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Ep. 50: The State of Indian Politics


Episode description

Indian politics is complex to the point of being almost unfathomable. JP Narayan, that rare public intellectual who also embraced electoral politics, joins Amit Varma in episode 50 of The Seen and the Unseen to share his learnings.

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Ep. 138: Twelve Dream Reforms

September 16th, 2019


Times are bad -- but pessimists can dream! Tired of only talking about problems, Shruti Rajagopalan, Rajeswari Sengupta and Vivek Kaul join Amit …

Ep. 137: Indian Society: The Last 30 Years

September 9th, 2019


The India of 2019 is a different country from the India of 1989. Social commentator Santosh Desai joins Amit Varma in episode 137 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the many ways in which we have been transformed in …

Ep. 136: Data Journalism and Indian Politics

September 2nd, 2019


Data journalism in India is fast coming of age, shedding light on our society and politics. Roshan Kishore joins Amit Varma in episode 136 of The …

Ep. 135: Two Economic Crises (2008 & 2019)

August 26th, 2019


Mohit Satyanand saw the 2008 crisis coming and put his money where his mouth was. Now he says we're in the middle of another crisis. He joins Amit Varma in episode 135 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain what exactly …

Ep. 134: Kashmir and Article 370

August 19th, 2019


Kashmir is in lockdown, and Article 370 is history. What does this mean for Kashmir -- and for India? Historian Srinath Raghavan joins Amit Varma in episode 134 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the historical, …

Ep. 133: Fighting Fake News

August 12th, 2019


We live in a world besieged by falsehood -- but there is a growing resistance movement. Pratik Sinha of Alt News joins Amit Varma in episode 133 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about disinformation, misinformation …

Ep. 132: Women at Work

August 5th, 2019


There is a crisis in India today. There are not enough women taking up paying jobs -- and their unpaid labour at home continues to be taken for granted. Journalist Namita Bhandare joins Amit Varma in episode 132 of The …

Ep. 131: Political Ideology in India

July 29th, 2019


Political Ideology in India

Description: The usual spectrum of left and right does not apply to Indian politics. But does that mean that our politics …

Ep. 130: Demystifying GDP

July 22nd, 2019


In recent times, the GDP has become less of an economic measure and more of a political tool. Economist Rajeswari Sengupta joins Amit Varma in …

Ep. 129: Budget. Bollywood. Badmaashi

July 15th, 2019


Like cricket and cinema, the annual budget brought out by the central government has become a national obsession. Vivek Kaul. the Shah Rukh Khan of …

Ep. 128: India = Migration

July 8th, 2019


India is a nation on the move, and migration is in our DNA. Economic historian Chinmay Tumbe joins Amit Varma in episode 128 of The Seen and the Unseen to present the rich history of migrations into, out of and within …

Ep. 127: Our Colorful Past

July 1st, 2019


Indian history is wild fun. Historian Manu Pillai joins Amit Varma in episode 127 of The Seen and the Unseen to regale him with stories from his latest book. The subjects discussed include caste, gender, narrative …

Ep. 126: Building Sports Ecosystems

June 24th, 2019


Can India ever be a sporting nation? What will it take to get there? Joy Bhattacharjya, who started up Kolkata Knight Riders, brought the u-17 …

Ep. 125: The Importance of Finance

June 17th, 2019


People often talk of the world of Finance as a giant casino, where sociopathic bankers gamble with the livelihoods of real people. Economist Ajay Shah joins Amit Varma in episode 125 of The Seen and the Unseen to …

Ep. 124: Religion and Ideology in Indian Society

June 10th, 2019


What is the role of religion in Indian society? What is conservatism like in India? Suyash Rai joins Amit Varma in episode 124 of The Seen and the …

Ep. 123: India's Supreme Court

June 3rd, 2019


As the recent sexual harassment case indicates, all is not well with the Supreme Court of India. Constitutional economist Shruti Rajagopalan joins Amit Varma in episode 123 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain why the …

Ep. 122: The 2019 Elections

May 27th, 2019


Elections in India are madly complex, and defy simple explanations. Sadanand Dhume joins Amit Varma in episode 122 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the Age of Modi, and what these elections mean for India, the BJP …

Ep. 121: Public Choice Theory

May 20th, 2019


Governments consist of people, and people respond to incentives. For this reason, there is no better way to understand government than through the …

