Mar 2018

  • Moneycontrol Publishes MicroSave article on Blockchain and its Role in Sustainable Development

    New Delhi, India: 06 March, 2018, moneycontrol.com, a leading online news agency in its article titled ‘Blockchain in India: Moving beyond the rhetoric’ stated how India is keen to work on innovative solutions to promote financial inclusion and empower masses at a faster pace. The article is authored by Anurag Saxena, who heads Strategic Initiatives at MicroSave. While there has been a visible resistance to accepting cryptocurrency, there has been a lot of action around blockchain in the past year in India.
     

    Anurag also mentioned that NITI Aayog has been encouraging discussions on making use of technology platforms. He notes that NITI Aayog has been keen to explore the potential of blockchain technology in financial inclusion initiatives. If we start connecting all the dots, a fertile ground for seeding innovation is ready in India. Anurag also stressed that blockchain represents a canvas of opportunities to create scalable solutions that could meet a range of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
     
    Read the full article here.

Feb 2018

  • Total TV Interviews Manoj Sharma, Director MicroSave on the Launch of State of Agent Network Report




    New Delhi, IndiaMicroSave’s recently launched report – State of the Agent Network, India 2017, tracks the progress on Digital Finance and its penetration in rural parts of India. Manoj Sharma, Director – Asia at MicroSave, spoke to Total TV, a leading news agency, in an interview on the sidelines of the ANA India Wave II launch. He stated that in India while digital finance was earlier seen only in terms of CICO (Cash In-Cash Out), now digital finance has seen a splurge in financial services as well. Manoj mentioned that the ANA India study also focused on the total revenue earned by the agents and how fraud has had an impact on their business. To listen to the entire interview click here. Please note that the interview video is in the Hindi Language. 

  • MicroSave presents the Outline of the NFIFL Strategy for the State of Qatar

    Governor of Qatar Central Bank HE Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud Al Thaniat addressing the audience at a stakeholder meeting on National Strategy for Financial Inclusion & Financial Literacy in Qatar. 
    Doha, Qatar: MicroSave has been supporting the Qatar Central Bank to develop a National Financial Inclusion and Literacy Strategy for the State of Qatar. The MicroSave team was in Doha to present the outline of the strategy and gather feedback from the key stakeholders. These included key departments in the Qatar Central Bank, relevant government departments and ministries, private sector financial institutions, and other non-profit organisations that have a role in conceptualising and implementing the National Financial Inclusion and Financial Literacy (NFIFL) Strategy.
     
    During the opening of the workshop, the Qatar Central Bank Governor, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Saoud Al-Thani reaffirmed the State of Qatar’s commitment to financial inclusion and efforts to introduce financial literacy at an early stage. The Governor also stated that promoting financial inclusion is also one of the five goals of the Second Strategic Plan (SSP) for Financial Sector Regulations (2017–22), which was launched in December 2017.   
      
    Bhavana Srivastava, Associate Director, MicroSave began her presentation with explaining how Qatar is a unique country for financial inclusion. On the one hand, there exist a high proportion of low-income migrants in Qatar who only have access to basic banking services. On the other hand, there are Qataris and high-income expats who have access to all the banking services but may need support to develop their financial capability. 
     
    As part of the stakeholder consultation process, the MicroSave team facilitated four thematic roundtable discussions with the relevant stakeholders. These roundtable discussions focused on gathering feedback on specific areas that may either have an impact on or likely to be affected by the National Financial Inclusion and Financial Literacy Strategy. The discussions received an enthusiastic response from all the participants who not only echoed the sentiment of improving financial inclusion and financial literacy for all the population segments in Qatar but also showed the eagerness to participate in the implementation of the strategy.     
     
    Read the full coverage here – The Peninsular, Qatar Central Bank, Gulf Times, Qatar Tribune 

  • Widespread Media Coverage for MicroSave’s State of the Agent Network India Report



    New Delhi, 14 February, 2018. The Helix Institute of Digital Finance, the digital financial services (DFS) training arm of MicroSave, launched the State of the Agent Network, India 2017 at an event held in Delhi, India. The launch event and the report findings garnered immense attention from print as well as online news agencies and resulted in extensive coverage of MicroSave’s Agent Network Accelerator project in all leading media releases. 
     
    The launch event was attended by Dr. Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India, Sh. Lok Ranjan, Joint Secretary, Department of Financial Services and a packed audience of policymakers, practitioners, thinkers, and media personnel. 
     
