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Demystifying the Indian Supreme Court
Demystifying the Indian Supreme Court
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Available Episodes

EPISODE 148

This week on Grand Tamasha, Milan is joined by Grand Tamasha’s India news roundup regulars: Sadanand Dhume of the Wall Street Journal and the American Enterprise Institute and Tanv ... Read more

This week on Grand Tamasha, Milan is joined by Grand Tamasha’s India news roundup regulars: Sadanand Dhume of the Wall Street Journal and the American Enterprise Institute and Tanvi Madan of the Brookings Institution. On the show this week, the trio discusses the 2024 Indian general election and its aftermath. They debate the politics, as well as the economic and foreign policy implications of the result. Did Rahul Gandhi rehabilitate himself? Will coalition politics derail economic reforms? How are foreign capitals reacting to the surprise result? Milan, Tanvi, and Sadanand discuss these questions and much more. Read more

EPISODE 147

On Sunday night, India’s new National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government was sworn into office, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at its helm once more. We have a new group of B ... Read more

On Sunday night, India’s new National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government was sworn into office, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at its helm once more. We have a new group of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) allies, a new group of ministers, and a new look in terms of how the Modi government will function in its third term. However, the economic challenges the new government faces are quite old. Many experts believe that concerns about inflation, jobs, and lack of upward mobility dented the BJP’s electoral prospects in the recent general election. To talk about the Indian economy and the steps the new government must take, Milan is joined on the show this week by Trinh Nguyen. Trinh is a senior economist covering emerging Asia at Natixis, based in Hong Kong, where she surveys economic trends across Asia, including in India. She previously worked at HSBC as an ASEAN economist from 2011 to 2015. She is also a nonresident scholar in the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Trinh and Milan discuss the market reaction to the surprise 2024 election result, the key vulnerabilities for the Indian economy, and how India is performing relative to its Asian peers. Plus, the two discuss India’s ability to leverage the “China+1” moment, the recent slump in foreign direct investment (FDI), and whether a coalition government spells doom for reforms. Read more

EPISODE 146

We’ve finally come to the end of the 46-day Indian general election. And we have a surprising result which many experts did not see coming. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prim ... Read more

We’ve finally come to the end of the 46-day Indian general election. And we have a surprising result which many experts did not see coming. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi failed to secure a single-party majority in the Lok Sabha in what is being interpreted as a major setback. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) did, however, win a majority and is set to form a new government on June 8th under Modi’s leadership. The opposition Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) grouping, in turn, performed much better than expected, winning 233 seats—a massive increase from 2019. On today’s podcast, we bring you a conversation that Milan recorded with two of India’s leading political experts: Sunetra Choudhury, national political editor of the Hindustan Times, and Rahul Verma, Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. The trio spend an hour digging into the nitty gritty of these election results. They discuss the BJP’s stumbles, the INDIA alliance’s keys to success, and what the election tells us about national issues like the economy and Hindu nationalism. Plus, the three discuss what the we can expect from the new NDA government. If you’re interested in the video of the conversation, you can find it on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/live/JfhZEAclHv4 Read more

EPISODE 145

Gujarat Under Modi: Laboratory of Today’s India is a new book by the scholar Christophe Jaffrelot but one that has an old backstory. It is the definitive account of Narendra Modi’ ... Read more

Gujarat Under Modi: Laboratory of Today’s India is a new book by the scholar Christophe Jaffrelot but one that has an old backstory. It is the definitive account of Narendra Modi’s tenure as chief minister of the state of Gujarat. And it helps place into context the changes we’ve seen in national politics, economic policy, and society over the past ten years under Prime Minister Modi. It is a book that the author started researching twenty years ago and is finally out in the world. To talk more about the book, Christophe joins Milan on the show this week. He is the Avantha Chair and Professor of Indian Politics and Sociology at the King’s India Institute. He teaches at Sciences Po and is also a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Milan and Christophe discuss the tortuous backstory to the book, what attracted Christophe to the Gujarat story in 2001, and how the BJP established total hegemony in the western state. Plus, the two discuss the “Gujarat model” under Modi, the idea of a “deeper state,” and the often-tense relations between Modi and the Sangh Parivar. Read more

EPISODE 144

Over the last five years, Milan has interviewed authors of big books, that have brought innovative new ideas to the India policy debate. And he’s also interviewed authors of lengt ... Read more

Over the last five years, Milan has interviewed authors of big books, that have brought innovative new ideas to the India policy debate. And he’s also interviewed authors of lengthy books. On the show this week, he sits down with an author who’s written a big book in every sense of the term. It is no stretch to say that Accelerating India’s Development: A State-Led Roadmap for Effective Governance is one of the most important books written about the political economy of India’s development. Over 600 pages and 200 pages of notes, it takes readers on an exhaustive deep dive of India’s governance challenges, especially in delivering essential public services. The book draws on a wealth of research and practical insights to offer actionable, evidence-based strategies for reforms. The author of this new book is the economist Karthik Muralidharan. Karthik is the Tata Chancellor’s Professor of Economics at the University of California San Diego. He is one of the most prolific economists of his generation and his works spans public finance and development economics, with a focus on education, health, welfare, and public service delivery. Milan and Karthik discuss the book’s origin story, Karthik’s framework for thinking about state capacity, and how to change the incentives of politicians and bureaucrats. Plus, the two discuss some of the book’s big ideas, ranging from data collection to public sector contracting and cash transfers. Read more