Ep. 120: Resisting State Injustice

May 13th, 2019


Conventional wisdom holds that there are three ways to respond to injustice by the state: we may leave, complain, or comply. Philosopher Jason …

Ep. 119: Modi's Lost Opportunity

May 6th, 2019


Despite being a Congress spokesperson, economist Salman Soz was hopeful in 2014 that the Modi government would be good for India. As the title of his …

Ep. 118: Zombie Firms and Creative Destruction

April 29th, 2019


The Indian economy has the seeds of a horror film, with zombies stalking the landscape. Air India is one. Jet could have been another had it been …

Ep. 117: What is Libertarianism?

April 22nd, 2019


In a sense there have always been but two political philosophies: liberty and power.” David Boaz. author of The Libertarian Mind, joins Amit Varma in …

Ep. 116: India's Lost Decade

April 15th, 2019


In 2008, India was growing at 8.8% and was described as a miracle economy. It all went downhill in the next 10 years. Puja Mehra, author of The Lost Decade, joins Amit Varma in episode 116 of The Seen and the Unseen to …

Ep. 115: The Intellectual Foundations of Hindutva

April 8th, 2019


The ideology of Hindutva dominates our political and cultural landscape today. How did it begin, and what is it precisely? Aakar Patel, author of the …

Ep. 114: Crime in Indian Politics

April 1st, 2019


Why is crime ubiquitous in Indian politics? Why is your neta also a dada? Political scientist Milan Vaishnav joins Amit Varma in episode 114 of The …

Ep. 113: The Geopolitics of the Bangladesh War

March 25th, 2019


The formation of Bangladesh was neither inevitable nor a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan. Historian Srinath Raghavan joins Amit Varma in …

Ep. 112: Early Indians

March 18th, 2019


Who were the first Indians? Where did the Harappans go? Who were the Aryans? Whose descendants are we? Tony Joseph joins Amit Varma in episode 112 of The Seen and the Unseen to describe how massive scientific advances …

Ep. 111: The India-Pakistan Conflict

March 11th, 2019


What are the hidden dynamics of the India-Pakistan conflict? What are the possible ways of resolving it? Historian and foreign policy analyst Srinath …

Ep. 110: Reporting Venezuela

March 4th, 2019


Venezuela is a country blessed by nature but cursed by politics. Journalist Alexandra Ulmer joins Amit Varma in episode 110 of The Seen and the …

Ep. 109: Plato (or Why Philosophy Matters)

February 25th, 2019


Should we care about philosophy in these modern times? Philosopher Rebecca Goldstein joins Amit Varma in episode 109 of The Seen and the Unseen to …

Ep. 108: The Importance of Cities

February 18th, 2019


India is rapidly urbanizing – and the Indian state seems to be in denial about it. Reuben Abraham and Pritika Hingorani join Amit Varma in episode 108 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss what India needs to do to …

Ep. 107: An Economics Ramble

February 11th, 2019


Host Amit Varma is joined by Vivek Kaul and Kumar Anand in episode 107 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about the economic landscape of the day. …

Ep. 106: Stubborn Attachments

February 4th, 2019


In his latest book, Stubborn Attachments, Tyler Cower lays out a moral vision for the future. He joins Amit Varma in episode 106 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain why future lives matter as much as present ones, and …

Ep. 105: Understanding Gandhi. Part 2: Mahatma

January 28th, 2019


In the second of a two-part series, historian Ramachandra Guha joins Amit Varma in episode 105 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about Mohandas Gandhi's transformation into Mahatma Gandhi -- and how that changed the …

Ep. 104: Understanding Gandhi. Part 1: Mohandas

January 21st, 2019


Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most fascinating characters in history: complex, misunderstood, deeply impactful. Ramachandra Guha, author of two …

Ep. 103: The Emergency

January 14th, 2019


The Emergency of 1975 was not an aberration, but was written into the DNA of the Indian state. Historian Gyan Prakash joins Amit Varma in episode 103 of The Seen and the Unseen to shed light on why the framers of the …

Ep. 102: The Paradox of Narendra Modi

January 7th, 2019


Shashi Tharoor, author of The Paradoxical Prime Minister, joins Amit Varma in episode 102 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about the many faces of …

