Ideas of India
Ideas of India
Oct 29, 2020
Biju Rao on Democracy, Deliberation, and Development
1 hr 21 min

Today my guest is Vijayendra Rao, or as he's known, Biju Rao, a lead economist in the Development Research Group at the World Bank. His recent book coauthored with professor Paromita Sanyal called Oral Democracy: Deliberation in Indian Village Assemblies, is an excellent study of citizens voice in India's Gram Sabhas, or village assemblies, which are also the largest deliberative institution in human history. 

I had a chance to speak with Biju about deliberative democracy in India, federalism and local governments, conducting ethnographic research, what it means to be a development economist, the relevance of methodology and history, and much more. 

Full transcript of this episode enhanced with helpful links:

Connect with me on Twitter:

Connect with Biju on Twitter:

Bangalore International Centre
72. Girls Out of School
Jyotsna Jha talks to host Pavan Srinath about how Indian girl children have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Jyotsna and her colleagues have published a new study on how children’s education is faring amidst deep economic uncertainty faced by millions of Indian families, by surveying over 3,100 households across 4 states – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam and Telangana. In this episode, Jyotsna shares the state of the gender gap in education and society before the pandemic, and how girls are faring now, with schools shut down and families in economic crisis. Things look dire, with girls losing their freedom of movement, with limited phone access and uncertainty over ever going back to school. She also shares how boys are also adversely affected and goes beyond the study to discuss what is likely to happen in the future. Jyotsna and Pavan also discuss what should be immediate and medium-term priorities for India’s schooling system and getting children back to school. Jyotsna Jha is the Director of the Centre for Budget and Policy Studies, a Bangalore-based think tank focused on policy research and advocacy. Jyotsna has a PhD in Economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Her research primarily focuses on education and gender. She has actively worked with educational policy planners, administrators, teachers, and professionals at various levels both nationally and internationally. BIC Talks is brought to you by the Bangalore International Centre. Visit the BIC website to learn more about the guest and for links to the full study. The full study is titled: Neha Ghatak, Achala S Yareseeme and Jyotsna Jha, (2020). “Life in the time of Covid-19: Mapping the impact of Covid-19 on the lives of school-going children especially girls in India”. Centre for Budget and Policy Studies and India Champions for Girls’ Education.
33 min
The Seen and the Unseen - hosted by Amit Varma
The Seen and the Unseen - hosted by Amit Varma
Amit Varma
Ep 201: A Cricket Tragic Celebrates the Game
Cricket has a unique place in Indian society, and has touched and shaped millions of lives. Ramachandra Guha joins Amit Varma in episode 201 of The Seen and the Unseen to describe how he came to love, play and even administer the 'most subtle and sophisticated game known to humankind.' Also check out: 1. The Commonwealth of Cricket -- Ramachandra Guha. 2. A Corner of a Foreign Field -- Ramachandra Guha. 3. The Picador Book of Cricket -- Edited by Ramachandra Guha. 4. Ramachandra Guha's books on Amazon. 5. Understanding Gandhi. Part 1: Mohandas -- Episode 104 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ramachandra Guha). 6. Understanding Gandhi. Part 2: Mahatma -- Episode 105 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ramachandra Guha). 7. Taking Stock of Our Republic -- Episode 157 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ramachandra Guha). 8. Autobiography of an Unknown Cricketer -- Sujit Mukherjee. 9. Beyond a Boundary -- CLR James. 10. The Tao of Cricket -- Ashis Nandy. 11. Money in Cricket -- Episode 41 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Gideon Haigh & Prem Panicker). 12. The Evolution of Cricket -- Episode 97 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Harsha Bhogle). 13. Where Have All the Leaders Gone? -- Amit Varma. 14. Who Will Bell the Congress cat? -- Amit Varma. 15. Indian Cricket's Conflict-of-Interest Problem -- Mukul Kesavan. 16. The Sporting Spirit -- George Orwell. 17. Amit Varma on the IPL. 18. Of Gifted Voice -- Keshav Desiraju. 19. Yele Suhabashini -- TM Krishna. 20. S Gopalakrishnan (@gopalears) on Twitter. 21. The Lost World of Hindustani Music -- Kumar Prasad Mukherji. 22. Raga'n Josh -- Sheila Dhar. This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus. Check out their course, Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills. Click here for free unlimited access for a month. You can now buy Seen/Unseen swag. Registrations are now open for Amit’s online courses, The Art of Clear Writing and The Art of Podcasting.
