Project SAATHI

Empowering Rural Finance with Equitable Artificial Intelligence (AI)
An AI-driven initiative by the Indian Institute of Science, providing real-time, local-language financial advice to rural customers in India, fostering financial inclusion and informed decision-making.

Project SAATHI: Empowering Rural Finance with Equitable Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Project SAATHI, led by Dr. Shashi Jain at the Indian Institute of Science and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a pioneering effort to democratize financial access in rural India. Harnessing the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI), SAATHI aims to provide equitable access to essential financial information. Comprising a collaborative dream team, including international expertise and industry leaders, the project is poised to transform the lives of rural communities.

At the core of Project SAATHI is an AI-powered financial advisory system. SAATHI, which stands for Scheme Access, Attention, Training, Help, and Inclusion, is designed to offer a lifeline to rural customers. It delivers real-time, language-friendly responses to voice queries, ensuring faster and more accurate financial decisions. SAATHI is not just a technological solution; it represents a global movement towards using AI for inclusive development.

To receive funding, Dr Shashi Jain and other Grand Challenges winners submitted their concepts which outlined their bold idea in response to the Catalyzing Equitable Artificial Intelligence (AI) Use request for proposals. More than 1,300 proposals were submitted from around the world.

About Grand ChallengesGrand Challenges stem from the idea from over a century ago that crowdsourcing a defined set of unsolved problems can spark innovation and accelerate progress. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its Grand Challenges funding partners use Challenges – launched in 2003 as open requests for grant proposals – to focus attention and effort on solving pressing global health and development problems for those most in need. Together they have awarded over 3600 grants engaging a diverse pool of problem solvers in over 100 countries and fostering a global innovation ecosystem where it will have the most impact. The foundation and its Grand Challenges partners will continue to launch RFPs to support innovators from around the world in tackling the hardest, most urgent Grand Challenges.

Team Members

Principal Investigator

Dr. Shashi jain
Assistant Professor
Department of Management Studies, IISc


Dr. Uma Urs
Senior Lecturer in Business and Management
Oxford Brookes Business School

Collaborative Partners

Mr. Shripad Jadhav

President at Kotak Mahindra Bank

Akaike Technologies

A leading AI company with expertise in generative AI solutions

News & Events

IISc is the winner of a Grand Challenges grant – an initiative fostering innovation to solve pressing global
health and development problems and funded by the ‘Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’. Dr Shashi Jain,
Centre for Society and Policy, will pursue an innovative global health and development research project
focused on Catalyzing Equitable Artificial Intelligence (AI) Use, titled “Enabling Equal Finance Access for
Rural Customers in India”

know more

Supported by

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through their ‘Grand Challenges Initiative’

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