About – Indicus Centre for Financial Inclusion
Indicus, India's leading economics research firm, has been focusing on the subject of financial inclusion for long. We have come out with a series of papers on enabling financial inclusion through various technology means in order to overcome the geographic and economic challenges and accelerate access of financial services for the poor.
To give a thrust to our initiatives, the Indicus Centre for Financial Inclusion was launched in January 2011, with support from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Centre's aim is to spur discussion and debate on different models for achieving universal financial inclusion in India.
To catalyze the policy and industry environment in India towards expanding financial inclusion.
Indicus Centre for Financial Inclusion is involved in conducting in-depth research on various facets of financial inclusion which is then distilled and disseminated to larger groups of stakeholders. The Centre acts as a knowledge repository on the subject of financial inclusion. The continuous research has been producing policy briefs, regular newsletters, white papers and columns in national & business dailies.
The Centre acts as a facilitator to induce debate and discussion on the matters related to policy and its implementation in the financial inclusion space. The members of the centre continuously interact with the government, financial and telecom regulators, banks, financial services firms, telecom companies, media and academia at the national and international level.
The Centre holds frequent workshops, seminars, individual meetings where ideas from different stakeholders are put across, such that common solutions are evolved.
A corporate study tour was organized by the Centre in August 2011 where banks and telcos were taken to Kenya to study the M-PESA model, while simultaneously facilitating direct interaction. The members were subsequently invited by RBI to discuss the learnings from the tour.
Indicus Centre for Financial Inclusion has been set up under the directorship of Dr. Laveesh Bhandari, who is a noted economist and also founder of Indicus.
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, set up in 2000. 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. She is the editor of the monthly newsletter “The Emerging Economy” brought out by Indicus and regularly contributes to national dailies. Along with Laveesh Bhandari, she has worked extensively on the subject of financial inclusion in India since 2006. She 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.
He is tasked with the industry consultation, outreach and dissemination activities at the Indicus Centre for Financial Inclusion.