Podcast

In our podcasts, you get to hear people think!

The Seen and the Unseen releases every Sunday. States of Anarchy releases every Tuesday. The Pragati Podcast releases every Thursday. Thalé-Haraté releases every Saturday. PuliyaBaazi releases every alternate Thursday.

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

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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)...

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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...

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Ep.109: अंबेडकर का घोषणा पत्र। Ambedkar’s Manifesto for India.

In this Constitution Day Special episode, we discuss Dr. Ambedkar’s ideas through the only election manifesto he ever wrote. Listen in. For more: Election Manifesto of the Scheduled Castes Federation, find on page 386Puliyabaazi #86 with Chandrabhan PrasadOther Puliyabaazi episodes on Ambedkar’s writings #27, #28Puliyabaazi episode on what the Republic meansA Special Episode on the...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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. Sign up for Takshashila’s courses – school.takshashila.org.in Link to the sources mentioned in...

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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...

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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...

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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.

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Ep. 707: India’s Jobless Growth

India’s economy has grown at 7% on average over the last thirty years, but employment elasticity has been constantly declining from 0.4 to 0.087. This number is significantly lower than the US (0.64) and Northern Europe (0.51). How can India increase employment elasticity? In this episode, Aarushi Kataria and Sridhar Krishna draw on ideas from Takshashila’s 20 Million Jobs project to look...

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Ep. 706: Mental Health and India’s Police

Indian police personnel are overworked, under-trained, and under-equipped. Yet they are at the forefront of jobs from traffic duty to pandemic management. This has lead to mental health problems in the force. Ruturaj Gowaikar and Aarthi Ratnam discuss the lack of systemic, institutional psychological support for India’s police personnel. They also dwell on the role of police as first...

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Ep: 705: Social Networks and Indian Women

Access to social networks could potentially benefit Indian women, but women in India tend to be isolated. In this episode, Suman Joshi, Apurva Kumar and Sarthak Pradhan discuss the barriers women face in creating and accessing social networks. They also reflect on the possible implications of the same. Here are the papers referred to, in the episode: Mothers’ Social Networks and Socioeconomic...

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Ep. 704: Creating Safety Nets for Gig Workers

Gigs are not new. Hollywood made the transition to gigs from the studio system 70 years ago and the result is not all bad. While the movie industry today does not offer wage stability unlike the studios of the past, it does offer employment today to millions more and the quality of movies made is decidedly superior. Listen to Anupam Manur, Aarushi Kataria and Sridhar Krishna discuss the reasons...

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Ep.108: 1991 आर्थिक सुधारों की राजनीतिक पृष्ठभूमि. The Political Economy of 1991 Reforms.

In this episode, Prakhar Misra (@PrakharMisra) is back on Puliyabaazi to discuss the political economy of the 1991 reforms. We discussed the dominant economic and political narratives since independence up to the 1991 reform. Prakhar is currently working on the Indian political economy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Prakhar is a part of The 1991 Project that documents essays...

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Ep. 703: How Piped Water Empowers Women

Piped water allows women, the primary caretakers of a household, more time for labour and leisure, thus improving their bargaining capacity at home and in the labour market. Apurva Kumar and Suman Joshi discuss a new paper examining the impact of piped water on India’s women. Suggested readings : Piped water – welfare and empowerment – empirical evidence from a gendered analysis in...

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Ep. 702: China’s Military Power

The US Department of Defense (DoD) released its 2021 China Military Power Report last week. Based on the report’s findings, Aditya Pareekh and Suyash Desai discuss China’s military modernisation and its impact on the Indo-Pacific Region.

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Ep. 701: Getting Our Feeds In Order

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers in the US has introduced a bill that would require online platforms to let users opt out of having personal data-driven algorithms select the content they see. The move could spell a significant change in how our news feeds are shaped. Rohan Seth talks to Prateek Waghre to discuss the fine print.

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Ep. 700: China’s Nuclear Expansion

The latest Pentagon China Military Power Report highlights the PRC’s development of new nuclear warheads and delivery systems as potential areas of concern. Based on the report’s findings, Aditya Ramanathan and Suyash Desai discuss China’s nuclear strategy and military modernisation.

