Session 5: Strategies for inclusion

Moderator: Nirmita Narasimhan | Discussant: Ashok Jhunjhunwala

Can public Wi-Fi really help redress digital inequality, and if so, how? Emerging lessons from South Africa’s diverse implementations

Christopher Geerdts, Alison Gillwald

slides | paper | policy-brief


  • Use your Universal Service Funds Here
  • Embed in National Plans
    • Wi-Fi is part of broader approach
    • Integrate and prioritise educational institutions
    • Use Wi-Fi analytics for ICT, transport and other policy
    • Tailor Wi-Fi project to your context and strategy
  • Consider public-private interplays
    • This is essential to leverage funds, & make it sustainable and scalable
    • Make networks open access (so others can play)
    • Examples are – PPPs, low-cost but profitable businesses
    • Keep funding for the least-resourced areas
  • Leverage fibre projects
    • Wi-Fi is a cheap add-on to govt. connectivity projects
    • Fibre projects are also a proxy for Wi-Fi success factors
  • Spend your next research $ on these steps
    • Common valuation framework
    • Deeper analysis of models
    • Customer experience and social impact validation and issues
    • Profitable low-cost business models

Examining the Role of ICT on Financial Inclusion in World’s Biggest Public Employment Programme in Uttarakhand, India

Manab Chakraborty, Matirayee Mukerji

slides | paper | policy-brief

  • Ensure 100 days work.
  • Eliminate bogus beneficiaries by linking job card, Aadhaar card, and bank details.
  • GPS-tagged photo of assets created along with expenditure incurred by NREGA may be posted on the NREGA website to improve transparency, and allow voluntary inspection by citizens.
  • Pay wages on time. The Government must pay punitive interest charge of 18% per annum on any wage bill remaining unpaid beyond the stipulated time of 14 days.
  • Make fund transfer process more direct. Since Central Government pays 100% of labour component, it is suggested that Programme Officer of NREGA in the Block Office of the District issues a fund transfer order (FTO) for payment to the beneficiaries. The Ministry of Rural Development, GOI can arrange for direct transfer to beneficiary accounts.

Assessment of ICT intervention in micro finance to improve financial inclusion among low-income households in Northern Sri Lanka

Mithula Guganeshan, Perampalam Suthaharan

slides | paper | policy-brief


  • Regulate interest rate & transparency- so affordable financial services are provided in a fair & transparent manner
  • Ensure adequate labor standards are in place – to prevent exploitative forms of labor
  • Regulation / Provide Capital allowance or tax benefits to incorporate technology
  • Provide skills development through community center
  • Improve digital skills among woman borrowers
  • Use existing financial infrastructure. Blend technology and human interaction to provide solutions
  • More quantitative assessment need to be conducted

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