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Bengaluru, November 09, 2023: As part of its Golden Jubilee celebrations, IIM Bangalore concluded a two-day International Symposium highlighting issues of inclusivity, digitalisation and financial innovations in India, today at IIMB campus. Chaired by Dr G Shainesh, Professor of Marketing at IIMB, the symposium was inaugurated by IIMB Director Professor Rishikesha T Krishnan and Professor N S Vishwanathan, Non-Executive Chairperson, Axis Bank and Former Deputy Governor, RBI.

Welcoming the delegates, Prof. Rishikesha Krishnan, Director, IIM Bangalore said, “With this Symposium, we aim to foster a dialogue around the concept of Inclusive Innovation, which has a global historical relevance yet lacks prominence in contemporary discussions. What was previously referred to as ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’ innovation has evolved into the domain of financial inclusion today. In the Indian context, social integration in financial services remains a challenge, highlighting the scarcity of embedded social structures where financial inclusivity is not yet prevalent.”

The first-day of the symposium saw two Panel Discussions- ‘Digitalisation and Financial Inclusion – Experiences & Learnings’ and ‘Innovations & Business Models – Accessible & Affordable Financial Services’. Followed with a plenary session between Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, Founder and CEO, Bandhan Bank, and Dr Venkatesh Panchapagesan, Professor of Finance at IIM Bangalore around the theme, ‘Financial Inclusion, Empowerment & Sustainable Livelihood Creation’.

The event also hosted Mr. Rajesh Bansal, CEO, RBI Innovation Hub for ‘Leaderspeak’ on India’s Fintech Revolution. He said, “India’s strategy for financial inclusion revolves around streamlining our daily services. Our rapid progress in the innovation landscape has the potential to position India ten steps ahead of other nations. In this dynamic environment, financial institutions must constantly reinvent themselves to stay relevant. The RBI Innovation Hub is dedicated to this reinvention, with a sharp focus on enhancing the customer experience. Embracing the Digital India initiative is pivotal in our pursuit of a 10 trillion dollar economy.”

The second day of the event hosted Amit Nanda, Director Selling Partner Services, Amazon, for a ‘Leadersspeak’ on ‘Inclusive Growth through Digital Transformation’. He remarked, “With ever-evolving internet speed and internet penetration, India is driving its transition towards a digital economy. Through e-commerce, millions of Indian businesses are advancing rapidly, fueled by digital transformation. E-commerce enables sellers to reach a vast audience and serves as a solution provider for many of their challenges. It simplifies the
process for a wide range of sellers, traders, and entrepreneurs to expand their reach and customer base.”

This was followed by a panel discussions on themes around ‘Fintech – Leveraging Digital for Scaling Up Financial Inclusion’, Digital Tech for Driving Adoption of Financial Products’, and ‘Collaborating for Sustainable Development – Financial Institutions, Governance & New Ventures’. The event also organized a plenary address on ‘Democratizing Digital Commerce’ by Harishankar K, Chief Transformation Officer, ONDC. He said, “India has demonstrated digital adoption across payments and content consumption. However, digital commerce still has considerable room to grow. While digital commerce expands, its full potential and value are constrained in a ‘platform-centric’ world. The main goal of open networks is to transition from a platform-centric approach to a network-based approach. Open networks have been highly successful and have driven explosive growth with unhindered success.”

Mr. Malladi Chandra Mohan, Director- Financial Inclusion, TCS said, “Inclusive growth is an essential factor for any country to achieve sustainable economic development. The four broad pillars for measuring the inclusiveness of a country are financial, social, educational, and health inclusion. Financial inclusion involves transitioning from an individual’s informal economy to a formal one. To drive an inclusive digital transition, changes must originate from the base of the economic pyramid.”

The symposium brought together experts to deliberate on the global experiences in digitalization and financial inclusion, along with highly successful business models. The discussions delved deeper into areas focusing on policies, cultural practices, and financial behavior.

Speaking about the International Symposium, Prof G Sainesh, Chairperson, Initiatives on Consumer Insights, IIMB siad “In this symposium, we are focusing on three integral pillars of progress: digital empowerment, inclusive access, and sustainability. Our commitment to reducing transaction costs and harnessing the power of digital technology ensures financial services for all. We champion inclusion, reaching not just the economically vulnerable but also advocating for gender equality, empowering women, artists, farmers, and all who lack comprehensive access. As we strive for sustainability at various levels, we pave the way for a brighter financial future, embracing FinTech, banks, and financial institutions in our shared vision.”

The two-day event saw participation from industry experts and leaders including Prof Alnoor Bhimani, Director, South Asia Centre, London School of Economics; Ms. Shriya Sethi, Director – Call for Social Impact, McKinsey; Mr. Rahul Shukla, Group Head, Commercial & Rural Banking, HDFC Bank; Mr. Amit Nanda, Director Selling Partner Services, Amazon; Mr. Harishankar Krishnan, CTO, ONDC; Dr. V Anbumozhi, ERIA, Jakarta Indonesia and Mr. Malladi Chandra Mohan, Global Head – Financial Inclusion, TCS featuring Dr. Shirish Srivastava, GS1 France Chair Professor, HEC Paris; Mr. Debajyoti Ray Chaudhuri, MD & CEO, NeSL; Mr. Ganesh Narayanan, CEO, Credit Access Grameen; Mr. Bhavdeep Bhatt, Head, Retail Sales, Aditya Birla Sun Life AMC; Prof MS Sriram, from the Centre for Public Policy at IIMB; Mr.Padmanabhan Raghavan, Co-Founder and CEO, Multipl; Mr. Timmana Gowda, Founder CEO, WhatsLoan; and Mr. Kavin KK, Head, IDFC First Startup Banking.

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