Ep. 73: Can the Courts Protect India's Environment?

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How well have Public Interest Litigations and the National Green Tribunal served the cause of upholding environmental concerns in India? Is it really Environment versus Development, as most debates frame it?

Supreme Court Lawyer Ninad Laud joins host Pavan Srinath on Episode 73 of the Pragati Podcast to talk about PILs, the NGT and overall environmental governance in India.

Ninad Laud is a lawyer practicing at the Supreme Court. His core areas of practice are mining, environment and economic offences, apart from general commercial litigation. He has had his share of public interest litigation, and was the lawyer for Shreya Singhal in the celebrated case where the Supreme Court struck down Sec. 66A of the Information Technology Act.

If you have any questions or comments, write in to podcast@thinkpragati.com. If you are interested in public policy or public affairs, do take a look at courses at the Takshashila Institution. https://takshashila.org.in/courses/

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Ep. 72: India Putting the Jumbo in Shrimp

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India is one of the largest producers of frozen shrimp in the world, and may take the top spot from China in 2018 or 2019. Industrialist and shrimp exporter Aditya Dash talks to Pavan Srinath and Anupam Manur on aquaculture, the seafood industry and trade disputes on Episode 72 of The Pragati Podcast.

Aditya Dash is an alumnus of the Takshashila Institution's Graduate Certificate in Public Policy (GCPP). Applications are open for the January 2019 intake. Learn more at https://takshashila.org.in/courses/

Episode 72 includes discussions on how shrimp is farmed, what it takes for shrimp to get from the farm to the restaurant table, and how well India is doing in aquaculture today. The episode explores the potential for sustainable job creation that India desperately needs, and explains how trade disputes can get in the way of a successful seafood industry in India. Environmental sustainability, health regulations and labour challenges of aquaculture are examined, and guest Aditya Dash shares his reform wishlist for governments.

If you have any questions or comments, write in to podcast@thinkpragati.com.

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Ep. 71: 10 Years Later: The 26/11 Mumbai Attacks

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It has been 10 years since the 2008 Terrorist Attacks on Mumbai. Ten terrorists from the Lashkar-e-Taiba killed over 174 people in South Mumbai, and committed the one of the worst acts of terror on Indian soil. Dheeraj PC, a doctoral student in Intelligence Studies at the University of Leicester, helps us go deep into the attacks and their aftermath.

Dheeraj analyses the events of 26/11, the strategy of the terrorists and their commanders in Pakistan, and the Indian response to contain and counter the attack. Dheeraj goes beyond simplistic ideas of how India "failed" or how Pakistan "succeeded", and busts many commonly held myths.

This is also the last episode of the Pragati Podcast to be hosted by Hamsini Hariharan. You can continue to follow her work via twitter, where she is reachable at @HamsiniH.

Pavan Srinath will return with The Pragati Podcast next week, with more public policy, economics and international relations.

If you have any questions or comments, write in to podcast@thinkpragati.com.

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Ep. 70: Behind the Scenes of a Hostage Rescue Mission

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What was it like to rescue Indian hostages from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan almost 20 years ago? Retired R&AW officer Anand Arni takes us behind the scenes of the hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight IC814 in 1999.

Anand Arni joins Pranay Kotasthane and host Pavan Srinath on Episode 70 of The Pragati Podcast. Mr Arni is a Distinguished Fellow and Advisor at the Takshashila Institution, and retired as the Special Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat. He served for over 37 years in the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), India's external intelligence agency. He was a part of the hostage rescue team during the Flight IC814 hijacking crisis.

In this episode, Anand Arni recounts his journey of being sent to Kandahar along with Ajit Doval, Vivek Katju, CD Sahay and Nehchal Sandhu. He shares absurd and hilarious things that happened, even as hostages were successfully rescued.

Have any questions or comments? Write in to podcast@thinkpragati.com. If you are interested in public policy or international relations, check out courses by the Takshashila Institution at takshashila.org.in/education. Several courses are starting in January 2019.

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Ep. 45: (Rebroadcast) The Magic Number to Elections

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It's election season in India again, and everybody wants to know who will win! Listen to this rebroadcast of Episode 45 of the Pragati Podcast to learn about how opinion polls work, and why they often fail. This will help you parse all the news that will come your way between now and December on elections taking place in Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan and Telangana.

Karthik Shashidhar joins hosts Hamsini Hariharan and Pavan Srinath to discuss election polling, what works and what doesn't. Karthik Shashidhar is a management consultant, the author of the book, Between the Buyer and the Seller and the Mint column, Election Metrics.

Karthik's book is available here.

You can read Karthik's election analysis and more here.

If you are interested in public policy or international relations, check out courses by the Takshashila Institution at takshashila.org.in/education. Several courses are starting in January 2019.

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Ep. 69: Why Do We Elect Criminals?

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Why do we vote criminals and corrupt politicians into power? Can politicians really buy the votes of Indians? Does good governance translate into electoral victories?

Milan Vaishnav joins host Pavan Srinath on Episode 69 of The Pragati Podcast to explain elections, money and crime in India.

