Ep. 606: Consumer Protection & E-commerce

On 21 June, The Department of Consumer Affairs invited comments on draft amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020. Anupam Manur and Rohan Seth join Prateek Waghre to unpack the changes proposed and the impact they might have on India’s e-commerce industry.
Links mentioned in the episode:
https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1729201
https://pdfchomper.substack.com/p/hand-me-the-paper-13-summing-up-the

Ep. 605: One Year After Galwan

This month marked the first anniversary of the Galwan Valley clash between China and India, which resulted in the deaths of 20 Indians and at least four PLA soldiers. Even after 13 months of friction, the two sides have only disengaged at Galwan and Pangong Tso. Manoj Kewalramani and Suyash Desai join Ameera Rao to discuss the possible Chinese motivations and India’s response.

Ep. 604: What Archaeology Really Tells Us About the Harappans and the Sarasvati River

At its peak, the Harappan culture was the powerhouse of the Bronze Age world. It stretched from the lush meadows of Punjab to the salt flats of Kutch and the deserts of Sindh, its sway extending over nearly 40% of the human population of the time. What do excavations really tell us about the nature of this unique culture? And what does it have to do with the so-called Sarasvati River, known today as the Ghaggar-Hakra? Anirudh Kanisetti speaks to archaeologist and history communicator Disha Ahluwalia, who is conducting a study of the region, to find out.

Ep. 603: Improving Learning Outcomes in Schools

Over time, the proportion of children getting enrolled in schools has increased. But the quality of learning remains a concern. In this episode, Devang Bhandari and Aanchal Govindani talk to Sarthak Pradhan and suggest some measures to improve learning outcomes. The discussion revolves around ideas to improve teacher performance and teaching methodology.
Aanchal is a marketing communications professional. She has worked across mass media, IT, education, pharmaceutical, and healthcare in private and public sector organisations.

Devang is a deal advisory professional. He also leads corporate citizenship for KPMG Global Services and has been working with impact enterprises in education, skill, and rural development.
Both Aanchal and Devang are current students of Takshashila’s Post-Graduate Programme in Public Policy.

Ep. 602: Investigating the Wuhan Lab Leak

In May, US President Joe Biden ordered an intelligence probe into the origins of the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2. Suspicions that the virus potentially leaked from a lab in Wuhan could have consequences for China. But countries must focus on a science-based investigation rather than politicizing the issue. What is the best way to get closer to the truth? And what should be India’s stance? Lt. Gen Prakash Menon discusses with Ameera Rao.
Read Lt. Gen Prakash Menon’s article over here – https://theprint.in/opinion/high-time-indian-foreign-policy-jettisons-dont-annoy-china-notion/677070/?amp

Ep. 601: Can You Unbundle Social Media?

Even as platforms struggle to balance their roles as both reluctant arbiters of truth and protectors of speech, the concentration of power in their hands concerns many scholars. Some proposals aim to strike a balance between competition and free speech by unbundling functions and features on social media platforms. Prateek Waghre and Atish Padhy join Rohan Seth to discuss these proposals and how they might work.
Links mentioned in the episode:

  1. https://techpolicy.substack.com/p/of-unbundling-by-different-names
  2. https://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/blog/2019/05/platform-content-regulation-–-some-models-and-their-problems
  3. https://knightcolumbia.org/content/protocols-not-platforms-a-technological-approach-to-free-speech
  4. https://www.wired.co.uk/article/social-media-competitive-compatibility
  5. https://cyber.fsi.stanford.edu/publication/report-working-group-platform-scale

Ep. 600: Lessons from Odisha’s Direct Income Transfer Scheme

The Government of Odisha launched KALIA or Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation in December 2018 to provide financial assistance to its agricultural workforce. It intends to benefit the state’s small and marginal farmers and its sharecroppers, tenant farmers, and landless agricultural households. In this episode, Shilpa Kumar talks to Sarthak Pradhan about the policy thinking behind KALIA, as well as it’s design and implementation.
Shilpa is a partner with Omidyar Network India. Her team has been working with Samagra Governance and the Government of Odisha to document the KALIA scheme.

