One of the outstanding strengths of InM is its long and wide experience in managing and conducting in-depth and varied action and policy research in all major areas of socioeconomic development in developing countries, especially in the context of Bangladesh. The key feature of InM research is its emphasis on conceiving the research frame within an integrated framework to support inclusive and equitable transformation towards prosperity and suggest prudent policy making based on ground realities and lessons learned from development successes both from home and abroad.
The Institute specifically works on strengthening the links between financial and real sectors in priority areas including inclusive finance, digital financial services, poverty, gender equality, human dignity, and inclusive development. Over the years, InM has completed several research studies under the funding of various donor organisations like, DFID, JICA, UNDP, FAO, Plan International, European Union, World Bank, Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Nathan Associates London Limited, IGES, PKSF and others. Total number of policy/research studies conducted by InM over the last 14 years is 82. The following research studies are currently ongoing:
Strengthening Social Resilience Programme: Development of NFIS Implementation and Action Plan and Resource Plan of Bangladesh
Financial inclusion has significant potential for improving the well-being of all in society, especially for the participants in unserved and under-served financial markets who belong to the poor and marginalised groups; CMSMEs; small and marginal farm households; participants in informal sector activities; youth and women belonging to poor households; indigenous peoples; persons with disabilities; and other disadvantaged groups. The Government of Bangladesh (GOB) has adopted the National Financial Inclusion Strategy of Bangladesh (NFIS-B, July 2021-June 2026) in 2021 as an effective tool to achieve the core objective to ‘Increase the level of financial inclusion (having at least one regulated financial service account) of all adults to 100 per cent by June 2026’. This strategy has established its linkages with the long-term Perspective Plan of Bangladesh (2021-2041), medium-term 8th Five Year Plan (2021-2025) and other relevant national strategies and policies. The government’s priority to adopt the NFIS-B stems from a number of considerations, including the potential of financial inclusion to reduce poverty and inequality, and promote financial stability, inclusive development and shared prosperity.
Under this ADB funded project, InM has been updating the data and information of the draft implementation plan of NFIS-B prepared by InM in 2018; and develop updated and detailed implementation plan including Action Plan (July 2022 to June 2027) of NFIS-B. In addition, InM will develop a detailed year-wise resource plan for NFIS-B.
Comprehensive Rural Finance in Bangladesh
Under the agreement between Bangladesh Bank and InM, InM is conducting a study on ‘Comprehensive Rural Finance’. The study will undertake a comprehensive national household level field study/survey in the rural economy on the country’s rural financial system (RFS) and collect sample data (both quantitative and qualitative) on financial products and services, such as savings, credit, payments, insurance, microfinance etc. from both formal and informal sectors of the rural economy. Based on the survey outcomes, several policy papers will be produced by InM depicting future rural transformation and the role of BB in ensuring inclusive transformation. In order to accomplish the broader goal of providing credible research support for designing rural finance policies and institutional reorganisation (as necessary) by the Bangladesh Bank and the policy makers to support the long-term policy agenda of transforming Bangladesh to a high income country (HIC) by 2041, the study will undertake a number of specific tasks and perform several responsibilities in line with the Terms of References (ToR) of the study.
The study will provide a comprehensive review of the existing policies on rural finance introduced by the Government of Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Bank and suggest new policies and amendments of existing policies, as needed. Further, the study will identify sector- and region-level potentials and occupational dynamics at the grassroots level of the rural economy and suggest policies to transit Bangladesh to a HIC by 2041. It will explore the financial-rural sector nexus in the rural economy and identify dominant rural growth drivers in support of rural transformation. It will examine the extent, channels and other dimensions of net resource transfer from the rural to the urban areas through the financial sector institutions and assess their implications for rural growth and development.
It will assess the extent of availability of financial resources from different financial sources and the supply-demand gaps that exist for specific activities in both farm and nonfarm sector in the rural economy and their development implications. The study will also examine the extent of penetration of digital (and other modern) financial services in terms of various household groups and enterprises in the rural economy and their implications for growth and development. In short, the study will provide evidence based inputs for framing effective policies by the Bangladesh Bank for sustained and inclusive rural development in Bangladesh.