    The report is based on MicroSave’s nationally representative research in 2017, with interviews of 3,048 banking correspondents – commonly referred to as agents. The report presents findings from the digital financial services (DFS) landscape in India. It covers strategic attributes, such as the structure of the agent network, viability, quality of providers’ support and providers’ compliance with regulatory guidelines on digital financial services. 

    In his address, Dr. Arvind Subramanian quoted "I am great fan of MicroSave - the spirit, the people and above all the work that MicroSave does". He also mentioned that India needed more financial inclusion. While launching the the report Manoj Sharma, Director, MicroSave stressed that India presents a clear example of how policy can drive the financial inclusion agenda. 
     
    The articles that appeared in various media underlined the key findings from the report. They highlighted how core banking use has soared by 400% in 2017 on digital agents and how compliance with interoperability will boost business volumes for bank agents. 
     
    Read the full report here and follow the action on social media using #ANAIndia #AgentNetworksIndia
     
    Read various news articles mentioning the key highlights from the report –
     

  • Attend Fintech Master Class in Gurugram, India!


     
    Understanding Fintech from an expert can enhance your knowledge and help in bridging gaps in the ever-evolving industry. Abhishant Pant, Founder of Cashless Journey is conducting a Fintech Master Class. 
     
    Why you must attend this class – In a knowledge-driven economy, re-skilling and up-skilling by professionals are essential for both professional and personal growth.
     
    The disruption which has happened in the Indian B1anking and Financial Services space over the last five years has been simply overwhelming. It has led to both job redundancies and job opportunities. However, the learner’s struggle comes in the form of not having the right source for accurate and timely information. Although the industry is eager, it remains clueless to identify the appropriate source. Currently in India, there is no single source of truth to tap into and learn from in a crisp manner on what constitutes the fintech domain. Be the first one to attend this Master Class. 
     
    For more information and details contact Abhishant Pant here - abpant111@rediffmail.com

     

  • FirstPost Covers MicroSave On the Union Budget 2018



    New Delhi, India:
    1st February, 2018: FirstPost.com, one of India’s leading online news portals, showcased MicroSave’s insights on the Union Budget 2018 across two articles. The articles featured our Managing Director – Asia, Manoj Sharma, on the expectations of India’s financially marginalised segments from the budget. The first article covered the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY). Mr Sharma observed that the PMJDY scheme, while successful, “needs to transition beyond a savings account to long-term, goal-based savings.”
     
    MicroSave recommends that the Budget earmarks more funds to push PMJDY so that it becomes a source of wealth creation for the poor. We recommend that the government implements gold-based investment schemes targeted at weddings of the beneficiaries’ children. 
     
    FirstPost’s second article deals with MicroSave’s insights on the Ujjwala scheme. Despite its popularity among low-income households, not all beneficiaries use gas cylinders and often go back to their chulahs (wood-fired ovens). There are behavioural, logistical, and pricing issues that constrain the segment that Ujjwala targets. Mr Sharma questioned if the Budget can increase spending on Ujjwala. 
     
    The article also highlighted MicroSave’s recommendations on phasing out kerosene subsidy. MicroSave experts observe that some people may remain in darkness if the government removes kerosene subsidy without providing another reliable source of lighting. The government should, therefore, give a minimum subsidy for people to start using electricity or introduce a pre-paid system for distributing power.

Jan 2018

  • MicroSave Signs SoI with NITI Aayog



    New Delhi, India: January 18, 2018, several leading online news agencies covered the signing of Statement of Intent (SoI) between NITI Aayog and MicroSave. The signing took place in the presence of Anna Roy, Adviser, Data Management and Analysis and Industries, NITI Aayog and Puneet Chopra, Associate Director, MicroSave. The signing of the statement flags off a collaboration on digital transformation and innovations across sectors.
     
    The potential areas of collaboration between MicroSave and NITI Aayog were identified as smart agriculture, digitising agriculture value chains and access to markets, digital payments, digitisation of direct benefit transfers (DBT) in food, fertilizer, fuel such as LPG and kerosene, among others.
     
