Ep. 87: The Growth of Indian E-Commerce

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How did E-Commerce grow from next to nothing in India a decade ago to a $50 Billion industry today? Is Indian e-commerce business little more than a clone of e-commerce in the United States or elsewhere? Akshay Alladi talks about the business and the public policy challenges of e-commerce on Episode 87 of The Pragati Podcast.

The Pragati Podcast is a weekly show on public policy, economics and international relations hosted by Pavan Srinath.

Akshay Alladi chronicles the rise of e-commerce and online retail in India, shares India-specific innovations that took place, and what caused various inflection points in its growth. He talks about various aspects of the business, and also about how foreign direct investment, taxation policies and more affect online retail. The episode also includes a discussion on the most recent 'clarification' issued by the Government of India on FDI in e-commerce, and how it can profoundly reshape the sector for the worse.

Akshay has worked at key roles at Flipkart and Ola, with a career in management consulting before that. Akshay is currently working in venture capital in Bangalore.

Related readings:

Anupam Manur: How to Regulate Internet Platforms Without Breaking Them. https://www.asiaglobalonline.hku.hk/regulate-internet-platforms-antitrust-competition/

The Pragati Podcast is now on Instagram! Follow at https://instagram.com/pragatipod. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, do write in to podcast@thinkpragati.com.

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Ep. 86: Afghanistan before 9/11

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2019 is an important year for Afghanistan, with national elections scheduled for July. At the same time, the people and the State of Afghanistan continues to face grave threats to their national security, and the Taliban continue to remain relevant.

Afghanistan regained a lost spotlight in 2001 with the 9/11 attacks and the US War on Terror, but what was Afghanistan like in the 1980s and 90s? Who were the Taliban and how did they rise to power? How did India remain engaged with Afghanistan's legitimate government and the Northern Alliance when most of the world looked away?

Anand Arni and Pranay Kotasthane join host Pavan Srinath on Episode 86 of the Pragati Podcast to talk about Afghanistan before 9/11.

Mr Arni is a Distinguished Fellow and Advisor at the Takshashila Institution, and retired as Special Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India. 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. Pranay is Fellow and Head of the Geostrategy Programme at the Takshashila Institution.

The Pragati Podcast is now on Instagram! Follow at https://instagram.com/pragatipod. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, do write in to podcast@thinkpragati.com.

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Ep. 85: India's Strategic Culture

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Does India have a strategic culture? Does India display strategic thought and action on global affairs? There is wide-spread skepticism about India having any grand strategy, but are people mistaking form for substance? Dhruva Jaishankar argues that India indeed has a vibrant strategic culture on Episode 85 of The Pragati Podcast.

The Pragati Podcast is a weekly talkshow on public policy, economics and international affairs, hosted by Pavan Srinath.

Dhruva Jaishankar is Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at Brookings India in New Delhi and the Brookings Institution in Washington DC. He is also a Non-Resident Fellow with the Lowy Institute in Australia. His research examines India’s role in the international system and the effects of global developments on India’s politics, economics, and society, with a particular focus on India’s relations with the United States, the Indo-Pacific, and Europe.

Dhruva and Pavan talk about why many believe that India lacks a strategic culture, explore India's national security apparatus, examine India's grand strategy since achieving independence, and what major strategic challenges the Republic needs to face in the coming years and decades.

The Pragati Podcast is now on Instagram! Follow at https://instagram.com/pragatipod. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, do write in to podcast@thinkpragati.com.

Some suggested readings:

Dhruva Jaishankar's book chapter "Indian Strategy in a Non-Strategic Age": https://www.brookings.edu/research/indian-strategy-in-a-non-strategic-age/

Nitin Pai's 2012 Subbu Forum Memorial Lecture: "K Subrahmanyam and India’s Strategic Culture":
http://pragati.nationalinterest.in/2012/02/k-subrahmanyam-and-india%E2%80%99s-strategic-culture/

Pranay Kotasthane's Review of Neil Padukone's book Beyond South Asia: http://pragati.nationalinterest.in/2015/03/indias-grand-strategy-for-the-21st-century/

Kannada barutta? Check out the Thale-Harate Kannada Podcast, co-hosted by Pavan Srinath. Explore episodes on India's and Karnataka's budgets, and find out how city planning works in Bengaluru. ಬನ್ನಿ ಹರಟೆ ಹೊಡಿಯೋಣ! http://ivmpodcasts.com/harate-kannada-podcast/

Ep. 84: From Academia to Entrepreneurship

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How can great academic research lead to building a great tech company? Listen to Vijay Chandru talk about his life, work and journey as one of India's first academic entrepreneurs on Episode 84 of The Pragati Podcast.