2 hr 16 min
The Big Story
The Big Story
The Quint
587: From Resistance to Negotiation: How Farmers Shook Up the Govt
For more than a week now, the farmers' protests against the Centre's new farm laws have continued unabated. In what seems to be the second massive protest against the Centre in the capital, after the anti-CAA and NRC protests from 2019, thousands of farmers have been staging protests at Tigri, Singhu and Ghazipur borders amid heavy police deployment leading to the shutdown of the Delhi-Noida link road. As the protest fast turns into a movement with support from all quarters, it also gained prominent international attention. From Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to British and Australian MPs – a lot of foreign leaders have vocally extended their support and said that the situation in India is concerning. Other than politicians, English international Sikh cricketer Monty Panesar, film director Gurinder Chadha have raised concerns about farmers' treatment at the protest site where they were tear gassed and water cannoned. Around 30 ex-sportsmen from Punjab have decided to return their medals in solidarity with the farmers. But, even as they resist the calls to repeal the farm laws, the government is now down to negotiations. Even as the first round of talks remained inconclusive, the Centre is now ready to hold a fresh round of talks with the protesters on 3 November. What changed the government’s outlook and what have been the recent developments to add to the government’s woes? Tune in! Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha Editor: Shelly Walia Music: Big Bang Fuzz Listen to The Big Story podcast on: Apple: ( Saavn: ( Google Podcasts: ( Spotify: ( Deezer: (
12 min
Econ Central
Econ Central
Amit Varma and Vivek Kaul
Ep 15: Goodbye and All That
Sad news, folks: this is it for Econ Central. Amit Varma and Vivek Kaul explain why they are ending this show at just episode 15 -- and also recommend a whole bunch of books to read as a goodbye gift. Also check out: 1. Moonflower Murders -- Anthony Horowitz. 2. The Paper Menagerie -- Ken Liu. 3. The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories -- Ken Liu. 4. The Nothing Man -- Catherine Ryan Howard. 5. Netherland -- Joseph O'Neill. 6. The Thursday Murder Club -- Richard Osman. 7. The Bear Came Over the Mountain -- Alice Munro. 8. Runaway -- Alice Munro. 9. Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage -- Alice Munro. 10. All Alice Munro's books on Amazon. 11. How to Make the World Add Up -- Tim Harford. 12. Archives of Dear Economist. 13. Dear Undercover Economist -- Tim Harford. 14. Collected Poems -- Mark Strand. (A sample.) 15. The Best of It: New and Selected Poems -- Kay Ryan. 16. The Housekeeper and the Professor -- Yoko Ogawa. 17. The Blank Slate -- Steven Pinker. 18. How Innovation Works -- Matt Ridley. 19. The Innovator's Dilemma -- Clayton M Christensen. 20. The Myth of Basic Science -- Matt Ridley. 21. The Evolution of Everything -- Episode 96 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Matt Ridley). 22. That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen -- Frédéric Bastiat. 23. The Law -- Frédéric Bastiat. 24. The Deficit Myth -- Stephanie Kelton. 25. Rathin Roy's sarcy tweet. 26. That Will Be England Gone -- Michael Henderson. 27. Essays -- George Orwell. 28. Politics and the English Language -- George Orwell. Amit and Vivek will continue to do whatever else they are doing. You can keep listening to Amit's podcast, The Seen and the Unseen, and reading The India Uncut Newsletter. Do also check out his online course, The Art of Clear Writing. Vivek writes regularly at Do browse all his books on Amazon or elsewhere.
31 min
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