EPISODE 143

Breaking the Mould: India’s Untraveled Path to Prosperity is a big new book by the economists Raghuram Rajan and Rohit Lamba. The book is both a critique of India’s development mod ... Read more

Breaking the Mould: India’s Untraveled Path to Prosperity is a big new book by the economists Raghuram Rajan and Rohit Lamba. The book is both a critique of India’s development model as well as a manifesto for reform. Most notably, it challenges the conventional wisdom that India’s primary goal should be to transform the country into a blue-collar manufacturing powerhouse. Rajan and Lamba argue that India cannot duplicate China’s development model, but it has the opportunity to leapfrog by focusing higher up the value chain. To discuss the book’s ideas and its policy implications, Milan is joined on the show this week by Rohit Lamba. Rohit is an economist at New York University-Abu Dhabi and will soon be joining the Economics Department at Cornell University. He’s twice worked in the chief economic advisor’s office in the Indian Ministry of Finance. The two discuss what the critics get right about the Indian economy, why India cannot blindly follow the Chinese model, and how India can pivot “from brawn to brain.” Plus, Rohit and Milan discuss the manufacturing versus services debate, India’s inward economic turn, and what India must do to upgrade its human capital. Read more

EPISODE 142

The third phase of India’s 44-day long polls took place this week with voting held in 94 constituencies across 12 states. Thus far, the elections have been marked by lower-than-exp ... Read more

The third phase of India’s 44-day long polls took place this week with voting held in 94 constituencies across 12 states. Thus far, the elections have been marked by lower-than-expected turnout, intensifying communal rhetoric, and a sharp debate about inequality and redistribution. Against this backdrop, the New York Times Magazine recently published an essay by the journalist Samanth Subramanian titled, “Time Is Running Out for Rahul Gandhi’s Vision for India.” The essay was based on a reporting trip in February of this year in which Samanth traveled Uttar Pradesh with Rahul Gandhi, the former president of the Congress Party who remains its most promising face. Samanth is the author of several award-winning books, This Divided Island: Life, Death and the Sri Lankan War and A Dominant Character: The Radical Science and Restless Politics of J.B.S. Haldane. He has also long reported on India and Indian politics. To talk more about his recent essay, Samanth joins Milan on the podcast this week. On the show, he and Milan discuss Rahul Gandhi’s political vision, the tensions within the Congress Party, and Gandhi’s strengths and weaknesses as a politician. Plus, the two debate the party’s fortunes, its relationship with Muslims, and the Gandhi family legacy. Read more

EPISODE 141

The incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi entered this election as the clear favorite with every single pre-election survey pointing a decisive vic ... Read more

The incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi entered this election as the clear favorite with every single pre-election survey pointing a decisive victory. However, the party is leaving no stone unturned in its effort to notch a third consecutive parliamentary majority. To discuss the BJP’s campaign, Milan is joined on the show this week by Smriti Kak Ramachandran, a veteran journalist who covers the BJP for the Hindustan Times. Smriti has spent over a decade in journalism combining old fashioned leg work with modern story telling tools. Milan and Smriti discuss how the BJP is responding to lower-than-expected turnout in the first phase of voting, Modi’s communally-tinged speech in Rajasthan, and the surprising omission from the BJP’s manifesto. Plus, the two discuss the states the BJP is keeping a close eye on, from Odisha in the east to Tamil Nadu in the south. Read more

EPISODE 140

As India heads to the polls, a new chapter is being written in a very old debate about poverty and inequality in India. This debate has been stirred up by the release of new data f ... Read more

As India heads to the polls, a new chapter is being written in a very old debate about poverty and inequality in India. This debate has been stirred up by the release of new data from a government-sponsored consumption survey, which some have argued shows a massive decline in poverty in India. Others believe that this data are not so unequivocal and point to a widening gap between top income-earners and ordinary Indians. To make sense of this debate, Milan is joined on the show this week by Maitreesh Ghatak. Maitreesh is a Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, where he has been the Director of the Development Economics Group at the research centre, STICERD, since 2005. He is a widely respected voice on India’s economic development and has been especially focused, in recent years, on questions of growth, poverty, and inequality. Milan and Maitreesh discuss the government’s recent consumption survey, contested claims that India has eliminated extreme poverty, and recent inequality trends. Plus, the two discuss the overall health of the macro-economy and the state of India’s statistical system. Read more

EPISODE 139

In just a few days, India’s eighteenth general elections will get underway with voting in the first phase kicking off on April 19. Between April 19 and June 1, India will have seve ... Read more

In just a few days, India’s eighteenth general elections will get underway with voting in the first phase kicking off on April 19. Between April 19 and June 1, India will have seven separate polling days culminating in a final counting of votes on June 4. Every single pre-election survey to date shows the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi winning a comfortable majority of seats in the Lok Sabha. If these predictions come to fruition, it would be the first time that a party has won three consecutive elections under the same leader since Congress during the Nehru period. To preview these elections—and what they mean for India’s future—Milan is joined on the show this week by Sukumar Ranganathan, editor-in-chief of the Hindustan Times. Few people in India have observed and analyzed politics, economics, and social change as comprehensively as Sukumar. Milan and Sukumar discuss the issues animating voters this election, the state of the economy, and the significant expansion of the BJP coalition. Plus, the two discuss the opposition’s struggles, the BJP’s big push in the southern states, and what we know about the agenda for Modi 3.0. Read more

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