My first blog post on Huffington Post, “Fintech for Good” – slightly edited version below…
Back in 2009, a global consortium of researchers published a report with a provocative title, “Half of the World is Unbanked”. Five years later, the numbers had already dropped by 20%. Yet close to 2 billion adults globally still do not have access to formal financial services. They remain financially disconnected, without opportunities to increase their incomes, unable to securely save for a rainy day or borrow to improve their lives.
Even basic financial products and services remain out of reach for these people. An illness, accident or a death in the family can spell disaster for their financial situation and cause powerful shocks to their daily lives. These hundreds of millions are effectively locked out of a world which you and I take for granted. It does not have to be so.
From my latest post over at Times of India:
“…Did you know that more than 80 percent of the cycle-rickshaws in Delhi are illegal (since there are only 99,000 of them allowed legally)?
Govt functionaries in Delhi extort a crore a month from the cycle-rickshaw pullers alone! This was the figure in 2006. It has probably doubled since then.
Were you aware that Delhi’s approximately 600,000 street vendors operate without the necessary license and pay up about Rs 12 million per month in bribes?
Were you aware that a law in the state of Maharashtra requires farmers to sell their sugar cane to a specified sugar mill in the district[i]?
Did you know of the law in Kerala which mandates that once a farm is registered as producing one crop, it cannot change its crop without government permission[ii]?!
Would it now surprise you to know that “India ranks among the world’s worst countries at encouraging entrepreneurs. For ease of starting a business, India is 166th out of 183 countries”
Or that it takes 7 years (yes, seven) to close a business in India and 1,420 days to enforce a contract!
You would think this is a bad joke – except it is not.
And millions of small entrepreneurs suffer from this stranglehold of regulations and permits; the vestiges of a still omnipresent (and deeply embedded) license-permit Raj.
Which brings us back to our question: What can the government do?”
Read it in full here.
I delivered the keynote on “A Changing World – Globalisation, Asia, India and China yesterday at ITARC in London. (where I had spoken last year too). Below is an abridged set of slides that formed the backdrop to my talk (minus the images).
Comments, thoughts welcome as always.
Shared some slides at the India Investment Opportunities Forum in London yesterday.
I also talked about some of my investments (Myntra, Innoviti and ElementsAkademia) in India.
It was a good interactive session. I felt the mood is turning upbeat (although less so here in London and in the US).
More on this later.
Just a placeholder/note to myself to transcribe my notes/points from the panel discussion at “ChIndia Rising“, Cass Business School last month. I hope to get around to doing this in the next few days.
*** PANEL DETAILS ***
Will the Rising Tide Lift All Boats?
Here the panel will explore in an interactive Q&A session the challenge to the developed world, how to participate in Chindian Growth, the investment challenge, the legal challenge and how to create new opportunities
Panel to include:
Professor Jaideep Prabhu
Professor Bradley Barnes