Says Ashu Suyash, Managing Director & CEO, CRISIL, “CRISIL is deeply committed to the society and to its mission of powering the markets of the future. This award is a testament to our efforts on the ground, and a recognition of the highly energetic team behind it. As an agile and innovative global analytics company, we are very impact driven and use rigorous frameworks to measure outcomes. Our social impact programmes follow the same discipline and will look to scale up further in days to come.”
Mein Pragati aims to empower socially and economically disadvantaged sections of society by strengthening their financial capabilities. Mein Pragati Assam was launched by CRISIL Foundation in 2015 with the initial goal of empowering 100,000 rural women in six districts (Barpeta, Darrang, Goalpara, Kamrup, Morigoan and Nalbari), with Rashtriya Gramin Vikas Nidhi as the project implementation partner.
After achieving significant improvement in awareness levels, CRISIL Foundation modified the intervention strategy to drive deeper and long-term behavioural change. Thus was born a cadre of community workers called ‘sakhis’.
This cadre has helped address the last-mile constraint, i.e., the gap in continual handholding support at the grassroots. Indeed, as of 2019, these sakhis have helped provide financial connectivity to around 1.18 lakh people across 400+ villages through facilitating access to government and state welfare schemes.
CRISIL Foundation has created a social platform to disseminate information regarding these schemes, too. And to make the training and capacity building of sakhis sustainable, it has introduced Gram Shakti, an online training and certification platform. The model has demonstrated efficacy, and can be scaled nationwide.
Notably, these sakhis are able to charge a small fee for their services, which has made this initiative self sustaining.
CRISIL Foundation is also creating a community-based ecosystem to provide supervisory oversight and monitor progress in financial inclusion at the community level. It also aims to integrate self-help groups with state agencies, village organisations and federations to access various credit and livelihood linkages.
Says Maya Vengurlekar, Chief Operating Officer, CRISIL Foundation, “The community cadre has emerged as a powerful model of convergence ─ the sakhis are the primary point of contact for linkages to financial products and services, as also to government welfare schemes. As key drivers of financial inclusion at the doorsteps of rural households, the sakhis continue to raise financial awareness, addressing queries about appropriate financial choices for any season of life. In doing so, the cadre instils and reinforces good financial behaviour in the communities it touches.”