The Pragati Podcast is a weekly talkshow on public policy, economics and international relations hosted by Pavan SrinathShambhavi Naik, Fellow at the Takshashila Institution, joins this episode as a co-host.

Vijay Chandru is the Co-founder and Director of Strand Life Sciences, one of India's top biotech companies, which focuses on next-generation precision medicine and diagnostics. Before becoming an entrepreneur, he was an academic researcher and professor of Computational Mathematics at Purdue University and the Indian Institute of Science. He is also currently a Distinguished Technologist and Adjunct Faculty at IISc.

Dr. Chandru has a wide range of expertise and experience ranging from artificial intelligence to computational biology to precision medicine. On this episode, he shares how good academics make for natural entrepreneurs, and how different paths can be taken by them. He also shares his own journey, where he and his colleagues took a leap from academia into the tech startup world at a time when few others were taking the plunge. The episode also includes discussions on how computational biology and gene sequencing technology has evolved, and how modern medicine is getting shaped by new research and new solutions.

The Pragati Podcast is now on Instagram! Follow at https://instagram.com/pragatipod

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Kannada barutta? Check out the Thale-Harate Kannada Podcast, co-hosted by Pavan Srinath. This week there is a new Budget special podcast out, on the Karnataka state government budget. ಬನ್ನಿ ಹರಟೆ ಹೊಡಿಯೋಣ! http://ivmpodcasts.com/harate-kannada-podcast-episode-list/2019/2/13/ep-10-2019-karnatakas-budget-matters-more

Ep. 83: Voicing India

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Podcasts are all about voices and conversations, but how did India's own voice-over industry evolve? On Episode 83 of Pragati Podcast, Shammi Narang and Dishant Narang share their personal journey from the early days of radio ads in India to the rapidly growing industry that is voice-acting today.

The Pragati Podcast is a weekly talkshow on public policy, economics and international relations hosted by Pavan Srinath.

Shammi and Dishant Narang run Pindrop Media in New Delhi, and Shammi Narang is the Hindi voice of all Metro rail services in India today. Starting his voice career with Voice of America Hindi in the 1970s, he is a celebrated Doordarshan anchor from the 1980s, and has been a leader in the voice-over industry in India since then.

Kannada barutta? Check out the Thale-Harate Kannada Podcast, co-hosted by Pavan Srinath. This week there is a new Budget special podcast out, on the Government of India's Interim Budget. ಬನ್ನಿ ಹರಟೆ ಹೊಡಿಯೋಣ! http://ivmpodcasts.com/harate-kannada-podcast-episode-list/2019/2/6/ep-09-2019-indias-budget-explained

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Ep. 82: Connectivity Raises All Boats

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Why is China investing in belts and roads, building infrastructure from the Balkans to Sri Lanka? Why is India building roads in Afghanistan or wants to build train lines connecting India's Northeastern states with Myanmar and Thailand? Is this all because of grand geopolitical considerations, or is it mainly just economics that drives these ideas?

Ambassador Shivshankar Menon talks to guest host Pranay Kotasthane about connectivity on Episode 82 of The Pragati Podcast.

Amb. Shivshankar Menon is the former National Security Advisor to Government of India, and India's former Foreign Secretary before then. In his career as an IFS officer, he's served as the Ambassador to China and Israel, and High Commissioner to Pakistan and Sri Lanka. He is the author of Choices: Inside the Making of Indian Foreign Policy. https://www.amazon.in/Choices-Inside-Making-Indias-Foreign-ebook/dp/B06XXTB4M3

Kannada barutta? Check out the Thale-Harate Kannada Podcast, co-hosted by Pavan Srinath. This week on Episode 8, Alok Prasanna Kumar talks the evolution of Aadhaar and how Indians secured a fundamental right to privacy in the process. ಬನ್ನಿ ಹರಟೆ ಹೊಡಿಯೋಣ! http://ivmpodcasts.com/harate-kannada-podcast

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Ep. 81: The Parliament and the Republic

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Sixty nine years ago, Indians established a radical new government that put the individual at the centre of all governance. Republic Day celebrates the Constitution of India, where we not only sought freedom from the British, but freedom from the evils that plagued our society. MR Madhavan talks to Pavan Srinath on The Pragati Podcast on the Indian Republic and the Indian Parliament.