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Ep. 699: The Unique History of the Early Deccan

The Deccan Plateau is generally believed to have been “conquered” by the Mauryan empire of the Gangetic Plains – but the reality of its early history is far more complex and thought-provoking. Anirudh Kanisetti speaks to Prof. Namita Sugandhi about her excavations at the site of Tekkalakota, Karnataka, to learn about how archaeology challenges not only our understanding of the...

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Ep. 698: How Sports Shapes Diplomacy

Sports have been used to bolster diplomatic relations between states as well as to make political statements on the international stage. There is also extensive evidence of sports’ involvement in international politics and vice versa. Priyal Lyncia D’Almeida talks to Arjun Gargeyas on instances which have seen an intersection of sports, politics and diplomacy. Suggested Reading: A...

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Ep. 697: The Geopolitics of International Technical Standards

With a new technological revolution underway, emerging technologies are at the heart of geopolitical competition between States. Standard-setting is one key dimension of this competition. But what does this entail and how should India navigate related challenges? Ameera Rao talks to Arjun Gargeyas about his new report, which recommends action points for Indian policymakers. Read Arjun’s...

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Ep. 696: How India’s Canals Shape its Cities

According to a recent study, towns situated close to canals in India witnessed faster urbanisation and demand for education but not industrialisation. And agriculture still remains the biggest employer in the rural areas near these canals. In this episode, Apurva Kumar and Sarthak Pradhan, discuss the strange ways in which canals have shaped India. Sources referred in this episode: The Long-run...

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Ep. 695: The EU’s Arctic Strategy and India

Last month, the European Union (EU) came out with a publication detailing its strategy for the Arctic. The focal points of the strategy are the implications of melting permafrost on geopolitical developments, biosecurity, digital connectivity, and a push for sustainable energy for the region. Ruturaj Gowaikar and Aditya Pareek discuss the strategy, its background and the opportunities it may...

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Ep.107: गोपनीयता से पारदर्शिता की ओर: कहानी RTI की. Capturing Institutional Change through the RTI Act.

किसी भी सरकार के बारे में आम धारणा ये है कि जब तक कोई आपदा न आए, सोच और नीतियों में बदलाव तक़रीबन नामुमकिन है। लेकिन सच काफ़ी अलग है। सरकार में संस्थागत बदलाव आ सकता है और वो भी सरकार के भीतर से। तो सरकार की सोच में बदलाव कब और कैसे आता है? इस एपिसोड में हमने बात की हिमांशु झा (@himmijha) से जिन्होंने सूचना के अधिकार अधिनियम के ज़रिए इस सवाल का जवाब उनकी किताब Capturing Institutional Change:...

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Ep. 694: Can Fortifying Rice Tackle Malnutrition?

India is set to fortify rice distributed through the PDS (Public Distribution System) and mid-day meal programmes to alleviate malnutrition. Will fortification achieve its aims? What will be the unintended consequences of this move? Are there better ways to tackle malnutrition? Shambhavi Naik and Sarthak Pradhan try to unpack some aspects of this issue. Suggested readings: 1. Don’t chase the...

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Ep. 693: Digital Activism in China

How does digital activism work in China when the Internet is so heavily regulated? Netizens in China get creative when they have something to say online. Recent viral trends like “Lying Flat” and projects like “996ICU” are part of this creative tradition. In this episode, Ruturaj Gowaikar and Arjun Gargeyas join Megha Pardhi to discuss the nature of digital activism in...

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Ep. 692: Going Beyond Disinformation

Conversations about the impact of Digital Communication Networks on public discourse tend to focus heavily on misinformation and disinformation. While these two terms are used interchangeably, Prateek Waghre and Rohan Seth discuss why some researchers are calling for an expansion of the problem definition to look beyond the frame of mis – and – disinformation. Read MisDisMal...

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Ep. 690: India’s Hunger and Nutrition challenge

The recently released Global Hunger Index sparked discussion on the methodology used to arrive at the figures. What exactly is this index? What are the larger challenges India faces in tackling hunger? Apurva Kumar and Suman Joshi try to unpack some aspects of this issue.

Read Apurva’s Newsletter here:

Suggested Readings:

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Ep. 689: Democratise Credit to Create Jobs

Now that we have JAM, people want bread. Financial inclusion has been bandied about for decades with limited success but JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhaar, Mobile) brings new hope. Sridhar Krishna and Aarushi Kataria are working on a project at the Takshashila Institution on policy initiatives to help create 20 million jobs each year in India. In this episode, they talk about how access to credit is...

