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Agricultural Technologies (Agri-tech)

Agri-Technologies Promoted by BASIX Group of Companies

Soil Testing

Soil Testing Web Portal

Need for the Technology: Soil testing is the base for optimal decisions about fertilizer requirements for a crop. It involves the estimation and evaluation of the available nutrient status and acidic reaction of a sample of soil. Mittidoctor.com is a web portal that provides results of soil health within a short period . This is done by generating a fertility map after testing where the available nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium is marked as low, medium or high. Areas of sufficient and insufficient nutrients are marked out and nutritional requirements are determined. Fertilizers such as NPK, lime or gypsum are recommended in specific quantities to improve soil fertility. Fertilizer addition, which is based on the recommendation of soil testing report, usually leads to an increase in yields and profits by providing the correct amounts of needed nutrients. As nutrient availability becomes less variable, the crop growth is more uniform. Regular soil testing also contributes to environmental sustainability as the use of excess fertilizers can be avoided.

The current bottleneck faced by the farmers is the availability of the soil test results in a short time span. This defeats the purpose of using appropriate fertilizer dosages for productivity enhancements. The current bottleneck faced by the farmers is the availability of the soil test results in a short time span. This defeats the purpose of using appropriate fertilizer dosages for productivity enhancements.

Solution offered by BASIX:To reduce the time lag in receiving the soil test results along with recommendations on the fertilizer dosages, BASIX has developed an online portal called MittiDoctor.com. This portal is for soil testing and subsequent issuance of crop and agro-climatic zone wise ‘Soil Diagnosis and Fertilizer Recommendation Certificate’ called Soil Health Certificate (SHC). The Soil Testing process involves collecting Soil Sample from the farmer’s field, testing the soil sample using Soil Testing Kit, uploading the results obtained from kit to the portal and then generating the Soil health certificate.

Enterprise Model

Rural citizens can be trained as entrepreneurs who can provide services such as soil sample collection, testing of soil sample using Soil Testing Kit, operating the web portal and printing certificates. The micro-enterprise has been found to be viable, both economically and technically. The cost of a new kit including shipping charges and cost of kit refill including shipping charges have been taken into account while working out the economics of such a micro-enterprise. BASIX provides Soil Testing Kits, kit refills; training on soil sample collection, operation of the online portal and production support. The farmer collectives such as Farmer Producer Companies, Cooperatives, and SHGs can set up a centre to serve their members locally.

 
Water Conservation

Water Conservation: Advanced Sub-surface Irrigation System

Need for the Technology: Irrigation is a prerequisite for using farm productivity enhancing technologies. Irrigation is available from two sources: water stored in dams and fed to selective areas through canals, the other is groundwater. The first, being schedule based, have mono-crops of select cereals, while the other is a private property with wider crop options. Both irrigation systems could never foster competition in effective use of water. Rising demand for irrigation, limited scope and environmental costs of large dams, alarmingly falling groundwater tables, competition for water from urban areas and industrial needs, fights among states for river/dam water sharing and unpredictable and changing rainfall patterns etc. has led to water scarcity. To promote water efficiency in farms using groundwater, drip irrigation with huge subsidies is promoted by the government. As government subsidies are limited, due to fiscal limits, big farmers with subsidized/free electricity and mining deeper aquifers, sought drip systems. While the stated purpose of drip is to save water, for the big farmers it was saving on labour and not on water. Whatever water could be mined was done indiscriminately. Govt. subsidy policy had a cascading impact of high price of many otherwise useful water saving components of drip systems. Thus the aggregate level demand for water went up with no improvement in irrigation efficiency or higher production. To address this problem, System of Water for Agriculture Rejuvenation (SWAR) is a streamlined system of irrigation that makes it unique with “moisture at the plant root technology”, requiring only one fifth of water compared to drip irrigation.

Awards and Recognitions: SWAR received the Global Champion Innovation Prize for Water at the 2015 Paris International Agriculture Exposition. SWAR has won Securing Water for Food (SWF) award given by US-AID to promising technologies that grow food and reduce water requirement.

Solution offered by BASIX: System of Water for Agriculture Rejuvenation (SWAR) is a streamlined system of irrigation that makes it unique with “moisture at the plant root technology”, requiring only one fifth of water compared to drip irrigation. This advanced system can be used to grow all varieties of vegetables, flowers, fruit and forestry plants. SWAR combines traditional Indian wisdom and craft with modern science, engineering and locally available materials and is aimed at small farmers to have the gains of irrigation based agriculture. In SWAR water discharges slowly to first wet and later sweat according to the suction capacity and requirement of the soil and the roots. It combines plastic pipes as water carriers and specially designed drippers to serve measured irrigation with clay interface for wetting, sweating and retaining moisture at the plant root zone, leading to healthier plant growth while using much less water. In order to work without electricity, SWAR requires a 1,000 liters capacity overhead plastic tank on six feet high pedestal located at the highest point on the land with cover canopy. The key functions of SWAR are:

  • Longer moisture retention that is spread over a wide area;
  • Sync of oxygen and water in soil particles;
  • No weed growth or surface salt accumulation;
  • Automated, gravity based, no maintenance and needs no electricity;
  • Use well/bore well water, stored rainwater or fetch from nearby water bodies;
  • For critical Irrigation to adult plants under moisture stress to later recoup in rains;
  • Can reuse hardware once the forestry plants are established.

