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Showing posts from January, 2016

Jan Dhan Yojana: Just another empty vessel making noise?

This blog was recently featured in the LSE South Asia Blog.

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 Book of World Record for 18,096,130 bank accounts opened under the program within a week. But the scheme that showed promise is also receiving flak for being an ineffectual instrument of financial inclusion.

Jan Dhan – Hitting the target, missing the point
Congratulations are in order for opening these, albeit empty, no-frills accounts - one amongst many reasons that made the first 100 days of Modi government look very…

A USAID report on behaviors and perceptions towards digital payments among consumers and merchants in India

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recently released a new research study  that identifies opportunities for increasing the use of digital payments among low-income consumers in India. The report, Beyond Cash, highlights the current behaviors and perceptions of digital payments in low-income communities in India, and suggests ideas for how policy makers can accelerate the adoption of digital payments in the country. 

This report is one piece of a larger Partnership between USAID, India's Ministry of Finance, and nearly 40 private sector organizations. The goal of the Partnership is to identify, test, and scale innovative approaches that will drive greater use of digital payments at the point-of-sale.

KeyResearch Objectives:
Understand the factors that drive awareness and interest among current non-users of digital paymentsAnalyze the experience of those who currently use digital instruments – debit cards, mobile money, and online bank transfersIdentify pot…

Child Care: Whose Responsibility is it?

How many of us had our fathers waking us up to get us ready for school, cooking meals for us, attending parent teacher meetings, and being home when we returned from school? – I didn’t. And the majority of the people around me did not. In most parts of the world, childcare responsibility primarily falls on the women, and this is especially true in the case of India.
Indian scenario In the recent times, much has been said about women sharing the larger burden of household and childcare responsibilities. From Indra Nooyi (CEO of PepsiCo), who said “Women can’t have it all” to Sheryl Sandberg’s (COO of Facebook) book Lean In – they all talk about the undue share of these responsibilities that women have to take and how it adversely impacts their participation in the labor market.

In India, female labor force participation has been on a decline even though there has been an overall rise in economic growth. According to the ILO’s Global Employment Trends 2013 report, between 2004-05 and 200…