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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BILL AND MELINDA GATES ARE OFFICIALLY DIVORCED
WASHINGTON: The divorce between Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates has been finalised. As per CNN report, filing with the King County Superior Court in Washington made the move official. Melinda French Gates filed the petition for divorce in King County, Washington.
Bill and Melinda announced in May that they would be ending their marriage after 27 years, saying, “we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.”
However, the duo said they will continue to work together at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Meanwhile, the foundation said last month that the organisation was planning a two-year trial period to see if the pair could continue working together effectively.
“If after two years either decide they cannot continue to work together as co-chairs, French Gates will resign her position as co-chair and trustee,” CEO Mark Suzman said. In the weeks following the initial announcement of the divorce, Bill faced allegations of questionable workplace conduct in the early years at Microsoft.
BLINKEN ANNOUNCES US REFUGEE ADMISSIONS PROGRAMME FOR AFGHAN NATIONALS
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a US refugee admissions programme Priority 2 designation for Afghan nationals on Monday. The US is weeks away from completing military withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Blinken, during a press briefing, said, “The State Department is announcing a new resettlement program for Afghans who assisted the United States, but who do not qualify for special immigrant visas. We’ve created a Priority-2 or P-2 designation, granting access to the US refugee admissions program for many of these Afghans and their family members.”
He said that even as the US forces withdraw from Afghanistan, the US will remain deeply engaged with the country.
“We’ll continue to work toward an Afghanistan, where all Afghans can live in safety and security, and we will continue our support for Afghan institutions, and for the gains that the Afghan people have made over the past 20 years,” said Blinken.
“We will keep engaging intensely in diplomacy to advance negotiations between the Afghan government, the Taliban, with the goal of a political solution, which we believe is the only path to lasting peace. And we’ll keep working closely with countries in the region, which all have a stake in a stable, peaceful, democratic Afghanistan,” he stated.
Blinken said that Afghans who work with the United States or the International Security Assistance Force at some point since 2001 are facing acute fears of persecution or retribution that will likely grow as coalition forces leave the country.
He further added that “We have a special report the responsibility to these individuals. They stood with us. We will stand with them. Over the past 13 years, the State Department has issued more than 73,000 Special Immigrant Visas to eligible Afghans who have helped the United States, and also to their families. We’ll continue to welcome Afghan immigrants and refugees as our neighbours in gratitude for helping us, despite the danger. We won’t forget it.”
AFGHAN PRESIDENT GHANI’S TIME HAS RUN OUT: TALIBAN
KABUL: Taliban said that Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani’s “time has run out” on Monday. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, while reacting to Ghani’s remark that the ongoing war is an external intrigue imposed on the people of Afghanistan, accused the President of lying and spreading false information.
A tweet by Mujahid said that his (Ghani’s) time is over and the announcement of warfare will not survive him. “Speech by @ashrafghani is nonsense, an attempt to control his fears & dire situation. Nation has decided to pursue & bring national traitors to justice. Declarations of war, accusations & lies cannot prolong Ghani’s life, his time has run out, God willing,” said Mujahid.
INDIA WANTS PEACEFUL RELATIONS, ONUS IS ON PAKISTAN: TIRUMURTI
WASHINGTON: India’s Permanent Representative to United Nations, T.S. Tirumurti said that India desires to have peaceful and normal relations with Pakistan but in an atmosphere free from terror.
The Indian Ambassador to the UN informed that issues between the two countries should be resolved in an atmosphere free from terror, hostility, and violence and the onus is on Pakistan to create such an environment. “Pakistan should take credible and verifiable action not to allow any territory under their control to be used for cross border terrorism against India,” said Tirumurti. He also informed that India wants to keep a spotlight on counter-terrorism.
US-China seek alignment of Afghan interests: Ned Price
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price has said that China’s interest in Afghanistan could be ‘an alignment of interest’ when it comes to what the US and China seek in Afghanistan.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) interest in Afghanistan could be “an alignment of interest” when it comes to what the US and China seek in Afghanistan, said US State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Monday. “There’s an alignment of interest in at least some areas when it comes to what we seek, what China seeks and what the broader international community seeks in Afghanistan,” Price told ANI on being asked what is US’ assessment of meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Taliban delegation led by its Chief Negotiator Abdul Ghani Baradar.
Experts say thay although the US might once have fiercely resisted Chinese attempts to increase their influence inside Afghanistan, now Washington’s priority appears to keep away a civil war. Spokesperson Price also affirmed that is in no one’s interest to see Afghanistan descend into an all-out civil war. “It is in everyone’s interest to see a solution to the conflict that is just as durable as Afghan-led, and Afghan Owned,” he concluded.
AMID COVID PANDEMIC, PMGKY REDUCES WORRIES OF THE POOR: PM MODI
Gandhinagar: Annotsav Day was celebrated on Tuesday on the occasion of the completion of five years of the Rupani government, as part of which a state-level program was organized in Dahod district in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a virtual dialogue with the beneficiaries of the grain welfare scheme. He asked whether the beneficiaries of Dahod and Rajkot have any problem in taking up the scheme or not. Modi said in a dialogue with the beneficiaries that the poor would get free foodgrains till Diwali. Modi praised the performance of the Gujarat government.
Prime Minister’s Poor Welfare Food Scheme is being praised all over the world. More than Rs 2 crore is being spent by the government under this scheme. The aim is that not a single person in India goes to bed hungry. Under this scheme, ration cardholders are being given double the amount of foodgrains than before. The plan is to run till Diwali.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday addressed the beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana and said this scheme has reduced the worries of the poor and increased their confidence. Three and a half crore beneficiaries in Gujarat are getting the benefit of free foodgrains. “I commend the Gujarat government for this. Preference is given to workers from other parts of the country. Workers have benefited from this scheme. Gujarat is the first to offer the benefit of One Nation One Ration Card,” said the Prime Minister.
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