Ep. 754: Nutrition Programmes in India – A Report Card

Nutrition programmes in India come in different hues and have undergone sweeping changes in the last few years. From the ICDS to the POSHAN 2.0, we have seen varying successes across the country. What do budgetary trends indicate? Why should we track this? Apurva Kumar and Suman Joshi discuss all this and more.




Ep. 753: Mind the Policy Implementation Gap

Over the last 75 years of India’s independence, there has been no dearth of ideas and policies targeting progress. Yet policy progress is dependent on policy implementation. In this episode, Aarushi Kataria talks to Pranay Kotasthane about the gap that exists between policies on paper and what they actually achieve. They talk about the Right to Information Act 2005 and the 2020 Farm Bills in light of that discussion.

Reading List:

Policy failure and the policy-implementation gap: can policy support programs help? by Bob Hudson et al.

Solutions When the Solution is the Problem: Arraying the Disarray in Development by Lant Pritchett and Michael Woodcock

Capturing Institutional Change: Case of Right to Information Act in India by Himanshu Jha

The Nature of Policy Change and Implementation: A Review of Different Theoretical Approaches by Lucie Cerna

70 Policies That Shaped India by Gautam Chikermane

Ep. 752: Looking Ahead at a Quantum Future

The development of quantum technologies has increased exponentially in the last decade. Quantum now covers a wide area of applications from communications to computing. Arjun Gargeyas joins Siddharth Bannerjee, a senior policy advisor with the UK Civil Service, to discuss their upcoming document on the criticality of quantum tech and building India’s quantum ecosystem.


Arjun’s article in the Hindustan Times 

Arjun’s article in the South China Morning Post 

Ep. 751 – Indian Health Services: Need of the hour?

For a while now, India has seen a need for Indian Health Services (IHS), akin to other all-India services like IAS, IPS, and IFS. Over the years, successive governments have looked into this issue, yet very little has been done. Mahek Nankani and Priyal Lyncia D’Almeida discuss the history, the need, the concerns and the primary steps that have been taken in this direction.

Ep. 748: Philippines gets BrahMos

The Philippines recently announced the procurement of the BrahMos cruise missile for its Shore Based Anti Ship Missile Programme. As the first export customer of the system, the Philippines will gain an important capability to counter threats to its interests in the Indo-Pacific.

Aditya Pareek joins Rear Admiral Sudarshan Shrikhande(Retd.) and Megha Pardhi to discuss the BRAHMOS weapons system’s capabilities, China’s response to the deal, and Russia’s role in the matter.

Rear Admiral Sudarshan Shrikhande(Retd.) is a retired flag officer of the Indian Navy and the former head of Naval Intelligence.

Ep. 747: Importance of Digital Equity for True Progress

The internet has become more ubiquitous than ever before. The National Digital Inclusion Alliance defines digital equity as “a condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy, and economy.” Sridhar Krishna talks to Raghav Rao, a Digital Innovation Fellow at The Cleveland Foundation, and Aarushi Kataria on the role of digital – whether it is an enabler or a divider.

Note: All views expressed here are Raghav’s personal views and not the views of The Cleveland Foundation.

Check out Takshashila’s courses: https://school.takshashila.org.in/

Ep. 746: Kazakhstan Unrest and CSTO’s Intervention

Earlier this month, Russia led Collective Security Treaty Organisation(CSTO) deployed troops to quell widespread unrest in Kazakhstan. The swift CSTO operation achieved its objective and the deployed Russian, Belarusian, Tajikistani and Armenian peacekeepers are already withdrawing. With a fog of uncertainty and lack of information, many questions about the unrest and the political situation remain unanswered. Dr Shrey Khanna joins Aditya Pareek to discuss the unrest, the CSTO intervention and the political situation in Kazakhstan.

Note: After this podcast was recorded, Nursultan Nazarbayev appeared in a new video urging everyone to support President Tokayev.

Check out Takshashila’s courses: school.takshashila.org.in

Ep. 745: Policy in Action: The Bihar Diaries

The mention of Bihar conjures up images of abject poverty and state apathy. The ground reality, however, has been changing in the past decade. Economist M R Sharan chronicles his time in Bihar with stories from a journey of hope, led by several hundred women, and provides insights from field research on MNREGA, grievance redressal systems, and the politics and dynamics of caste in Bihar and its impact on public policy.

References mentioned in the episode are below:
General Equilibrium Effects of (Improving) Public Employment Programs: Experimental Evidence from India
Book: Last Among Equals: Power, Caste & Politics in Bihar’s Villages
Meet Sanjay Sahni, the MGNREGA Worker Contesting the Bihar Polls

Check out Takshashila’s courses: The Takshashila Institution’s Policy School

EP. 744: Google v/s News Publishers

The Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA), which represents the digital arms of a number of legacy media organisations has alleged that Google’s conduct has violated various provisions of the Competition Act. In a recently passed order, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has directed the Director-General to investigate these charges. Rohan Seth joins Sapni GK and Prateek Waghre to unpack the order.

