Prerak Shah

Hi everyone, I’m Prerak. I work with Vruthy, part of the Catalyst Group of Institutions based in Bangalore. We have been active in the social impact space for over 30 years, focusing on ensuring the wealth and health of each individual, particularly marginalized and vulnerable groups. Our approach involves improving the wealth and livelihoods of these communities by providing a bundle of services that follow market-based approaches. In the digital economy, these approaches help incentivize certain behaviors of large players and are driven by value creation. To ensure value creation for smallholder and marginalized communities, we focus on collectivization and fostering collective value creation in the digital economy. It is crucial to safeguard their interests so that larger players do not dominate the platform dynamics. This is where the cooperative principle is essential, ensuring equity and solidarity—the core values behind cooperation and collectivization. Although smallholder and marginalized communities are a significant part of the larger economy, they often receive only a small portion of the value created. By working with them, we aim to protect their rights and provide democratic control through collective institutions. At Vruthy, we’ve worked with close to 20,000 farmers in the last two years, facilitating market transactions and ensuring equitable access to markets through their own collective institutions. This approach helps prevent inequity on the platform and includes individuals from various classes, castes, and even landless laborers. In doing so, we ensure that these institutions set prices and facilitate transactions transparently, giving farmers a say in the process and helping them trust the digital economy. This underscores the importance of applying cooperative principles to the digital economy.