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Our Staff Writers and Editors offer insights on the latest news, events, interviews and other happenings from the development through enterprise and base of the pyramid universes
Thursday, August 28, 2014 — South Asia

USIBC Concludes Successful Pharmaceutical Mission to India

Source: Market Watch

The U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) has concluded its Pharmaceutical Executive Mission to Delhi, India. The delegation expressed its commitment to the Indian market, called for further dialogue with the government on issues related to pricing and intellectual property, and discussed strategies for expanding greater access to healthcare and health insurance in India.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 — South Asia

In Bangladesh, Floating Schools, Farms, And Health Clinics Help Stay On Top Of Rising Waters

Source: Fast CoExist

Beyond island nations like the Maldives that are quickly getting submerged, no country is more threatened by climate change than Bangladesh. Sitting at the bottom of three huge rivers, much of its surface area is either covered with water, or barely above sea level. Many of its 154 million inhabitants are poor (about a quarter earn less than $2 a day) and Bangladeshis often live in structures unsuited to severe weather. Bangladesh, in short, is a climate disaster in the making. By 2030, rising water could make 20% of the country uninhabitable, forecasts show.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 — South Asia

India telcos agree on mobile banking through SMSs

Source: Times of India

MUMBAI: Mobile companies have been persuaded by the Narendra Modi government to share a slice of their infrastructure to pave the way for basic banking services through cellphones.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 — South Asia

India's MFIs shift focus to urban areas

Source: Business Standard

Microfinance institutions (MFIs), which evolved as precursors of the rural thrift credit market in India, are now shifting to urban areas, with big slums in cities turning out to be cost-effective markets over small villages in far-flung locations.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 — South Asia

Bosch forays into healthcare segment

Source: Deccan Herald

Auto component major Bosch on Monday announced the launch of a locally developed eyecare solution in India. The company’s new eyescreening and detection system offers a combination of hardware and software and provides affordable eyecare.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 — South Asia

Indian PM asks banks to make financial inclusion a national priority

Source: Business Standard

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asked banks to make the opening of bank accounts in 70 million households this year a national priority.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 — South Asia

A tiffin service that serves a special ‘social story’

Source: The Hindu

Her husband hasn’t spoken to her in three months, but Neetu hopes he will come around. After all, she says, working with Lunchbox 17, a tiffin delivery service in South Delhi, has completely changed her attitude. The social enterprise was launched in May by youth-run NGO Swechha and employs women from Jagdamba Camp, a slum near the organisation’s Khirki Extension offices. The initiative aims to provide employment, and eventually empowerment, to the women, and clean and tasty food to young professionals and students in the area.
Monday, August 25, 2014 — South Asia

Male Rickshaw Drivers Playing Key Role In Maternal Health Campaign In India

Source: Huffington Post

As the autorickshaws begin lining up inside the compound at 7 a.m., Vijaylakmi Sahu knows she has just 30 minutes to finish her work. Over the next half hour, Sahu works with clockwork precision. She ensures that the temperatures of the vaccines for pregnant women and children are checked before they are packed under her supervision in cold boxes. After that, three to five autorickshaws, known as the Immunization Express, head off to the villages where mothers, children and pregnant women await them.
Monday, August 25, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: Formal employment remains key to financial inclusion in India

Source: Indian Express

We believe the biggest boost to financial inclusion will come from a push to higher employment in the formal sector, especially regular, salaried employment.
Monday, August 25, 2014 — South Asia

In India, 50% of microfinance institutions could convert to banks, says regulatory body CEO

Source: The Hindu Business Line

About half of the Microfinance Institutions Network’s 49 members could follow in the footsteps of Kolkata-based Bandhan and convert themselves into banks in the next couple of years, according to a top official.
Friday, August 22, 2014 — South Asia

India's ICICI Bank plans to add more than 1.5 million accounts in FY15

Source: Business Standard

ICICI Bank-India's largest private sector bank-in a move to take ahead its financial inclusion strategy is planning to add another 1.5 million bank accounts in this financial year.
Friday, August 22, 2014 — South Asia

Bharti Airtel in talks with State Bank of India for mega alliance

Source: Economic Times

Days after the Reserve Bank of India introduced draft norms for small and payments banks to boost financial inclusion, the nation's largest telco and the nation's largest lender are exploring a mega alliance.
Thursday, August 21, 2014 — South Asia

Tata Group donates $15.5M to IIT Bombay to develop low-cost solutions for BoP consumers

