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Showing posts from April, 2015

What does Global Findex Database 2014 tell about Financial Inclusion in India? Improved, but a long way to go...!

This blog post was featured as one of the 'Top Picks of the Microfinance Blogosphere' in the Center for Financial Inclusion-Accion Blog

The World Bank’s Development Research Group ‘Global Financial Inclusion Database (Global Findex)’ has recently published its comprehensive report The Global Findex Database 2014: Measuring Financial Inclusion around the World and The 2014 Global Findex database.Good news is that between 2011 and 2014, India has fared well with regards to the number of account holders. In 2014, 53% adults are reported to have bank accounts, which is a sharp increase from 35% in 2011. What is also encouraging is that the banking penetration has drastically increased in rural areas between 2011 and 2014 (33% in 2011, 50% in 2014). However, as promising as these numbers look, unfortunately, financial inclusion goal in India is far from achieved.

1. The poor are still excluded: Despite government’s role in establishing banks and other infrastructure to increase the p…

Please spare a few minutes! Short Survey by IFMR LEAD on Open Government Data Initiative in India

IFMR LEAD is conducting a survey to understand the perception and opinion of socio-economic researchers regarding the Open Government Data (OGD) initiatives.
What is Open Data?
Availability and access: the data must be available as a whole and at no more than a reasonable reproduction cost, preferably by downloading over the internet. The data must also be available in a convenient and modifiable form.
Reuse and redistribution: the data must be provided under terms that permit reuse and redistribution including the intermixing with other datasets. The data must be machine-readable.
Universal participation: everyone must be able to use, reuse and redistribute — there should be no discrimination against fields of endeavour or against persons or groups. For example, ‘non-commercial’ restrictions that would prevent ‘commercial’ use, are not allowed.

What is Open Government Data?
Open government data means: Data produced or commissioned by government or government controlled entities Data which …

Experimenting with piggy banks for livelihoods

Picture yourself as a working-woman in rural Bihar. Lucky for you, at this time, it’s the three to four months in which you get a daily wage: harvesting season. Unlucky for you, as a Paswan, or Mahadalit, you got the short end of the bargain in land redistribution. Thus, work for you at this time means caring for someone else's land, for a daily wage of 200 rupees. Your day starts at 5 a.m. with household chores: cooking, cleaning, and feeding the one or two livestock you own. Then you travel a short distance over to the 4-5 acre plot of land owned by one of the landowning families in your village.

According to our study’s ongoing results, in Bihar, 100 to 150 days of work is the most you’ll get as a female agriculture laborer throughout the year. If the family owns their own land, then the working woman acts as a kind of manager to the affairs of the land and the house. All women spend their days collecting cow dung and drying it in patties. When the money you are receiving is irr…

From the diary of a novice researcher

Currently, we are in the baseline phase of data collection for the project- Affordable Day Care to Empower Indian Women. This is an impact evaluation project, which aims to assess the impact of day care centers on women’s economic and social well-being, in the rural areas of Udaipur district, in Rajasthan. Our sample consists of 160 hamlets, where we have been surveying 3200 women, who have children in the age group of 1-6 years.

The past few months in Udaipur have been an enriching experience for me. I have learnt to deal with various challenges that arise during the implementation process of a research study at the field level. Through this blog, I would just like to recount a few challenges faced by us, and some possible ways to overcome the same.

Documenting Age: Tougher than we imagined!

Our criteria for respondent selection is a woman who has a child in the age group of 1-6 years. Also, we are taking anthropometric measurements of the respondent’s kids who are in this age group. Th…

Us and Them (Pink Floyd, 1973)

After having worked in the field for considerable amount of time, I use this space to reflect on what differentiates us and the people we study. I am going to gloss over obvious differences like living standards and instead search for differences in perceptions. What follows is hardly rigorous so please don’t go all “randomize control” on me. They are just random thoughts.

How old are you?
When I joined as a Research Associate in the Bangalore office, straight out of my Master’s, I was asked to look at a panel data for a household study that collected information on age. As I was cleaning the data, what I found startled me immensely. For the two year period for which the data was collected, there were many people in the study who reported to have turned 5 years older! There were still others who didn’t turn a day old in the last 2 years. This led me to raise the inevitable question – does Santoor soap really work as well as they claim?

But those who have worked in the rural areas for lon…