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Ashok Kotwal
GST Explainer: Introduction
Posted on: 16 Oct 2017
Seventeen years after its framework was formed, India’s biggest tax reform – the goods and ... read on »
Introducing a new feature: ‘Explainers’
Posted on: 16 Oct 2017
Our day-to-day lives are tossed around due to economic changes, resulting sometimes from g ... read on »
On demonetisation
Posted on: 23 Dec 2016
On the evening of 8 November, the Prime Minister announced on national television that Rs. ... read on »
Introduction to e-Symposium: The GDP conundrum
Posted on: 16 Nov 2016
Ever since India’s Central Statistical Organisation came out with the new GDP series with ... read on »

Tag: financial inclusion

Financial inclusion: Concepts, issues, and policies for India
Nalini Gulati , Nirvikar Singh
Posted on: 17 Aug 2017
Topics:   Finance


The International Growth Centre recently brought out a synthesis paper (Singh 2017) that lays out the basic concepts surrounding financial inclusion, and reviews a wide range of IGC and other studies on financial inclusion. At a workshop organised by the IGC in collaboration with Ideas for India and Indian Statistical Institute, Rohini Pande (Harvard Kennedy School), S. Krishnan (State government of Tamil Nadu), Ashok Bhattacharya (Business Standard), and R Gopalan (ex-Ministry of Finance) discussed the key lessons emerging from research, implications for policy, and areas where further work is needed.
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Post demonetisation: Is digital finance in India’s future?
Anit Mukherjee , Divyanshi Wadhwa
Posted on: 16 Aug 2017

Analysing RBI data from June 2017 – six months after demonetisation was announced on 9 November 2016 – Mukherjee and Wadhwa show that reliance on cash has reverted to pre-demonetisation levels, and the sharp increases in digital transactions did not sustain. While consumers don’t seem ready to give up cash just yet, the experience proves that the digital financial ecosystem of India is in good health.
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Smart policy for women’s economic empowerment in South Asia
Nalini Gulati , Jennifer Johnson
Posted on: 18 Apr 2017
Topics:   Gender , Jobs


In this article, Jennifer Johnson and Nalini Gulati highlight the different trajectories of women’s economic empowerment across South Asia, based on a recent policy dialogue hosted by Evidence for Policy Design.

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Assessing the impact of demonetisation through the gender lens
Mitali Nikore
Posted on: 04 Jan 2017

In this article, Mitali Nikore, Senior Consultant at PwC India, highlights how demonetisation is impacting women differentially, and offers policy suggestions on how the negative effects can be mitigated.
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Policymaking in the ‘grey zone’?
Prerna Mukharya
Posted on: 17 Nov 2016

Prerna Mukharya, Founder of Outline India – a social enterprise that focuses on data collection, impact assessments and evaluation studies, predominantly working with rural populations in remote areas – discusses the impact of the currency ban on their work.
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Panel Discussion: Two years of Modi government
Pranab Bardhan , Parikshit Ghosh , Pratap Bhanu Mehta , Mihir Sharma
Posted on: 29 Aug 2016
Topics:   Political Economy


In  a panel discussion organised to mark the 4th anniversary of Ideas for India, I4I Editor Parikshit Ghosh (Delhi School of Economics) moderates a discussion on ‘Two years of Modi government’ among Pranab Bardhan (University of California, Berkeley), Mihir Sharma (Bloomberg View) and Pratap Bhanu Mehta (Centre for Policy Research), encompassing issues related to policy and governance; corruption; manufacturing; social sector; and social and cultural issues.
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The first two years of Modi government
Pranab Bardhan
Posted on: 11 May 2016
Topics:   Political Economy


In this article, Pranab Bardhan, Professor of Graduate School at the Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley, provides his perspective on the performance of the Modi government in its first two years in office.
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Achieving financial inclusion: Going cashless
Bappaditya Mukhopadhyay
Posted on: 06 Apr 2016
Topics:   Finance


A World Bank survey reveals that while about half of all individuals in India had bank accounts in 2014, only 12% had made a cashless transaction in the past year. In this article, Bappaditya Mukhopadhyay, Professor of Economics and Finance at the Great Lakes Institute of Management, contends that cashless transactions can be encouraged by ensuring that payments – beyond government transfers - are made directly into the bank accounts of recipients.
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How doorstep banking increased savings and income in Sri Lanka
Michael Callen , Suresh de Mel , Craig McIntosh , Christopher Woodruff
Posted on: 30 Mar 2016

