Ratan Tata, Vijay Kelkar and Nandan Nilekani have started a technology enabled financial inclusion vehicle, Avanti Finance, which will be focused on delivering affordable and timely credit to under-served and un-served segments in India.
The aim is to leverage on the social sector presence of Tata Trusts and other like minded partners and the rapidly evolving India Stack (Jan Dhan - Aadhar - Mobile), UPI and payments bank ecosystem. Avanti would use this ecosystem and will innovate on product design in consonance with the indigenous needs, to deliver seamlessly for the end consumer, said the statement.
According to the release, 'the promoters strongly believe that the institutional inequalities and information asymmetries are depriving the target customer segment of access to affordable credit'. The target customer segment over the last few years has displayed very low delinquency rates compared to any other customer segment, but still is charged the highest rate of interest. Avanti's primary objective is to make a difference in this sphere thereby enhancing the prosperity in these communities ..
Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Trusts has been actively engaged in several initiatives of the Tata Trusts since his retirement. His endeavours in the last few years have been focussed on creating a sustainable model for interventions which have lasting impact on communities, especially the under-privileged and the deprived.
Tata and Nilekani are bringing their investments from their respective philanthropic capital, and any gains will be reinvested in philanthropic causes. Avanti will apply for registration to the Reserve Bank of India in the coming days.
The founding directors of Avanti are Ratan Tata, Dr. Vijay Kelkar, Nandan Nilekani and R Venkataramanan. A senior leadership team with experience Technology, Microfinance, Enterprise Risk Management, Credit Operations and Customer Service, Leadership and Strategy Consulting, Structured Finance and Investment Banking is in place.
"Avanti will be a platform to impact the poor through credit at individual and community levels to create a lasting improvement in their livelihoods and standard of living, ushering prosperity. I am thankful to Dr. Kelkar and Nandan for agreeing to be part of this purpose driven initiative", said former chairman of Tata Trusts.
Nandan Nilekani , co-founder of Infosys stated "I am humbled by Ratan's initiative and his inviting me to be a part of this venture. My participation in Avanti is more driven by social motivation rather than anything else - with a view to serve the underserved and unserved and make the Tata Trusts and other likeminded partners philanthropy more effective. Technology is an important differentiator and allows us to make a difference in many ways than one".
Avanti will establish operations before the end of the financial year.
Vijay Kelkar is currently the chairman of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), and India Development Foundation. R Venkataramanan is currently the Managing Trustee of Tata Trusts.