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Tackling Governance Challenges: Gaurav Goel, Founder & CEO, Samagra, Transforming Governance

Samagra works with state governments to make a difference in the lives of citizens.

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Over the past six years, IIT Delhi and IIM Calcutta alumnus Gaurav Goel, Founder & CEO of Samagra | Transforming Governance, has been working with the bureaucratic and political leadership of states to make a difference to the lives of citizens.  

Goel’s path-breaking effort to tackle complex governance challenges and effect change at scale has led him to be recognised as one of the shining stars in this year’s BW Businessworld 40 Under 40 list. 

A B.Tech in Computer Science & Engineering from IIT Delhi, Goel also pursued MBA from IIM Calcutta before joining McKinsey & Co. as a management consultant where he worked across sectors and geographies, solving diverse corporate problem statements. While at McKinsey, he realised that eventually, he wanted to set up an organisation that would work towards improving the lives of citizens by engaging with the governance process. 

In 2012, he set up Samagra so that he could translate his passion into an enterprise that improves the lives of citizens and creates impact at scale.

Samagra is a consultancy that works with state governments across India to solve the most complex governance challenges across domains such as education, employment, skilling, public service delivery, and agriculture, among others. Once they are approached with a problem statement, they work with the various state government machinery to diagnose the problem, design a solution and implement it. 

Unlike the Big 4 that are categorised as Tier-2 or Tier-3 governance consulting firms and usually work as vendors to governments, Samagra is a Tier-1 governance consulting firm that works with senior political and bureaucratic leadership as a thought partner to solve abstract problems. The only other firm operating in the same space is the public and social sector practice of Boston Consulting Group.

Backed by a team of 45 professionals, Samagra is currently working in four states and running seven state-wide engagements. Also, they are involved with central government entities like NITI Aayog. Through their engagements, they have impacted the lives of more than 3.5 crore citizens.

Speaking to BW Businessworld about Samagra’s achievements, Gaurav said, “Since the time of our inception, we have generally remained in the background and not sought awards for government programmes. However, the state governments we have worked with have won awards for several of our engagements such as the CSI-Nihilent eGovernance Award of Excellence 2017-18 won by the Government of Haryana for Antyodaya Saral, which redefined public service delivery in the state or the SKOCH Order-of-Merit award won by the Government of Himachal Pradesh for pioneering tech-based reforms undertaken by the state to improve the quality of education, to name a few.” 

Goel’s journey has not been with without challenges. “A major challenge we have faced in the past, and one that the social sector entities continue to face, is attracting and retaining a critical mass of the best talent to work in this sector,” he says. 

“To overcome this challenge, we have consciously cultivated a strong value proposition to attract talented professionals over the years — we offer as steep a learning curve and as fast a growth trajectory as best-in-class corporates while providing a real opportunity to create large-scale impact,” he adds.

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