Farmer Focused Model

BASIX, along with our technical partner, is offering consultancy services on SWAR to individual farmers, farmer collectives through state horticulture departments etc. Our services include:

  • Identification of potential users of this technology based on need assessment done;
  • Technical assistance to facilitating agencies;
  • Support in marketing and commercialization of the product;
  • Financial consulting such as business planning, cash flow projections, income and expense estimation.

 
SRI for Paddy

Water Conservation: System of Rice Intensification for Paddy

Need for the Technology: With the onset of green revolution initiatives in India, agriculture sector saw the use of chemical inputs, new irrigation methods with newer technologies. This resulted in degradation of the soil health in general and depletion in the ground water, due to excessive mining. However, out of the 852 million poor worldwide, 221 million are in India. The country must increase its food production to 250 million tons to feed a population of over 1.3 billion people. Two thirds of Indian agriculture is largely dependent on rainfall, and current productivity of the rain fed agriculture is quite low (1 to 1.5 t/ha) as against a potential of 2.5 to 7.0 t/ha . Rainfed areas are also impacted by poverty, land degradation, malnutrition and water scarcity. In various projects, power of science-led development model for improving agricultural productivity and incomes of the rural poor in India has been demonstrated. To meet the millennium development goal (MDG) of halving the number of poor people by 2015, and to meet the challenges thrown by global warming by greenhouse gas emission, coordinated effort is urgently needed to apply science for a sustainable development in rainfed areas.

Solution offered by BASIX: The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) for paddy is a well-known agricultural practice that has been adopted by many farmers across the world. This set of agronomic practices increases significantly – in some cases up to three times - paddy yield while reducing the use of inputs such as fertilizers, water and seeds. The system was developed by a Jesuit Priest in Madagascar, who alternatively flooded and dried the paddy fields. This procedure was further studied by Norman Uphoff of Cornell University, USA, who then popularized it globally. The basic premise of SRI is that paddy is a water tolerant crop that tends to grow better when flooded and dried alternatively. SRI method also advocates for less plant density for paddy in a square grid pattern and reduced/controlled water application. This method has been instrumental in increasing yields in several rice growing countries. The principles of SRI are now also being tried with other crops and vegetables with positive results.

BASIX’s Outreach so far: BASIX has since made efforts to disseminate this technology in India and had taken up several pilots in different parts of the country. The first two field trials were conducted in the Gajnam district of Odisha and under the local rain-fed conditions, the resulting yield was about 70q/ha whereas the traditional practice just yielded 35q/ha. The positive results of the two field experiments encouraged BASIX to take up the project in other parts of Odisha and by the year 2007, BASIX had already worked with over 600 farmers. By the year 2010, BASIX had implemented SRI in around 1000 acres in Odisha benefitting 2000 farmers and another 6000 in Bihar and began implementing in other states such as Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka and the total acres of land that was covered by BASIX was around 8000 acres benefitting approximately 11,000 farmers.

In the past five years, BASIX has tied up with several organizations and is actively involved in providing services related to SRI implementation. It has tied up with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to implement SRI in the districts of Nizamabad and Mahbubnagar in Telangana and Raichur District of Karnataka. It has covered over 1500 farmers in this initiative. Furthermore, between the years of 2011-15 it has continued its implementation in the state of Odisha where it has covered 3682 acres benefiting 5700 farmers.

Technology Dissemination

BASIX plans to tie up with several governmental organizations and NGOs to disseminate this technology that could have large scale improvements in the agriculture sector of India. Having successfully contributed to productivity enhancement through SRI technology, BASIX offers to provide consultancy services.

 
Seed Production and Processing

Support for Seed Production and Processing

Need for the Technology: India, home to over 1.3 billion people, is one of the world’s foremost agriculture powerhouses. Agriculture is and has always played a dominant role in the country’s economy. But with increasing production, an emphasis has been made on improving the agricultural output of the country. Green revolution has played a significant role in improving the productivity of agriculture in the country, catapulting India to one the top positions in the world in terms of agricultural output. The country ranks in the top three in the production of several grains and pulses such as rice, wheat, sugarcane etc. With increasing importance of improving agriculture yields to feed the growing population of the country; the choice of Agri-inputs such as seeds is growing in importance.

Solution Offered by BASIX: A vital part of seed production is seed processing, which is needed to move the improved genetic materials of the plant breeder into commercial channels for feeding the rapidly expanding world population. The farmer must get the quality seed that is free from all undesired materials because farmer’s entire crop depends on it.

Advantages of seed processing:

  • Make possible more uniform planting rates by proper sizing
  • Improve seed marketing by improving seed quality
  • Prevent spread of weed seed
  • Prevent crops from disease by applying chemical protectants
  • Reduces seed losses by drying
  • Facilitate uniform marketing by providing storage from harvest time until the seed is needed for planting.

Seed Processing

BASIX has promoted a large number of Farmer Producer Organizations in several states of India. The seed requirement of the members of these collective is huge. BASIX offers services to these FPOs in both seed production and setting of seed processing units that can cater to not only the FPO members but to the market requirements of seed.