Milan is a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the author of When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics. The book recently won the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize for Best Non-Fiction Book of 2017

If you have any questions for Milan or the hosts, write in to podcast@thinkpragati.com and have it answered in a future episode.

If you are interested in public policy or international relations, check out courses by the Takshashila Institution at takshashila.org.in/education. Several courses are starting in January 2019.

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Ep. 68: Being a Foreign Correspondent in India

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How do you report on India for a global audience? What do you choose to write about? And how should we understand cronyism in Indian policy-making?

Author and journalist James Crabtree joins host Pavan Srinath on Episode 68 of The Pragati Podcast.

James Crabtree was the Mumbai Bureau chief of the Financial Times from 2011 to 2016, and is currently an Associate Professor of Practice at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. He is also the author of The Billionnaire Raj: A Journey through India's New Gilded Age.

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Ep. 67: No, China Isn't Taking Over the World

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Does China really have a grand strategy to take over the world? Is Chinese media nothing more than a mouthpiece of the Chinese government? And has China side-stepped an overpopulation problem with good public policy?

China expert Manoj Kewalramani joins host Pavan Srinath again in Episode 67 to dispel more myths about China. Manoj is an Adjunct Fellow for China Studies at the Takshashila Institution, and has spent over 11 years as a journalist in China and India. Manoj also pens a weekly newsletter Eye on China available at www.thinkpragati.com

Which of these myths are actually true?
Myth #5: The Chinese media is a mouthpiece of the Chinese government.
Myth #6: The Chinese copy very well but do not innovate.
Myth #7: China successfully controlled its overpopulation problem and achieved more as a country because of it.
Myth #8: China has a grand strategy to take over the world.

In case you missed it, check out episode 66 of the Pragati Podcast where Manoj busts four other myths about China.

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Ep. 66: Myths about China

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Most Indians know more about USA and Europe than our northern neighbour China. This two-part series on The Pragati Podcast will bust myths about China and the Chinese government.

China expert Manoj Kewalramani joins host Pavan Srinath in Episode 66 to dispel commonly held beliefs about the People's Republic of China. Manoj is an Adjunct Fellow for China Studies at the Takshashila Institution, and has spent over 11 years as a journalist in China and India. Manoj also pens a weekly newsletter Eye on China available at www.thinkpragati.com. Do you know of people who believe in any of these myths about China?

Myth #1: China is a country of One people, One language and One party.
Myth #2: China has a Communist government.
Myth #3: The government owns everything in China.
Myth #4: China has a strong, efficient & meritocratic government that moves in unison to reach goals they set out for themselves.

Listen to Manoj bust 4 more myths about China in the next Episode of The Pragati Podcast, including: Does China have a grand strategy to take over the world?

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Ep. 65: Journalism, South India Style

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How do you do good journalism online? How do you keep opinion and reportage separate? How do you report live on active humanitarian disasters like the Kerala Floods of 2018?

Dhanya Rajendran, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The News Minute, joins host Pavan Srinath in episode 65 of The Pragati Podcast to talk about how they built a great digital news platform.

If you have any questions for the guests or the hosts, write in to podcast@thinkpragati.com. Don't forget to visit thinkpragati.com for your daily dose of brain fodder.

Do also check out this week's The Seen and the Unseen with Amit Varma, where Sidharth Bhatia of The Wire and Peter Griffin of The Hindu talk about the Crisis in the Media. 

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Ep. 64: The Aadhaar Judgements Explained

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Rahul Matthan and Manasa Venkataraman unpack the Supreme Court's judgments on Aadhaar.

In Episode 64, The Pragati Podcast delves deep into the 1,448-page, 6.5-lakh-word set of judgments.

The episode includes discussions on the constitutionality of how the Aadhaar Act was passed in 2016, how and whether Aadhaar can be used by for government subsidies, taxes, and more -- and whether it can be used by the private sector at all. Listen in to learn more about what to expect from the government and the courts in the coming years, and what questions have been left unanswered.

If you have any questions for the guests or the hosts, write in to podcast@thinkpragati.com. Don't forget to visit thinkpragati.com for your daily dose of brain fodder.

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Ep. 63: Modern Cuisine meets 19th Century Governance

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There are restaurants at every corner in a city like Bangalore, but they are never easy to run. Governments make the lives of restaurateurs more difficult in a million ways. Banning 'dance bars', regulating signboards or controlling liquor licenses make dining out more expensive for customers, create uncertainty for businesses and put jobs at risk.
Chef extraordinaire Manu Chandra and Pragati's own Madhu Menon join host Pavan Srinath on episode 63 of The Pragati Podcast. Manu also heads the Bangalore Chapter of the National Restaurant Association of India The episode focuses on Bangalore and its unique challenges and opportunities, but the story is not too different in other states and cities.

Visit www.thinkpragati.com for your daily dose of brain fodder, and write in to podcast@thinkpragati.com with any questions and comments..

Ep. 62: Syria and the Ugliness of Modern Warfare

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The Syrian Civil War has been raging since 2011. Now the war is entering a new and perhaps final phase. 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?
Lawyer and policy analyst Ameya Naik returns to the Pragati Podcast to talk to hosts Pavan Srinath and Hamsini Hariharan. The show discusses how Syria got here, the price that Syrians have paid, and how such a conflict can happen anywhere in the world.

