The Takshashila Institution organised a conversation for the book, ‘In Service of the Republic’ by Prof Ajay Shah and Dr Vijay Kelkar on 4 February 2020. Ajay Shah was in conversation with Pranay Kotasthane, Head of Research at Takshashila. Their discussion touched upon a range of crucial economic, political and societal problems with a healthy dose of interesting facts and personal anecdotes.
In Service of the Republic argues that India’s institutions are out of touch with the complexities of a modern complex economy, situated in a liberal democracy. It aims to help Indian policymakers and intelligentsia develop a new set of concepts and principles that will guide the country for the next 20 years.
One interesting statistic presented by Prof Shah was about state capacity in policymaking. The Ministry of Finance, for example, has about 20 policymakers, offering around 160 man-hours of policymaking capacity to the Minister. In comparison, the UK Treasury has around 150 people in a similar role.