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A presentation and discussion of LIRNEasia research from Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh  
Abstract In spite of many policy interventions and proactive legislations by the Central Government aimed at encouraging Urban Local Bodies (ULB) to play an active role in promoting orderly growth of the Micro Enterprise Sector in India, the ground reality is that most ULBs have not accepted the new mandate. Even though the sector is important contributor to the economy, particularly towards the growth of employment, there is little focus on the wellbeing of the sector by the ULBs which are responsible for the regulation and growth of the sector. The law requires that all micro enterprises-shops, establishments, and hawkers need to register themselves with the local government. The intent of the law is that the ULBs can plan for an orderly growth of the sector as well as regulate the sector. However, it is universally accepted that there is virtually no compliance of the law.
LIRNEasia wishes to understand how the capabilities of information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be leveraged to create the conditions for hitherto excluded groups to participate in new economic opportunities in global supply chains in agriculture and services. Here we give primacy to participation as producers of value, rather than as mere consumers. Building on the insights that application of knowledge to productive processes and articulation with global supply chains are critical to increased productivity leading to economic growth, LIRNEasia seeks to make available agricultural research-based knowledge on better farming practices for high-value crops, including on disease avoidance and remediation. New techniques that disaggregate and make available small components of larger business-process outsourcing (BPO) tasks reduces transaction costs and helps manage quality concerns in ways that allow for greater participation by the less qualified and by those who are, for various reasons, excluded from the conventional forms of employment in the BPO sector. In the case of agricultural supply chains, LIRNEasia has negotiated with the Sri Lanka Department of Agriculture to make open, and allow the digitization of, a valuable stock of paper-based information currently used as a resource when answering questions that come through on an agriculture hotline.
The past decade has seen unprecedented, rapid growth in electronic connectivity in the form of voice in the developing world. Access to the Internet and to more-than-voice services is quite uneven with those at the BOP being excluded from the benefits of the rich potential of applications and services associated with the Internet. The report is a part of LIRNEasia’s research into the exploration of how to bring about an increase the inclusivity of the currently marginalized BOP by providing more useful services and applications on mobile platforms. In terms of providing useful services, the research will focus on three sectors; telecom, electricity and government services. How can these services be more useful to particularly to the micro-entrepreneurs at the Bottom of the Pyramid?
Information and communication have always opened opportunities for the poor to earn income, reduce isolation, and respond resiliently to emergencies. With mobile phone use exploding across the developing world, even marginalized communities are now benefiting from modern communication tools. This book explores the impacts of this unprecedented technological change. Drawing on unique household surveys undertaken by research networks active in 38 developing countries, it helps to fill knowledge gaps about how the poor use information and communication technologies (ICTs). How have they benefited from mobile devices, computers, and the Internet?
Ranjula Senaratna Perera CRPsouth2013 Mysore, India
The survey was conducted among the low-income, urban micro-entrepreneurs (MEs) in three countries, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka. The study defined micro-entrepreneurs as those who employed less than ten hired workers, i.e 0-9. The hired workers are paid employees or full-time equivalent, excluding the owner. This is an adaptation of international definition followed by World Bank and European Commission1.
An experiment in holistic education in the primary grades in an education zone in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka during 2013-2014; Research Brief and Full Report
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The report broadly explores the customer relationship management (CRM) practices in the electricity distribution sector in Bangladesh. It identifies some of the existing challenges and how these can be improved with the use of ICTs and better service design. In a country where less than half the population has access to electricity through 13.5 million connections to the grid, the challenge facing the sector is two-fold. First, those that are privileged to be connected to the grid, need improved services.
ABSTRACT This paper investigates the factors that influence formalization of poor micro-enterprises (MEs) in urban locations in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The paper draws from a multi-country survey of information and communication needs of poor MEs in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka in the second quarter of 2013. Through logistic regression, it models business registration among such MEs to understand what affects the decision to formalize within these environments. The paper also looks at the barriers to registration and the policy implications from these findings. Using descriptive statistics and models we find that the MEs lack of formalization is explained to a significant level by their level of education, gender, size of the enterprise and awareness levels.