Khata Kholo Har Darwaza Kholo – Eko’s Branchless Banking (Part 1)

[Editor’s Note: A few weeks ago I had an engaging phone conversation with Abhishek Sinha, co-founder and CEO of Eko Financial Services, a trailblazing branchless banking social enterprise that’s making a dramatic difference to the lives of India’s migrants. This two-part series draws extensively from our phone conversation, follow-up email exchanges, and related research. Khata …

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Banking for India’s Domestic Migrants

India’s 100 million strong domestic migrants contribute a whopping 10% of its GDP. As I covered in The Twentyfirst Century Kabuliwalas of India, domestic migrants are one of the missing links in India’s development. A key recommendation from a study commissioned by UK-based Overseas Development Institute is that migrants need dramatically improved access to market …

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A monster in the making: the Babajob story

[Editor’s Note: Last week, I drove down to Richmond Town, Bangalore to interview Sean Blagsvedt, Founder & CEO of Babajob. Babajob’s office is in the 3rd floor of an apartment-style commercial building opposite the Hockey Stadium. Over a delicious cup of cappuccino and a cozy rooftop setting, Sean opened up on how he got to …

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The Twentyfirst Century Kabuliwalas of India

Rabindranath Tagore (Bengali poet, novelist, playwright, painter and musician) is renowned for so many works of art that it seems almost criminal to dwell on a personal favorite. Yet I must. Tagore’s Kabuliwala is a poignant tale set in Calcutta about a poor Pathan from Afghanistan (Abdur Rehman Khan) who lives with his old mother …

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No frills traveling MBA program from TREES

The cost of a two-year MBA program at a top-tier MBA school in India (think IIMs and XLRI) will burn 14 lakhs in your wallet. For Tier 2 MBA schools, the cost plummets to a range between 3 and 5 lakhs. The cost drops further to the tune of 1.5 lakhs for the long tail …

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Visit to the Zenrainman’s House

[Editor’s Note: The purpose of this blog post is to acknowledge that water is a burning issue of the present. It requires the involvement and collaboration of governments, NGOs, companies, and citizens in crafting the right policies, innovating in water/sanitation infrastructure and, perhaps most importantly, effect behavior changes by citizens (homeowners and apartment dwellers). I …

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Katuri’s Question

It’s almost a year since we purchased the Reva as our second car. The borderline-giddy post Hum do humare do…bina exhaust ke on my personal blog records that event. Recently I crossed the 3000km mark and the quick math is that, on average, I drove 10k in the Reva everyday. This is not a lot …

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Grassroutes: A New Model for Rural Tourism

[Editor’s Note: Last week I had an engaging phone conversation with Inir Pinheiro, co-founder of Grassroutes, an innovative rural tourism social enterprise which aims to unveil the hidden India by connecting urban India to rural communities. This post draws extensively from our phone conversation, follow-up email exchanges, and related research.] Try Googling “India village tourism” …

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The various connotations and implications of BOP (Bottom of Pyramid)

India has a formidable chunk of its population at the Bottom of Pyramid (BOP), the poorest socio-economic group. Ever since BoP was defined by Professors C.K. Prahalad (University of Michigan) and Stuart Hart (Cornell University), and subsequently detailed in their respective books, a slew of healthy debates have raged: Is there really ‘fortune’ at the …

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Primer on Micro Financing Institutions (MFI)

When the idea for this blog was still in an early stage and I was socializing it with close friends, I was frequently asked about which “verticals” of social enterprises I’d be focusing on. My answers ranged from “Don’t know yet” to “Will start in a breadth-wise fashion and then home in on verticals later”. …

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