How difficult it is to think entrepreneurial while being in the government? How do you think new every day?
An entrepreneur thinks about maximizing impact, scaling up, transforming lives and so do we. The only difference would be that while an entrepreneur may think of profit maximization, we in the government think of the larger good- growth, the progress of the country and the welfare of the citizens. We attempt to ensure that whatever we do through projects, policies and interventions, leads to the overall benefit of the country and its citizens. I read a lot of books, I spend time listening to presentations that are interesting and have out-of-the-box ideas and I like interacting with people - this allows me to broaden my horizon and think afresh and anew. Moreover, NITI Aayog is a vibrant, dynamic organization full of young professionals who generate a lot of new ideas.
What has been the most defining moment in your professional journey?
Having driven a number of initiatives - be it tourism campaigns such as God’s Own Country in Kerala and Incredible India at the national level, or the Make in India and Startup India initiatives, something that is extremely close to my heart has been the Aspirational Districts Program anchored at NITI Aayog. We took 112 districts that were once considered most backward in the country and we worked towards their transformation. We brought together central, state and district level agencies, we leveraged data to monitor outcomes and we collaborated with the private sector and NGOs to strengthen impact. Today, as per an independent UNDP assessment, these Aspirational Districts are doing better than the other districts of the country. This has been about driving an initiative that has impacted people at the grassroots level - and that is why I believe it has been the most defining moment of my professional journey. It has enabled me to transform lives.
What have been your learnings as the CEO?
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