Ep. 101: The Progress of Humanity

December 31st, 2018


We tend to take progress for granted, and are wired to focus on bad news instead of good. Steven Pinker joins Amit Varma in episode 101 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about why the world is getting better, and why …

Ep. 100: The 100th Episode Ramble

December 24th, 2018


The Seen and the Unseen reaches 100 episodes! Yea! Economist Shruti Rajagopalan, the most frequent guest on the show, joins host Amit Varma as they shoot the breeze about the 99 episodes before this, the horrors of …

Ep. 99: The Importance of Rules and Institutions

December 17th, 2018


A democracy is not merely about voting. Those who are voted into power need to be kept in check, and Rules and Institutions are essential for this. …

Ep. 98: The Deccan Before Shivaji

December 10th, 2018


When people think of the Deccan, they think Shivaji vs Mughals. But the history of the Deccan is far richer than that -- and far racier. It's full of …

Ep. 97: The Evolution of Cricket

December 3rd, 2018


In his three-decade career covering cricket, Harsha Bhogle has had an inside view on the transformation of the game. He joins Amit Varma in episode 97 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about how cricket has changed – …

Ep. 96: The Evolution of Everything

November 26th, 2018


The world evolves in a bottom-up way, despite the top-down beliefs of those who have blind faith in either God or Government. Matt Ridley joins Amit …

Ep. 95: The Indianness of Indian Food

November 19th, 2018


What does it mean when we say that something is 'Indian'? Does origin matter? Food writer Vikram Doctor joins Amit Varma in episode 95 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about how most of what we think of as Indian food …

Ep. 94: Rajesh Jain and Dhan Vapasi

November 12th, 2018


Rajesh Jain was one of the architects of Narendra Modi's win in 2014 -- and then got buyer's remorse and turned against the BJP. Now, he has launched Dhan Vapasi, an insanely ambitious and innovative attempt at …

Ep. 93: America in South Asia

November 5th, 2018


For over 200 years, America has been interested in South Asia across three separate axes: power, ideology and culture. Historian Srinath Raghavan …

Ep. 92: An Economist Looks at #MeToo

October 29th, 2018


Will the #MeToo movement change behaviour by changing incentives? Economist Shruti Rajagopalan joins Amit Varma in episode 92 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about Criminal Economics in the context of crimes on women …

Ep. 91: IL&FS and the Indian Financial System

October 22nd, 2018


The crisis at IL&FS reveals just how rotten India's financial system is. Vivek Kaul and Ashutosh Datar join Amit Varma in episode 91 of The Seen …

Ep. 90: The #MeToo Movement

October 15th, 2018


#MeToo is the most important cultural moment of our lifetimes. Supriya Nair and Nikita Saxena join Amit Varma in episode 90 of The Seen and the …

Ep. 89: The State of the Media 2

October 8th, 2018


Are journalists redundant in a world where no one cares about facts any more? Are we to cater to people's imagined realities? And when money and power come together, how are Independent journalists to resist? Sidharth …

Ep. 88: Metrics of Empowerment

October 1st, 2018


The lives of women in India must be gradually getting better, right? How do we measure this? Devika Kher, Nidhi Gupta and Hamsini Hariharan join Amit Varma in episode 88 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss a range of …

Ep. 87: Where Are the Jobs?

September 24th, 2018


India has entered a massive jobs crisis, with more than a million people coming into the workforce every month -- and not enough jobs. Will our Demographic Dividend be a Demographic Disaster? Yazad Jal of the 20 Million …

Ep. 86: The State of Our Farmers

September 17th, 2018


India's agricultural crisis has been caused by the state. Farmer leader Gunvant Patil of the Shetkari Sanghatana joins Amit Varma in episode 86 of …

Ep. 85: DeMon, Morality and the Predatory Indian State

September 10th, 2018


Episode 85 of The Seen and the Unseen is about Demonetisation -- and a lot else. First, host Amit Varma launches into an angry monologue about how …

Ep. 84: Being Gay in India

September 3rd, 2018


What is it like to grow up gay in a deeply homophobic country? Writer and stand-up comedian Navin Noronha joins Amit Varma in ep 84 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about his experience of growing up gay in Bhayandar, …

Ep. 83: Young India

August 27th, 2018


India is a young country, and young Indians today are entitled and angry. Snigdha Poonam joins Amit Varma in episode 83 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the turmoil in small-town India.

