The Pragati Podcast

Weekly podcast on public policy, economics and international relations hosted by Pavan Srinath. New episodes every Wednesday.

Modeling the Spread of Epidemics

Srini Venkatramanan of the University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute explains how the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19 can be modeled, and how insightful models can inform public action, on Episode 133 of The Pragati Podcast.  How are infectious diseases and pandemics modeled? How can we model and estimate the spread of Influenza or Coronavirus Disease 2019? And most...

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Managing the COVID-19 Epidemic in India

Health journalist Vidya Krishnan talks about India’s initial response to the global COVID-19 pandemic on Episode 132 of The Pragati Podcast.  Close to 200,000 people across 160 countries have been affected by COVID-19 or Coronavirus Disease 2019, and this has happened in just about three months. As of March 18, 2020, India has confirmed 148 cases of COVID-19 and three people have died so...

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The Supreme Court of India in 2020

Alok Prasanna Kumar returns to Episode 131 of The Pragati Podcast to talk about the dire institutional state of India’s highest court.  Two years ago, four senior judges of the Supreme Court of India held an unprecedented press conference to tell the public that there was an ongoing crisis in the Supreme Court of India. Since then, one of the four judges even went on to become the Chief...

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AI, Learning and Intelligence

Avinash Ambale joins Pavan Srinath to talk about how intelligent and capable of learning the latest of AI talks to Pavan Srinath about the scientific pursuit of economics on Episode 129 of The Pragati Podcast.  What is intelligence? How do we learn what we learn? How are we aware of the world around us and ourselves? It is impossible to think about building an artificial intelligence or getting...

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The Science of Economics

Ajay Shah talks to Pavan Srinath about the scientific pursuit of economics on Episode 129 of The Pragati Podcast.  The science of economics can often be misunderstood. Economics as a discipline is riddled with paradoxes. We often want economics to be able to predict the next crisis, while dismissing sound economic insights that may be a century old. Where is the science in economics? How much of...

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Getting Back to Economic Growth

Anupam Manur talks to Pavan Srinath about India’s falling economic growth and how to get back on track on Episode 128 of The Pragati Podcast.  India’s economic growth dips below 5% per annum again, less than a decade after the previous economic crisis. Is 5% growth for a country like India all but a recession? Anupam Manur returns to The Pragati Podcast in Episode 128 to talk to Pavan...

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US-China Trade Wars: What Next?

Pavan Srinath talks to China analyst Manoj Kewalramani about the US-China Phase-1 Trade Deal and the ongoing war for technology between USA and China on Episode 126 of The Pragati Podcast. On January 15, 2020, the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China and Xi Jinping signed the “Phase One Trade Deal” after more than a year of protracted negotiations. On the...

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Lessons from the Assam NRC

Pavan Srinath talks to journalist Rohini Mohan about the NRC in Assam on Episode 125 of The Pragati Podcast. A nation-wide NRC is an unknown beast of unknown dimensions. Real world examples of the NRC come from Assam, where close to 19 lakh residents of the state were left out of the NRC list brought out in August 2019. How do you prove your citizenship in India, where most people do not have...

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Nuclear War, Deterrence and Peace

This is Episode 124 of The Pragati Podcast hosted by Pavan Srinath. Nuclear war feels unthinkable, but how much peace does nuclear deterrence guarantee? Do nuclear programmes truly deter or compel adversaries in the real world? And can we imagine a world where 20+ countries have nuclear weapons? Vipin Narang joins Pavan Srinath on Episode 124 of The Pragati Podcast to dive into the world of...

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Growing Up In Patriarchal India

This is Episode 123 of The Pragati Podcast hosted by Pavan Srinath. The Republic of India is often a Republic of men. While men and women nationally enjoy the same rights, we are yet to solve many of the social failures from decades ago. Child marriage for women remains the norm in many parts of the country, many girls drop out early from education, and women’s participation in the labour...

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The Adolescents of India

This is Episode 122 of The Pragati Podcast hosted by Pavan Srinath. India has made strides in improving the health, well-being and lives of infants and expecting mothers over the last several decades. But once children enter school and enter adolescence, they get lost as a public priority till they enter adulthood. Adolescence is a time of great physical, physiological and intellectual...

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Improving India’s State Capacity

This is Episode 121 of The Pragati Podcast hosted by Pavan Srinath. The Indian State has incredible ambition, but often falls very short of meeting grand outcomes. The mismatch is linked to State Capacity, a nebulous concept at the best of times. Prakhar Misra is on Episode 121 of The Pragati Podcast to help us understand what state capacity is, how it could be measured, and how India can improve...

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Pakistan in 2019

This is Episode 120 of The Pragati Podcast hosted by Pavan Srinath. What has been happening in Pakistan after Imran Khan became the Prime Minister? Why do some people want General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s tenure as the army chief to come to an end? Dr Christine Fair gives us a tour of Pakistani politics, geopolitics and skulduggery like no one else can, on Episode 120 of The Pragati Podcast The...

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Refugees in the 21st Century

This is Episode 119 of The Pragati Podcast hosted by Pavan Srinath. About 1% of the world’s population today are refugees, internally displaced or stateless. They live difficult, dangerous lives, have few protections and often no voice. Meanwhile, globalisation has been lop-sided. Money and goods can move relatively easily across the world, but people rarely can. Ameya Naik returns to The...

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Security in the Kashmir Valley

This is Episode 118 of The Pragati Podcast hosted by Pavan Srinath. The State of Jammu & Kashmir as we know it has changed permanently in 2019. With the end of J&K’s special status and the restructuring of the state into two union territories under greater control of New Delhi, there have been many discussions on history, politics, law and order, human rights issues and more on...

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The Future of Indian States

This is Episode 117 of The Pragati Podcast hosted by Pavan Srinath. The States Reorganisation Act came into effect 63 years ago to this day, on November 1, 1956. India’s states as we know them started taking their shape then. Many states like Karnataka, Kerala, West Bengal and others celebrate this as a State Formation Day or a ‘Rajyotsava’ Day. How have Indian states fared...

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The Syrian Civil War

This is an updated rebroadcast of episode 62 of The Pragati Podcast hosted by Pavan Srinath. The Syrian Civil War has been raging since 2011, and crimes against humanity are being committed even in 2019. How did a peaceful protest turn into a multi-sided war that has killed half a million people and displaced more than 10 million Syrians? This is a rebroadcast of Episode 62 of The Pragati Podcast...

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Drug Discovery for India

This is Episode 116 of The Pragati Podcast hosted by Pavan Srinath. How is a new drug discovered or invented? What does it take for medicine to go from a small idea in a research lab all the way to your local pharmacy? How can we develop new medicines for India and Indian ailments? Pavan Srinath is in the guest seat today as he talks to Anupam Manur, a frequent guest and friend of The Pragati...

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Engineering Interplanetary Missions

This is Episode 115 of The Pragati Podcast hosted by Pavan Srinath. “Rocket science” has moved well beyond rocketry in the 21st century. Even the Jet Propulsion Lab in California hasn’t done any rocket science in the last several decades, focusing entirely on robotic space missions instead. One of the big challenges with space programmes today is designing and managing complex...

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