 
Agro-Chemicals

On-farm production of Microbial Bio-pesticides to promote sustainable agriculture

Need for the Technology: The world and more importantly India has realized the importance of adopting sustainable practices of agriculture. As new evidence of climate change unfolds, the once erratic instances of drought have begun to recur with alarming consistency. Chemical pesticides, once hailed to be the panacea of mankind’s problems of hunger and poverty, have today been dismissed because of untoward aberration of soil composition in the face of their excessive use. Overuse of chemical pesticides has caused acidification of soils resulting in poor and surprisingly unpredictable yields. India has a vast potential for bio-pesticides. However, its adoption by farmers in India needs education for maximizing gains. The market share of bio-pesticides is only 2.5% of the total pesticide market (as of 2010) . The stress on organic farming and on residue free commodities would certainly warrant increased adoption of bio-pesticides by the farmers.

Solution offered by BASIX: BASIX is piloting an intervention on bio-fertilizers, bio-pesticides and other organic practices towards better plant health and yied. BASIX is supporting tailor-made training for farmer representatives by experts; which is aimed at creating farmer trainers in their own villages/area. These farmer trainers in turn are giving training to their peer groups which are facilitated and supervised by BASIX staff, who have the required expertise in bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides. The techniques of making these organic products have been de-mystified and instruction methods have been simplified along with ensuring that the maximum material requirements can be procured locally. The farmers are trained to produce Bio-pesticides (Trichoderma & Pseudomonas), in addition, they are also trained on the following:

  • Introduction and discussion on importance of soil testing based nutrient management
  • Agroecosystem analysis (AESA): observation in field & Ecological Engineering for Pest Management
  • Plant Compensation Ability
  • Pest: Defender Ratio
  • Insect Zoo studies
  • Farm level mass production of Mycorrhiza bio-fertilizer
  • On farm production of biological control agents and host insects (Trichogramma, Bracon & Spiders, Reduviids bugs, Corcyra)
  • Preparation and application of Neem Seed Kernel Extract (NSKE)
  • Low cost fruit fly trap
  • Rodent Pest Management
  • Vermi-technology

Bio – Pesticide Making

BASIX can offer services on training and production of Bio-Pesticides at the village level to farmer groups.

 
Agri-implements

Agri-technology as livelihood promoter, particularly for Small and Marginal Farmers

Need for the Technology: Agriculture remains the prime livelihood activity for majority of people in rural India and is crucial for food security. While, agriculture has remained a traditional activity in many parts of the country, its contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is declining and is only 13.7% . The cultivable unit land has higher pressure due to large population it has to feed while its productivity has remained lower.

Agricultural mechanization has proven success in farm operations with greater efficiency at every level of farm production. Agricultural mechanization has helped in increasing production, productivity and profitability in agriculture by achieving timelines in farm operations, precision in metering and placement of inputs, reducing available input losses, increasing utilization efficiency of costly inputs, reducing unit cost of produce, enhancing profitability. The efficient machinery helps in increasing productivity by about 30%, besides, enabling the farmers to raise a second crop or multi crop making the agriculture attractive and a way of life by becoming commercial instead of subsistence.

Solution Offered by BASIX: Farm Technology adoption among small and marginal farmers is low and limited to fewer implements compared to high number of implements been designed and tested by Standard Government Organizations due to various factors. It is in the above context that Institute of Livelihood Research and Training (ILRT), a member of the BASIX Social Enterprise Group; is interested to understand the key reasons for lesser adoptability of farm mechanization and to test out the incremental benefit of technological intervention and best management practices (BMPs) in agricultural on-farm activity as action research.

ILRT is attempting to understand five specific aspects:

  • What are the various reasons for low adoption of farm implements/technology among small farmers?
  • What are the socio-cultural barriers that prevent technology adoption?
  • To explore gender issue as reason for the same poor adoption rate
  • What are the current technology transfer/dissemination processes?
  • What would be incremental benefit to the small and marginal farmers?

A group of eight farmers from villages – Bhandari, Damna and Gaghod of Bandavgarh area were introduced to Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering Bhopal for exposure visit to showcase the usefulness of modern agricultural technology developed particularly for small farmers. The farmers were able to see many small useful implements which they were unaware of.

Farmers were encouraged to use the technologies with an objective.

  • Farmers will have higher productivity and production due to technological intervention
  • Farmers will have enhanced capacity to understand the usefulness and timeliness in operation due to new technology adoption
  • There will be saving in total physical energy input in farm operations
  • The drudgery of human and animal labour will reduce
  • There will be opening for secondary and tertiary market due to higher and timely production of crops

 
 

Utility Technologies

Utility Technologies Promoted by BASIX Group of Companies

Sanitation

Sanitary Napkins

Need for the Technology: Reproductive health and related issues and needs has been an issue that has not been given enough attention by the government or the people in general. Despite the recent awareness campaigns, knowledge of the best practices related to menstrual hygiene and stigmas attached to it has been limited to very few people. This leads to several infections and diseases as women continue to use unhygienic practices during menstruation. Limited access to safe sanitary products and facilities is believed to be one the reasons for constrained school attendance, high dropout rates and ill health due to infection. International organizations, private NGO’s and social enterprises have been working towards developing adequate female sanitation awareness and facilities.

Accessibility and affordability of sanitary napkins are major issues for low income groups.Pic1 In India, particularly in rural areas, most women use cloth during menstruation. This is primarily due to sanitary napkins being expensive to buy. A pack of 10 sanitary napkins would cost Rs. 24 – 40, which is very expensive by Indian standards of rural and urban poor. Several studies show the presence of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and Reproductive Tract Infections (RTIs) being high in states such as Maharashtra and Karnataka, specifically in the rural areas. Poor menstrual hygiene is considered to be one of the reasons for the high prevalence of STIs and RTIs in the country.

