Podcast Build for Bharat: Understanding What It Will Take to Increase Digital Financial Inclusion in India

With economic progress, India has created a huge segment of the middle class over the past decades, making the digitization of Bharat, one of the most populated countries in the world with 1.3 billion citizens, still a distant dream. However, the urban population benefits from access to technology, education, finance, connectivity and government services, creating huge opportunities as the adoption of technology rapidly increases to promote digital financial inclusion. However, there is still a huge segment of the population of over 600 million Indians who do not have access to the full range of formal financial services to meet their financial needs, generate wealth and maximize their overall money potential.

While the county continues to expand its presence globally and demonstrate economic growth, financial inclusion has not yet been addressed on a large scale. Access to basic financial services enables the less fortunate and the most vulnerable in society to break out of the vicious circle of poverty and

themselves and their families. Therefore, it is important that the ecosystem supports companies and start-ups by providing solutions to address this problem.

CIIE.CO, an Indian business incubator founded by IIM Ahmedabad, has focused on addressing the ever-changing gaps in this inclusion-focused entrepreneurial space in India. Among its various initiatives, CIIE.CO has launched the Bharat Inclusion Initiative (BII) to help entrepreneurs focus on financial inclusion, livelihoods, skills and health.

About the Bharat Inclusion Initiative (BII)

Bharat Inclusion Initiative (BII) it is an effort to bring the benefits of technological progress to disadvantaged populations. The initiative focuses on incubating and supporting start-ups operating in areas such as financial inclusion, livelihoods, skills and health. All start-ups supported by BII are expected to leverage the technology to increase reach and create products that serve disadvantaged people. For ambitious entrepreneurs working to address the problems faced by Bharat, the Bharat Inclusion Initiative provides knowledge of domain, training, financial support, mentoring, as well as the market access start-ups needed to form inclusive, for-profit businesses. It supports companies serving India’s mass market through programs, scholarships and funding wherever possible.

Build for Bharat – A podcast for brilliant minds who want to build, create and fix for the country

Build for Bharat Podcast is an extension of the Bharat Inclusion Initiative and aims to highlight and tell the stories of influencers and makers, who are working to ensure financial and technological inclusion through their innovative technology solutions. The podcast is led by Sanjay Jain, Partner of Bharat Innovation Fund and Chief Innovation Officer of CIIE.CO. He is also a volunteer with iSPIRT, the Indian think tank of the software products industry. He has been an active member of the India Stack, Open API and Cashless teams and has also worked with the NPCI to define the next generation payment systems (the unified payment interface), as well as with regulators and other bodies to help the whole processes pass without paper. He was one of the key contributors to help create and evangelize various government open APIs, which are collectively referred to as the India Stack. These APIs have led to the digitization of various processes, enabling them to be paperless, cashless and attendant. Sanjay was responsible for the development of many large-scale, high-impact systems. He was Chief Product Manager at UIDAI, where he led the product development efforts from its early days until well after launch. He was also responsible for the creation and launch of Google Map Maker, a crowd-sourced mapping product that is responsible for Google Maps data for over 170 countries (including India).

Discover the stories of your interest

The podcast features short conversations with the builders and creators of Bharat, including EkStep’s Dr. Pramod Varma, Dr. Vivek Raghavan of EkStep Foundation and Sateesh Palagiri of NPCI, among others. So far, the first three episodes have received a huge response from listeners. Industry leaders like Nandan Nilekani and Dilip Asbe have also shown their interest in podcasting, using their social media to highlight the importance of innovation in these spaces.

With India at the height of a digital revolution, it is imperative to promote and contribute to innovations that seek to bring financial and technological inclusion to India’s broader population. To this end, the government has also actively engaged and launched multiple initiatives such as Make in India and Digital India, among others, but this alone is not enough. Encouraging the new India and upcoming start-ups to solve Bharat’s real life challenges is of paramount importance. With this goal, CIIE.CO’s Bharat Inclusion Initiative is driven to identify and support start-ups that solve India’s toughest problems in terms of financial inclusion, skills and livelihoods, health, etc. providing them with an enabling environment and ecosystem to assist entrepreneurs who are building solutions for Bharat. BII provides purpose-oriented entrepreneurs with a continuum of support through research, incubation, acceleration, and soft, commercial capital to bring their inclusive and for-profit businesses to life.

Listen to the podcast