In an exclusive conversation with NewsX for its special segment NewsX India A-List, Atul Satija, Founder & CEO of The/Nudge Foundation spoke about the endeavours of his organisation and how they aim to revolutionise Agri-tech and other pressing challenges the country is facing.
Talking about his journey and how he found his true calling in the social sector, Satija said, “I started as an engineer-MBA harbouring the corporate ladder dreams, mostly because India did well in the technology sector and better than the other sectors in the last 20 years. I followed the same journey. But somewhere growing up, I had this notion that I want to do social work at some point in my life. I didn’t know when. As I entered my 30s, I started volunteering with a non-profit in Delhi and that’s how my journey in the social sector began.”
“I used to wait for the evenings and weekends to go and spend time in communities. My heart was in working on the grassroots and bringing social change, and not as much in the corporate rat race that I was in. I think nine years into it, I moved to Bangalore and worked in a startup, and six years back, I decided to make that switch. That’s how The/Nudge Foundation was born. It’s been six years of an impactful journey,” he continued. Satija started The/Nudge Foundation in 2015 as a non-profit poverty alleviation organisation. During its inception, The/Nudge Foundation started working with underprivileged groups in skill development who migrated to cities from rural areas and the organisation gave them skills, employability and jobs.
The founder threw light on the change his organisation is looking to create and how they are aiming to solve some of the most pressing challenges India is facing. “India has the second-largest number of extreme poverty in the world. The country has 175 million people below the poverty line so it’s a very large problem. The/Nudge was created to work on poverty alleviation. That’s the purpose with which we started but the way we do that is we are an action organisation,” he said.
“We want to be at the grassroots and keep our hands and feet ready. We want to learn from our on-ground work and learn from others’ on-ground work. Whenever we find a solution that works, we want to figure out a way to scale it working with the governments and markets. We see us as a development action organisation working on poverty alleviation, and wanting to bring about systemic change,” added Satija.
Poverty alleviation continues to be a multifaceted and complex issue. He shared the various angles with which The/Nudge Foundation approached it, “It is a complex problem with too many dimensions. One has to pick what you can do and leave the rest to the ecosystem. We focus on livelihoods as the main area which means that we are trying to tackle the income in the hands of the poor. We know that there is work to be done in public health, education and so many other areas but we chose livelihoods as our vertical focus. Livelihoods could be urban such as scale development, putting people in jobs, making sure that they are staying in those jobs, making money, financial security, social mobility, and more. In rural areas, it’s largely Agri and dairy and some allied services.”
Aiming to achieve their goals The /Nudge Foundation works across three different impact streams broadly which he elaborated: “First, is the Center for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship where we bring young people into skill programs and then we put them into service sector jobs. Second, we have the Centre for Rural Development and the third is the Center for Social Innovation where we focus on mostly talent moving into the social sector and being able to contribute to India’s journey.”
Satija acknowledged the pressing challenges to get talent and sustain it in the Indian development sector, “We were not a wealthy country during pre-independence and post-independence. What is happening in the first generation wealth is that everybody comes out of colleges thinking about their financial security, and supporting their immediate family and people around them. And that is the right thing to do. I think India is reaching a stage now, with the last 30 years of our growth particularly during post-liberalisation, where there is correct mental space to think about society at large and that is allowing millennials to think. It’s a great opportunity, I don’t think 20 or 30 years ago people were able to think that way. They had to solve their financial security and see this as a second career as I did.”
On a concluding note, Satija shared with us where he sees The/Nudge Foundation in five years, “Over the last five years we touched about 8-9 million lives across the country through our direct and indirect work. In the next five years, we want to continue on this path of being a development action organisation and be closer to seeing system change happen in the country, especially in scale development areas. I’m seeing The/Nudge Foundation impacting about 15-20 million lives in the next five years.”
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Forest Department rescues leopard hit by moving vehicle in Nashik
Nashik (Maharashtra) [India], March 4 (ANI): A leopard was hit by an unidentified moving vehicle when it was crossing a road in Maharashtra’s Nashik district, the forest department said on Wednesday.
However, the animal has rescued by the forest department.
