Aakash Mehrotra


Aakash Mehrotra is a Manager in the Data and Innovation domain of MSC India. He is a Management and Development Research professional with experience in leading the market and consumer research studies in several countries.

Aakash Mehrotra is a Manager in MSC’s Data & Innovation Domain. He has been working in the research domain for over eight years with experience in designing formative research, impact evaluation studies, designing feasibility studies and undertaking long-term research studies. He has worked on projects with governments, think-tanks, funding agencies, development banks, commercial banks, and other financial service providers across Asia and Africa. In his current role, he plays an active role in leading policy research and advisory studies. Earlier he led multi-country research on agent networks and emerging financial inclusion models in ten countries in Asia and Africa. He has also led impact evaluations and policy research studies and worked as a technical consultant for a Vietnam bank trying to establish the mobile money and agency banking vertical. In addition, he has worked on consultancy assignments on market researches, value chain analysis, business estimations, designing forecasting models, designing scale-up plans for business and conducting business assessments. He is also well versed in evaluation technique - social returns on investment (SROI). Aakash has also led workshops on ‘impact evaluation’ and taken lectures in universities on the same. He is also a published author, and widely published travel blogger, and has written extensively on social and environmental issues on leading media portals, and has also led dialogues on ‘diversity and inclusion’ in various colleges, and social platforms.

Posts by Aakash Mehrotra

Women at the heart of G2P initiatives: The Primary Education Stipends Program in Bangladesh

MSC and the Center for Global Development (CGD) assessed Bangladesh’s Primary Education Stipends Program (PESP), a gender-centric cash transfer program to improve primary school attendance rates. Over the years, benefit delivery of PESP evolved from cash disbursement to digital stipend transfers. Key evidence from our assessment shows women prefer digital transfers to cash-in-hand. Our blog shares evidence from the study using the “Design, Direct, and Digitize” (D3) framework to make a case for women beneficiaries as better contenders for G2P programs. Our blog looks beyond the impact of PESP on program outcomes—and highlights the socioeconomic implications of mobile money on women and the role PESP plays in gender equity and inclusion.

Do conditional cash transfers improve education outcomes? Insights from the PESP program in Bangladesh

In 2001, Bangladesh launched a Primary Education Stipend Program (PESP) that provides a conditional cash transfer (CCT) to beneficiary mothers. The cash transfer depends on the student maintaining a specific attendance rate and grades at the school. MSC conducted a mixed-method research to ascertain the PESP program’s effectiveness in achieving its objectives. We examined if CCTs can help attain better educational outcomes in terms of increased attendance and grades with lower dropout rates. It simultaneously examines similar studies undertaken elsewhere to support the hypothesis.

Low awareness of fertilizer subsidy: A challenge to subsidy reforms

The government has been considering a policy shift to transfer the fertilizer subsidy amount to the bank accounts of farmers rather than fertilizer companies. In our pan-India study with farmers we found that only one-third of the farmers knew that they purchase fertilizers at a subsidized rate. With such low awareness levels, this policy shift may evoke shock and displeasure since this would require farmers to first purchase fertilizers at the market price.

ChitMonks: Giving India’s oldest form of banking a new look

This blog is a sequel to our previous blog on ChitMonks under the Financial Inclusion Lab accelerator program. Chit funds are an old and essential financial service in India, which remains mainly in the analog mode. ChitMonks are working to digitalize the industry. In this blog, we take you through ChitMonks’ journey, the startup’s progress since the second cohort of the FILab, its struggles and achievements, and its plans.

Awaaz.De: Mobile-based interventions for social change

Awaaz.De provides easy-to-use, cost-efficient, and time-saving mobile solutions for organizations and communities across multiple sectors—education, agriculture, health, and financial services. Its inclusive mobile solutions that use interactive voice response (IVR), SMS, mobile apps, and web, enable organizations to reach the last mile.

Frontier Markets: Building strong rural marketplaces

Frontier Markets, headquartered in Jaipur, Rajasthan, was founded in 2011 by Ajaita Shah as a last-mile distribution solution for green energy products. Since then, Frontier Markets has evolved from a high-touch to a high-tech digital platform that works with rural women influencers across multiple states in India, adding vital products based on market demand.

NFHS 5 calls for urgent action on child nutrition in India

The article highlights findings from the first round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 5, a large scale nationwide survey of households in India, released in Dec’20. The article primarily focuses on Five major indicators of child nutrition and compares the outcome of first round of NFHS 5, covering 54% of India’s population with previously conducted NFHS, 3 and 4 in the year 2005-06 and 2015-16 respectively.

“Respect the sentiment:” Using sentiment analysis to inform policy and regulation

This blog examines how text analytics and social media platforms can help policymakers quickly gauge public sentiment around different issues.