Solution Being Planned by BASIX: BASIX has conducted a feasibility study for setting up a sanitary napkins unit in the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Many issues related to setting up of the manufacturing workshop have been identified. BASIX has contacted several well-known NGOs in order to know their best practices and has explored the possibility of working with them to set up a manufacturing unit in the state of Telangana and is also looking at possible ways to work alongside the government in providing low cost sanitary napkins. BASIX has explored the various marketing strategies and supply channels for selling of the product in the marketplace.

 
WatSan Program

Water and Sanitation Program (WatSan Program)

Need for the Technology:BASIX found a complete lack of sanitation and hygiene in the states where it was conducting its microfinance operation. The lack of sanitation was because of shortage of toilets, bathrooms etc. In addition to this, there was a lack of clean tap water facilities. The dearth of credit in rural areas to build hygienic sanitation facilities was found to be one of the primary reasons for the lack of sanitation facilities. BASIX then teamed up Water Partners International (WPI) to design a loan product with the goal of improving the sanitation and hygienic conditions of the poor in rural areas.

Solution Offered by BASIX: BASIX in collaboration with WPI has designed and developed the Water and Sanitation Loan Program (Watsan Program). The Watsan program caters to the investment needs of the individuals in the areas of water and sanitation. The aim of the program is to provide financial and technical assistance to provide health and hygiene which is important to the livelihood of the poor. This improved health and hygienic conditions might lead to improved social acceptance for the poor.

Our implementation had a two pronged strategy: The first one was to provide credit that would enable the poor households to build such facilities and the second was to provide technical assistance to households. The loan was given for the following purposes:

1. Water connection/Tap

2. Construction of toilets

3. Construction of bathroom

4. Construction of Toilet cum bathroom

5. Digging bore wells

Most banks only gave collateralized loans and the loans given below the amount of Rs. 25,000 were non-existent. The Watsan loan program bridged the gap by providing loans between Rs. 10,000 – 25,000. Loans given by BASIX were security free but not responsibility free as the loan request always included a co-applicant that would equally be responsible for the payment of the loan. The loans were given with insurance and the repayment period of the loans was 36 months. BASIX also provided technical assistance for taking up the construction of toilets, bathrooms, and toilet cum bathrooms as well as digging bore wells and providing water connections. The individuals that have been given loans under this program are 5,295 and the total amount disbursed comes out to be nearly six crores (Rs. 59,374,250).

 
SaaB

Sanitation as a Business (SaaB)

Need for the Technology Plus Intervention: In Sheohar district of Bihar, where Indian Grameen Services (IGS) is working, it was noticed that open defecation was much higher in this particular district along with rest of the rural India. The total households in the district were 1.48 lakh. Of these only 0.32 lakh had access to a toilet while 78% of the households practice open defecation . This figure was slightly higher than the state average of 76% households practicing open defecation. Based on the study of around 500 households the major constraints for construction of toilets appears to be poverty. In addition to this the quality of Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) toilets was poor leading to open defecation despite the availability of a toilet at home.

Solution Offered by BASIX: IGS collaborated with Water for People and started operations in Sheohar in 2012. One of its programs piloted by IGS is called Sanitation as a Business (SaaB). SaaB was piloted in Sheohar district of Bihar. The initial efforts were focused on demand generation for toilets which would be catered to through the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC). However, people were reluctant to construct the toilets. Moreover, the demand for toilets in the absence of a standard physical product was varying and could not be fulfilled through the TSC model. IGS team despite trying for months found there was no change in the outcome - nobody came forward with a realistic demand for toilets.

It was in this context that IGS decided to focus on the entrepreneur mode of working though the task of engaging entrepreneurs in this endeavour was difficult. In this mode IGS decided to identify entrepreneurs who would undertake construction of toilets at household level and also stock sanitary wares and construction material. Right from layout to actual construction with purchase of material has been covered in the entrepreneur model of toilet construction. In a short duration, around 600 toilets had been constructed in Sheohar district. Working on the value chain has enabled the entrepreneurs to undertake toilet construction in Munger district at nearly 200 locations in a short span of one month.

 
Health

Safe Drinking Water Plant for Rural Areas

Need for the Technology: The rural population of India comprises more than 700 million people residing in about 1.42 million habitations spread over 15 diverse ecological regions . It is true that providing drinking water to such a large population is an enormous challenge. It is also characterised by non-uniformity in level of awareness, socio-economic development, education, poverty, practices and rituals which add to the complexity of providing water.

The health burden of poor water quality is enormous. It is estimated that around 37.7 millionHealth1 Indians are affected by waterborne diseases annually, 1.5 million children are estimated to die of diarrhoea alone and 73 million working days are lost due to waterborne disease each year. The resulting economic burden is estimated at $600 million a year. The problems of chemical contamination are also prevalent in India with 1, 95,813 habitations in the country are affected by poor water quality. The major chemical parameters of concern are fluoride and arsenic. Iron is also emerging as a major problem with many habitations showing excess iron in the water samples.

Solution Offered by BASIX:BASIX is offering services to community organizations and social entrepreneurs to support and facilitate setting up of safe drinking water plants with Reverse Osmosis (RO) technology. BASIX facilitates the testing of the quality of available water and ensures the customization of the RO purifying machine to suit the treatment needs of the available water so as to produce safe drinking water. 20 litres water can be sold at price from Rs. 4 per can with net profit of about Rs. 3 per can. The establishment cost is Rs. 6.45 lakhs for which bank loans can be availed up to 80%.

