An IiT Blog

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Upcoming NYC Event- A Billion Votes

The Roosevelt House and Political Science Department at Hunter College will be hosting an exciting panel discussion event on Monday May 5, 2014 in New York. If you are in the city, be sure to check it out. You can read more details and register for the event here.

A Billion Votes:Making Sense of India’s 2014 General Election 

Monday, May 5, 2014
Reception 5:00 PM, 
Program 5:45 PM

Roosevelt House at Hunter College
47-49 East 65th Street
between Park and Madison Avenues
New York, NY 10065

Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera

India’s general elections are not only fascinating and consequential in their own right; they are also an important indicator of democracy’s global health. This campaign season party competition is intense and public advocacy full-throated; Indian democracy is in vigorous condition. Yet, trends such as economic inequality, rampant corruption, and social violence raise concerns about the direction in which politics may be heading. Join us for a roundtable on the significance of India’s elections – in which, to put things in perspective, newly eligible voters (those who turned 18 since India’s last election in 2009) exceed the entire voting electorate in the 2012 US presidential election.


Atul Kohli  David K. E. Bruce Professor of International Affairs, Princeton University

Sanjay Ruparelia  Assistant Professor of Politics and Fellow of the India China Institute, The New School

Milan Vaishnav  Associate, South Asia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Lok Surveys Research Affiliate at CASI

Rob Jenkins  Professor, Department of Political Science, Hunter College


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New CASI website

Check out the new CASI website! On it, you can meet the CASI team, learn about our partner organization in India, and read the history of our center. You can also see what’s recently been published from CASI, read our working papers, and, of course, browse though all issues of the India in Transition (IiT)– CASI’s online publication.

CASI also host Indus Science and Technology, a compilation of Indian science and technology-related media coverage, and a great resource to those interested in the subject matter.

Finally, use the website to learn about some of our recent research projects including the Social Attitudes and Electoral Politics (Lok Surveys), India’s Urban FuturesCan Talent Abroad Help Reform Institutions at Home?, and Dr. Kapur’s upcoming book project- Indians in America: The Work and Lives of a New Immigrant Group.

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Pipe Politics: Infrastructure and Urban Development in World Class Mumbai

Lisa Bjorkman

Lisa Björkman, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

Lisa Björkman, a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen, Germany, is the author of this week’s India in Transition (IiT) article. In it, she discusses the steady deterioration of Mumbai’s water infrastructure and it’s political implications. Björkman’s book on the topic, Pipe Politics: Mumbai’s Contested Waters (forthcoming, Duke University Press), is the winner of the 2014 Joseph W. Elder Prize in the Indian Social Sciences.

“The city of Mumbai is… characterized by a growing incongruence between its above-ground form and its below-ground flows, with the result that its water pipes have become increasingly volatile.” Read the full article.

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Getting India back on track

The Carnegie Endowment has partnered with Mint newspaper to produce a 10-part series on the post-election national agenda. The first piece in the series, written by Ashley J. Tellis, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment and member of the CASI International Advisory Board, highlights the challenges that the new government will face. CASI Director Devesh Kapur and Carnegie Associate Milan Vaishnav will explore ways of strengthening the rule of law in a later installment of the series. These articles draw from a new book Getting India Back on Track: An Action Agenda for Reform which will be released in June. New installments in the series will be published each Wednesday until mid-June and can be found on the Livemint website.

National Agenda 2014

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Europe’s India aversion

CASI Director, Devesh Kapur

CASI Director, Devesh Kapur

CASI Director Devesh Kapur’s latest op-ed in the Business Standard discusses why so few Indians choose to immigrate to mainland Europe.

Over the last half century, an increasing number of Indians have gone overseas to work or study or join their families. Many of them have settled in these countries and they (and their descendents) form part of the Indian diaspora. A striking characteristic of Indian migration to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries is its concentration in Anglo-Saxon countries, with the US, UK, Canada and Australia having the largest numbers of people born in India. Indeed, of the countries where Indians rank among the top 15 of the foreign born, only two – Italy and Finland – are in Europe. Italy is the only European country with a sizeable Indian-born population. Continue reading…

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Pre-electoral coalitions in 2014

Dr. E. Sridharan, the Academic Director of CASI’s New Delhi branch, the University of Pennsylvania Institute for the Advanced Study of India (UPIASI), has written a post on pre-electoral coalitions for the University of Nottingham’s School of Politics and International Relation’s blog Ballots and Bullets. Read his insightful analysis of the politics of coalition formation before the election.


UPIASI Academic Director, E. Sridharan

India has had seven consecutive elections (1989 to 2009) in which no single party won a majority of seats in the Lok Sabha, resulting in hung parliaments. In 1991, the Congress formed a single-party minority government (which achieved a majority half-way through its term) but in all other cases minority coalitions dependent on outside support were formed, these being large, multi-party coalitions with participation of several regional parties since 1996. In the run-up to such situations, one of the keys to victory for both the leading national parties, the Congress and the BJP, is the number of state-level pre-electoral coalitions formed, for pooling votes based on seat-sharing agreements. Why pre-electoral coalitions? What are the incentives for national parties to form such coalitions, and under what circumstances? Continue reading…

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Quiet revolution: The political logic of India’s anti-poverty programs

Aditya+DasguptaRead Harvard doctoral candidate Aditya Dasgupta’s recent India in Transition article on the increasing political importance of anti-poverty schemes. He discusses how the Congress-led UPA and BJP-led NDA have fought over the right to claim credit for various anti-poverty schemes and how this is a positive indicator of the increasing competitiveness of politics in the country.

In the last fifteen years, India has seen the adoption of an “alphabet soup” of ambitious national anti-poverty programs: a rural connectivity scheme (PMGSY), a universal primary schooling initiative (SSA), a rural health initiative (NRHM), a rural electrification scheme (RGGVY), a rural employment guarantee (NREGA), a food subsidy (Food Security Act), and a new digital infrastructure for transferring benefits directly to the poor (UID). Quietly, these programs are delivering genuine benefits on the ground and revolutionizing India’s anti-poverty policies. Where have these programs come from? And with elections on the way, where are they headed? The experience of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) suggests that effective anti-poverty programs play an increasingly important role in Indian elections and are therefore here to stay. Continue reading…