Click here to read the CCI order

Suggested readings:

Details from recently unredacted documents in the Texas AG’s case against Google: Google’s Alleged Scheme to Corner the Online Ad Market

Dina Srinivasan’s paper: ‘Why Google Dominates Advertising Markets

Check out Takshashila’s courses: school.takshashila.org.in

Ep. 743: A Repository of India’s Land Laws

Land is an integral part of any economy and is central to individual and community identity. Thus, land disputes can hamper socio-economic development. Many conflicting land laws exist in India, and land disputes are ubiquitous. In this episode, Dr Namita Wahi discusses with Sarthak Pradhan the project of documenting India’s land laws and the potential benefits of a comprehensive land laws database.

Dr Namita Wahi is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research and the Founding Director of the Land Rights Initiative.

The Mapping Indian Land Laws database referred to in the podcast is available here: https://landlawsofindia.org/

Check out Takshashila’s courses: https://school.takshashila.org.in/

Ep. 742: What are the Quad’s plans in Biotech?

The Quad Summit which was held in September last year introduced multiple working groups ranging from climate change to information disorder. Shrey Khanna talks to Arjun Gargeyas on the potential of Quad collaboration in the biotechnology field along with the tools and technologies that the Quad can focus on.

Check out Takshashila’s courses: https://school.takshashila.org.in/

Ep. 741: Effect of the Pandemic on Pediatric Obesity

Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have evoked major lifestyle changes among adults and children. Closure of schools and stay-at-home orders has threatened the health and well-being of children, causing an increase in obesity cases.

In today’s episode, Aarthi Ratnam and Ruturaj Gowaikar discuss the effect of the pandemic on increasing obesity cases and how digital marketing has only worsened the situation. Looking at case studies from around the world, they also explore possible policy solutions.

Suggested Readings:

1. When Pandemics Collide: The Impact of COVID-19 on Childhood Obesity

2. Childhood obesity: a growing pandemic

3. CHILDHOOD OBESITY – by Narayana Health

Check out Takshashila’s courses: https://school.takshashila.org.in/

Ep. 740: Emerging Technologies from Chinese Point of View

The dual-use nature of emerging tech has blurred the line between civil and military applications of technology. How do the PLA researchers view the role of emerging tech in the military?

In this episode, Aditya Pareek and Megha Pardhi discuss the latest newsletter in the Takshashila family – “China Tech Dispatch”.

Subscribe to China Tech Dispatch here.

Check out Takshashila’s courses: https://school.takshashila.org.in/

Ep. 739: First Step Towards a Global Pandemic Response Treaty

The World Health Assembly held a Special Session to kickstart a process to draft a global treaty geared towards pandemic management. Priyal and Ruturaj discuss the need, scope, and history of such international instruments.

Listen to our episode on Digital Monitoring of Global Public Health

Suggested readings:

1. How the world failed to curb COVID

2. Book: Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Check out Takshashila’s courses: https://school.takshashila.org.in/

Ep. 738: In Apple CCI Antitrusts

In August 2021, the Together We Fight Society (TWFS) filed a complaint with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) alleging that Apple was abusing its dominant position in the app stores market. In a recent order, the CCI noted that the allegations merit further investigation and directed the Director-General to do so. In this episode, Rohan Seth joins Sapni GK and Prateek Waghre to discuss the details of the order.

Click here to listen to our podcast on the EPIC Games v/s Apple Lawsuit

Click here to view the CCI order

Check out Takshashila’s courses: https://school.takshashila.org.in/

Ep. 736: Omicron: Milder or More Lethal for India?

The new COVID-19 variant, Omicron has been in the news since the first case was discovered in November. Despite the rising cases around the world, it is considered mild according to the data from the UK and the US. But, how mild is omicron anyway?

In this episode, Dr. Harshit Kukreja and Priyal Lyncia D’Almeida discuss how variants arise, the burden of the incoming third wave and the public health measures the government can undertake.

Check out our courses: https://school.takshashila.org.in/

Ep. 735: Citizen’s Role in Availing Welfare Services

How do citizens navigate through the complex state apparatus to acquire welfare services? What factors can facilitate this process? What obstacles do they face? In this episode, Apurva Kumar and Sarthak Pradhan discuss how citizens “claim the state”.

Sources referred to in the podcast:

The new social contract by Apurva Kumar

 How the content of claims shapes government responsiveness: theory and evidence from Mumbai by Tanu Kumar