Publications

The state of education in India

The money, time and focus it will take to get our primary education working and to create globally competitive institutions is no small matter

The real benefit of direct benefit transfer

A week ago, I gave up. My LPG subsidy that is. Having been out of the country for a few months, with our normal LPG usage being much lower than...

Aswath Damodaran, Uber’s Valuation and Ratchets

The last time I’d written about Aswath Damodaran’s comments on Uber’s valuation, it was regarding his “fight” with Uber investor Bill Gurley, and whether his valuation was actually newsworthy. Now, his...

Regulating HFT in India

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has set a cat among the HFT (High Frequency Trading) pigeons by proposing seven measures to curb the impact of HFT and...

Three thoughts on Independence Day

A beacon of liberal nationalism We are like a lighthouse, a beacon of liberal nationalism. Freedoms are enshrined in the Constitution, but will be lost unless protected. We stand strongly...

Harry Potter – 19 years later

According to JK Rowling, this is the last Harry Potter story. For each one of us - the biggest fans of Harry Potter - this is devastating

Online activism viewed through the “exit, voice and loyalty” framework

by Pranay Kotasthane (@pranaykotas) WhatsApp and Facebook action groups, change.org petitions, and online grievance reporting are now commonplace manifestations of citizens demanding better public services, particularly in the urban areas...

Book review — Afghanistan Post-2014: Power Configurations and Evolving Trajectories

by Pranay Kotasthane (@pranaykotas) [An edited version of this review first appeared in The Seminar Magazine’s July 2016 edition] A comprehensive volume that throws light on Afghanistan’s polity in a period...

Six books that you should have read already

Books that do what great literature promises - keep you engrossed and make you think

Why is India unable to ‘swing’?

India’s portfolio of capabilities to deliver pain to China (and the US) is not sufficiently developed, constraining India’s ability to swing between US and China. by Pranay Kotasthane (@pranaykotas) The...

On regulating geospatial information

A license-permit raj for maps Just read that draft geospatial information bill. #felloffmychair — Nitin Pai (@acorn) May 6, 2016 My responses to Times of India’s Kim Arora on the...

India and the US—Pakistan partnership

How should India view the US—Pakistan relationship? What are the circumstances under which the US will cease its support to Pakistan’s military—jihadi complex? by Pranay Kotasthane (@pranaykotas) In my previous post,...

A representation of the US policy on Pakistan

by Pranay Kotasthane (@pranaykotas) We have long argued that Pakistan is not one geopolitical entity, but two: the putative state (represented currently by a civilian government), and the military—jihadi complex (MJC)...

Three Indian schools of thought on the India—US partnership

A note on the retaliatory, bandwagoning, and swing power strategies. by Pranay Kotasthane (@pranaykotas) US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter’s recently concluded India visit was keenly tracked — the attention garnered...

Water, IPL and the ease of doing business

The latest controversy surrounding the just-about-to-start ninth edition of the IPL (a court case challenging its staging in Maharashtra while farmers are dying in Vidarbha) is a clear illustration of...

Why the Modi government must ignore Pakistan

High level engagement of Pakistan is a waste of diplomatic capacity and political capital Pakistan’s decision to ‘suspend’ the peace process with India along with the ‘co-operation’ on investigating the...

The land above the tracks

Almost exactly a year ago, we were on our way from Vienna to Budapest and ended up reading the Vienna Hauptbahnhof Railway Station some three hours early. It had been...

Starting off on the right foot

Increase in capital outlay in the 2016—17 Karnataka budget is a good sign for the state by Varun Ramachandra (@_quale) and Pranay Kotasthane (@pranaykotas) [Note: This article first appeared in...

Maximum Retail Price is a conspiracy by FMCG companies

A few months back, Anupam Manur, a colleague at the Takshashila Institution, had written an Op-Ed in The Hindu that the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) mechanism is archaic and needs...

The shifting political economy of Centrally Sponsored Schemes

Action now shifts to the states which will have the first real opportunity to react to a new, and still shifting fiscal landscape By Pranay Kotasthane (@pranaykotas) One of the most...

Investment banks, scientific research and cows

I’ve commented earlier on this blog about how investment banks indirectly fund scientific research – by offering careers to people with PhDs in pure sciences such as maths and physics....

Simulating segregation

Back in the 1970s, economist Thomas Schelling proposed a model to explain why cities are segregated. Individual people choosing to live with others like themselves would have the macroscopic impact...

Making bus lanes work

Bus Rapid Transport, which is mass transport based on lanes dedicated to buses, is something that has been proposed in India for a very long time but has never really...

On liberalism and government control

My first exposure to political ideologies took place in 2004, when I joined the now-defunct (but then brilliant) social networking site Orkut. While filling up my personal details, I was...

Admission of errors and bad bank loans

I have a policy that whenever I make a mistake, I admit it. I believe that suppressing an error does more harm than good in the long run, and it...

Capitalism and Freedom and JNU

This piece by David Henderson has a very powerful quote by Milton Friedman. Quoting in full: In the circumstances envisaged in the socialist society, the man who wants to print...

Falling on and off the map

Although the book is nominally a travelogue, Detours' narrative often meanders from descriptions and experiences of places

Thoughts on India’s approach to China’s 1B1R initiative

How can India respond to a Chinese project that is aimed at creating a geo-strategic realm for itself? By Pranay Kotasthane (@pranaykotas) Last week saw two articles in Indian media on the challenges...

Smart Cities and Thoughts for Karnataka

Karnataka held its annual global investors meet last week. On its sidelines, Rajya Sabha MP Dr Rajeev Gowda launched Resurgent Karnataka, a publication by Raintree Media. I shared my thoughts on smart cities...

West Asia Engagement with Chinese Characteristics

Four parameters that are likely to guide China’s engagement in West Asia By Pranay Kotasthane (@pranaykotas) My previous post Talking about the Asia beyond Pakistan was in light of the Indian...
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