey


After having deftly managed the health of the country's financial sector, the former chief of UTI, IDBI and later the Securities and Exchange Board of India, Meleveettil Damodaran, is now mentoring Glocal Healthcare Systems, a start-up venture that hopes to make profits by providing healthcare services to the rural poor by setting up low-cost, efficient hospitals across village blocks in the country.

"It has been a lifelong yearning, and not an idea that struck me one fine day," said Sabahat Azim, 37, a doctor and a 2000 batch Tripura cadre IAS officer, who took a five-year sabbatical and founded Srei Sahaj e-Village, a pan India rural ICT venture. But with a year still left for his sabbatical to end, he decided to pursue his dream and quit the services.

Azim, Damodaran and five others chipped in R1 crore initially to set up Glocal with an objective to provide global healthcare standards using local resources. Recently, the company sold a minor stake to raise another R15 crore as private equity from Sequoia Capital and Elevar Equity. It hopes to borrow R45 crore to fund the pilot phase of its project that envisages eight hospitals in rural West Bengal over the next 18 months.

Most Tripura cadre officers, at some point or the other, do come across Damodaran, who, incidentally, is the first direct recruit to go to the state and also its youngest chief secretary at 42. "It sounded to be a great idea when Sabahat sounded me out. He said he wanted some senior to guide him. At my age, I qualify," he added in a lighter vein.

Glocal's signature hospital costs R2.5 crore and is spread over one acre, with one-third of the area set aside for residences of doctors, nurses and staff. The core hospital will be over 10,000 sq ft, with 42 beds. It will have a strength of 60, including three specialist doctors, five general doctors, 15 nurses and 10 technical staff. The first hospital being set up in Sonamukhi town, Bankura district, is likely to be operational by June 15. The second one at Dubrajpur, Birbhum, will be ready by July 15.

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