Government and Social Impact (GSI)

Government and Social Impact Domain (GSI)

MicroSave’s Government and Social Impact (GSI) domain helps in policy design, pilot testing, implementation support, assessment and evaluation of social impact programmes. We work with regulators, governments, policymakers, think-tanks, academic institutions, NGOs, and service providers in several developing and underdeveloped countries.

We have examined national regulations and assessed regulatory compliance and processes, including KYC practices and procedures for G2P services. We have acted both as independent researchers to provide policy advocacy and have been part of technical assistance programmes to specific government and private organisations working with governments to facilitate G2P services.

MicroSave's Government and Social Impact domain: Aiding Governance, Bettering Lives

Our Journey

For 20 years, MicroSave has been a part of underprivileged households, understanding their aspirations, goals, challenges, and financial behaviour to ensure the strengthening of last-mile delivery systems. It was during these interactions over the years that we realised the “intent-action gap” that can sometimes cripple the otherwise well-intentioned government programmes.

With rapid changes in government-to-people (G2P) structures across geographies, MicroSave’s work has evolved from scheme-based assessment and evaluation to policy design and implementation support. We have been instrumental in developing and refining the Indian Government’s Aadhaar-linked Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) programme. We are leveraging our learnings from India to assist countries in other geographies to better design their financial inclusion and implementation policies.

For a few developed countries worldwide, government-led social welfare spending has been as high as 30% of the GDP. This spending has primarily been focused towards education, health, family welfare, women and child development, social justice and empowerment, rural development, and basic minimum services depending upon the country’s socioeconomic profile. Interestingly, even a developing country like India spends about 11% of the total government expenditures on selective social welfare programmes.

Despite these spends, persistent delivery challenges in the last mile continue to trouble beneficiaries of social welfare programmes. Research findings indicate that leakages in the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), India’s largest food grain subsidy programme, are at 41%. Almost 45% of the subsidised kerosene is lost to the black market, while over 65% of the fertiliser subsidy does not reach the intended beneficiaries, that is, small farmers in India.

Such delays, combined with other hurdles, leave considerable leakage gaps every year. Further, there are frequent reports of delays in accessing government benefits and cases of exclusion of the intended beneficiaries from beneficiary lists.

MicroSave's work has evolved from assessment and evaluation to policy design

MicroSave’s GSI team has worked in East Asia and Pacific, South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and North Africa regions. We are currently working in more than eight countries to enhance their government-to-citizen service offerings. In India, we have worked on more than 12 government schemes, ranging across 10 key central ministries and departments. We supported more than 10 governments from states and Union Territories to accelerate the pace of DBT and related areas in India. We have developed a number of successful solutions related to G2P.

Our innovations are the result of a combination of proprietary research methodology, our willingness to connect with the ultimate beneficiaries in rural and remote locations, our zeal to ensure that government programmes benefit the intended beneficiary, and our specifically designed toolkits.

MicroSave’s key areas of intervention include:

Evaluation and Assessment

We assist governments and implementing agencies to effectively evaluate and assess policy design by studying the intended impact of schemes and disbursement processes. We were the only organisation to conduct a detailed assessment of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), a national mission on financial inclusion in India. We conducted an in-depth assessment of bank agents and PMJDY customers over a span of 15 months (between October 2014 and December 2015) to track the reach, availability, and quality of BMs, and gathered information through customer interactions to generate policy-level insights for the Government of India.

A number of national television networks and leading dailies have covered our findings, including The Economic TimesBusiness StandardThe Hindu Business LineNew Indian ExpressNavbharat TimesNDTV, India Today, among others. Please click here to read more.

Another major early assessment was of the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY). The Government of India had set up the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency Bank (MUDRA Bank) for development of micro-units and refinance of MFIs to encourage entrepreneurship in India and provide funding to the non-corporate small business sector. Our assessment gauged the effectiveness of the scheme, examined its capacity to deliver the mandate to finance those who are unable to get loans under the conventional system, and highlighted the impact and challenges of PMMY.

On similar lines, we assisted in the assessment of numerous other flagship government programmes, such as Pradhan Mantri Jan Suraksha Yojana (PMJSY), Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), and assessed the government’s readiness in being able to replace kerosene with other sources of energy.

The assessment of DBT in Fertiliser for the Ministry of Fertiliser and NITI Aayog was another flagship project where MicroSave was instrumental in delivering the learnings and lessons from a pilot of the Aadhaar-enabled fertiliser distribution system (AeFDS) to policymakers. As part of the assessment of DBT in Fertiliser, MicroSave also helped the Ministry of Chemical and Fertiliser (MoF), India, to fine-tune its AeFDS rollout strategy across the country.

We worked on evaluating the payment system for Indonesia’s Program Keluarga Harapan (PKH) Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT). At the behest of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Indonesia, MicroSave reviewed the existing payment systems used for CCT to help scale operations in all districts. We assessed and compared existing mechanisms of cash transfers, simplified the processes to reduce time, and conducted a feasibility study to assess the readiness of financial institutions to adopt the mobile platform for delivery of CCT.