Health2In addition to the health and subsequent impact on livelihoods and education of the community members, if any community organization such as Farmer Producer Organization (FPO) puts up such plant; it will help the FPO in additional revenue generation and will ensure some activity going on during the lean periods due to agriculture seasonality.

 
Housing

Technical & Financial Support for Building Houses

Provided to Residents of Weaker Sections in Mongolpuri, Delhi

Need for the Technology: Shelter is the basic human requirement. Even after 68 years of independence, the country is still grappling with the growing shelter problem, especially of the poor. The problem has further been compounded by the rapid increase in urban population. Constant migration of rural population to cities in search of jobs is causing unbearable strain on urban housing and basic services. There is a severe housing shortage in the urban areas with demand – supply gap increasing day-by-day.

According to the 2011 census, India’s cities have a slum population of 65.49 million (22.4 percent of the urban population). While the slum population has increased, the number of slums has decreased – resulting in greater density. Slum dwellers lack access to basic services. Most slum dwellers do not have access to clean water, sanitation and health care facilities. They face a constant threat of eviction, removal, confiscation of goods and have virtually no social security cover. Some 54 percent of urban slums do not have toilets; public facilities are unusable due to a lack of maintenance.

Solution Offered by BASIX: BASIX collaborated with microHome Solutions Ltd. (mHS), based in Delhi for collaborating towards supporting slum dwellers to improve their dwelling conditions. mHS is working towards influencing the current self-construction practices in urban slums by providing innovative construction methods, improving drainage, sanitation and space utilisation for better health. In the year 2010, mHS conceptualized DHS (Design Home Solutions) as a service for urban households engaging in self-construction. A significant proportion of housing in India is being constructed by homeowners with the help of a local mason or a builder. mHS approached BASIX to finance slum dwellers identified by them in North West Delhi, in order to strengthen, repair, extend, and re-construct their present weak dwellings as well as to improve the ventilation, toilets, sewage connection and build another floor above their present ground floor accommodation. The applicants had no title deeds except for a government certificate which entitled them to occupy a plot admeasuring 22’X 10’ following the re-settlement initiative taken to re-locate them from certain areas of metropolitan Delhi. Housing1

Since the banks do not provide such unsecured housing loans, Bhartiya Samruddhi Finance Ltd. [BSFL] decided to do a pilot with mHS and provide micro credit for building safe and strong houses, which would be required to be repaid over 7 years at an interest rate of 18% per annum if the loan is provided to a female member or 19% per annum if provided to a male member. BSFL would cover their risk by ensuring that the borrowers used the additional space in their dwelling for engaging in a livelihood activity or by renting the same, thereby earning enough to repay the loan in instalments. They would also take possession of the Government Certificate entitling the borrower to a plot over which he wished to construct her/his dwelling and insisted that only those houses which have been designed and technically approved by mHS would be funded by them. Fee of 3.5% of the loan amount was to be paid to mHS for their technical assistance. The borrowers agreed to pay this fee as they realized that they will get better and economical accommodation as mHS will supervise the raw-material and construction and keep the cost under control thereby ensuring that masons do not compromise on quality and/or overcharge.

 
 

Information Technologies and Financial Technologies (IT & FT)

Standard IT products for MFIs and other Financial Institutions

Need for the Technology: Technology, innovation, and knowledge have become the key drivers of economic growth today. A broad scan, across many industry verticals, suggests that much of the economic growth of the last decade has been facilitated by the existence of strong technology platforms. The effective absorption and utilization of data and information is extremely important for any sector at various developmental stages. However, the importance of data management becomes more pronounced at the advent of the growth stage when an industry is expanding and diversifying rapidly. This is the state in which the Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) are in today.

As part of this growth stage, microfinance in India and elsewhere, is undergoing rapid changes and discovering new challenges. Collecting money from scattered, remote clients, the cost of service delivery transactions in the “last mile”, effective information exchange at the institutional level, and effective growth management are just a few of the many challenges confronting MFIs. As a result, microfinance practitioners’ motivations to use technology interventions are the same as those for any other similar business model: technology’s ability to speed up the flow of information and capital, automate transactions, control and analyse data, improve customer experience, reduce transaction costs, and increase efficiency and customer outreach. Technology’s potential has, therefore, led Microfinance stakeholders to believe that technology can have a profound impact on their operations. As a result, technology’s promise and potential is being explored by both technology providers and microfinance institutions.

Solution Offered for IT&FT by BASIX:

Delphix Nano

BASIX Social Enterprise Group had initially developed a comprehensive financial solution called FAMIS plus to meet its own microfinance business requirement. This software was subsequently deployed in over 50 other microfinance institutions covering about 170 installations. Subsequently BASIX developed and oracle based ERP software “DELPHIX” to meet its substantial business growth. DELPHIX has been implemented and successfully served as the backend system for over a decade. Drawing from the rich features of both DELPHIX and FAMIS plus as well as the addition of the latest technologies, a newer version called DELPHIX Nano was introduced to cater to the ever changing needs of the microfinance industry. DELPHIX Nano has been evolved to provide a platform to maintain the field level operations in a systematic manner. This has successfully been installed at other MFIs across India as well as internationally.

