Jayshree Venkatesan works as a consultant on financial inclusion. Her clients include the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), a global partnership of 34 organisations that seek to advance financial inclusion, IFMR Rural Finance, and Okapi Research and Advisory. Jayshree is a recipient of the prestigious Chevening Gurukul Fellowship for Leadership and Excellence for 2014, awarded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and hosted by King’s College, London. During this time, Jayshree studied the ecosystem around Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) in the UK. Jayshree is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), UK.
Jayshree began her career at ICICI Bank at the Social Initiatives Group and her work experience spans funding not-for-profit organisations to assisting transformation to for-profit companies through a variety of financing structures. She has several years of experience in financial inclusion and was one of the people involved in setting up IFMR Mezzanine Finance, a group company within IFMR Trust that provided quasi-equity finance to early stage and not-for-profit microfinance institutions. She held several roles within IFMR Trust and rose to be the Chief Executive Officer of IFMR Mezzanine Finance as well as IFMR Advisory Services. As part of the leadership at IFMR Trust, she had the opportunity to structure and facilitate a number of innovative partnerships, such as a branch-based Business Correspondent (BC) partnership between IFMR Rural Finance and Axis Bank, develop an underwriting framework for banks to identify the right BC partner and conceptualise a debt fund for microfinance assets. Jayshree was also part of the team at IFMR Trust that curated a series of columns for the Hindu Business Line titled ‘Finance Matters’.
Jayshree participated in various conferences on microfinance and financial inclusion, including a FICCI workshop on strengthening microfinance institutions, and the Microfinance Investment Summit in Geneva in 2011.
Jayshree’s research interests lie in examining various initiatives for financial inclusion and identifying possible challenges with implementation, including structure of incentives, governance and processes. She believes in the transformative power of finance for economic development, but feels policy makers should be aware that finance can act as a double edged sword and can cause an equal amount of damage if not executed correctly.
As a Public Policy Scholar at the Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, Jayshree will study the execution of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana since its launch in August 2014. Her study will be restricted to select districts in the State of Tamil Nadu and focus on answering whether a high-speed supply-side programme can result in better financial inclusion in India. She will also look at some of the challenges in financial inclusion and whether the structure of the programme takes into account these bottle-necks in its design and implementation, or does it create new issues.
Read Policy Report No. 11 here:Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana: An Analysis of Policy Design and Implementation Gaps.