Ep. 774: Sex Education in India

In today’s globalised world where we are connected through technology and where information travels very fast, addressing topics such as sex education has become increasingly crucial. Conservative beliefs on sex are becoming obsolete day by day, especially in India, where the teenage population is expanding and attitudes about sex are changing due to the impact of media. In today’s episode, Priyal Lyncia D’almeida and Mahek Nankani discuss the problems associated with the current sex education system and the need for a comprehensive sex education curriculum for India.

Resources mentioned in the episode:

Mahek Nankani’s oped on sex education

Need for Comprehensive Sex Education: Moving Beyond Birds & Bees – Padmini Vaidyanathan, The Quint.

Ep. 773: The War in Ukraine

After recognising the independence of the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics in the breakaway part of Ukraine, Russia has now launched a special military operation.

With the fog of war and the lively use of the information domain, asymmetric and hybrid tactics the much weaker Ukrainian military is holding its own against the much superior Russian force.

Aditya Pareek and Pranav R. Satyanath discuss the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the role of conventional forces, geoeconomics, nuclear threats, conflict diplomacy and the information domain in it.

Resources mentioned in the episode:

Article in Times of India by Anupam Manur on DeSWIFTing Russia

Aditya Pareek’s view of the role of CBDCs in mitigating the impact of sanctions in Sputnik News

Megha Pardhi’s article in Deccan Herald about Russia-China cooperation in case of Russia being cut off from SWIFT

Ep. 772: Mapping India’s Legal Landscape on Online Harms

As India tries to figure out how to govern Digital Communication Networks (DCNs), there are already laws applicable to harms which may occur on the internet. In this episode, Rohan Seth, Prateek Waghre and Sapni G K discuss Sapni’s document which maps the current legal landscape on online harms in India. This is the 3rd document in our series on the Governance of DCNs.

Links mentioned in the episode:

Read Sapni’s document here

Read the working paper on the categorisation of harms attributed to DCNs – “Governance of DCNs I: Categorisation of Harms

Read the discussion document on benefits/opportunities associated with DCNs – “Governance of DCNs II: Opportunities and Benefits

See Prateek’s tracker for arrests for social media posts – Tracking Arrests / Cases / FIRs / Threat(s) / Detentions related to posts on Social Media

Ep. 771: How rare are “Rare” Diseases?

Over 30 crore people in the world suffer from more than 7000 rare diseases. On Rare Diseases Day, one year after the release of the National Policy for Rare Diseases, Mahek Nankani and Harshit Kukreja discuss India’s response to rare diseases.

Suggested Readings:

Rare diseases: Small numbers, huge burden by Mahek Nankani, Harshit Kukreja

It Will Consume Your Life’: 4 Families Take On Rare Diseases by Gina Kolata

Ep. 770: India and the Future of Space Stations

In 2031, the International Space Station is due to deorbit and crash into the Pacific Ocean. It will be replaced by the state-operated space stations of Russia and China and as well as commercial space stations operated by US-based companies. India also hopes to have an experimental space station in orbit by 2030. But even if it meets this goal, it will remain far behind other spacefarers. Aditya Ramanathan and Aditya Pareek argue that the only way for India to catch up will be to aggressively seek out collaborations.

Ep. 769: Just War Theory – Can War Ever be Just?

All actions have consequences, especially war. But does the success of the desired outcome outweigh these consequences? In today’s episode, Aarthi Ratnam and Megha Pardhi analyze the Just War Theory and how it’s used as an ethical justification throughout historical wars.

Suggested Readings:

1. Just War Theory – Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

2. War – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

3. Just War Theory and the Ethics of Drone Warfare – Erich Freiberger

Ep. 768: The US Strategy for the Indo-Pacific

The Biden Administration has come up with the US’ first Indo-Pacific Strategy document which aims to secure a free and open, connected, prosperous, secure, and resilient Indo-Pacific. How does the strategy view China? What is the role of India in this US strategy? What are the action plan in the document and the likely challenges towards its implementation? Megha Pardhi talks to Shrey Khanna to discuss the US Strategy for the Indo-Pacific.

Ep. 767: Blocking Apps and Scrutiny

Last week, reports suggested that the Union Government had issued orders to block an additional 54 apps from China, making it the fifth time such action was taken since June 2020. Prateek Waghre and Sapni GK join Rohan Seth to unpack the app bans, related developments surrounding the use of emergency powers under the 2021 IT Rules, and the need for a higher burden of proof on the Union Government to demonstrate their claims.

Links mentioned in the episode:

Economic Times report regarding the order to ban apps

Medianama video referenced while discussing Press Releases issued

December 2021 Press Release regarding YouTube channels

January 2022 Press Release regarding YouTube channels

Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009

Ep. 766: Synthetic Content Generation and China’s Worries

What is AI-generated content and why is China worried about it? In today’s episode, Megha Pardhi, Suyash Desai, and Varad Vishwarupe discuss synthetic content generation using AI and the Chinese government’s recent draft to regulate such content.

Varad Vishwarupe is currently working as a Data Scientist(AWS) at Amazon’s Research division. He has over 22 international research papers and 4 international patents to his credit. The focus of his work lies in the confluence of deep learning, applied machine learning, human-computer interaction, and information retrieval.

Check out Varad Vishwarupe’s research profile.

Also, check out our newsletter – China Tech Dispatch.

Ep. 764: Reflecting on the Union Budget 2022-23

Not only is the Union Budget a statement of the government’s estimated receipts and expenditure for a particular year, but it is also an account of the government’s performance in the previous years. In this episode, Apurva Kumar, Pranay Kotasthane, Suman Joshi and Sarthak Pradhan, discuss the Union Budget 2022-23. They look at some interesting trends and also some not so promising projections.

Ep. 763: Jobs and the Budget

India needs 20 million jobs a year but budget speeches have had very low mention of jobs. The state elections are afoot in some big states but jobs are a big focus among the voters. The finance minister mentioned creating 60 lakh jobs over 5 years in this year’s budget and has also increased investment in some sectors that could help create jobs. While this is a start, it is woefully inadequate in a country that needs 20 million jobs a year. Sridhar Krishna speaks to Anupam Manur, Aarushi Kataria and Sudisha Mishra to evaluate the impact this budget has on jobs.

Suggested readings:

  1. 2022 in Numbers: The Big Numbers to Focus On by Ira Dugal
  2. Budget 2022: What do the Budget 2022 Numbers Tell Us? by Ram Singh
  3. Capex Hike to Social Sector Cute: The Story of Budget 2022 by Mint
  4. UP Election 2022: Here Are the Issues Shaping Votes in Uttar Pradesh by DNA
  5. UP Polls: Priyanka Stresses on Jobs During Door-To-Door Campaigning by Hindustan Times
  6. Samajwadi Party Vows to Make Farmers Debt-Free by 2025, BJP Promises 3Cr Jobs by Namita Bajpai

Ep. 762: The Full Spectrum of Russian Foreign Policy

Tensions between Russia and the West are making headlines, with a lot of hysteria around the ongoing negotiations and developments in the European security sphere. With considerable intrigue in the global information ecosystem, current events may have a lasting impact on cyberspace, outer space and public diplomacy. Sapni G K and Aditya Pareek speak to Dr. Elena Chernenko about Russia’s foreign affairs across domains like cyberspace, outer space and public diplomacy.

Dr. Elena Chernenko, is a Special Correspondent at the Russian Business Newspaper, Kommersant. She covers subjects ranging from Arms Control, Cyberspace, Outer Space and the whole spectrum of Russian diplomacy and International Affairs.

Ep. 761: Policy of Death

Last month, The Lancet Commission on Value of Death released their report, advocating for a return to death as a socio-cultural event. Is death now “over medicalised”? What are the policy implications of this? Should we legalise assisted dying and euthanasia? Listen to this episode with Shrey Khanna and Harshit Kukreja to find out.

Suggested Reading:

Report of the Lancet Commission on the Value of Death: bringing death back into life

Ep. 760: Xi-Putin Meeting: A New World Order?

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing last week resulted in a detailed joint statement, proposing a vision for a new world order. What are the commonalities and differences between the two sides? How do they view the future of the world? And what does all this mean for India? Listen to this conversation between Aditya Pareek and Manoj Kewalramani to find out.

Suggested Readings:

An analysis of the China-Russia joint statement in the Eye on China newsletter

People’s Daily article on China-Russia economic ties

Ep. 759: Humanitarian Intervention – For Better or Worse?

Is there a case for humanitarian intervention? In this episode, Aarthi Ratnam and Priyal Lyncia D’Almeida discuss the criteria for intervention and the scope of responsibility. To identify what these cases are, they propose the “conditions of exceptionalism”, by looking at historical examples of mass violence. They also highlight the importance of post-intervention responsibilities of the international community.

Suggested Readings:

  1. “State Deviancy and Genocide: The State as a Shelter and a Prison.” – Anderson K.
  2. The Law of Peoples: With, the Idea of Public Reason Revisited.” – John Rawls
  3. Humanitarian War: Military Intervention and Human Rights” – Adam Roberts
  4. Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations.” – Michael Walzer

Ep. 758: “India Out” Campaign in the Maldives

Recently, the story broke out that the government of Maldives is drafting a bill prohibiting all actions that could affect its relationship with foreign countries. This development has occurred in the backdrop of the country’s growing “India Out” campaign. Especially after the release of former President Abdulla Yameen, the movement has seen considerable growth. What is China’s role in it? How is it going to impact Maldive’s relationship with India? Aditya Pareek talks to Shrey Khanna to discuss the “India Out” Campaign and India-Maldives relations

Ep. 757: Breaking down the Investigation on Pegasus

The New York Times recently came out with a detailed investigation on Pegasus, the surveillance tool sold by Israel’s NSO Group to countries around the world. The investigation has chilling details about how the tool was deployed by nation-states. Rohan Seth discusses the findings with Sapni G Krishna and Mr Javeed Ahmed.

Link to the New York Times report: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/magazine/nso-group-israel-spyware.html

Ep. 755: Strategies for a New Space Age

China and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) recently came out with their latest strategic publications on space, outlining expectations and the broad policy direction in the domain. India has to date not published a comprehensive space strategy document, leaving a huge gap in its policy communiqués. Aditya Pareek joins Dr. Shrey Khanna to discuss the major features of the latest NATO space strategy, the Chinese white paper on space, and what aspects a prospective similar publication from India should incorporate.