Delphix Nano software caters to automation requirements of medium to large scale Microfinance Institutions. It is a user friendly comprehensive Micro-Finance operational software featured with both stand alone and web enabled multi-user and multi-function capabilities and can be loaded on any windows based network.

Some of the important features of the software are as follows:

  • Supports all microfinance models
  • Highly configurable and parameterized definition of products and its revisions
  • Comprehensive storage of customer information as per KYC norms
  • Multiple interest calculation methods such as flat and diminishing interest calculations
  • Automated loan repayment generation
  • Integrated to credit bureau systems
  • Comprehensive loan analysis such as demand collection, disbursement and repayment analysis, ageing analysis, Overdue analysis, First Time Over Due (FTOD) Reports
  • Financial statements
    • Cash book, Bank book and daily scroll reports
    • Trail balance, P & L statements and balance sheets
  • More than 200 customizable MIS reports

Delphix Nano has more than 100 installations in domestic and international markets. It is preferred by many small to medium scale MFIs as it is more compatible with their operations. BASIX provides technical assistance apart from installations to ensure that the software meets the needs of its customers.

 
Banksoft

Complete Technology Solution for Financial Institutions

BASIX in partnership with Processware Systems is presenting a core banking solution “Banksoft” to support the functionality of banks, microfinance institutions and cooperative societies. It is an integrated branch automation software that has been developed as a solution for banking application including savings and loans. The solution is user friendly and provides instant information about customers and their transactions. Banksoft enables banks to provide financial services to customers more effectively and efficiently. The software enables banks to deploy additional delivery channels such as mobile, internet, any branch banking and ATM services. It makes the whole banking experience easier for the customer by enabling transactions at any branch or ATMs.

Banksoft also maintains a strong Management Information System (MIS), through which the bank can generate necessary financial reports. With flexible product definition features, banks can define their own savings and loan products. The deployment of Banksoft will allow banks to introduce products and services faster which will provide them competitive capability to generate more revenues and profit. The software is easy to install and requires minimal training to operate. The functionality of Banksoft is in the following areas: interest calculation, cash credit, overdraft, locker, cashier, clearing, DD/PO, Bank Investments, Asset Liability Management, Query, MIS report and banking transactions.

Some of the main features of Banksoft software are:

  • Comprehensive storage of customer information as per Know Your Customer (KYC) norms
  • Electronic storage of photographs and signature of customers
  • Fully parameterized definition of products
  • One-click access to complete account information
  • Supports multiple currencies
  • Generation of statutory reports and audit logs
  • More than 300 in built reports including RBI and Income tax related reports

The software presently is installed in more than 300 installations across India and 2 installations in Papua New Guinea, leading MFI in Myanmar and being implemented in leading MFI in Mozambique. The software has been certified by Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

 
Mobile based

IT Products – Latest Technologies

ViTran SP

BASIX Sub-K iTransactions Limited, one of the group entities of BASIX Social Enterprise Group, developed a virtual transaction platform (ViTran SP) which works on mobile based application for branchless banking solutions. ViTran SP is integrated to core banking solutions and other third party services providers’ platform to perform different types of transactions through mobile.mobile base

This wireless platform can give various financial services such as cash deposit services, remittance, banking, fund transfers. The availability of this latest wireless technology has enabled the local village level outlets to act as Business Correspondence Agents (BCOs), reducing the need for travelling to the nearest bank branch to avail the services.

Sub-K Technology uses the principles of “simplifying” the implementation and experience while developing this mobile based platform. These are the highlighted by:

  • Online/Offline integration with DDFC core banking system, thereby eliminating the complex processing of reconciliation and cash management, that otherwise is required for any other offline solutions, such as handhelds and smart-cards
  • Use of Android mobile phones/Tablet/POS device and Thermal printers to act as Micro-ATM kits in the hands of DDFC staff/agents in the field for ease of reach and transactions.
  • Finger-print and PIN based authentication facilities ensure that the customer always has two possibilities for validation, and thereby significantly reducing the possibility of denial of service.
  • A unique float management principle “Integrated Transaction Fund Management” helps to avoid the risk and fraud overheads for the bank as well the customer.
  • A loan management module will integrate to DDFC systems and will help your field staff to perform loan recovery and will update the information in DDFC systems on real time basis.

Key Features of ViTran SP:

FeaturesCloud Based ArchitectureParameterized CodeAbstracted Business Logic at ServerCentralized ArchitectureHighly ScalableData Centre
Plug and Play Plug More Services Easy change management Remote monitoring Modular scaling of no limit Deployed in Ctrl S Tier IV Data Centre, Hyderabad,
Low Infrastructure Cost   Easy maintenance Easy deployment and maintenance Distributed Architecture 10 mbps dedicated leased line to internet
Scalability   Powerful analytics possible     Disaster Recovery is at Bangalore, Trimax Data Centre
Interoperable          

Sub-k has become the Business Correspondence Agent for 13 banks which include large public sector banks such as State Bank of India (SBI), Syndicate Bank and also for non-bank companies such as Bajaj Allianz, Reliance Life Insurance. The wireless and branchless banking technology has enabled Sub-K to reach 1.5 million households through its banking and payment services. The BCOs are operating in over 300 districts covering 28 states and union territories of India through 4000+ outlets.

