About Us


To use technology to transform country’s flagship benefit transfer programs and open doors for the poor into the financial mainstream.


Using technology to foster financial inclusion is what Centre for Digital Financial Inclusion (CDFI) aims to do. In order to leverage technology in promoting financial inclusion in India, CDFI has developed an approach based on extensive research, digital experiments and interactions/ collaborations with various stakeholders in this space. The two-pronged approach aims to digitize Government to people payments by developing digital solutions to support large benefit transfer programmes and simultaneously enable the poor to use these funds in a digital mode. 

To support the country's flagship benefit transfer programmes, and to open doors for the poor, CDFI, along with its technology partners, has developed several innovative solutions. All CDFI innovations are conceptualized and created after extensive research in collaboration with respected institutes such as IIMB and IFMR and through reputed research agencies. 

Amongst its various projects, there is a digital solution that tracks nutrition delivery in Anganwadis and an integrated cashless digital platform for farmer producer organizations (FPOs).  Affecting a large population, these innovative solutions deliver a wide range of impact, be it in bringing about rural transformation in Maharashtra or playing a pivotal role in incentivizing TB care. One of the Centre’s flagship projects also is being used in implementing the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, the first new DBT scheme to be implemented using a digital platform. The Centre has supported mobile-based continuous literacy tools for deepening digital, financial and domain literacy.

In addition, The Centre has initiated and conducted research studies / digital experiments, and rolled out programme support projects to understand the financial inclusion space and how technology can be leveraged to transform lives. The Centre has set up a Digital Innovation Lab at IIM Bangalore to promote development and scaling of new digital payment use cases and encourage research.

Playing the role of an innovator, collaborator and thought leader in bringing together stakeholders from diverse sectors, Centre for Digital Financial Inclusion, in less four years since its inception, is bringing about a change in financial inclusion space through technology in the country. 

The Centre for Digital Financial Inclusion (CDFI) at the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR), Chennai was established in September 2014. CDFI is headed by an Executive Director and supported by a team of functional and domain experts with programme and project management experience.


CDFI advances the following objectives, all of which are aimed at poor, rural, or otherwise excluded population segments:

  • Drive payments made to excluded population segments onto digital platforms
  • Work with commercial providers to test and scale new digital payment innovations
  • Develop and scale new digital payment use cases
  • Analyse policy / program implementation frameworks to help create an enabling environment for digital financial inclusion
  • Create public goods to accelerate diffusion of best practices

The Team

Our team comes from diverse backgrounds and brings expertise in developing and scaling innovative solutions in collaboration with public, private and not-for-profit sector


CDFI's role is to identify catalytic opportunities and to fund grant, TA, research, and advocacy efforts to unlock those opportunities. For this purpose, it partners with the Government, both at the Centre and the State.

Given that its focus area includes agriculture and food, rural development, health and nutrition, education, banking, MSME and governance, partnerships in these areas with government ministries and departments are being created.

Commercial partners such as major banks, MNOs, third-party business correspondents, and entrepreneurs developing innovative digital financial services are also crucial for fulfilling the mandate of CDFI.


Awards/ Recognitions

CDFI awarded Best Innovation Partner for GKSF 2015 Image
CDFI awarded Best Innovation Partner for GKSF 2015

Kerala Chief Minister, Shri Oomen Chandy felicitating Shri Krishnan Dharmarajan, Executive Director, CDFI, at the closing of Grand Kerala Shopping Festival, 2015


Winner of Startup Karnataka Top Tech 25 Awards 2016