Publications

Why parking needs more than proof of space

The big idea in urban transport is to get users to pay for parking and suchlike. Not another piece of paper. The Union government is considering a proposal to make...

Of successes and failures

The learning step (from failure) and the reflection step (from success) are the true stepping-stones to fulfilment

India’s implementation gap

A newly industrializing, independent post-war India has abandoned its historical artisanal quality but did not replace it with a modern obsession with quality

A better way of selecting the top brass – 2

Politicisation will limit politicisation Two of the more thoughtful critiques of the Modi government’s decision to jettison the principle of seniority in appointing India’s next army chief appear in the...

Time for a stiff drink

Satyagraha, Neoliberalism, CIA…we’re running out of ideas It is perhaps a good time for newspaper editors to stop publishing any more polemical opinion pieces on the great currency transfusion (‘demonetisation’)....

A better way of selecting the top brass

Nothing is lost by abandoning the principle of seniority, but the armed forces need restructuring Yesterday, the Modi government decided to supersede two general officers and appoint Lt Gen Bipin...

Mythicising China’s strategic behaviour

From great wall to great iron via Sunzi bingfa by Pranay Kotasthane (@pranaykotas) Because we don’t understand China’s strategic priorities well enough, we often resort to historical antecedents, writings, even...

How long will the Great Currency Swap be popular?

As long as schadenfreude exceeds inconvenience Many of us at Takshashila have been struck by the seemingly paradoxical situation of the Prime Minister enjoying popular support for the Great Currency...

A conservative criticism of the Great Currency Transfusion

On making big bold moves in uncharted territory Over the past few weeks, many people have asked me (just as they’ve asked each other) what I think of the Modi...

Pakistan’s economic challenge

Thinking beyond CPEC By Pranay Kotasthane (@pranaykotas) The Dawn editorial (10th December) makes a case against Pakistan’s overreliance on CPEC to solve its economic woes. there are multiple roads to...

The paradox of a cashless society

To be successful, the push for cashless society must accommodate the anonymity of cash There is no doubt that moving towards a cashless society has immense benefits: from making transactions...

The pink rhinoceros at the party

How to win followers and influence people There was a pink rhinoceros at the cocktail party. All the guests saw it but no one talked about it. They believed it...

Should liberals relax when populists are democratically elected?

Eternal nervousness might well be the price of democracy Rohit Pradhan usually has interesting things to say and minces no words. Especially on Friday evenings. As he inaugurated last weekend,...

What India’s surgical strike achieved, and what it didn’t?

by Pranay Kotasthane (@pranaykotas) Having introduced an uncertainty in its response, it is perhaps better for India to reduce the vulnerability of its military establishments. In the wake of the...

Trump is fantastic. Don’t worry.

Mr Trump’s telephone conversations with world leaders are indicative of his style, not substance. Donald Trump’s phone calls with world leaders, screams a headline in the New York Times are...

Coin change problem with change – Dijkstra’s Algorithm

The coin change problem is a well studied problem in Computer Science, and is a popular example given for teaching students Dynamic Programming. The problem is simple – given an...

Currency transfusion and political cyni-, er, realism

Have Indians proved the cynics among them wrong? A few years ago, a cynic postulated two laws of policy realism in India. The first law of policy realism A policy...

Explaining UPI

I just paid my cook his salary for November. Given the cash crunch, I paid him through a bank transfer, using IMPS. Earlier today, my wife had asked him for...

An eightfold path to improving urban traffic

There are quick an inexpensive ways to improve traffic flows in our cities This is a version of an op-ed that appeared in the Bangalore edition of today’s Times of...

Pouring supreme scorn on liberty

The Supreme Court must not hold in contempt what it is mandated to uphold At first glance, today’s Supreme Court ruling making it mandatory for cinema halls to play the...

China warns Singapore

As Singapore confronts difficult choices, it must sound out New Delhi. It is an open secret that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) train in the Republic of China in Taiwan,...

Hindu, Hindoo, Gentoo and Indian

What came first and what was more popular While researching the origins of liberalism for another project, I came across an interesting analysis by Daniel B. Klein in the Atlantic...

Why PM Modi should push economic liberalisation now

The best use of his store of political capital is to undertake big ticket economic reforms. When a small Takshashila team walked around Bangalore’s wholesale markets, Dobbspet town and a...

On OBOR’s commercially suspect projects

Win-win, for China. Analysts have observed that many projects that China is financing and building under Xi Jinping’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative are commercially dubious. People whose job...

What did the currency reform intend to do?

Countering terrorism, counterfeit currency, unaccounted wealth, unaccounted income…? Anupam Manur and I have a brief analysis of what the currency reform (popularly, and inaccurately, known as demonetisation) might have been...

From ex gratia to insurance

Insurance payouts maintain human dignity and create incentives for safety The derailment of Indore-Patna Express, near Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, is the first major accident after the introduction of an...

(Re)stating the case

Do the recent splits, particularly the Telangana one, suggest the need for a wider and deeper look at another reorganization of states?

Changing alignments in East Asia

by Pranay Kotasthane (@pranaykotas) Early indications about a Trump Presidency’s impact on partnerships in East Asia Since Woodrow Wilson, the goal of American foreign policy has been to prevent regional...

Cash crisis, reform and pain

Structural reform does not have to be painful. It is clear by now that the Modi government’s currency reform, involving replacement of old high-denomination notes with new ones, is inconveniencing...

Chinese inroads

The new silk road is being built faster than the world’s ability to grasp its consequences. China has worked out a railway route to Afghanistan and, from August this year,...
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