Vijay Pratap Singh Aditya

Ashoka Fellow
New Delhi, Delhi, India
Fellow Since 2008

Citation

This profile was prepared when Vijay Pratap Singh Aditya was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
More then 60 percent of the Indian population lives in rural areas where the potential to develop new markets in financial, health, education and agricultural services is enormous. Many Indian and international companies understand the possibility in these and other associated sectors and are beginning to create services and products tailored for the rural consumer. However when entering the rural markets many companies rely on traditional methods of market capture by creating proprietary access technologies and systems that limit consumer choice and product diversity, further there is lack of incentive in costing of there products and services for the price conscious rural consumer. The conscious lack of technological coordination among service providers leads them to use proprietary technology platforms even at higher overhead costs, aiming to monopolize geographical sections of the rural market. This expensive monopolization becomes counter productive, and captive customers end up paying higher prices. The end result of this strategy is lowering cost of operations and expanding markets, that leads to poor service quality and institutionalizes lowered service expectations on the part of the rural consumer, who start weaning away slowly.

Vijay wants to establish parity in access to services to the rural producers and consumers. He is creating a wide variety of open-source solutions based on common access software and a free-to-access (as much as possible) platform on which service providers can access a market of rural customers who are, in turn, able to comparison, shop for services as well as share their needs and reviews. This widely available access software decreases the costs for new market entrants and encourages competition by firms that otherwise might not have been able to reach the rural consumer. The resulting competition and lowered service delivery costs stands in stark contrast to the normal situation in rural areas where monopoly or duopoly power have kept prices artificially high and limit product/service diversity. Additionally, Vijay’s platform and software technology is in the process of providing a whole new level of information access that protects consumers’ personal information, while at the same time allows insurance companies, banks, and other service industries access to limited aggregated and accurate information about the customers they hope to serve, by helping them redesign there products and services offer.

Vijay’s definition of an appropriate “platform solution” is not limited to digital software. For example, to create a certification system for small-scale and numerate, but illiterate organic farmers, Vijay utilizes an approach based on number symbols and color coded paper. He uses a similar approach with color coded paper to help illiterate Self Help Groups to effectively manage their financial operations and network with financial institutions for there credit needs.

Vijay and Ekgaon’s long-term objective is to design an integrated platform which contains a wide range of community-owned, common access solutions; allowing rural service providers, rural customers and producers to access each other in a transparent, efficient, and competitive way.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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