Ep. 727: The Fishermen Dispute and India – Sri Lanka Relations

The recent arrest of more than 50 fishermen by the Lankan Navy is bound to exert stress upon the India-Sri Lanka relations. The ongoing feud between the Tamil fishermen on the two sides of Palk Strait has coincided with China’s unprecedented outreach to the Tamil community in Sri Lanka. Why is China looking to increase its footprint in northern Sri Lanka? How is this going to impact the larger India-Sri Lanka-China equation? Prasanna Naidu talks to Shrey Khanna on the evolving geopolitical situation in Sri Lanka.

Here is an explainer video about the fishermen dispute – India and Sri Lanka’s violent fight over fish

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Ep. 726: Digital Communication Networks and their Benefits

Over the last few years, a number of harms associated with Digital Communication Networks (DCNs) have been documented and extensively reported on. At the same time, we also need to update our understanding of the opportunities and benefits they enable to inform policy decisions about their governance. In this episode, Prateek Waghre and Sapni GK join Rohan Seth to discuss their discussion document on the benefits of DCNs.

Read our Discussion Document and Working Paper on this topic:

1. Governance of DCNs II: Opportunities and Benefits

2. Governance of DCNs I: Categorisation of Harms

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

Ep. 725: China’s Developments in Tibet

China is building civilian and military infrastructure in Tibet. Based on Takshashila’s recent publication, Suyash Desai and Manoj Kewalramani discuss the details of China’s infrastructure building and implications on the border dispute with India.

Read Suyash’s document here – Civilian and Military Developments in Tibet

Suggested readings:

Infrastructure Development in Tibet and its Implications for India

Should India worry about China conducting military exercises in Tibet?

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

Ep. 724: Our 2021 Reading List (Part 1)

2021 has been a long year. One thing that remained constant at Takshashila was our love for reading. Rohan Seth and Manoj Kewalramani join Nitin Pai to talk about their reading lists and learnings from policy, tech, international relations and beyond.

If you like this podcast, check out our courses here: http://school.takshashila.org.in/

Here are some of the books mentioned, apologies if we were unable to capture all of them.

  1. India and the Bangladesh liberation war the definitive story by Chandrashekhar Dasgupta
  2. Naoroji: Pioneer of Indian Nationalism by Dinyar Patel
  3. The Fractured Himalaya: India Tibet China 1949-1962 by Nirupama Rao
  4. Smokeless War: China’s Quest for Geopolitical Dominance by Manoj Kewalramani
  5. Experiments in Animal Behaviour: Cutting-Edge Research at Trifling Cost by Raghavendra Gadagkar
  6. Dear Data by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec
  7. Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data by Charles Wheelan
  8. A Trident of Wisdom by Abhinava Gupta and Jaideva Singh
  9. Who Are We?: An Enquiry into the Indian Mind and How We Came to Be Who We Are by Rajesh Kasturirangan
  10. The Courage To Be Disliked: How to free yourself, change your life and achieve real happiness by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga
  11. Fearless Freedom by Kavita Krishnan
  12. The War of the Poor by Eric Vuillard
  13. Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez
  14. Plagues and Peoples by William McNeill
  15. The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous by Joseph Henrich

Ep. 723: The Case Against Prohibition

Last year India voted in the UN to remove cannabis from the list of most dangerous substances. More recently, there was outrage with respect to the alcohol prohibition laws in Bihar. In this episode, Samparna Tripathy and Meryl Mammen Kurien talk to Sarthak Pradhan about the consequences of prohibition policies. They also discuss alternative approaches to prohibition policies.

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

Ep. 722: Importance of Financial Literacy for Jobs

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) describes financial literacy as “a combination of awareness, knowledge, skill, attitude and behaviour necessary to make sound financial decisions and ultimately achieve individual financial wellbeing.” The economic impact of financial literacy has often been ignored. In this episode, Aarushi Kataria and Sridhar Krishna discuss the impact of financial literacy on women, entrepreneurship, and the economy in light of Takshashila’s 20 Million Jobs project.