Also read: Snigdha's book, 

Ep. 82: Swachh Bharat

August 20th, 2018


The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is short-sighted, and does not achieve its purpose. Why? What can we do? Economist Shruti Rajagopalan joins Amit Varma in episode 82 of The Seen and the Unseen to break it all down.

Also read

Ep. 81: Chinese Foreign Policy

August 13th, 2018


How does China see its place in the world? What are its foreign policy objectives? Should India be worried? China expert Manoj Kewalramani(

Ep. 80: India in the Nuclear Age

August 6th, 2018


India as a nuclear power is a different force from what it was before we went nuclear. Lt Gen Prakash Menon joins Amit Varma( in episode 80 of The Seen and the Unseen to describe how War …

Ep. 79: Democracy in Pakistan

July 30th, 2018


Is there really democracy in Pakistan? What were these elections all about? Pranay Kotasthane( and Hamsini Hariharan( join Amit Varma(

Ep. 78: Crowd Violence in India

July 23rd, 2018


More and more, across this country, violent crowds are taking the law into their own hands. What's going on? Legal experts Madhav Chandavarkar and …

Ep. 77: Education in India

July 16th, 2018


According to education scholar and activist Amit Chandra, education in India is a fraud committed on the people of this country by the state. He …

Ep. 76: Claiming Your Space

July 8th, 2018


Misogyny is ubiquitous. Women begin life with the odds stacked against them. Aditi Mittal joins Amit Varma in episode 76 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss how hard it was for her to claim her space. Guest …

Ep. 75: Stand-Up Comedy in India

July 2nd, 2018


"Comedy is tragedy plus time." Aditi Mittal joins Amit Varma to elaborate on this in Episode 75 of The Seen and the Unseen. Abbas Momin sits in as …

Ep. 74: The Bad and Complex Tax

June 25th, 2018


GST was supposed to be a Good and Simple Tax, but has ended up as just the opposite. This is hurting the poor the most. Economist Shruti Rajagopalan joins Amit Varma in episode 74 of The Seen and the Unseen to suggest a …

Ep. 73: Trade Deficits (and Trumpism)

June 18th, 2018


The US has a trade deficit with China. Trump is worried. Trump is nuts. Vivek Kaul explains why to Amit Varma in episode 73 of The Seen and the …

Ep. 72: The GDPR

June 11th, 2018


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has just been passed in Europe. What are its Unseen Effects? What can India learn from it? Legal expert …

Ep. 71: Data and the Government

June 4th, 2018


The Indian government has a disturbing tendency to cherry-pick data. Vivek Kaul joins Amit Varma in episode 71 of The Seen and the Unseen to catch …

Ep. 70: Online Conversations

May 28th, 2018


The internet was supposed to bring us all together -- but instead, is it driving us apart? Reddit moderator Nikhil,X joins Amit Varma in episode 70 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the changing shape of online …

Ep. 69: Immigration and Outsourcing

May 21st, 2018


Donald Trump had two simple answers to everyone who complained about jobs in America. One: Immigrants are taking your jobs. Two: Your jobs are being …

Ep. 68: Online Content Regulation

May 16th, 2018


The government of India recently broached the possibility of regulating online content -- even more than it already does. What does this mean for our …

Ep. 67: Ask Me Anything

May 7th, 2018


This is an AMA (Ask Me Anything) episode, in which host Amit Varma answers questions from both in-studio guests and Twitter and Facebook users.

You can listen to this show and other awesome shows on the IVM Podcast App …

Ep. 66: The State of the Economy 2

April 30th, 2018


What does our economy look like today? Vivek Kaul joins Amit Varma in episode 66 of The Seen and the Unseen, as they talk about Air India, cash …

Ep. 65: The Future of the Internet

April 23rd, 2018


The internet has empowered us all beyond belief -- but is there a flip side to this? Does it need to be regulated? Nikhil Pahwa and Amit Doshi have a …

Ep. 64: Libertarianism

April 16th, 2018


What does it mean to be free? What is the basis of individual rights? Episode 64 of The Seen and the Unseen is a rerun of an old episode of The …

Ep. 63: Foreign Policy

April 9th, 2018


We all have our own guidelines for how individuals should treat each other. But how should nations behave with other nations? Foreign Policy Realist …

Ep. 62: Judicial Reforms

April 2nd, 2018


India's judicial system is broken. How can we fix it? Legal expert Alok Prasanna Kumar joins Amit Varma in episode 62 of The Seen and the Unseen.

