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Latest on CASI publications

Defying the Odds book coverToday FT‘s Amy Kazmin reviewed CASI’s latest publication Defying the Odds: The Rise of Dalit Entrepreneurs. She writes:

“the book offers fascinating, bottom-up insights into the gritty workings of India’s economy, and its twisting, bumpy roads to potential upward mobility.”

Read the full review here.

The Kindle edition of Defying the Odds is now available in the US on Be sure to get your copy! You can read more about the book on our website.

Also, don’t miss CASI Director Devesh Kapur’s latest op-eds. In an article for Business Standard, he discusses the trade-off between competence and loyalty in government bureaucracy and argues that the Modi government should take a risk by bringing in new talent. Read the story here.

Kapur also writes about the need to build stronger state institutions which are better at promoting public good in an article for The Economic Times published today. Read the story here.


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Understanding India’s Counterinsurgency Strategy Against the Naxal Threat

Sameer Lalwani

Sameer Lalwani

Will the new Modi government make any significant changes in India’s strategy against the Naxalite insurgency?

This week’s India in Transition article attempts to answer that question by looking at the government’s policy on the Naxal situation over the past ten years. The author is Sameer Lalwani, a doctoral student at MIT in political science and pre-doctoral fellow at the Institute for Security and Conflict Studies at George Washington University.

“On the campaign trail, Chief Minister Narendra Modi touted muscular rhetoric and a “zero tolerance” policy towards Naxalism, but those expecting Prime Minister Modi’s government to overhaul the existing strategy – his plan to tinker at the margins notwithstanding – should not hold their breath. The Naxal insurgency was described by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as India’s “single biggest internal-security challenge” and estimated to affect one-third of India’s districts.” Keep reading…

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Beyond Immediacy: India and America in the 21st Century

Rudra Chaudhuri

Rudra Chaudhuri

India and the U.S. share a relationship like none other, a relationship that can use matters of immediacy to energize and build the necessary confidence to disagree and argue those of international concern. This will require ambition and a sense for vision, but has the potential to draw India and the U.S. into a dialogue that will help shape a more constructive and balanced twenty-first century.

ChaudhuriRudhra Chaudhuri, Senior Lecturer at the Department of War Studies and the Indian Institute at King’s College London, is the author of this week’s India in Transition article, “Beyond Immediacy: India and America in the 21st Century.” In it, he discusses some key issues like Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), defense, and the Right to Protect (R2P) doctrine.

Chaudhuri is also the author of the recent book Forged in Crisis: India and the United States Since 1947. Follow him on Twitter.


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The votes are in

Narendra Modi will be sworn in as the new Prime Minister of India on May 26

Narendra Modi will be sworn in as the new Prime Minister of India

The votes are in. In a historic vote for change, the BJP has become the first non-Congress party to achieve an outright majority in the Indian parliament. 

Devesh Kapur, Director of CASI, discussed the election results with Bobby Ghosh, TIME World editor; Vani Tripathi, national secretary for the BJP; Frank Wisner, former US Ambassador to India; and Marshall Bouton of the Asia Society Policy Institute at an event hosted by the Asia Society in New York on May 19th. Watch the full video here (1 hour, 25 mins). Find coverage of the event in this Business Line article.

Read further election analysis from Milan Vaishnav, Associate at the Carnegie Endowment and research affiliate on the CASI Lok project: India’s Congress party: Down but not outBJP landslide shatters 4 electoral myths‘Quick economic turnaround’ expected of Modi, and A Devil Called Policy Paralysis.

Watch the Asia Society event video here.

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India’s new voters: We are connected

EconomistThe Economist has dedicated significant coverage in their April 5th issue (including their cover) to the Indian elections. Check out their briefing on the youth vote in India which features data from the Lok Surveys. They argue that India’s political climate is undergoing dramatic shifts due to changes in the electorate (more young people and female voters), rapid urbanization, and rising incomes. The article also discusses the cult of personality around Narendra Modi and the voter’s prioritization of economic growth. Vaishnav and Swanson’s graph, highlighted in the issue, shows how voters today, more than in the 1990’s, are making their decisions on whether to re-elect incumbents based on the economic growth over their term.

The trend is towards pragmatism, says Rajiv Lall of the Lok Foundation; politicians need to focus more on delivering development. Not everyone welcomes that. A political commentator in his club in Kolkata—West Bengal is India’s strongest bastion for lefties—harrumphs that “the post liberalisation generation, the 22-year-old, thinks there is only one God, that is GDP.” Read more…


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Milan Vaishnav on Charlie Rose

Watch Tuesday’s episode of Charlie Rose on PBS which includes a discussion about the upcoming Indian election with Milan Vaishnav from the Lok Survey project team, Sadanand Dhume, Professor Arvind Panagariya and Jonathan Shainin. The discussion begins at 28:17. You can also watch the video on

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TOI Series Article 2

BJP supporters - Flickr - Al Jazeera English

Read the newest installment of our four-part series on the Lok Survey results, “Growth is No. 1 poll issue for voters, survey shows” written by Devesh Kapur, Milan Vaishnav, and Neelanjan Sircar. The survey results showed that overall economic growth was the primary election issue with personal pocketbook concerns like access to government benefits and changes in personal family income falling behind the macroeconomic picture for most Indians. Corruption came in second overall but was the primary election issue in several states including Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Read about the survey methodology here.

For a peek at analysis to come in future installments of the Times of India Series, check out this recent article in The Hindu about the Lok Survey, “The continuing grip of caste.” Also, stay tuned to this blog more more in-depth analysis.

Photo by Al Jazeera English (BJP supporters) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons