Government and Social Impact (GSI)

Government and Social Impact Domain (GSI)

Social welfare spending by governments globally is as high as 30% of GDP for a few developed countries. This spending is towards education, health, family welfare, women and child development, social justice and empowerment, rural development, and basic minimum services depending upon the country’s socio-economic profile. Interestingly, even a developing country like India spends about 11% of total government expenditures on selective social welfare programmes.

Despite these spends, there are last mile delivery challenges that trouble beneficiaries of social welfare programmes. Researches indicate that the leakage in the targeted public distribution system, India’s largest food grain subsidy programme, is 41%1. Almost 45% of subsidised kerosene is lost to the black market while over 65%2 of the fertiliser subsidy does not reach the intended beneficiaries i.e. small farmers in India. Such delays and other hurdles leave a huge leakage gap every year. Further, there are frequent reports of delays in accessing government benefits and exclusion of intended beneficiaries from beneficiary list.

Our Journey

For 20 years, MicroSave has been a part of underprivileged households, understanding their aspirations, goals, challenges and financial behaviour to ensure strengthening of last mile delivery systems. It was during these interactions that we realised that the “intent-action gap” that can sometimes cripple the otherwise well-intentioned government programmes. With rapid change in G2P structure across geographies, MicroSave’s work has evolved from scheme-based assessment and evaluation to policy design and implementation support. We have been instrumental in developing and refining Government of India’s Aadhaar-linked Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) programme. We are leveraging our learnings from India to assist countries across other geographies to better design their financial inclusion and implementation policies.

MicroSave’s Government and Social Impact Domain (GSI) domain helps in policy design, pilot testing, implementation support, assessment and evaluation of social impact programmes. We work with regulators, governments, policy makers, think tanks, academic institutions, NGOs and service providers in several developing and underdeveloped countries. We have examined national regulations, assessed regulatory compliance and processes, including KYC practices and procedures for Government to Persons (G2P) services, both as independent researchers to provide policy advocacy and as part of technical assistance programmes to specific government as well as private organisations working with government for facilitating G2P services.

MicroSave's work has evolved from assessment and evaluation to policy design

MicroSave’s GSI team has worked in East Asia and Pacific, South Asia, Africa and Middle East and North Africa regions. We are currently working in more than eight countries to enhance their government to citizen service offerings. In India, we have worked on more than 12 government schemes ranging across 10 key central ministries and departments and supported more than 10 state governments/Union Territories years to accelerate the pace of DBT and related areas in India. We have developed many successful solutions related to G2P using our proprietary research methodology, willingness to connect with the ultimate beneficiaries in rural/remote locations, zeal to ensure government programmes benefit the intended beneficiary, and specifically designed toolkits. Our key areas of intervention include:

Evaluation and Assessment

We assist governments and implementing agencies to effectively evaluate and assess policy design by studying the intended impact of schemes and disbursement processes laid out. We were the only organisation to conduct detailed assessment of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), a national mission on financial inclusion in India. We conducted in-depth assessment of Bank Agents and PMJDY customers over a span of 15 months (Oct. 14 to Dec. 15) to track the reach, availability and quality of BMs, and gathered information through customer interactions to generate policy-level insights for Government of India. Our findings were covered on national TV and leading dailies The Economic Times, Business Standard, The Hindu Business Line, New Indian Express, Navbharat Times, NDTV, India Today, to name a few. To read more please click here

Another major early assessment was of Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY). The Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency Bank (MUDRA Bank) was set up by the Government of India for development of micro units and refinance of MFIs to encourage entrepreneurship in India and provide the funding to the non-corporate small business sector. The assessment conducted the effectiveness of the scheme, gauge its capacity to deliver its mandate to finance those who are unable to get loans under the conventional system, and highlight impact and challenges of PMMY. On similar lines, we assisted in assessment of many other government flagship programmes such as Pradhan Mantri Jansuraksha Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana and assessing readiness for replacing kerosene with other sources of energy.

Assessment of DBT in Fertiliser for Ministry of Fertiliser and Niti Aayog was another flagship project wherein MicroSave was instrumental in feeding policy makers with learning and lessons from Aadhaar-enabled fertiliser distribution system (AeFDS) pilot and helping the Ministry of Chemical and Fertiliser (MoF), India to fine tune its AeFDS roll-out strategy across India. We worked on evaluation of payment system for Indonesia’s Program Keluarga Harapan (PKH) Conditional Cash Transfer. At the behest of Ministry of Social Affairs, Indonesia, MicroSave reviewed their existing payment systems used for CCT to help it scale operations in all districts. We assessed and compared the existing mechanisms of cash transfers, simplified processes to reduce time, and conducted a feasibility study to assess readiness of financial institutions to adopt mobile platform for delivery of CCT. In Nepal, we conducted a market study to assess the effectiveness of regulation on electronic banking issued by Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) as part of a programme jointly funded by the IFC and the World Bank to develop a legal and regulatory framework for payments, remittances and securities settlement system.

We assisted the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Environment (MCIE) of the Government of Timor-Leste in Financial Services Sector Assessment (FSSA). We conducted in-country consultations with key stakeholders including central bank, financial service providers (commercial banks, microfinance service providers etc.), support institutions (telecom companies, network associations), donors, and other development partners. We conducted expert interviews to understand the demand and supply of financial services in Timor-Leste and individual stakeholder’s perception on constraints and opportunities in Timorese financial services landscape.

Pilot-testing and Implementation Support

MicroSave, from its early days, has a reputation of visiting remote location to assist and understand the real implementation challenges associated with various public and private sector programmes. Apart from assessing and evaluating schemes, we have also been instrumental in providing implementation support to various government and public sector programmes globally. We provided support to the Central Bank of Zambia in developing and running a course in Digital Financial Services (DFS), aimed at producing a baseline of knowledge of DFS and financial inclusion indicators. Subsequently, support has been provided to develop and roll out financial inclusion indicators and data collection formats.

We also provided facilitation and implementation support to Strengthen Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) in Public Distribution System (PDS) in India, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, India. To address issues of leakages and inefficiencies, Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD), India launched pilot of cash transfer in lieu of food grains in Chandigarh and Puducherry. MicroSave conducted an assessment of pilot geographies with the objective to assess the preparedness of the UTs for successfully implementing DBT for food grains, measure the satisfaction level of the beneficiary for the DBT programme, and assess the impact of the DBT in ensuring food security for the stakeholders. We also helped both Bihar and Karnataka state governments to implement pilots on DBT model and cash coupon model, respectively, to strengthen the food delivery system.

Policy Design Support

As part of UNCDF’s Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) programme, we developed and finalised Malawi Payment Roadmap for 5 years to digitise the payments in Malawi. We trained the staff of government ministries and departments and the Reserve Bank of Malawi, developed data collection templates for different payment streams, developed a draft Malawi payments road map - a 5-year plan to digitise payments; conducted separate workshops with the private sector and government ministries and departments.

With the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD), Nepal, MicroSave conducted a costing project aimed to assess cost incurred by the government in the disbursement of social security grants through branchless banking channel in pilot districts. We compared cost heads associated with branchless banking payment channel vis-a-vis traditional channel and formulated a ready reckoner with details on price-points and its methodology for future use in adopting electronic payments. The price points proved to be an evidence for the Ministry of Finance, Nepal to deliberate on policy to digitise social security payments in Nepal.

We were responsible for Microfinance Expansion Project (MEP) to provide technical assistance to the Bank of Papua New Guinea (BPNG) to strengthen regulatory and supervisory framework for microfinance. The MEP was co-financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Government of Australia (through the Department of Foreign Aid and Trade–DFAT) and the Government of Papua New Guinea. MicroSave was the lead technical assistance provider and project management firm engaged by BPNG to develop legal and regulatory framework for microfinance, to ensure that the functions of regulations and supervision of Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and Savings & Loans Societies (SLSs) in the Central Bank (Bank of Papua New Guinea - BPNG) are streamlined and improved. We also provided on-the-job training for offsite supervision staff of the MFI and SLS units.

Apart from our engagement in less developed geographies, we also recently engaged with Central Bank of Qatar to develop a financial inclusion and literacy strategy. With the recent focus on increasing financial inclusion and appreciating its importance for economic stability, the Qatar Central Bank liaised with us to develop a national financial inclusion and literacy strategy to create an enabling framework to support banks and financial institutions to increase access to financial services to the underserved segments. We conducted a survey on all sectors of Qatar’s population to understand the level of financial inclusion and literacy in the country; identify gaps in each sector (for example, banks, insurance, SMEs) as well as the supply and demand factors with respect to access to finance; suggest solutions and recommendations to fill the gaps identified in the survey; draft a Financial Inclusion and Literacy Strategy and an implementation programme in coordination with Financial Inclusion Committee set by the Qatar Central Bank.

Given MicroSave’s vast geographical experience, we are always able to assist government and public sector entities with best practices, implementation support and policy design inputs where needed.

Our Team


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