In Episode 81, a Republic Day special, MR Madhavan of PRS Legislative Research gives us a sweeping overview of the Republic of India and its Parliament. Madhavan and Pavan discuss how the parliamentary system has much stronger checks and balances on the Executive than a presidential system. A few ideas that are explored:

  • How many countries have even managed to hang on to their constitution for almost 70 years?

  • How can the Parliament be reformed such that voters can hold their MPs more accountable?

  • Do political parties even have any real constitutional status and recognition?

  • What legal innovations did we need to keep the Republic alive?

  • How has the anti-defection law crippled the Indian legislature?

  • Can coalition governments actually lead to more consultative law-making?

  • How can the office of the Lok Sabha Speaker be made more independent?

MR Madhavan is the President and Co-Founder of PRS Legislative Research, one of India's most unique and impactful thinktanks. PRS tracks the functioning of the Indian Parliament and works with MPs across political parties and MLAs from various states. PRS provides research support to legislators via analysis of legislative issues, by providing fellowships to research assistants and more.

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Ep. 80: Being a Foreign Policy Journalist in India

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How do you report on India's complex neighbourhood as a journalist in Delhi? Devirupa Mitra of The Wire talks to host Pavan Srinath on Episode 80 of The Pragati Podcast about being on the foreign policy beat.

Devirupa Mitra is Deputy Editor & Diplomatic Correspondent at The Wire, with over 15 years of journalistic experience. She specialises in reporting on domestic developments in India's neighbours, and about India's relations with them. She has been on the Ministry of External Affairs 'beat' for over seven years.

This is the third conversation on the Pragati Podcast on the practice of journalism in India. In Episode 65, host Pavan Srinath spoke to Dhanya Rajendran of The News Minute, on building an online news portal, and about reporting during the time of natural disasters. In Episode 68, Pavan spoke to James Crabtree about being a Foreign correspondent in Mumbai for the Financial Times. Do also listen to The Seen and the Unseen with Amit Varma on the state of the media: OneTwo.

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Kannada barutta? Check out the Thale-Harate Kannada Podcast, co-hosted by Pavan Srinath. This week on Episode 7, Vasant Shetty talks about Kannada speaking consumers can transform the language and how public services are delivered to them. ಬನ್ನಿ ಹರಟೆ ಹೊಡಿಯೋಣ! http://ivmpodcasts.com/harate-kannada-podcast

Ep. 79: Corporate-Government Relations in India.

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How should we think of the relationship between governments and businesses? Can the private sector engage with governments in a way that doesn't involve corruption, cronyism and more? Is 'Lobbying' a bad word?

Rahul Sharma speaks to host Pavan Srinath on Episode 79 of The Pragati Podcast on how corporate-government relations are evolving in India.

Rahul Sharma is one of India's top public affairs professionals, and Managing Director at APCO Worldwide. He was previously the Deputy Secretary General at FICCI, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. He is a Founding Member and former President of PAFI, the Public Affairs Forum of India. He also teaches strategic media engagement at the Takshashila Institution's Post-Graduate Programme in Public Policy.

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Kannada barutta? Check out the Thale-Harate Kannada Podcast, co-hosted by Pavan Srinath. This week on Episode 6, Ganesh Chakravarthi talks about Artificial Intelligence, and how it is transforming Bengaluru and the world. ಬನ್ನಿ ಹರಟೆ ಹೊಡಿಯೋಣ! http://ivmpodcasts.com/harate-kannada-podcast

Ep. 78: The US-China War for Technology

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The US-China Trade War goes well beyond tariffs on steel. Tariffs might just be a current battle, but the real conflict between China and the United States could be on technology dominance. In Episode 78, Anupam Manur and Manoj Kewalramani talk to host Pavan Srinath  about how the first moves have been made now in a US-China War for Technology. To use a Chinese phrase, this might be China's new Long March towards technological dominance.

Episode 77 & 78 are a two-episode special on The Pragati Podcast that demystifies the ongoing economic conflict between the USA and China.

