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Lack of adequate financial literacy is one of India's biggest hurdles among its rural population. In order to help overcome this obstacle, Rang De, a non-profit offering low-cost credit to rural entrepreneurs, launched Swabhimaan, a financial literacy and microcredit initiative.

The initiative will provide women with access to financial literacy, online loan application, credit scoring and cashless disbursal of money through digitised channels or kiosks - also called Bioscope - which will be installed in villages. Swabhimaan has begun as a pilot project in Yeshwantpura village in Kolar district, about 43 kilometers from Bangalore and Rang De plans to scale it up to over 100 villages centres within a year.

Digital solutions are reshaping industries and the finance sector is no different. Realising this potential, Rang De engaged ThoughtWorks, a global technology consultancy to work on the loan application software for Swabhimaan.

A crucial component of the solution was experience design, especially given the high level of tech immaturity in India's rural regions, where much of the population hadn't yet been exposed to a touchscreen. ThoughtWorks rendered an intuitive experience that incorporated features like fingerprint scanning as data security measures.

Co-founder and CEO of Rang De, Ramakrishna NK said, "Our aim is to ensure that rural women are provided with the information they need and equipped with requisite skills to make informed financial choices and this initiative is a step in this direction. Thanks to Aadhaar, IndiaStack and our technology partners, we were able to build a technology solution which will, in the near future enable a woman to walk into any of Rang De's digital kiosks and walk out with a loan in under a minute."

On the event of the launch, Sudhir Tiwari, Managing Director at ThoughtWorks India said, "It gives ThoughtWorks immense pride to partner with Rang De, on their ambitious mission of transforming the way India accesses financial literacy and credit. This revolutionary initiative bridges the last mile connect and is a powerful tool of financial empowerment for the rural masses."

According to Jayesh Ghatge, Market Partner at ThoughtWorks, "India's unbanked do not have access to many alternatives. Swabhimaan's Bioscope alleviates this problem by contributing to financial literacy. We employed design thinking to craft a digital solution, which makes it relatable, intuitive, and accessible to an audience that is less tech savvy."

About Rang De

Rang De is a not-for-profit based in Bangalore working to fight poverty by raising social capital to help rural entrepreneurs offering financial literacy training, business development and mentoring through trusted field partners. Designed as a non-profit social business, Rang De has raised funds for 55,000 loan applications totalling over INR 55 crores, funded by over 12000 individual social investors and 25+ corporate partners over nine years.

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