India’s New Credit Rails!

There are roughly 64 million MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises), i.e. small businesses, in India. These include a wide variety of businesses across professions and industries: like your street-side sugarcane juice and chaat vendors, mobile and kirana shop owners, most retail and wholesale traders, all the way to small and medium scale factory operators.

These businesses have always received the short end of the stick in terms of access to credit. …


The Role of BCs and Aadhaar in Financial Inclusion

Satya is a resident of Massani, a village overlooking the Sahibi river barrage. Massani is a small settlement of about 1400 people in the Indian state of Haryana.


Getting Under the Hood of the World’s Fastest Growing Payments System

In July 2020, there were a record 1.49 billion UPI transactions, a 12% MoM increase from June’s 1.33 billion.

Ah UPI, the golden child of digital payments in India. Last week, I claimed that UPI was one of the most advanced payment systems in the world right now. By the end of this post, I hope to give you a reason to believe that.

On November 8, 2016, the Hon’ble PM of India Narendra Modi demonetized 86% of the physical currency in circulation in the country. This was a drastic attempt to reduce the use of cash in the country…


A Peek Behind the Scenes

Last week, we gave a brief overview of the different payment systems in India. Over the next few weeks we will take a deeper dive into some of these payment systems. We start with this segment on Credit Card Payments.

You’ve heard all these amazing things about how a credit card will change your life — you will be able to get cash rewards, join Cred to get cashback points on your card bills, access the premium lounge at airports, and so many other benefits! So you decide you are going to get a credit card.

Getting Started

Say you already have…


Regulatory Bodies and Payment Schemes

[image source: pymnts.com]

This article will summarize the evolution of payment systems in India, and give a brief overview of the key regulatory players involved in facilitating these systems.

Regulatory bodies

Reserve Bank of India


14th century to present day

In the previous post, we discussed the origins of money in the gift economies of the prehistoric times and commodity money in early civilizations. We also saw the introduction of banking and payments instruments like promissory notes and bills of exchange in the Roman empire and the Indian subcontinent. We ended the last article with the rise of trans-national banking during the Crusades.

Here’s a quick timeline of where we are in the story of money —


Prehistoric to Middle Ages

“mind over matter, money over all…” — Lil Wayne

Everyone likes money. Some people, like rappers, really like money. But wherever you lie on this spectrum, you will agree that money is a very important part of our lives. You use it to buy food, pay rent and purchase your Netflix subscription. You would also use it to pay the government for traffic violations and as a gift for a cousin or friend, when you don’t know what to get them on their birthday.

Today our notion of money has two basic forms — the cash in our wallets and…


Where we are, and where we’re going

“Artificial Intelligence began with an ancient wish to forge the Gods.” -Pamela McCorduck

Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) refers to the ability of artificial agents/programs to display human-level proficiency in reasoning about and performing tasks in their environment. AGI has long been a mainstay of science fiction movies and books, famously embodied in likeable characters such as Tony Stark’s assistant JARVIS from the Iron Man series and the humanoid robot C3PO in Star Wars.

Crucially, AGI is also considered the holy grail for most AI research today. In a sense, the formulation of most reinforcement learning problems — problems that require…


Part III: Reflections and Enhancements

Photo by bantersnaps on Unsplash

This is the third and final post in a series designed to give a complete walkthrough to a solution for the cartpole problem on OpenAI gym, built from scratch without using standard machine learning frameworks like Pytorch or Tensorflow. The full code can be found here.
Part I laid the foundations. In it we discussed the neural net architecture and implemented the forward propagation to calculate values for the agent’s actions.

Part II delved into the details of reinforcement learning theory, formalizing the notions of Q-values and DQN’s. We also implemented backpropagation in Part II.

Part III will contain visualizations…


Part II: Reinforcement Learning and Backpropagation

A dog learning to play fetch [Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash]

This post is the second of a three part series that will give a detailed walk-through of a solution to the Cartpole-v1 problem on OpenAI gym — using only numpy from the python libraries.

The first part laid the foundations, creating an outline of the program and building the feed-forward functions to propagate the state of the environment to its action values. This part will focus on the theory behind cumulative reward and action values in reinforcement learning and on building the backpropagation mechanism. These are foundational pieces for our agent’s learning process.

By the end of the previous article…

Abhav Kedia

Data Science, FinTech and the future of Technology. MA CompSci & Math, University of Oxford.

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