Founder, Outline India
An economics postgraduate from Boston University, Prerna Mukharya took a leap of faith and left her job as a Research Associate at the Centre for Policy Research to mend a service gap in the Indian data system. After a few years into her research, Mukharya realised how unreliable data in the social sector was.
"I set up Outline India to bring in accountability, authenticity and incentives to data collection in the country. Our aim is to provide reliable qualitative and quantitative on-field data to our clients so that all analysis-based decisions made by them are wholesome, accurate and impactful," says Mukharya.
Mukharya started Outline India, with INR 1.5 lakh from her personal savings and with the help of a few interns. The company has operations across 26 states in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, in about 15,000+ villages and has reached over five million people so far. Its sole objective is to enhance the decision-making process of policymakers.
"About 65% people live in the rural areas. Of the population roughly 50% have internet but only about 25% of them actively use it," she explains.
It was the thrill of making a social impact by bringing to light the opinions of the ignored 900 million people that motivated Mukharya. "To be at the grassroots is super exciting. Every small change has the potential to make a huge impact. You cannot figure out their banking needs, sitting in an air-conditioned office in Mumbai; this is how microfinance evolved," she adds.
So far, the enterprise has generated thousands of man-days of employment across fieldworkers, coordinators, supervisors, transcribers and data entry operators who are, often, individuals with high school education and/or little or no college education. With nearly a decade of experience in data collection and impact assessment, crossing more than a million interactions across the world, Outline India has shown how evidence-based policy results in increased social outcomes and quality of life for millions of people.
"In the coming years, I wish to spearhead the expansion of emerging economies of the world for the adoption of data-driven decisions," she concludes.