 
ERP Solution

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Solution for FPOs & SMEs

ERP system is an IT solution that helps organizations to achieve enterprise wide integration which results in faster access to accurate information required for decision making. Today, an ERP system is considered as basic minimum for running a business. BASIX SEG has promoted over 300 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and works with many small and micro-enterprises which need ERP solutions that suit their business operations. BASIX is in the process of developing the ERP solution for FPOs and SMEs and will soon launch these products for the benefit of these organizations.

 
FMS

Farm Management Solutions (FMS)

India is seeing a growing number of large scale farmers’ organizations, in form of producer companies, Federations of Self Help Groups (SHGs), Co-operatives etc. Many of these organizations are involved in input and output trading of Agricultural and Agri-allied (such as diary) activities. An efficient database of the members of these institutions, their land particulars, crops sown, inputs required, harvesting schedule is required for efficiently servicing the members. BASIX identified these issues and has partnered with two Farm Management Solution (FMS) providers to provide ready made solutions.

Farm Management Solution (FMS) automates the full gamut of farm related activities and processes. Firms/Institutes/People involved in large scale commercial farming are already using such solutions. FMS companies are also interested in taking this solution to Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs). FMS requires each farmer and farm (e.g. those coming under FPCs) to be registered in the system and do beginning-to-end tracking of the farm related crop. Such solutions also needs package of practices (POP) for each planned/sown crop to be fed into the system so that system can generate associated notifications and alerts.

FMS Features:

BASIX is collaborating with two organizations that have cloud based PMS which is also a mobile based technology. These are CropIn Technologies, Bangalore and SourceTrace Systems, Coimbatore. The data to their software is fed into system by smartphone carrying trained staff who micro-manage end-to-end farm management practices and processes.

FMS from CropIn Technologies:

The solution allows:

  • FPCs to connect to their farms and monitor farm management fms pic
  • Platform covers end-to-end farm related activities, starting from farmer, and farm registration, uploading of package of practices (POP) for a crop, alerts based on defined package of practices, crop traceability, marketplace integration etc.
  • Platform allows extensive data collection and has built in data analytics/business intelligence support.
  • It is mandatory to geo-tag each field and do end-to-end tracking of various stages of crops sown in all the fields as per defined package of practices.

FMS from SourceTrace Systems

The solution allows:

  • Farmer Enrollment and Farm data registration and geo tagging of farm
  • Farm level input distribution and calculate cost of production
  • Farmer level procurement
  • Farm photo capture
  • SMS based communication
  • Traceability

BASIX in partnership with CropIn and SourceTrace proposes to offer FMS services to BASIX promoted Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) across 17 states and currently pilot is being undertakes in few FPCs in Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.

 
 

Renewable Technologies

Solar Utility

Schneider and Panasonic Solar Lamps (Offered by Vayam Renewable Limited)

Need for the Technology: About 1.3 billion people in the world do not have access to electricity; India is home to about 400 million of them, constituting the largest off-grid/un-electrified population in the world. Furthermore, the un-electrified households depend on kerosene for lighting purposes which pose significant health risks aside from being hazardous in nature. The government of India subsidizes kerosene, which is a burden on the government exchequer which can be used for other purposes. The government has ambitious plans to electrify the un-electrified but that would take considerable time to happen. Meanwhile, several households both electrified and un-electrified are becoming self-sufficient by installing renewable energy solar panels in their households that can provide reliable electricity.

Solution Offered by BASIX: Vayam Renewable Limited, a group company of the BASIX Social Enterprise Group (SEG) is involved in serving the underserved segments of the population of India by providing them low cost reliable energy solutions. Vayam’s focus has currently been in states that have low levels of electrification. Vayam is currently providing solar lamps made from reputed brands such as Panasonic and Schneider. It has entered into exclusive agreements with Schneider and Panasonic leveraging the vast network of BASIX to provide these low cost solutions. Vayam is not just responsible for distribution and marketing of the products but also will by providing key inputs for product development based on the feedback received from customers.

Several substandard products have entered the market to fill the demand – supply gap; through providing reliable well-known brands, we hope in building customer relations and faith in the product. Solar Lamps offered by Vayam have several innovative features such as mobile charging, water resistance and un-breakability which make the products stand apart from the usual substandard products in the marketplace. Vayam is planning on expanding it outreach to reach the remote villages with a range of solar products apart from solar lamps which include Solar Home Systems, Solar Water Pumps and Solar Heaters.

 
Charging Stations

Charging Stations for Lights and other Electrical Appliances

Need for the Technology: The current electrical situation in India is grossly inadequate and achieving total electrification is resource intensive in nature. Nearly 400 million do not have access to electricity . It has long been claimed that rural electrification greatly improves the quality of life. Lighting alone brings benefits such as increased study time and improved study environment for school children, extended hours for small businesses, and greater security.

Solution Offered by BASIX: Rural spark, an organization is involved in promoting the concept of smartly distributed energy networks. BASIX is collaborating with Rural Spark in the creation of smart grids across India. It is being done so through the provision of Energy Kits that has been developed by Rural Spark. These energy kits can be bought by villagers who can become local energy suppliers who generate, use and sell energy. Through trading energy surpluses with other local energy suppliers in the network, the supply and demand get linked.

The Energy kit provided by rural spark consists of an energy source, Rural Spark Station and Share Cubes. The Rural Spark Station is activated by entering an automatically generated code after payment. The spark station indicates when the local energy supplier runs out of balance, which will be restored once the supplier initiates a top-up. The energy is stored in Rural Spark Share Cubes that store energy that can be used to power applications. The Share Cubes enable the trade of energy between different entrepreneurs Villagers can join this initiative by becoming local energy suppliers who would earn money through supplying energy to their fellow villagers. The Rural Spark Station allows buying and selling energy frCharging2om rural spark network. Any surplus energy can then be sold to others for additional income and would increase efficiency and would make the network reliable by ensuring just the right amount of usage through buying and selling of energy.

