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Focused on nurturing TechForGood ecosystem in India: Nidhi Bhasin, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation

TechForGood ecosystem in India

We are focused on nurturing the TechForGood ecosystem in India

TechForGood ecosystem in India – Under its umbrella programme ‘Tech for Good,’ the Nasscom Foundation is working on digital literacy in urban areas, employment, and women entrepreneurship. Nidhi Bhasin, the foundation’s CEO, spoke with India CSR about the organization’s history and future ambitions.

Can you tell us the journey of NASSCOM Foundation?

In November 2021, the NASSCOM Foundation celebrated its 20th anniversary. We are the sole non-profit organisation representing the tech industry in the NASSCOM ecosystem. We believe in the power of technology to transform society and the economy. Using technology for social impact has been the focus of our work for the past 20 years. Our focus will be on three main areas of intervention: digital literacy, skilling and employability, and women entrepreneurship, all of which are rooted in the Tech For Good core concept.

In addition, boosting the NGO ecosystem in India through technology is an area that we are enthusiastic about.

While we now work across the country, our goal is to continue to have an effect in the last mile. We want to operate substantially in rural areas and aspirational districts, in line with the Digital India agenda, because that is where the true need lies. There has been a lot of change in the previous two years, especially because the world came together during the epidemic due to faster technological adoption, but there is still a large gap, and we believe we can help bridge it.

So what are the major umbrella programs NASSCOM Foundation is running right now?

Digital Literacy, Skilling & Employability, and Women Entrepreneurship are the three major emphasis areas of our umbrella initiative, ‘Tech for Good.’

We were among the first to talk about Digital Literacy, and while we were initially aligned with the Digital Literacy mission, the entire programme has changed and grown considerably in the previous several years. Our learning management platform Digisakshar is our key tool for teaching Digital Literacy. Our main goal here is to figure out how to incorporate the final mile, rural India, in digital adoption so that they can benefit from technology. Prior to the pandemic, 70% of our digital literacy programme participants were men; however, it is encouraging to see that more women are stepping forward to gain digital skills, with women accounting for 60% of participants.

Women entrepreneurship is quite an interesting idea. What do you do in this space? You give them a platform for market linkage, provide training or build supply chains for them.

We started our women’s entrepreneurship programme less than a year ago, and as our intervention in this area grows, we’re developing additional models. What we’re doing right now is providing tech-based support that helps their firm become more sustainable and scalable, depending on their business strategy. Let’s imagine we’re teaching farmers how to use computers. We’re also thinking about offering them training in a variety of entrepreneurial skills, mostly to assist them understand e-commerce and how to do social marketing and establish those connections.

So, for point A to point B or baseline to midline, what change do you see in women-led enterprises?  

To begin, we have taught women; we have a group of people working with women farmers in different states to help them become digitally literate. We’ve shown them the fundamentals, such as how to watch a YouTube video. They’re also learning how to utilize wallets. It’s a long process, but as people become more comfortable with technological platforms, the impact will be enormous.