Recent findings in development economics indicate that microloans are likely to perform best when accompanied by financial education, insurance, and savings products. This column presents evidence from an experiment in Sri Lanka, which involved offering saving accounts with door-to-door deposit collection services to otherwise unbanked rural households. It suggests that the programme incentivised participants to increase savings by increasing their income.
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Financial inclusion for the poor: Using RCTs for effective programme design
Ruchira Bhattamishra
Posted on: 06 Jan 2016
Topics:   Finance


While the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana – the Indian government’s flagship financial inclusion scheme - is impressive in its mission, it does not seem to have achieved meaningful results so far. In this article, Ruchira Bhattamishra, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Development Research, Sustainability and Technical Advancement, makes a case for the use of the Randomised Controlled Trial methodology for impact evaluation to gather credible evidence on the effectiveness of pilot financial programmes/particular components of programmes, before the government invests heavily in scaling them up.
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When higher volatility is good news
Rudrani Bhattacharya , Ila Patnaik
Posted on: 16 Dec 2015
Topics:   Finance


Conventional wisdom suggests that access to financial services such as banks and bond markets, providing savings and borrowing instruments, allows smoothing consumption over lifetime, irrespective of income fluctuations. Yet, India and other emerging economies have witnessed an increase in consumption volatility relative to income volatility after financial sector development. This column argues that large permanent income shocks in emerging economies explain this puzzle.
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Beyond leaky pipes: Fixing enrolment systems of welfare schemes
Shrayana Bhattacharya , Soumya Kapoor Mehta , Rinku Murgai
Posted on: 09 Dec 2015

Policy initiatives of JAM (Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar, Mobile numbers) trinity and direct benefit transfer focus on unclogging the supply of benefits under welfare schemes by reducing payment leakages. This column shows that bottlenecks to the entry of deserving beneficiaries into such schemes and misallocation of resources to the ineligible are even more significant, and deserve similarly high-profiled attention.
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JAM and the pursuit of nirvana
Jean Drèze
Posted on: 13 Nov 2015

The Finance Ministry is proposing to roll all subsidies into a single, lump-sum cash transfer to households, on the back of the JAM (Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar, Mobile numbers) trinity. In this article, Jean Drèze, Honorary Professor at the Delhi School of Economics, argues that a single-minded focus on high-tech cash transfers as a foundation for social policy in India is fraught with dangers.
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Are banks responsive to credit demand shocks in rural India?
Sankar De , Siddharth Vij
Posted on: 05 Oct 2015
Topics:   Finance


The output of Kharif crops is estimated to decrease by about 2% this year due to deficient monsoon rains in some Indian states. How responsive are commercial banks to a credit demand shock in rural India? Analysing data on rainfall and agricultural credit during 1993-2010, this column finds that banks increase the supply of agricultural credit to farmers following a drought, but that the additional credit is directed towards existing customers.
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Inclusive finance for inclusive growth: A gender perspective
Vigneshwara Swamy
Posted on: 31 Jul 2015

While research has established that financial inclusion programmes lead to economic upliftment of poor families owing to the participation of women, the evidence on the impact of such programmes on women empowerment is mixed. Based on a household survey data in India, this column finds that female-headed households that participate in financial inclusion programmes gain more in terms of economic well-being, vis-à-vis male-headed households.
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Barriers to basic banking in India
Camille Boudot , A.J. Mowl
Posted on: 29 May 2015
Topics:   Finance


The Indian government is promoting the Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar and mobile banking – or the “JAM trinity” — as the pathway to financial inclusion. But are banks capable or even willing take on their role in this ambitious agenda? Based on a field study in Chennai, this column highlights the range of costs and constraints imposed by banks on customers attempting to enter the formal financial sector.
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Can bank account-based payments boost savings?
Vincent Somville , Lore Vandewalle
Posted on: 06 Apr 2015
Topics:   Finance


?The Finance Ministry plans to focus on mobilising savings in the next phase of PMJDY, the financial inclusion scheme. This column presents results from an experiment in Chhattisgarh, which tests whether the method of payment of wages and other transfers affects household finances. It finds that people that are paid through their bank account save more than those that are paid in cash.
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The financial inclusion agenda and Aadhaar
MS Sriram
Posted on: 18 Mar 2015

