Innovative, Passionate and Successful – these are the words that are often used to describe zealous people who operate in the private space; be it corporate or socially relevant domains such as NGOs. Rarely, you will come across people who are in public service, especially in Government Service, earn these accolades. However, there are few standout exceptions and Ms Hari Chandana Dasari IAS – Collector / District Magistrate, Narayanpet; leads this list of exceptions backed by a series of socially relevant initiatives that have changed the lives of lakhs of people.
Indian Bureaucrats are often touted as people who are wary of innovations with little care about the community; but for Ms Dasari, these are two things that drive her to outperform herself every single time. Before choosing public service as her vocation through IAS, Ms Dasari had a brilliant academic and professional career. She had completed her academics at the London School of Economics, worked with high-paying global entities like World Bank and BP Shell. Although it was her passion for her country and its people that inspired her to return to India and become part of the Indian Administrative Service- a less-paying, more responsibility-laden and definitely a challenging prospect in many ways as compared to her previous professional engagements.
She cleared the UPSC Civil Services exam in her second attempt in 2010. She was picked for I.A.S. (Indian Administrative Service) by the commission. After her training, she dedicated her life to public service, launching a series of socially relevant initiatives and passionately followed them to ensure that they have an impact and bring about a positive change in the lives of the people. The various initiatives launched by Ms Dasari cover a diverse array of domains, from healthcare to education; rural employment to sanitization, and much more.
Ms Hari Chandana Dasari IAS is an environmentalist at heart and believes in Author Sidney Sheldon’s mantra of ‘Try to leave Earth a better place than when you arrived.’ Keeping this as the core centre of her being; Ms Dasari has launched a series of environmental initiatives that not only safeguard the planet but also build sustainable cities that meet all the modern needs and amenities for the people while also addressing ecological concerns.
As the Zonal & Addn. Commissioner of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), Ms Dasari has conceptualized and spearheaded several green initiatives including plastic recycling/waste reuse in 2016, Share Happiness Kiosk which welcomed people to share extra furniture or household products with fellow citizens. She also launched Green Footpaths in 2019 which covered the installation of plastic tiles for the footpaths, twin bins made of recycled plastic around the city which promoted recycling among the citizens. In the same year, she also introduced resin-bound permeable paving for trees on footpaths, aimed to promote water seepage, protect the topsoil and ensure better protection of trees. While the list of her initiatives is never-ending, she has spearheaded the recycling and reuse of 35 Metric tonnes of plastic, around 38 "Feed the Need" fridges, 5 theme parks, and 4 composts. She has also facilitated 85 lakh plantations across the district.
While environmental concerns remain at her heart, it is the people and their concerns that form the soul of her being as a public servant. During the last 10 years as an Indian Administrative Service Officers, Ms Dasari has worked relentlessly to bring positive change in the lives of the people. By adopting sustainable and inclusive growth models, she has been able to strike a fine balance between the needs of the people and the ecology that surrounds them. Her work, especially during the pandemic has ensured that people not only remain safe but also prosper during the unprecedented crisis.
Recently, Ms Dasari has spearheaded a project for the launch of a 10 Bed ICU, at District Hospital, Narayanpet, Telangana. The project was a first of its kind, launched in a private-public partnership, with the support of state government and a group of NGOs, to combat the pandemic. In another similar initiative during the pandemic, Narayanpet collector gathered and engaged over 4000 weavers and women in mask-making endeavours to ensure that they can support themselves financially. In just a year, the enterprise made a profit of Rs 50 lakh. Her innovative efforts to keep the livelihood of people safe made her the only bureaucrat from Telangana who got shortlisted for the prestigious Prime Minister’s Excellence in Public Administration Award 2020.
As part of PM Modi’s Swachh Bharat Mission, Ms Dasari also launched a series of cleanliness related initiatives, which got her attention and accolades at the national level. As the Zonal Commissioner for GHMC, she oversaw the construction of 35000 Individual Sanitary Latrines (ISLs) in urban areas. Apart from this, her list of achievements also includes setting up 326 plus community toilet complexes, 65,000+ individual toilets, 280 dump yards, and 200 segregation sheds in villages; while 47 villages constructed modern crematoriums at their cost under her guidance.
Her Mantra for Success as an IAS Officer
Traditionally, Indian bureaucrats are often touted as people who are caught up in red tape with little care about the community. Many civil servants who, in the past, have even tried to break free from these shackles have often faced the brunt in the form of transfers and suspensions. In such a setup being an agent of change who puts people and the environment first was not an easy task for Ms Dasari.
But as the adage goes, when the going gets tough, the tough get going! When asked how does she manage to get her out-of-the-box ideas gets accepted, implemented and transforms into great success stories, Ms Dasari “It’s mainly the self-satisfaction of creating an impact and bringing the change that keeps me driving to do better.” She believes that innovation is the change for a better tomorrow and therefore it doesn’t have to be grand or ambitious to have a lasting impact at the grassroots level.
Similarly, she lives by the first line of the National Pledge, which says “India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters”; and that is what drives her to work for them relentlessly. Be it through cleanliness initiatives that promote public health and hygiene, recycling drives to build sustainable habitats or safeguarding the livelihood of people during the unprecedented global crisis; Ms Dasari always looks for innovative ways to positively contribute to the lives of her fellow citizens.