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Ep. 688: Cracks in CPEC

The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is facing trouble on more than one front. These include China’s frustration with the lack of progress on the economic projects, the emerging security threat from a resurgent Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, and the growing anti-China sentiment in Pakistan. How will these challenges impact their all-weather strategic partnership? Suyash Desai talks to Shrey...

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Ep. 687: AI Regulation: A Global Policy Challenge

The use of Artificial Intelligence technologies is on a rise across the globe. Countries are increasingly demonstrating a keen interest in regulating their use, specifically the effects of such technologies on civic life. In this episode, Sapni G K and Megha Pardhi join Mihir Mahajan to look beyond the buzzwords and discuss regulatory initiatives that target the use of AI technologies. Read...

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Ep. 686: A Practical Agenda for the Quad

The Quad grouping has launched several new initiatives over last few months. While this is an encouraging development, there are concerns that the grouping has way too many items on its plate. Which of these areas should the Quad prioritise and why? Listen in to Hayley Channer, Senior Policy Fellow at the Perth USAsia Centre in conversation with Pranay Kotasthane to find out. Hayley is the author...

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Ep.106: भारतीय भाषाओँ में हमारे अतीत के सुराग़. Clues to our past in Indian languages.

In this episode, linguist Peggy Mohan joins Saurabh and Pranay to discuss clues to our past in our languages. We discuss diglossia, bilingualism, creolization, the Hindi-Urdu debate, and more. Peggy’s new book ​​Wanderers, Kings, Merchants: The Story of India through its Languages gives an account of the human interactions that have shaped Indian languages. इस एपिसोड में भाषावैज्ञानिक पेग्गी...

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Ep. 685: Should India Make Semiconductors?

While semiconductor design has always been a strong suit for India, the extremely complicated manufacturing process of semiconductor chips has never taken off in the country. Should India stick to its strengths or go all in to create a state-of-the-art fabrication facility to compete on the global stage? Arjun Gargeyas talks to Pranay Kotasthane on India’s potential foray into...

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Ep: 684: Can ‘Gastrodiplomacy’ Work?

‘Gastrodiplomacy’ is a tool some states have used to promote themselves, a prominent example being Thailand. How effective have such food campaigns been? Ameera Rao and Priyal D’almeida discuss the effects of promoting gastrodiplomacy and its relevance in bolstering soft power today.

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Ep: 683: Fantasy Sports and Karnataka’s Online Gambling Ban

Over the past few years, online fantasy sports in India have gone from being a rather shady area of niche interest to becoming ubiquitous, so much so that a fantasy sports platform was the title sponsor of IPL 2020. The industry holds significant economic promises, but its growth has been hindered by arbitrary bans in various Indian states. Karnataka became the latest Indian state to do so. So...

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Ep. 682: Are the Balkans on Edge Again?

With recent headlines warning of impending hostilities between Serbia and Kosovo, there is greater attention again on the proverbial powder keg of conflict in Eastern Europe. The EU and NATO have expanded their influence in the Balkans in recent decades. Turkey and Russia, the two nations with historically significant influence in the region, continue to hold their own too. However, is conflict a...

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Ep. 681: The Shadow Pandemic: Impact of COVID-19 on mental health in India

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly affected our lives in more ways than one. It has impacted our engagement with others and disrupted daily routines. Apart from this, “Fearodemic” or the shadow pandemic has been the biggest trigger for mental health issues during the pandemic. In this episode, Aarthi Ratnam and Apurva Kumar talk about the effects of the pandemic on mental health and...

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Ep. 680: India’s labour force: Why are women missing?

India’s Women Labor Force Participation Rate (WLFPR) rate is at an abysmal 21%. Why does this matter? What are the factors that are driving this trend? And what can be done to course-correct? Priti Kataria, Anupriya Mohta and Aarushi Kataria discuss all this and more. Anurpriya Mohta has an academic background in business and marketing. Seeking to build a career in Marketing and Brand and...

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Ep. 679: Reading between the lines of the Facebook Files

The Wall Street Journal’s Facebook Files and subsequent revelations made by the whistle-blower Frances Haugen have documented many online harms present on Facebook’s various platforms based on its own internal research. In this episode, Prateek Waghre and Sapni GK join Rohan Seth to unpack the revelations and what a news cycle involving large technology companies looks like. Read...

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