Reading List:

The Economic Importance of Financial Literacy: Theory and Evidence by Lusardi and Mitchell

National Strategy for Financial Education: 2020-2025 by Reserve Bank of India

Financial Literacy Programs Improve Productivity, Performance by Mohney

The Effects of Financial Literacy on Sustainable Entrepreneurship by Burchi et al.

Financial Literacy and Economic Outcomes: Evidence and Policy Implications by Mitchell and Lusardi.

Sign up for Takshashila’s courses – school.takshashila.org.in

Ep. 721: Understanding the Developments on Indian Internet Shutdowns

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Communications and Information Technology recently presented its report on the Suspension of Telecom Services/Internet and its impact relating to the Ministry of Communications (Department of Telecommunications). Prateek Waghre and Sapni G K join Rohan Seth to discuss the findings, recommendations and what the report left unanswered.

You can read the report here – Report on Suspension of Telecom Services/Internet and its impact relating to the Ministry of Communications (Department of Telecommunications)

Sign up for Takshashila’s courses – school.takshashila.org.in

Ep. 720: What Exactly Does Russia Want?

Russia is increasingly garnering attention with tensions in Europe over Ukraine and energy supplies. Recently, Moscow conducted joint bomber patrols and naval drills with China and a unilateral A-SAT test, confusing many observers. Amidst these developments, President Putin met Prime Minister Modi in Delhi during a 2+2 engagement and attended another virtual summit with US President Joe Biden. Aditya Pareek talks to Shrey Khanna about Russia’s motivations, its insecurity with the G-2 and the logic behind its growing alliance with China.

Suggested Readings:

Aditya Pareek’s article about Russia and China Fisheries trade war

Dr. Andrey Gubin’s article about cross border transport and logistics between Russia and China

Poll cited in the podcast

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

Ep. 719: The China Factor in the US – Australia Quantum Tech Agreement

The shadow of geopolitical competition with China looms large over the recent cooperation agreement on Quantum Science and Technology between Australia and the US. Megha Pardhi and Shrey Khanna discuss the Agreement, the role of China, and India’s initiatives to promote research in quantum technologies.

Subscribe to the China Tech Dispatch here.

Ep. 718: Gender Inequality in the Fashion World

The fashion industry has a gender issue. Despite the fact that women make up the majority of consumers and makers of clothing, there is a significant prevalence of gender discrimination. In today’s episode, Priyal Lyncia joins Aarthi Ratnam to discuss two key components – The gender inequalities that exist in the fashion world and what recommendations can be made to shatter the glass runway.

Suggested Readings:

The Bewildering and Sexist History of Women’s Pockets

Shattering the glass runway

Fashion’s Woman Problem

Ep. 717: Breathing New Life into India-Russia Relations

The first-ever Russia-India 2+2 summit took place on the 6th of December, 2021. With 28 agreements signed between the two strategic partners during the meeting, the outlook for the relationship is largely positive. In recent years, Russia’s relationship with China and India’s relationship with the US has complicated the dynamics between India and Russia. Aditya Pareek and Aditya Ramanathan discuss the various points of divergences and rapprochement between New Delhi and Moscow.

Read Aditya Pareek’s Kommersant article on the India-Russia 2+2 summit here.

Ep. 716: Australia’s “Anti-Trolling” Bill & Internet Anonymity

The Australian Government has published a draft Social Media (Anti-Trolling) Bill that aims to make social media platforms identify anonymous users in matters involving defamation. Prateek Waghre and Sapni GK join Rohan Seth to discuss its provisions, what it could mean for anonymity on the internet, and broader implications for India.

Suggested Readings:

Draft of the Social Media (Anti-Trolling) Bill 2021

Jillian C. York’s collection of resources on Anonymity

Ep. 715: Unpacking the National Family Health Survey (NFHS5) report

What does the decreased total fertility rate mean? How should we read the decreased sex ratio? How does India fare on the nutrition front? What could be a few policy implications of these? Apurva Kumar and Suman Joshi try to unpack these and other findings of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS5) report.