MicroSave has signed an MoU with Ministry of Social Affairs, Government of Indonesia to provide technical assistance in digitising the major G2P programmes managed by the ministry. Some of the other GSI projects in Indonesia include: Monitoring and evaluation of the pre-pilot of food subsidy programme for TNP2K (a government agency under the office of the Vice-President, Government of Indonesia), Evaluating alternative delivery channels for delivery of conditional cash transfer programme in Papua Island of Indonesia and feasibility study to offer e-vouchers in NTT province for WFP.

In Nepal, we conducted a market study to assess the effectiveness of regulation on electronic banking issued by Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB). This project was part of a programme jointly funded by the IFC and the World Bank to develop a legal and regulatory framework for payments, remittances, and securities settlement system.

We assisted the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Environment (MCIE) of the Government of Timor-Leste in Financial Services Sector Assessment (FSSA). We conducted in-country consultations with key stakeholders, including the central bank, financial service providers (commercial banks, microfinance service providers, etc.), support institutions (telecom companies, network associations), donors, and other development partners. We conducted expert interviews to understand 1) the demand and supply of financial services in Timor-Leste and 2) perceptions of individual stakeholders on the constraints and opportunities in the financial services landscape of Timor-Leste.

Pilot-testing and Implementation Support

MicroSave, from its early days, has a reputation for reaching out to remote locations to assist and understand the actual implementation challenges associated with various public and private sector programmes. Besides assessing and evaluating schemes, we have also been instrumental in providing implementation support to various government and public sector programmes globally. We supported the Central Bank of Zambia in developing and running a course in Digital Financial Services (DFS) aimed at producing a baseline of knowledge of DFS and financial inclusion indicators. Subsequently, we provided support to develop and roll out financial inclusion indicators and data collection formats.

We also provided facilitation and implementation support to strengthen the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) in Public Distribution System (PDS) in India for the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, India. In an attempt to mitigate leakages and inefficiencies, the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD) in India launched a pilot of cash-transfer in lieu of food grains in the Union Territories of Chandigarh and Puducherry. MicroSave conducted an assessment of pilot geographies to gauge the preparedness of the Union Territories for successfully implementing DBT for food grains. The assessment also measured the satisfaction level of the beneficiary for the DBT programme and assessed the impact of the DBT in ensuring food security for the stakeholders. Additionally, we helped both Bihar and Karnataka state governments to implement pilots on the DBT model and cash coupon model respectively to strengthen the food delivery system.

As a result of our efforts on digitisation, significant savings have been made possible across various government schemes in India:

Scheme Reported Savings (in INR Millions) up to 2016-17
1. PAHAL (DBTL) 297,690
2. PDS (Food) 140,000
3. MGNREGS 117,410
4. NSAP (Pension) 3,990
Policy Design Support

As part of UNCDF’s Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) programme, MicroSave developed and finalised the Malawi Payment Roadmap for five years to digitise payments in Malawi. We trained the staff of government ministries and departments and the Reserve Bank of Malawi, developed data collection templates for various payment streams, developed a draft of the Malawi payments roadmap, and conducted separate workshops with the private sector and government ministries and departments.

MicroSave executed a costing project with the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD), Nepal. The project aimed to assess the cost incurred by the government in the disbursement of social security grants through branchless banking channels in pilot districts. We mapped cost-heads associated with branchless banking payment channels against traditional channels and formulated a ready-reckoner with details on price-points and its methodology for future use in adopting electronic payments. The price-points proved to be sufficient evidence for the Ministry of Finance, Nepal, to begin deliberations on a policy to digitise social security payments in the country.

In Papua New Guinea, we were responsible for the Microfinance Expansion Project (MEP), which provided technical assistance to the central bank (Bank of Papua New Guinea/BPNG) to strengthen the regulatory and supervisory framework for microfinance. The Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Government of Australia (through the Department of Foreign Aid and Trade – DFAT), and the Government of Papua New Guinea co-financed the MEP.

BPNG engaged MicroSave as the lead technical assistance provider and project management firm to develop the legal and regulatory framework for microfinance. This framework would ensure that the regulatory and supervisory functions of Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and Savings & Loans Societies (SLSs) within the central bank are streamlined and improved. We also provided on-the-job training for off-site supervision staff of the MFI and SLS units.

Besides our engagement in less-developed geographies, we also recently engaged with Qatar Central Bank to develop a financial inclusion and literacy strategy. In recent years, Qatar Central Bank has appreciated the importance of financial inclusion for economic stability and has focussed on increasing financial inclusion in the country. In this context, the bank liaised with MicroSave to develop a national financial inclusion and literacy strategy for creating an enabling framework to support banks and financial institutions and increase access to financial services to the underserved segments.

We conducted a survey across all sectors of Qatar’s population with the following objectives:

  • Understand the level of financial inclusion and literacy in the country;
  • Identify gaps in each sector (for example, banks, insurance, SMEs);
  • Identify the supply and demand factors with respect to access to finance;
  • Suggest solutions and recommendations that may fill gaps identified in the survey;
  • Draft a Financial Inclusion and Literacy Strategy and an implementation programme in coordination with the Qatar Central Bank’s Financial Inclusion Committee.

Given MicroSave’s vast geographical experience, we have always been able to assist government and public sector entities with best-practices, implementation support, and policy design inputs, where needed.

Our Team


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