NITI Aayog unveils one of the most comprehensive Aspirational Districts Data Booklet at AVPN Policy Forum

New Delhi, 5th December 2018: The Asian Venture Philanthropist Network (AVPN) the Pan-Asian social investment network hosted its maiden India Policy Forum, themed Aspirational Districts: Roadmap for Collaboration for Impact, in the capital today. The India Policy Forum was held at the U-Chicago Centre in New Delhi, which kicked off with a keynote address from Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog and witnessed the participation of several key stakeholders including inter alia Prof. SV Subramanian, Harvard University; Dr. Shamika Ravi, Brookings India; Rai Mahimapat Ray, Deputy Commissioner Office, Ranchi District; Naghma Mulla, EdelGive Foundation; Abhishek Gupta, Dept. of Technical Education & School Education, Government of Delhi; Anjali Nayyar, Global Health Strategies; Pradeep Nair, Ford Foundation; Samik Sundar Das, World Bank and Rohan Sandhu, International Innovation Corps.

In his keynote address at the AVPN India Policy Forum 2018, Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog reinforced the Government of India’s commitment to improve key development indicators in Aspirational Districts, and said, “Policy Forums like today’s AVPN Forum provides a platform for policy makers, investors and philanthropic organizations to come together and collaborate for transformation. NITI Aayog will welcome and support any such initiatives for collaboration with the Government to address the Aspirational Districts.”

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“India is developing at a remarkable pace. We are seeing next-generation philanthropists rising as leaders to create systemic change, growing impact investing and ESG markets, and impressive potential in CSR investments and development impact bonds,” said Naina Subberwal Batra, CEO and Chairperson, AVPN. “However, more needs to be done to develop the capacity of social purpose organisations – social enterprises and NGOs – who are facing human capital challenges. Moreover, with this influx of capital across multiple sectors, we have to ensure that resources are being pooled effectively towards positive impact at an ecosystem level. With these in mind, AVPN is working to build avenues for co-investments and cross-sector partnerships to solve these challenges,” she added.

At the Policy Forum, the ‘Aspirational Districts Data Booklet’ prepared by Harvard University with support from Tata Trusts was unveiled for the first time, by Shri Rakesh Ranjan, Advisor, NITI Aayog. Prof. S.V Subramanian of Harvard University talked about ‘Data Science and Impact’ and introduced the data around aspirational districts during his session.



“This study is an example of how the public sector can leverage big data to drive grassroots initiatives at not only the state and district levels, but also the village level,” said Prof. Subramanian. “The booklets being released are a key tool for policymakers and social investors as they shape their development activities across the country,” said Prof. Subramanian.

The Policy Forum also marks the launch of the first and only digital platform – Asia Policy Forum Exchange (APFx) – that provides action-oriented opportunities for social investors to engage in public-private initiatives. Policy initiatives, including those around the aspirational districts, will be able to showcase their development needs on the digital portal, thereby allowing AVPN to facilitate connections between these projects and potential funding organizations or CSR initiatives.

This India Policy Forum will be followed by the AVPN India Summit to be held tomorrow. The keynote address at this day-long conference will be given by Mr. Mohandas Pai, Chairman, Aarin Capital.

The Summit will cover critical gap areas facing India, including sustainable livelihoods, women empowerment, and nutrition. The Summit will see the participation of speakers from a diverse range of organizations. Among several others, there will be NGOs such as CRY, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Educate Girls, Global Health Strategies; philanthropists and funding agencies like Ford Foundation, Childfund India, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Credit Suisse, Ajooni Impact Investment Advisors Private Ltd.; and other organizations such as National Foundation of India, Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd., American India Foundation, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, Magic Bus Foundation, and Save The Children.

AVPN will also be launching a two-part Sustainable Livelihoods Report that highlights the demand and supply sides of the funding landscape. Alongside research partners, Ennovent India and Catalyst Foundation, the report identifies key funding trends and challenges from the investors and investees’ perspectives. These findings, in turn, inform potential investors on how they can leverage opportunities and best practices in the sector.

The AVPN India Policy Forum and India Summit are seeing the collective participation of over 300 stakeholders from diverse backgrounds including foundations, corporations, impact funds, intermediaries, and governments.

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