    While signing the SoI, Anna Roy mentioned that “this partnership with MicroSave will help identify potential areas to create transformative economic impact. NITI Aayog had taken several innovative initiatives to advance the government's goal of promoting digital payments. Programs like DigiDhan campaigns, the BHIM app promotion, and cashless townships have created increased awareness across the country for adopting digital modes in financial transactions. NITI now intends to utilise this base to enable transformation in the economic spheres. NITI Aayog intends to explore ways to support the creation of greater economic activity streams and increased productivity".
     
    In his address while signing the SoI, Puneet Chopra stated that “It is an honour and a privilege to collaborate with NITI Aayog, a premier think-tank of the Government of India. In collaboration with NITI Aayog, we aspire to catalyse, accelerate, and scale the impact digital transformation for the weaker and the excluded segments, and also scale the benefits from it.” Read the full coverage here – ANI, Business Standard, OutlookIndia, WebIndia123

  • MetLife Foundation – MicroSave Collaboration Accelerates Digital Financial Inclusion in Bangladesh

    Mr. Arfan Ali, President & Managing Director, Bank Asia, and Ms. Humaira Islam,  Founder & Executive Director, Shakti Foundation led the signing ceremony at the head office of Shakti Foundation in Dhaka, Bangladesh. 
     
    Dhaka, Bangladesh: MetLife Foundation and MicroSave recently facilitated a partnership between Bank Asia Limited and Shakti Foundation under the ‘Digital Financial Inclusion’ project. The project aims to digitise various micro-credit transactions, such as loan disbursement, repayment, and savings deposit of Shakti beneficiaries through the agent banking network of Bank Asia. Under this partnership, the nationwide branch network of Shakti Foundation will also act as the agent network for Bank Asia. 
     
    Ms. Humaira Islam, Founder & Executive Director, Shakti Foundation and Mr. Arfan Ali, President & Managing Director, Bank Asia led the signing ceremony at the head office of Shakti Foundation in Dhaka. Also present at the event were Mr. Ravi Kant and Mr. Jakirul Islam from MicroSave, alongside senior officials from Bank Asia and Shakti Foundation, namely, Ms. Humaira Azam, Deputy Managing Director, Bank Asia; Mr. Mahfuzur Rashid, Deputy Executive Director, Shakti Foundation; and Mr. Imran Ahmed, Consultant, Shakti Foundation. 
     
    Bank Asia Limited is a leading agent banking provider in Bangladesh while Shakti Foundation is an eminent microfinance institution that works for disadvantaged women in the country.
     

  • MicroSave’s Study on DBT in Fertiliser Receives Wide Media Coverage

    A study by MicroSave, on DBT (direct benefit transfer) in fertiliser revealed that 59 per cent of farmers were in favour of linking Aadhaar to the sale of highly subsidised fertilisers. MicroSave conducted the study across 14 districts in Maharashtra, Haryana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Telangana between July and September, 2017.

    Associate Director and Head of Digital Financial Services (Government and Social Impact) at MicroSave, Mitul Thapliyal, spoke to The Times of India in this context. Mitul noted that sentiments of farmers were similar to what we observed during demonetisation. They were getting inconvenienced but willing to stand in long lines as Aadhaar based authentication is expected to reduce diversion of fertiliser and improve availability. Mitul added that demonetisation was transient but buying fertiliser through Aadhaar authentication is going to be a regular affair. So, steps must be taken to reduce authentication time.
     
    Click here to read the news article.

  • Graham’s Blog on Banking & Financial Post! Download and Read!


     
    New Delhi, India, 11th January 2018: The Banking & Financial Post, a leading fortnightly online magazine, published a recent blog authored by Graham Wright, Group Managing Director of MicroSave. Titled Can Fintech Really Deliver On Its Promise For Financial Inclusion?, the blog takes an in-depth look at why fintech in its current form may be largely irrelevant for mass markets.
     
    In the blog, Graham states how inadequate infrastructure, few smartphones, and the oral nature of communication of rural customers have had an impact on the uptake of digital financial services for the mass markets. Fintech is irrelevant for most villagers because providers have made little effort to tailor interfaces or use-cases for the low-income market. The vast majority of fintech providers continue to develop solutions for the affluent and middle classes. Graham is sure that fintech can indeed deliver on its promise, and explains how in The Clear Blue Water on the Other Side of the Digital Divide.
     
    The Banking & Financial Post is a bimonthly magazine that reports key trends and in-depth analysis in banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) sectors. It covers all aspects of the sector – from major challenges in the growth of the sector to new technological advances. Read the entire blog here.