Indicus has a very strong base in financial inclusion policy work, with white papers, policy briefs and op-eds since 2006. Our team has brought out stellar policy pieces and op-eds on addressing the challenges in achieving universal financial inclusion in India. We have worked with organizations ranging from the Reserve Bank of India, Ministry of Finance, Gates Foundation, Visa International, IAMAI and many others to help further the cause of making financial services accessible to the masses.
Over the period 2006-2011, Laveesh Bhandari and Sumita Kale worked on a series of white papers on enabling financial inclusion through digital technology to overcome India’s vast geographic and economic challenges and accelerate access of financial services for the poor. This work incorporated how policy needed to change with the fast paced changes in digital technologies to improve accessibility to financial services.
The Indicus Centre for Financial Inclusion was launched in January 2011 with a view to enhance and systematize our efforts in the direction. The Centre's aim has been to spur discussion and debate on different models for achieving universal financial inclusion in India, bringing stakeholders together to chart a common roadmap.
The Centre also holds small closed door workshops on topical themes, where all participants work towards formulating key takeaways for policy and industry. These takeaways are shared through policy briefs to all stakeholders nationally.
Some of the policy briefs that have made an impact in policy circles include:
The insights that the Indicus team bring to the table stem from their extensive work on India’s macro-economy, as part of RBI Survey of Professional Forecasters since 2007 and development challenges regarding water and sanitation, health and education at the state and district level. Indicus has provided research inputs to Central and State ministries, World Bank, UNICEF, Stanford University, Harvard University, SIDBI, CII and many other national and international institutions. Op-eds by our team members have been published in a wide variety of national media groups including Economic Times, Mint, Business Standard, Financial Express, Indian Express, India Today, Outlook etc.
Laveesh Bhandari, a Ph.D. in Economics from Boston University, USA, began his career as a Consultant for Manhattan (now Brookdale) Funds, New York and Boston, USA. He then joined the National Council of Applied Economic Research, New Delhi, as a Senior Economist in 1997 where he led research teams for various studies in the industry and infrastructure division. Dr. Bhandari is the founder Director of Indicus Analytics, set up in 2000 that became a Nielsen company in 2014. He has been a visiting faculty at IIT, Delhi and also worked as Managing Editor of the Journal of Emerging Market Finance. At present, he is Member of RBI's Steering Committee on Economic and Policy Research.
Sumita Kale obtained her Ph.D in Economics from University of Pune and M.Phil in the Economics of Developing Countries from the University of Cambridge. She has been visiting faculty at the University of Pune, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics and National Insurance Academy, Pune and has been working with Indicus since 2005. A regular contributor to national financial dailies, she has worked extensively on the subject of financial inclusion in India since 2006. Dr. Kale has been leading the research activities of the Indicus Centre for Financial Inclusion since its inception.
S. V. Divvaakar obtained his principal degree in Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and additional qualifications in management and international trade distance programmes). He has rich and diverse experience in business as well as social sectors. Besides supporting businesses in market and competitive strategy, analysis, he has been actively involved in regulatory policy analysis and industry consultations toward a more competitive and growth oriented business environment. His interest in the Triple Bottom Line (People, Planet and Profit) has also led to a number of programming, monitoring and evaluation assignments for United Nations agencies, as well as designing and monitoring CSR programmes for businesses, such as SIDBI, the first among India's development finance institutions to undertake sustainability reporting.