The central government is pushing financial inclusion in a big way. In this article, MS Sriram discusses the role of identity in financial inclusion, and the importance of Aadhaar in this context. He argues that while Aadhaar has facilitated opening of bank accounts by providing a verifiable identity to the poor, it has distracted the financial inclusion agenda by claiming to be a ‘fix-all’ solution.
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Modi’s economic reforms: Foundation laid but time running out
Eswar Prasad
Posted on: 27 Feb 2015

Anticipation is running high that the Modi government will announce sweeping economic reforms in their first full-year budget, especially since their tenure so far has been bereft of any dramatic changes. In this article, Eswar Prasad, Senior Professor of Trade Policy, Cornell University, contends that Modi has laid a good foundation for reforms in his first nine months in office. But the hard work still lies ahead and time is running out.
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Financial literacy: When, what and how
Parul Agarwal
Posted on: 05 Jan 2015

The need for financial literacy and its importance for financial inclusion have been widely recognised. Based on various research studies on financial literacy initiatives, this column outlines financial services’ needs of a poor household at various stages of its life cycle. It contends that customising financial literacy programmes according to the stage of life of targeted individuals is crucial for their effectiveness.
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An economist’s view on the new government’s initiatives
Pranab Bardhan
Posted on: 19 Dec 2014
Topics:   Finance


In this article, Pranab Bardhan, Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley, provides his perspective on some of the initiatives of the new Indian government at the centre in their first six months in office – Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Jan Dhan Yojana, ‘Make in India’ campaign, and the proposed changes to MNREGA. In his view, inefficient subsidies must give way to a basic monthly income for all citizens.
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India’s macroeconomic outlook
Eswar Prasad
Posted on: 16 Dec 2014

With falling inflation, high forex reserves and the new government embarking on a broad reform agenda, things seem to be looking up for India. In this article, Eswar Prasad shares his macroeconomic outlook for the economy. He provides his perspective on foreign inflows, disinvestment, fiscal position, the reform agenda, and escaping the low-growth trap.
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Financial inclusion for agricultural growth: An alternative approach
Pushkar Maitra , Sandip Mitra , Dilip Mookherjee , Alberto Motta , Sujata Visaria
Posted on: 08 Dec 2014

Traditional, group-based microcredit has had limited success at enabling farmers to expand the cultivation of risky but profitable cash crops. Evidence suggests that this is mainly because of its mechanisms for borrower selection and enforcement of repayment. This column proposes a new approach that leverages local intermediaries and aligns their incentives with farmer profits, to generate better outcomes for agricultural production and incomes.
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Challenges and priorities for financial sector reform in India
K.P. Krishnan , Nirvikar Singh
Posted on: 17 Nov 2014

I4I Editor Nirvikar Singh (Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz) interviews K.P. Krishnan (Former Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance) on the central government’s plans and priorities for financial sector reform, and associated challenges. Dr Krishnan provides his perspective on issues including the regulatory architecture, financial inclusion initiatives, strengthening the banking system, and infrastructure financing.
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Financial inclusion of women: Myth or reality?
Deepti KC , Mudita Tiwari
Posted on: 04 Jul 2014
Topics:   Finance , Gender


Research indicates that initiatives targeted at financial inclusion of women have had limited success. This column contends that limited formal ownership of material assets by women and a lack of understanding of their socio-economic and cultural constraints are key explanations. It recommends innovative measures to promote financial inclusion and entrepreneurship among women.
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Migrating out of poverty: The role of finance
Meghana Ayyagiri , Thorsten Beck , Mohammad Hoseini
Posted on: 13 Sep 2013

Financial liberalisation has been controversial as it is not clear whom the expanded credit allocation actually benefits. Using variation across time and states in India, this column finds strong evidence that financial deepening reduces rural poverty, especially among the self-employed. Financial deepening is also found to be associated with an inter-state migration trend from rural areas into the tertiary sector in urban areas.
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Helping the poor to save
Parul Agarwal , Deepti KC , Mudita Tiwari
Posted on: 23 Jan 2013

Do poor people save? This column portrays the saving and financial behaviours and preferences of the poor. It recommends designing and marketing savings products that address the constraints they currently face.
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