Digitizing Self-Help Groups in India

Despite efforts from all quarters, 2 billion people globally are still excluded from formal sources of financial services. Digital financial inclusion has emerged as the new wave in the hope that it will reach the last mile consumer in the most convenient and affordable manner. In the context of India, digital financial inclusion is still a work in progress. As per the 2015 Financial Inclusion Insight survey, 49 percent of Indian adults are digitally included – i.e., they have digital access to

Assisted Models of Digital Finance – A Stepping Stone?

Parul Agarwal, Suraj Nair | June 21, 2016

This is the second article in a series on the progress of digital financial services in Bangladesh. It draws on discussions held at a recent seminar on the subject, organized by BRAC’s Social Innovation Lab in Dhaka, in collaboration with a2i, and USAID’s mSTAR project implemented by FHI 360. IFMR LEAD was the Knowledge Partner for the event.  In the first part of this series, we highlighted gender gaps in access to mobile financial services and their usage among women in Bangladesh. In this article, we take a

Revitalizing the Self-Help Group Movement in India

Growth of the self-help group movement in India has slowed in the past five years. How can challenges be overcome to improve and revitalize these programs? In this article, Misha Sharma and Shreya Chatterjee from our research team highlight findings from the midline evaluation of the Hand-in-Hand Self-Help Group Programme in Tamil Nadu – one of the first rigorous evaluations of the socio-economic impact of self-help groups on the lives of participating women. This article first appeared on the Consultative Group to Assist

Preliminary Findings from the KGFS Impact Evaluation Study

Iris Braun | June 2, 2016

This article shares preliminary findings from an ongoing study by IFMR LEAD, Evidence for Policy Design at the Harvard Kennedy School and Duke University, on access to finance in rural Tamil Nadu. Happy Birthday Pudhuaaru KGFS, and if we may say so as an objective evaluation team: Many happy returns (in every sense of the word)!Today marks the 8th anniversary of  Pudhuaaru KGFS and it is laudable that it not only set itself a social purpose on top of business goals

Digital Finance in Bangladesh: Empowering or Excluding Women?

Parul Agarwal and Suraj Nair | May 24, 2016

This article is part of a series of Blogposts on the progress of digital financial services in Bangladesh. It draws on discussions held at a seminar on the subject in Dhaka in April 2016. The seminar was organized by BRAC Social Innovation Lab, Access to Information (a2i) and USAID’s mSTAR project implemented by FHI 360. IFMR LEAD was the Knowledge Partner for the event.   Image Courtesy: BRAC In the fast developing and rapidly expanding digital financial services landscape of Bangladesh, the number of women users –

Using ICT to Help MSME’s Prosper – A Qualitative Insight of Mobile-based Financial Training in Bangalore

Kanika Joshi | March 4, 2016

Can an ICT-based training program help improve financial outcomes for women entrepreneurs? In this article, Kanika Joshi gives us an insight into the life of Shakuntala – a woman entrepreneur and participant in our ongoing evaluation of a mobile-based business training platform in Karnataka. Kanika is a Research Associate with the MSME & Entrepreneurship Development vertical at IFMR LEAD.   Pursuing funding agencies to sponsor research projects is an arduous task. It’s not easy to make the donor see the social

FinTech Diffusion in India: Boon or Bane?

Pratibha Joshi, Advitha Arun | February 29, 2016

In the present era of digital revolution, technology has been leaving its indelible mark in several areas, including finance. Financial Technology or ‘FinTech’ refers to the provision of financial services on digital platforms. A number of start-ups have emerged in the FinTech space, which provides services in the traditional areas of banking, such as payments, lending and personal finance. From mobile wallets to peer-to-peer lending to insurance, fintech services have redefined the way in which consumers and businesses carry out

A Conversation on Development with Kaushik Basu – Part 2

Parikshit Ghosh | February 4, 2016

Parikshit Ghosh (Associate Professor of Economics, Delhi School of Economics) speaks with Kaushik Basu (Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, World Bank and former Chief Economic Adviser, Government of India) on issues ranging from the use of economic knowledge in policy decisions, role of values in public service delivery, to the need for pluralism and tolerance for economic growth, and the importance of communicating good ideas effectively to policymakers and the general public. This interview is part of I4I Conversations series

A Conversation on Development with Kaushik Basu- Part 1

Parikshit Ghosh | February 4, 2016

Parikshit Ghosh (Associate Professor of Economics, Delhi School of Economics) speaks with Kaushik Basu (Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, World Bank and former Chief Economic Adviser, Government of India) on issues ranging from the change in World Bank’s mission and its engagement with the world, rising inequality in the developed world, managing the negative side effects of growth, to the role of behavioural economics and paternalism in development, and the exclusionary nature of the ongoing digital revolution. This interview is

Jan Dhan Yojana: Just Another Empty Vessel Making Noise?

Mridulya Narasimhan | January 27, 2016

On 28th August 2014, the Indian government launched Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), yet another flagship project with an aim to ensure affordable financial services and complete financial inclusion. Under the programme each account holder is covered by life insurance worth Rs. 30,000, accident insurance worth Rs.1,00,000, provided a RuPay debit card and allowed an overdraw up to Rs. 5,000. Much like all the other campaigns, the aggressively marketed Jan Dhan Yojana made headlines and also created a Guinness