Vayam Renewable Limited, a group company of BASIX, has been working with Rural Spark for over two years now. It has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rural Spark, detailing the commitment of locally producing and distributing 10,000 Rural Spark kits that aims to benefit more than 75,000 customers by the end of 2016. This initiative aims to bring clean energy to the remote areas and villages of India which are un-electrified. Additionally, Vayam Renewable plans on using Rural Sparks services and retail platform. Rural Spark and Vayam Renewable plan on utilizing the vast network that BASIX already has in place.

 
Solid Waste

BASIX Municipal Waste Ventures Limited

Need for the Technology: India is the second most populated nation in the world with a population greater than a billion people accounting for approximately 18% of the world’s population. Its urban population grew at a rate of 31.8% during the last decade to 377 million , which is greater than the entire population of the United States. In light of this increase in urban population, India is in desperate need for more services and resources to support the urban population. One of the most pressing problems related to urbanization is Solid Waste Management (SWM), proper waste management systems to address the burgeoning urban waste are absent. The current SWM techniques are highly inefficient, incur heavy expenditure and have failed to create a substantial impact. Improper SWM techniques that are sometimes employed in the country cause a lot of problems such as health risks and negatively impact the quality of life of citizens. Also the living and working conditions of the municipal workers are at dire need of intervention to provide them basic minimum livelihood options.

The per capita waste generation in India is about 0.5 kg/day in the year 2011. There has been an increase of 50% in waste generated by Indian cities since 2001. The total waste generated by urban India amounts to 188,500 tons per day or 68.8 million tons per year.

Solution Offered by BASIX: In order to fill in the huge demand and supply gap in this industry/sector, bmw1BASIX established BASIX Municipal Waste Ventures Limited (BMWV) which was a culmination of 4 years of work done by Indian Grameen Services (IGS), an affiliate of BASIX Group. The aim of the action research project was to establish an end to end waste management system working with multiple stake holders –households, waste pickers and Municipal Corporation.

BMWV is currently working in the cities of Indore, Bhopal, Gutumpura, Badnawar Sailana, Rajgarh, Namli and Maheswar, Raisen, Chitrakoot, Mundi, Sivani Malwa, Manpur and Sanavad Nagar Parishad of Madhya Pradesh. It has a presence in 14 municipal councils covering more than 100,000 households. It has trained over 60 personnel in solid waste management best practices.

BASIX Municipal Waste Ventures (BMWV) plans to introduce sustainable waste picker enterprises that will conduct doorstep garbage collection, segregation, and processing from households in tier II / III municipalities in Madhya Pradesh. BMWV will employ and train waste pickers to conduct this service. BMWV then processes the organic portions into compost for farmers and aggregates the recyclables that can be sold. The benefit is providing wabmw2ste pickers with two times of their existing income, making cities clean and healthy, and recycling raw materials to reduce industrial dependence on raw materials, while reducing pollution through diverting more than 80% of waste from dumping.

 
Recyclable Waste

Plastic Recycling Unit (Gatta Unit)

Need for the Technology: With the ever increasing usage of plastics around the world because of its cost effective nature, convenience, the need for carefully disposing these plastics has become a necessity. Many products that we buy today such as electrical products, food consumables are coming with a plastic casing. What’s worse is that plastic bags are used to carry virtually everything. With the developing countries increasingly having access to resources that can make plastics affordably and efficiently, the usage of plastics is projected to grow in the future.

While normal food products are biodegradable, plastics are not. It usually tends to stay in the atmosphere for greater than 1000 years on average. It is for this reason that recycling has become an important aspect for sustainable living. It is widely understood that only very little of the waste generation gets recycled on a regular basis. This gap between waste generation and recycling tends to get wider in the developing nation. In order to avoid the problem of environmental and health hazards occurring in the near future, there is an urgent need for segregating, and carefully recycling plastic waste.

Solution Offered by BASIX: BASIX has established a Gatta unit (Plastic Recycling Unit) in the city of Indore. The main premise for setting up a Gatta unit was that 80% of the rags collected were made of plastic, which could be recycled into Gatta with a better market and price. Indian Grameen Services (IGS), an affiliate of BASIX has been providing handholding support to Self Help Groups (SHGs) that have been involved with the plant. The process would be that the plastic bags/bottles collected by workers would be segregated as they were often found with other waste and then sent to the reprocessing unit where they were converted into blocks called Gatta. Two machines would be used in the unit, first the Fatka machine for cleaning the plastics and second, Gatta machine for making Gatta.

BMW3

The shops established by SHGs were major sources of waste material for a Gatta unit. IGS has developed market linkages with the other shops and agents in Indore from where they purchased the plastic (waste material) and sold the Gatta made by the unit. The unit recycled 251.7 tons of plastic in its first two years of operation.

IGS had also provided a soft loan of Rs. 150,000 to SHGs for Gatta unit without any interest, which was to be paid back in monthly instalments of Rs. 12,000. Any subsequent loans would be charged an interest. The production process of Gatta unit is given below.

 
 

Technology

Technologies Promoted by BASIX Group of Companies