Ep. 599: What Fiction Teaches us About Indian History

Historical fiction can be a powerful tool to explore the individual people who have shaped our pasts. But why has it not caught on in India? What comprises good historical fiction, and what does it teach us about history and how we see it? Anirudh Kanisetti speaks to journalist and author Rajat Ubhaykar, author of Truck De India!: A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Hindustan, about some of the most exciting and thought-provoking historical fiction they’ve read and the difficult themes that these books explore.
You can buy Truck De India here:
https://www.amazon.in/Truck-India-Hitchhikers-guide-Hindustan-ebook/dp/B07Y8R2YXY

Ep. 598: Bring Petrol under GST

Nearly 60% of the price you pay for petrol goes to the Union and State Governments as taxes. As petrol prices hover around Rs. 100 per litre in many cities, there is a call for bringing petrol under the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. Anupam Manur and Pranay Kotasthane discuss the potential benefits of this and how it can be achieved.

Ep. 597: Apple, Network Effects and China

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference was held earlier this month and had some interesting implications for both privacy and how the company is going to operate globally. Manoj Kewalramani talks to Rohan Seth to consider what this might mean for crucial markets like India and China.

Links mentioned in the podcast:

Ep. 596: Do Influence Operations Work?

The number of influence operations being discovered on social media platforms continues to rise sharply. As attention turns to the Indian subcontinent, Manoj Kewalramani and Prateek Waghre discuss how their effectiveness is measured and how platforms respond.
Links:
https://techpolicy.substack.com/p/of-the-many-influences-of-influence
https://carnegieendowment.org/2021/04/01/how-social-media-platforms-community-standards-address-influence-operations-pub-84201
https://carnegieendowment.org/2021/01/25/platform-interventions-how-social-media-counters-influence-operations-pub-83698

Ep. 595: The Challenges of Governing States

India’s states have often followed very different trajectories. In this episode, Suman Joshi and Sarthak Pradhan discuss the performance of some states, their capacity for governance, and the challenges they face.
This episode is based on the book “Despite the State: Why India Lets Its People Down and how They Cope” by M. Rajshekhar –
https://www.amazon.in/Despite-State-India-Lets-People/dp/8194879019

Ep. 594: India: Continent or Subcontinent?

What makes a continent? Is it the tectonics of plates? Is it geographical boundaries? Is it population? Anirudh Kanisetti speaks to educator and history communicator Arjunan Ullas about the fascinating politics of the naming of continents, from the fictional lost continent of Kumari Kandam in the Indian Ocean to Russian claims that Europe is a subcontinent

Ep. 593: Vaccines and Intellectual Property

As the world continues its vaccination drive, countries like India and South Africa have been calling for an intellectual property waiver to make vaccine manufacturing easier. This has led to a heated discussion on the purpose of intellectual property rights and whether they serve as an incentive or roadblock in such times.
Rohan Seth talks about the issues involved here to Megha Guruprasad, an IPR lawyer and currently a student in the GCPP (Tech and Policy) program at Takshashila.

Ep. 591: In Google We Antitrust

Antitrust investigations and lawsuits against Google continue to gather steam around the world. In this episode, Rohan Seth and Prateek Waghre join Anupam Manur to discuss recent developments in France, Germany, and the US and Google’s dominance in online advertising markets.

Links mentioned in the episode:

Ep. 590: DeSWIFTing Russia?

SWIFT is the primary electronic fund transfer mechanism for the international banking system. Some in IR academia circles see the prospects of Russia being cut off from SWIFT as a new proverbial financial iron curtain descending upon the world. Aditya Pareek joins Anupam Manur to discuss.

Ep. 589: Examining Nehru’s Approach to Tibet & China

The roots of the present tensions between India and China can be traced back to the years soon after the two emerged as modern nation-states. In this episode, Manoj Kewalramani speaks to AS Bhasin about his new book Nehru, Tibet and China to understand the challenges, limitations and failures of Indian diplomacy that led to the 1962 war.

Ep. 587: The Evolution of Indian Science

In the years after independence, a handful of extraordinary visionaries laid the foundations for Indian science in fields ranging from space exploration to chemistry and biology. Journalist Hari Pulakkat talks to Aditya Ramanathan and Aditya Pareek about his new book, Space. Life. Matter., which chronicles the work of India’s space pioneers.