“The leopard was rescued by our team and the treatment of the animal is underway. Though it is in a critical condition, we are trying our level best for its recovery,” said the Deputy Conservator of Forest.
Earlier in February, a leopard died after being hit by an unidentified moving vehicle on Manor highway in Palghar district. The carcass was handed over to the forest department.
Three held with 265 gm brown sugar in Odisha’s Bhadrak
Bhadrak (Odisha) [India], March 4 (ANI): Three people were arrested for allegedly peddling 265-gram brown sugar and cash and mobile phones were recovered from them in Odisha’s Bhadrak, police said on Wednesday.
Additional Superintendent of Police Jatin Panda said, “We have arrested three persons and recovered 265 grams brown sugar, 12 mobile phones, cash and a Scooty from them.”
Further details are awaited. (ANI)
Odisha cancels MoU with Vedanta for constructing beds for medical college
Bhubaneshwar (Odisha) [India] March 4 (ANI): The Odisha government cancelled the MoU signed with Vedanta Ltd for constructing a 500-bed teaching hospital for the medical college due to an inordinate delay in project execution, said a release on Wednesday.
According to the state Health and Family Welfare Department, the MoU was signed in March 2018 between the state government and Vedanta Ltd for the construction of beds for medical college at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district.
Now, the government has handed over the project to Worked Department and it will construct 650 bedded Teaching Hospital as required under the guidelines of the National Medical Commission for the establishment of Kalahandi Medical College and Hospital. (ANI)
Bugin Ho school imparts education to tribal children in interesting ways in Odisha
Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], March 4 (ANI): A school at Godibari near Chandka in Odisha provides education to tribal children through story-telling, songs, dance, book reading and skits.
Bugin Ho, which means a place for good people, is an educational institute for indigenous school dropout children that encourages them not to drop out of regular schooling.
Speaking to ANI, the chief advisor of the school Sabita Patnaik said: “Women workers of the village set up Bugin Ho Siksha Kendra with the help of an NRI woman, Bandana Patnaik who lives in Bangkok for the education of these children. I have taken over the institute in 2012, and have been running it since then.”
She said that besides regular classes, students are given lessons on tribal language, art, and culture.
“We are conducting sessions in the morning and afternoon. It began with 10 to 12 students, but now the school strength is 60, with more girls. In fact, NGOs from neighbouring villages have also shown interest in replicating the model. The school has its gates open for all–both school-going students who seek remedial classes and those out of school,” Patnaik added.
Talking about COVID-19, she said: “During the pandemic, the children were facing issues as classes had turned online. But the institute had facilitated online learning and also created awareness about the coronavirus.
The students are also taught to take care of the kitchen garden in the school backyard. The lessons are taught through innovative methods. (ANI)
Kerala BJP announces state election panel which includes Metroman Sreedharan
Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], March 4 (ANI): Kerala BJP president K Surendran on Wednesday announced a 16-member state election committee which included Metroman E Sreedharan, who recently joined the party, said a party statement on Wednesday.
According to the statement, the decision was taken with the permission of the party national president JP Nadda.
Apart from Surendran, the Committee includes Union Minister V Muraleedharan, national vice president AP Abdullakutty, former state presidents Kummanam Rajasekharan, O Rajagopal MLA, CK Padmanabhan, PK Krishnadas, state general secretaries MT Ramesh and Metroman E Sreedharan.
Meanwhile, the candidates selection is progressing in the party and a crucial discussion is expected ahead of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the state on March 7, where he is expected to attend the concluding function Vijaya Yatra led by Surendran in the state capital. (ANI)
Shakti Mills juvenile rape convict arrested again for stabbing man in Mumbai
Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 4 (ANI): Akash Jadhav, a habitual offender was arrested again by Mumbai Crime Branch for allegedly stabbing a man in the Bandra area on February 28.
A team of Crime Branch has arrested Akash, 23 who was convicted in Shakti Mills gang rape case in 2013, along with his accomplice Ankit Naik.
“Akash, who was 17 then, was released from juvenile jail and committed crimes after that. He has many cases registered against him–kidnapping, extortion, murder, attempt to murder,” the police said in a statement. (ANI)
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