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[afro-nets] Food for some assorted thoughts (2)

Food for some assorted thoughts (2)

Dear Claudio,

I totally agree with you. I am reproducing a post I made just a
few days ago on: Transforming democracies of the world.

Let me have your views.

Kris Dev

Governments should be more transparent and accountable to the
citizens, who are its principal stakeholders.

But unfortunately, there is no single entity who could be held
responsible in Government. No one can be truly held responsible
in a democracy. The responsibility and accountability gets dis-
sipated. The political masters who are expected to be servants
invariably abuse their self assumed authority. There is no check
on them.

The bureaucracy plays second fiddle to the political masters,
for their own well being and survival. There is no clear cut au-
thority, responsibility and accountability. Similar is the case
with judiciary.

What is required in a democracy is clear line of authority, sin-
gle point responsibility, freedom to operate, total accountabil-
ity. All these would be possible, only if there is total trans-
parency in all actions.

This was not possible earlier due to the manual system of file
management in Governments and corporates. Luckily today, we have
the WWW to help in spreading the message of transparency and ac-

A paper-less communication and collaboration tool is essential
to ensure this. Laws must be enacted for all citizens that any
communications done outside the electronic system shall not be
recognized by law and individuals held accountable for their ac-

Such an integrated system is possible and has actually been im-
plemented on a trial basis, to promote transparency and account-
ability in governments.

Read the following post:

In India, thinking big by thinking small

By Anand Giridharadas - International Herald Tribune

ALANDI, India,%20India&sort=swishrank

With every debit card replaced by a thumbprint, every mutual
fund peddled at a village store and every insurance policy sold
in $2 bits, a new variety of bank is germinating in the bleak,
unlikely soil of rural India.

One in nine human beings is an Indian villager, and 70 percent
of Indian villagers have no bank account, inhabiting a financial
parallel universe in which savings are a gold necklace and loans
come from pistol-packing moneylenders.

As global mega-banks penetrate India, as in other developing
markets like China, these are not their customers. Banks like
Citibank and HSBC skim the top and dip into the middle, serving
as investment bankers to corporations, lenders to a mushrooming
"consumer class" and money managers for a widening sliver of the
fabulously rich.

In India, that leaves 700 million people for the taking. Now, a
handful of domestic banks, led by ICICI Bank, India's second-
largest after State Bank of India, are tapping rural India with
innovative new business models and technologies. And their moves
suggest that while the cream hovers on top, more riches may lurk
below - for those willing to alter their offerings for a radi-
cally new client.

Getting the poor to bank, and bank profitably, could push rural
finance past a tipping point: from philanthropy with a hint of
business logic to real commerce with a hint of compassion.

"You ought to have a commercial justification for doing a busi-
ness," K.V. Kamath, ICICI's chief executive, said in an inter-
view. "You ought to then be able to scale it up."

Those, he said, are the "prerequisites to success" for trans-
forming rural banking from "small, isolated examples of do-good"
to something lucrative enough to take root and spread.

And should the model being field-tested in India prove possible
to replicate, the techniques behind it could help empower the
more than half of humanity living on a few dollars a day or

"As and when an Indian company cracks this and solves the prob-
lem, it can bottle the solution and sell it to the world, be-
cause there will be a lot of places where it is applicable,"
said Nicholas Winsor, head of personal financial services for
India at HSBC Bank in Mumbai. "I'm sure there are going to be
solutions that come out of this that are world-beating."

But HSBC, like other foreign banks in India, is instead focused,
he said, on the emerging "consuming class," which itself encom-
passes 50 million households.

"At some point, you build up a business of such scale and criti-
cal mass that you can move cost effectively into other markets,"
Winsor said. "But it's a big step to move from Mumbai Fort" - an
elite neighborhood in the financial capital - "into a village in
rural India. A standard business model would struggle to do that
and be profitable."

The case of ICICI Bank reveals how local banks are picking up
where multinational banks leave off. Initially, ICICI did rural
banking because it had to. Under government rules, it was man-
dated to set aside a hefty proportion of its overall lending to
so-called "priority sectors" in rural India.

But a few years ago, it began exploring whether this obligation
could be turned into a profit-making center. Facing fierce com-
petition in the cities and wielding "patient capital" - deposits
seeking the highest, not necessarily the quickest, returns -
ICICI decided to make serving the rural poor its long-range
growth strategy.

To symbolize its dedication, ICICI recently made its rural bank-
ing a stand-alone division, removing it from its earlier home in
the Social Initiatives Group.

The division, which oversees micro-finance, agricultural busi-
ness and rural lending, generated 1.4 billion rupees, or $32
million, in net interest income last year, according to manag-
ers, about 5 percent of the bank's total.

The division expects to end the next financial year with 130
billion rupees in assets, about 8 percent of the bank's total
assets in 2005 of 1.7 trillion rupees.

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