Visit thinkpragati.com for more to read on Syria, and write in to podcast@thinkpragati.com for any comments or questions.

Ep. 61: The Many Indian Genomes

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It is time to talk about the many Indian Genomes, and the great genetic diversity of Indians, 28 years after the Human Genome Project was launched.

Dr Kumarasamy Thangaraj joins Pavan Srinath and guest host Dr Shambhavi Naik on Episode 61 of the Pragati Podcast to talk about all things India, genes, history and health challenges.

Dr Thangaraj is a renowned scientist working at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, CCMB, Hyderabad. He has published extensively on the origin of humans, on genetics and disease and how they affect the lives of Indians.

If you have any questions or comments on the episode, write in to podcast@thinkpragati.com. You can also ask the hosts anything on twitter at twitter.com/zeusisdead and twitter.com/HamsiniH.

Ep. 60: The Indian Rupee in a Turkish Bath

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How do actions by President Erdoğan in Turkey affect the Indian rupee? What is the emerging market crisis that business channels keep talking about? How does changing geopolitics in the Middle East affect everyone from Brazil to China to Pakistan?

Narayan Ramachandran returns to the Pragati Podcast on episode 60 to explain the great game of dominoes that is macroeconomics. Narayan is co-founder and Fellow at the Takshashila Institution, a social entrepreneur and an emerging market investor. He writes a regular column in Mint called A Visible Hand.

Have any questions for Narayan, or hosts Hamsini Hariharan and Pavan Srinath? Write in to podcast@thinkpragati.com.

You can buy a compilation of Narayan's best essays on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.in/Visible-Hand-Intersection-Economics-Politics/dp/8193197607

Ep. 59: Trump's New Washington DC

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It's been almost two years since Donald Trump was elected the President of the United States of America. What has happened to the Washington DC ecosystem since then?

In Episode 59, Soren Dayton joins hosts Hamsini Hariharan and Pavan Srinath to discuss what the Republicans, Democrats, businesses and think tanks have been up to since Trump. Soren has spent over a decade working in Washington DC in various roles, including two years on Capitol Hill. His views expressed on the Pragati Podcast are entirely personal.

Learn more about Soren at https://sorendayton.com and his current work with Protect Democracy at https://protectdemocracy.org

You can tweet to the hosts
@zeusisdead and @HamsiniH. You can also send your comments and questions to podcast@thinkpragati.com

Ep. 58: A Thin Svaraj

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If Swaraj is your birthright, do you have it? What does Swaraj even mean? Do we have different concepts of self-rule? And how do we even spell the word -- sva or swa?

Aakash Singh Rathore joins hosts Hamsini Hariharan and Pavan Srinath to discuss his conception of 'Thin Svaraj' on Episode 58 of The Pragati Podcast.

Aakash is the Director of the International Research Network for Religion and Democracy, and was formerly a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Philosophy, Jawaharlal Nehru University. He has four upcoming books on Indian political theory, Indian jurisprudence, feminism and other topics that will be released later this year.
If you have found answers to the above questions, you can tweet your answers to the hosts @zeusisdead and @HamsiniH. You can also send your comments and questions to podcast@thinkpragati.com

Ep. 57: Let My Nation Awake

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What does nationalism mean? How far has India come since 1947? What about the Indian nation gives you hope and despair?

On this Independence Day Special of The Pragati Podcast, Nitin Pai and Aakash Singh Rathore join hosts Hamsini Hariharan and Pavan Srinath to talk about the state of the Indian nation.
Nitin Pai is the Director of the Takshashila Institution. Aakash Singh Rathore is the Director of the International Research Network for Religion and Democracy, and was formerly a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Philosophy, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

If you have found satisfactory answers to the above questions, you can tweet your answers to the hosts @zeusisdead and @HamsiniH. You can also send your comments and questions to podcast@thinkpragati.com

Ep. 56: A Brave New World Order

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Everyone from Henry Kissinger and Donald Trump to Solomon Lane in the new Mission Impossible movie cares about the the end of the old world order. What is a world order? How is it changing? Most importantly, what should India be doing about it?

In Episode 56 of The Pragati Podcast, Pranay Kotasthane and Anirudh Kanisetti join hosts Pavan Srinath and Hamsini Hariharan to discuss India's Strategies for a New World Order.

Have any questions or comments? Write in to podcast@thinkpragati.com.

Ep. 55: I'm not a Data Subject, but a Data Principal!

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The Government of India is trying to create the first ever law to protect your personal data and information. The Justice Srikrishna Committee has come out with a draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018.
So what's it the data protection bill all about? Will it safeguard our privacy or create a monstrous government apparatus?
Manasa Venkataraman and Ajay Patri, researchers at the Takshashila Institution, offer a first look at the new draft bill, and share their initial analysis.
Episode 55 follows from the last two episodes with Rahul Matthan, on the evolution of privacy, and policy developments in modern India.
Have any questions or comments? Write in to podcast@thinkpragati.com.

Visit Pragati for more views from Manasa, Ajay and other experts on data protection and privacy