Publications

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...

Are Jan Dhan accounts being misused? Unlikely, shows data

The increase in bank balance in Jan Dhan accounts is not extraordinary as they are being used as much as regular bank accounts, following demonetisation

Political beliefs cloud people’s judgement on policy decisions

Confirmation bias is a logical fallacy where people interpret news and opinions in a way that fits their prior beliefs

What are banks doing with cash deposit flood?

Imposition of withdrawal limits means a lion’s share of deposits is still within the banking system

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,...

Demonetisation: Is the Pain Commensurate with the Gain?

By Dr. M Govinda Rao Download the essay in PDF [121 KB] The ruling party has hailed the Prime Minister’s announcement of ₹500 and ₹1000 notes becoming invalid as an...

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...

Analysing India Post-Uri Through a Conflict Escalation Framework

by Pranay Kotasthane, The Takshashila Institution Download the Analysis in PDF [0.8MB] These slides interpret the “surgical strikes” conducted after the Uri terrorist attacks, using the India—Pakistan Conflict Escalation Framework....

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...

Analysis: An Account of Unaccounted Money

By Anupam Manur and Manasa Venkataraman Download the discussion document in PDF An Account of Unaccounted Income is a discussion document that takes an in-depth look at India’s unaccounted economy....

Blue Paper: The Role of Airpower in India’s National Security

Download the Blue Paper in PDF[526kB] This Blue Paper on the contemporary role of airpower was prepared as a result of discussions with AVM Arjun Subramaniam. The discussions were held...

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...

Discussion Document – Defamation Reforms: Going Beyond Decriminalisation

By Madhav Chandavarkar and Manasa Venkataraman Download the Discussion Document in PDF (248 KB) Executive Summary The law for defamation in India impedes free speech more than it protects reputations....

Discussion Document — India’s Currency Reform 2016

By Nitin Pai and Anupam Manur Download India’s Currency Reform 2016 in PD (455 KB) The recent withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination notes as legal tender has...

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,...

Why PayTM is winning the payments “battle” in India

For the last one year or so, ever since I started using IMPS at scale, and read up the UPI protocol, I’ve been bullish about Indian banks winning the so-called...
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