The Project Kirana is an initiative by the payment major Mastercard and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
What is Project Kirana?
Project Kirana is a 2-year programme aimed at increasing the revenue generation, promoting the use of digital payment by kirana shops that are owned or operated by women. The project has been initially launched in the selected districts of Uttar Pradesh- Lucknow, Varanasi and Kanpur. The major focus of the project is to improve literacy and financial skills of the women owning Kirana Shops as well as creating awareness about banking services, digital payments, etc.
- The project is targeted at 3000 women in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
- The project is being implemented by ACCESS Development Services and DAI Digital Frontiers.
- UP has been chosen for the kirana project because it is the most populous state of the country and largest number of people engaged in the informal sector. The state also has largest number of MSMEs (14%) with 10.3% of the total women employed in the sector.
- Across the world, general inequality prevented access to digital business solutions by women. This project aims to promote gender parity in business as well as improve financial inclusion among women.
- Mastercard has committed a sum of USD 33 million for this project in India. The program will focus on building financial and literacy skills. It will also train the beneficiaries to improve business management skills.
Mastrcard is an American multinational financial services corporation with its headquarters in New York, USA. In July 2020, Mastercard has also announced to commit Rs 250 crore for rebooting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) of India. Kirana project can be seen as a part of the commitment. Ajaypal Singh Banga is the present President and Chief Executive Officer of Mastercard.
The United States Agency for International Development is an agency of the US which is responsible for administering foreign aid and development assistance.