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‘Startups will help India become a $5 trillion economy’

Young Professional at Atal Innovation Mission – NITI Aayog, Anmol Sehgal, voices how women entrepreneurs are driving transformation

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An alumna of Apeejay School, Saket, Anmol Sehgal, is making strides in the field of Economics. Currently, working as a young professional in the Atal Innovation Mission at NITI Aayog, New Delhi, she has co-authored an article with the Former Chief Executive Officer of NITI Aayog, Mr. Amitabh Kant, titled ‘Womenpreneurs Driving Transformation.’ The piece discusses how women entrepreneurship is taking centre stage in the nation thereby making a big difference to the startup culture. In an interview, Sehgal shares more about her journey and research. Read On:

Please tell us about your educational background.

I finished schooling from Apeejay, Saket in 2014. After that, I completed my Bachelors’ degree in Economics from Maitreyi College, University of Delhi in 2017. I pursued a Master of Science in Economics with specialisation in Environment and Resource Economics from TERI School of Advanced Studies in Delhi. During my college journey, I also researched extensively and authored a robust thesis on health economics by visiting and observing many issues in areas of Rajasthan. My work titled, ‘Evaluation of Health Insurance Schemes in India with focus on Maternal and Child Healthcare’ will soon be published in a health management journal.

How and when did you start your professional journey?

After completing the said qualifications, I joined the Embassy of France in India as a Research Assistant in 2019. At the Centre de Sciences Humanies, I worked in the domain of Agriculture, Nutrition and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, just to name a few, and undertook data mining, data cleaning and data analysis using econometric tools in Excel and SAS software. During my stint there, I also wrote two research articles, one based on Covid-19 readiness for states such as Kerala and Uttar Pradesh, and the other on climate change. After spending two years there, I became a part of NITI Aayog in 2021.

What are your roles and responsibilities at Atal Innovation Mission – NITI Aayog?

My role comprises promoting and fostering startup and innovation systems in India for schools, colleges and youth-led ventures. There are different programmes under the aegis of Atal Innovation Mission, of which, I look into the Atal Community Innovation Centres.

My focus is to make this ecosystem flourish in the grassroots. I am working towards developing it further for the community and encouraging social innovation in Tier-II and Tier-III cities, rural and tribal areas.

Atal Innovation Mission – NITI Aayog has set up innovation centres pan India. In these regions, youth come forward to solve community-based issues. Their nurturing, training and mentorship is done by our team. Further, we act as a catalyst and facilitating arm between these centres and the people. We also monitor compliances, site visits, infrastructure and mandates, which have to be carried as per the guidelines to make their ideas a success.

Several school students participate in competitions by the Atal Innovation Mission every year. Your suggestions to them?

The culture for start-ups and innovation has been booming since 2014. And young minds are becoming more and more interested in solving social problems. In doing so, they are able to bring a change to their society. Therefore, I urge them to participate in the Atal Tinkering Labs from their schools and try to make their vision a living reality.

Over a period of time, students have come up with wonderful innovations and they are also receiving massive exposure. This is crucial in building their confidence to start something original at an early age.

What will be trends in innovation and startups in the coming years?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has announced its ambition of making India a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25. And so, I feel that the current startup scenario in the country is a massive pillar to support this vision.

Earlier, startups were limited to only Tier-I cities. But currently, we have people who are willing to try and invest in strong technology-based ideas. Some of those on climate change, drone technologies, agricultural technology, defence equipment, etc., will be very helpful to the nation. It is heartening to see how post Covid-19, several healthcare companies have emerged and there is huge emphasis on public health.

What fields, according to you, are in dire need of innovation?

Social innovation, water crisis, agricultural technologies need serious attention. Also, workers, weavers and labourers involved in creating Indian handicrafts require global exposure and financial support.

You wrote an article on the role of women in entrepreneurship. What do you think has changed for them over the years?

The first is exposure. Second being, reach. Social Media has helped women entrepreneurs in a big way. Earlier, only a few women entrepreneurs could be brought to light. And by seeing more women role models, others feel confident. Thanks to digitisation, their awareness and geographical boundaries have increased. For rural women, there were many societal systems attached to their work. But now, these norms are breaking.

We provide consultancy for everything related to an entrepreneur’s journey, right from ideation to prototyping, creating and marketing.

Describe your fond memories of Apeejay School, Saket.

I am thankful to the school for giving me immense opportunities. I was the recipient of the Dr Stya Paul Award for Human Values. Be it zonal recitations, public speaking events or debate competitions, I learnt and built so many relationships and friendships in the school. So, I would like to convey my regards to all the teachers. Everything they have taught me is now helping me in my journey. 

Your tips for student scientists/innovators?  

Mrini Devnani is a Senior Correspondent and Marketing Coordinator at Newsroom. She covers student achievements, interviews and contributions for the website. She was a former Correspondent covering Edutech for the India Today Group, and has passion for Social Media and Digital Marketing. You can reach her at [email protected]

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