Ep. 77: The US-China Tariff Battle

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A Trade War between the United States and China has dominated headlines and discussions across the world in 2018. Is this really a war? Is it a battle? Do all such metaphors distort discussions on trade? In Episode 77, Anupam Manur and Manoj Kewalramani talk to host Pavan Srinath about how this is really a US-China battle of tariffs and not a trade war.

Episode 77 & 78 are a two-episode special on The Pragati Podcast that demystifies ongoing economic conflict between the USA and China.

Anupam Manur and Manoj Kewalramani are fellows at the Takshashila Institution. Anupam is an economist who works on employment, market regulations and trade. Manoj is a China analyst, with a weekly newsletter Eye on China, on Pragati. https://www.thinkpragati.com/category/world/china/

Don't miss Episode 78 of the Pragati Podcast, where Anupam and Manoj continue the conversation and talk about how a US-China War for Technology may be starting right now.

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Kannada barutta? Check out the Thale-Harate Kannada Podcast, co-hosted by Pavan Srinath. This week on Episode 5, guest Ramaprasad KV talks about how Kannada language, culture and speakers are prospering in the United States of America. ಬನ್ನಿ ಹರಟೆ ಹೊಡಿಯೋಣ! http://ivmpodcasts.com/harate-kannada-podcast

Ep. 76: India's Successes and Failures

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How should we think about India as a republic and as a democracy? What has India succeeded in doing, and where do we still have a long way to go?
Dr Jayaprakash Narayan, known to all as Dr JP, shares his realism and his optimism with host Pavan Srinath in the first Pragati Podcast episode of 2019.

Dr JP has been at the forefront of reform and change in India, as an outstanding IAS officer, as the founder of the Lok Satta Party, as an MLA in Andhra Pradesh, as a member of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission, as the founder of the Foundation for Democratic Reforms, and as a lot more. His contributions are visible in numerous legislations and a few constitutional amendments, along with decades of public debates and action.

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

Kannada barutta? Check out the Thale-Harate Kannada Podcast, co-hosted by Pavan Srinath. This week on Episode 4, they talk about the Aadhaar set of Judgments with guest Alok Prasanna Kumar. ಬನ್ನಿ ಹರಟೆ ಹೊಡಿಯೋಣ! http://ivmpodcasts.com/harate-kannada-podcast

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Ep. 75: True Financial Inclusion

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How is India doing on increasing access to finance for all its citizens? When we talk about microfinance, are we actually talking about only loans?

Malavika Raghavan has a wide-ranging conversation on financial inclusion with host Pavan Srinath and guest co-host Manasa Venkataraman on Episode 75 of the Pragati Podcast.

Malavika is a lawyer by training and heads the Future of Finance initiative at Dvara Research. She is also a 2018 Chevening Financial Services Fellow, and has written and researched extensively on policy and regulation at the intersection of technology, finance, and inclusion.

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

Kannada barutta? Check out the Thale-Harate Kannada Podcast, co-hosted by Pavan Srinath. This week on Episode 3, they talk about hacking and cybersecurity with guest Sandesh Anand. ಬನ್ನಿ ಹರಟೆ ಹೊಡಿಯೋಣ! 

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Ep. 74: Why Should Indians Care About Distant ISIS?

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The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS, is rapidly losing territory and seems to be collapsing. Can this collapsing Islamic State pose new challenges to India and its neighbourhood?

Foreign policy scholar Kabir Taneja  talks to host Pavan Srinath  on ISIS and terrorism in the age of social media on Episode 74 of the Pragati Podcast. He makes a persuasive case for more attention and scholarship on ISIS.

Kabir Taneja is an Associate Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation and works on India's relations with West Asia. He recently published a monograph on The ISIS Phenomenon: South Asia and Beyond.

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

This week, host Pavan Srinath has also launched the Thale-Harate Kannada Podcast with Surya Prakash BS and Ganesh Chakravarthi on the IVM Podcast Network. Kannada barutta? Then check out this new weekly podcast that bridges the worlds of Kannada and English, and Karnataka and the world. ಬನ್ನಿ ಹರಟೆ ಹೊಡಿಯೋಣ!

The first two episodes available here: [http://ivmpodcasts.com/thaleharate-episode-list]
You can follow the Thale-Harate Kannada Podcast at @Haratepod on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

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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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