New article: “India at 70”

In a new article for Foreign Affairs, Madhav Khosla and I look at India’s seven decades of experience as a functioning democracy. While India has mastered democracy during elections, it is the state of democracy between elections that is a more concerning. Here’s a snippet:

But the Indian democratic experiment is marred by a central flaw. Indian democracy has worked well during elections. But—as the historian Ramachandra Guha has noted—democracy between elections is much less robust. It is commonplace to observe that democracy is not just about voting, and it is in this respect that modern India is coming up short. The Indian democratic project is held back, in short, by ineffectual governance and a patchy record on civil liberties.

You can read the full piece here.


New piece: India’s Opposition Heads for the Hills

I have a new piece, published online by Foreign Affairs, that looks at the state of Indian politics in the aftermath of the dramatic political events in Bihar. Here’s a snippet:

The upheaval is only the latest signal that the BJP is the new center of political gravity in a country long controlled by the storied Nehru-Gandhi dynasty of the Congress Party. The BJP not only occupies prime position for the country’s next general election—scheduled for 2019—but it is also moving at breakneck speed to cement its hold over powerful state governments. Although the BJP government’s gathering strength signals policy stability and political consolidation, it simultaneously raises concerns about the health of India’s democratic checks and balances.

You can read the entire article here.

Shashi Tharoor reviews “Rethinking Public Institutions in India”

Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament, former cabinet minister, and well-known author, has written a very thoughtful review of our new volume, Rethinking Public Institutions in India. Tharoor, who has written about the infirmities of the Indian state before, covers a lot of ground in his essay for OPEN Magazine. He ends with these kind words:

This impressive, dense volume offers an enormous amount of material on where our public institutions stand and how they could do better. It will reward the serious student of public administration as well as the concerned lay reader. One can only hope that it will not be too long before things improve to the point where a new edition is required.

You can read the entire review here.

June 2 event with Vijay Joshi

On Friday, June 2, we are hosting Oxford University economist Vijay Joshi at Carnegie. Vijay will be talking about his recent book, India’s Long Road: The Search for Prosperity. I am nearly done with the book and it is an excellent analysis of what ails India’s economy and the fixes that should be applied. Martin Wolf of the FT is also a big fan. In a recent review, he writes:

While the focus of India’s Long Road is on the economy, its analysis is appropriately comprehensive. It considers the post-independence growth record, the failure to create remunerative employment, the excessive role of publicly owned enterprises, the poor quality of Indian infrastructure and the inadequacy of environmental regulation. The book also analyses the successes and failures of macroeconomic management, the appalling quality of government-provided education and healthcare, the need for a better safety net for the poor, the long-term decay of the state, the prevalence of corruption and the role of India in the world economy. In covering all these issues, Joshi combines enthusiastic engagement with the detachment of a scholar who has passed much of his life abroad. No better guide to India’s contemporary economy exists.

You can register for Friday’s event here. Subir Gokarn, India’s executive director to the IMF, will also be on hand to discuss the book.