Source: TechCircle.in

Indian multinational conglomerate Tata Group has donated $15.5 million (Rs 95 crore) to IIT Bombay (IIT-B) to setup a virtual centre, which would focus on developing low-cost technologies for the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) consumers, says a report in The Economic Times, quoting IIT-B director Devang V Khakhar.
Thursday, August 21, 2014 — South Asia

Tata Group donates $15.5M to IIT Bombay to develop low-cost solutions for BoP consumers

Source: VC Circle

Indian multinational conglomerate Tata Group has donated $15.5 million (Rs 95 crore) to IIT Bombay (IIT-B) to setup a virtual centre, which would focus on developing low-cost technologies for the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) consumers, says a report in The Economic Times, quoting IIT-B director Devang V Khakhar.
Thursday, August 21, 2014 — South Asia

Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor asks bankers to be innovative on home loans

Source: The Indian Express

Reserve Bank Deputy Governor R Gandhi today asked lenders to be more financially innovative in designing home loan products and suggested creation of a periodic deposit-linked facility.
Thursday, August 21, 2014 — South Asia

Indian MFIs lap up Narendra Modi's financial inclusion drive, plan major expansion

Source: Economic Times

MUMBAI: Enthused by the Centre's plan to open 7.5 crore bank accounts over the next few years, MFIs and other such financial institutions that are working in rural areas have charted out massive expansion plans.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 — South Asia

Financial inclusion in India may remain an unsolved puzzle for now

Source: Business Standard

Days after the PM announced a financial inclusion package, a look at how banks and insurance firms are going about it & what lies ahead.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 — South Asia

Beyond microcredit in Nepal

Source: Republica

For Nepal's microfinance sector, the time has come to look beyond microcredit and find ways and means to turn individual entrepreneurs into small, medium and maybe big entrepreneurs over time.
Monday, August 18, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: By making ATM transactions expensive, the Reserve Bank of India is contradicting its own stance

Source: First Biz

On Thursday, when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) permitted banks to charge customers for using other bank ATMs more than thrice a month and that of own-banks more than five times, the apex bank was contradicting its own stated policy stance of encouraging public to alternative banking channels and, then gradually, to paperless banking.
Monday, August 18, 2014 — South Asia

Narendra Modi government to pay banks fee for pursuing financial inclusion plan in India

Source: Economic Times

MUMBAI: Government has agreed to give banks some commission for pursuing the financial inclusion plan announced by the prime minister on the Independence Day.
Friday, August 15, 2014 — South Asia

Modi Promises Access to Banking for India's Poor

Source: The New York Times

Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised on Friday greater access to financial services for nearly 500 million Indians who do not have a bank account, many of whom are now at the mercy of money lenders who charge extortionate interest.
Friday, August 15, 2014 — South Asia

Mastercard and Indosat give 60M Indonesians access to electronic payments

Source: PYMNTS

Indonesian mobile operator Indosat is making it easier and more secure for Indonesians working abroad to send money back home to family and friends by adding the MasterCard-backed HomeSend service to its offerings, the telco said this week.
Friday, August 15, 2014 — South Asia

Growth of independent India an amazing story; empower it by health investment: Bill Gates

Source: Economic Times India

Today, the prime minister will stand at the Red Fort to address the nation. For a generation, the Independence Day speech has been about India's mind-blowing progress - and today's will be no different.
Friday, August 15, 2014 — South Asia

Airtel, Voda, Idea move to cash in on mobile payments in India

Source: Hindustan Times

Till a few years ago, Sachin Dhaval had to visit the collection centre of SUMUL, the Surat-based milk co-operative, to pay cash a day in advance for placing his orders.
Friday, August 15, 2014 — South Asia

Cambodia's Orphan Business

Source: Al Jazeera

People & Power goes undercover to reveal how 'voluntourism' could be fuelling the exploitation of Cambodian children.
Thursday, August 14, 2014 — South Asia

China and India's Growing Inequities in Access to Health Care

Source: Diplomatic Courier

China and India collectively represent more than 35 percent of humanity. Both countries have lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in the last two decades. However, the developmental challenges that India and China have yet to surmount are mammoth. The public health sector is a crucial part of this challenge.
Thursday, August 14, 2014 — South Asia

Indian doctors, government launch portal to share healthcare expertise

Source: DNA

Indian-origin doctors across the globe have joined hands with the Indian government to launch a web portal for sharing expertise, skills, knowledge and resources with those in need of such services in India.
Thursday, August 14, 2014 — South Asia

Largest transaction in Indian microfinance since 2010

Source: Microfinance Focus