Suggested Readings:

National Family Health Survey, India

A close reading of the NFHS-5, the health of India – Ashwini Deshpande

NFHS: Does India really have more women than men? – Geeta Pandey

You can listen to our previous episode on fortification of rice here 

Ep. 714: Regulating the Cyberspace and International Relations

Cyberspace has become an important part of the strategic picture internationally. Its impact as a facilitator for our everyday lives is undeniable. It is a disruptor in the civilian space and on the modern battlefield. A rare consensus may seemingly be emerging on the need to address and negotiate norms for cyberspace internationally.

Sapni G K and Aditya Pareek join Oleg Shakirov, a Senior Expert at Center for Advanced Governance and a Consultant at PIR Center to discuss norms in the regulation of social media platforms, the Metaverse and more on the cyberspace.

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

Ep. 713: Omicron: The Harbinger of the third wave?

COVID 19’s latest variant: Omicron, may become the cause of the third wave in India. This could lead to a similar or even greater loss of life than before. In this episode, Harshit Kukreja and Mahek Nankani discuss Omicron, how different it is from Delta, its severity and what can be the possible initial steps for India.

Suggested Readings:

Update on Omicron

Omicron is starting to spread around the world (Article – The Economist)

Ep. 712: Are Cities Still Relevant in the Metaverse Era?

Cities are where jobs are created and have been important to human progress. Can cities redesign themselves to remain relevant in the era of internet-based 3-D virtual environments, like metaverse? In this episode, Mihir Mahajan speaks to Aarushi Kataria and Sridhar Krishna to discuss the rise and decline of cities, and how cities were reinvented to stay relevant.

Suggested Reading:

1. Distance Matters by Olson and Olson

2. Making sense of Bangalore by Glaeser

3. How Life in Cities Will Look After the Coronavirus Pandemic

4. Here’s how rising global risks will change our cities by Franco, Lukacs, and Muggah.

5. How the CoronavirusRecovery Is Changing Cities by Bloomberg CityLab

6. Has the Pandemic Changed Cities Forever? by Sablik

7. The Faltering Escalator of Urban Opportunity by Autor

8. Triumph of the City by Glaeser.

Ep. 711: Dissent on The Personal Data Protection Bill

The Data Protection Bill is supposed to be up for discussion in the winter session of Parliament. Jairam Ramesh, an MP and a member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee has made public a dissent note to the committee chairperson. Rohan Seth talks to Sapni G K and Prateek Waghre to discuss.

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Link to the sources mentioned in the episode:

Dissent note

Economic Times report on classifying platforms as publishers

TheQuint article

Ep. 710: What’s Climate Change Got To Do With Your Dinner?

Climate change is likely to result in increased frequency and intensity of extreme events and alter weather patterns in the long run. This, in turn, will impact agriculture and food security. In this episode, Arjun Gargeyas talks to Atish Padhy and Aarthi Ratnam on the potential effects of climate change on food production, diversification of animal husbandry, and the global supply of food products.


Here’s how climate change will affect what you eat

WashingtonPost article on Climate Change and ThanksGiving


How climate change might affect tea

Ep. 709: India’s COVID-19 Risk Communication Plan

Public health incidents around the world have demonstrated that a well-timed and well-executed risk communication plan can help manage circumstances on the ground in a much better way. However, in unusual circumstances like the existing COVID-19 pandemic, implementing effective communication methods is difficult. In this episode, Mahek Nankani and Apurva Kumar talk about the communication successes and failures of the Union government and discuss the significant lessons we have learned for future crisis management.

Suggested Readings:

Risk Communication Initiatives amid COVID-19 in India: Analyzing Message Effectiveness of Videos on National Television

Risk Communication During COVID-19

Community and Risk Communication: Experience of COVID-19 Communication in India

Ep. 708: Talks with the TTP: Peace in sight for Pakistan?

Recently, the government of Pakistan reached a month-long ceasefire agreement with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The deal, mediated by the Afghan Taliban, has revived the hopes of ending the long-running Islamist insurgency in Pakistan. Priyal Lyncia D’almeida talks to Shrey Khanna to get insights on the nature of the talks and the prospects of peace in Pakistan.