Neeraja Sundar

Assistant Manager

Neeraja is an assistant manager in MSC’s Government and Social Impact (GSI) Practice Group under Digital Financial Services. She is a development sector consultant with four years’ experience of working with multi-lateral and bi-lateral donor agencies, financial institutions, think tanks and academic institutions.

She has supported the implementation and evaluation of projects in institutional strengthening, market research, behavioral economics, and digital financial financial inclusion. Her work involves improving social security programs/policies through evidence-based behavioural-centric assessments. She specializes in G2P programs and payment systems, pro-poor digital financial products/services, pro-poor livelihood programs, market research, impact evaluation and policy analysis.

Posts by Neeraja Sundar

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.

Gauging the readiness of Indian states to adopt DBT in electricity

Inefficient food grain procurement policies, politically driven high cross-subsidy burden, and unregulated power supply for agriculture are harrowing implications of the food-water-energy nexus in India. This policy brief assesses the readiness of Indian states and deep dives into several state-level policies and last-mile infrastructural considerations to adopt DBTE.

A primer on impact bonds

Outcomes-based financing instruments like impact bonds can help India bridge some of the gaps in Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) financing.

India’s gender-responsive policies during COVID-19

Despite the Indian government’s gender-focused relief measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, women beneficiaries faced issues as they tried to access and utilize such measures. Issues with access and capability around digital communication and inherent social norms persist as two important factors that intensify the challenges that #women face in using formal financial services.