You can listen to this show and other awesome shows on the IVM Podcast …

Ep. 61: Aadhaar

March 26th, 2018


According to media commentator Nikhil Pahwa, Aadhaar is a subject on which "what we do will impact generations." Nikhil joins host Amit Varma on episode 61 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain how Aadhaar threatens our …

Ep. 60: India's Water Crisis

March 19th, 2018


We take water for granted, but India might be entering a full-blown water crisis. Water evangelist Vishwanath S ( …

Ep. 59: Protectionism

March 12th, 2018


Protectionism is on the rise across the world, which is bewildering, given how harmful it is. Economist Anupam Manur joins Amit Varma in episode 59 …

Ep. 58: Misogyny and our Legal System

March 5th, 2018


As three recent cases show, misogyny exist not just in our outdated laws, but also in the minds of our lawmakers and the judiciary. Legal expert Madhav Chandavarkar and feminist Hamsini Hariharan join Amit Varma in …

Ep. 57: India's Maldives Dilemma

February 26th, 2018


There is turmoil in the Maldives, as a tyrant unfriendly to India cozies up to China. Do we need to intervene? Foreign policy expert Pranay …

Ep. 56: Easy Money

February 19th, 2018


The turbulence in the world economy today is enabled by the same phenomenon that caused the 2008 financial crisis, and was perversely also a response …

Ep. 55: Defending the Indefensible

February 12th, 2018


It is important to always question received wisdom. In episode 55 of The Seen and the Unseen, libertarian thinker Yazad Jal joins Amit Varma to challenge the commonly held view on five subjects. Listen in and see if you …

Ep. 54: Budget 2018 Quick Takes

February 5th, 2018


The Budget presented by the government of India is an annual ritual that millions of people tune in to. What was the 2018 budget like? Pavan Srinath and Pranay Kotasthane, staff writers of Pragati, join Amit Varma to …

Ep. 53: Pakodanomics

January 29th, 2018


Narendra Modi famously invoked a pakoda seller last week when he spoke about job creation in India. How apt is that invocation? Columnist Vivek Kaul, …

Ep. 52: Caste in Modern India

January 22nd, 2018


Modern India's greatest shame is that even after 70 years of Independence, we still haven't solved the problem of caste. Shruti Rajagopalan joins …

Ep. 51: Alpha Zero

January 15th, 2018


The chess program Alpha Zero made waves recently when it taught itself chess in four hours -- and then thrashed the strongest chess engine in the world, Stockfish. This illustrated a dramatic advance in Artificial …

Ep. 49: Political Discourse

January 1st, 2018


Social media has enabled everyone to have a voice -- but no one listens any more. In episode 49 of The Seen and the Unseen, Amit Varma examines why …

Ep. 48: Reforming Urban Governance

December 25th, 2017


For almost two decades, V Ravichandar has been "a civic evangelist and a patron saint of lost causes" fighting to reform local government in our cities. He joins Amit Varma in episode 48 of The Seen and the Unseen to …

Ep. 47: Poker and Stock Markets

December 18th, 2017


Poker and stock markets are very similar -- and both holds lessons for life. Ace investor Mohit Satyanand joins former poker pro Amit Varma in …

Ep. 46: The State of the Media

December 11th, 2017


We live in times when media is fragmented and there is no consensus on the truth any more. Journalism has become a race to give people what they want to believe. What are we to do? Prem Panicker joins Amit Varma in …

Ep. 45: The BJP's Magic Formula

December 4th, 2017


Over the last few years, the BJP has built the most formidable election machine in human history. Prashant Jha, author of the book 'How the BJP wins', joins Amit Varma in episode 45 of The Seen and the Unseen to break …

Ep. 44: The Delhi Smog

November 27th, 2017


It is well known that the key cause of Delhi's smog is the 'stubble' burnt every year by Punjab's farmers. Vivek Kaul joins Amit Varma to discuss the …

Ep. 43: Parenthood

November 20th, 2017


Natasha Badhwar, the author of a celebrated parenting column, recently released her moving book, 'My Daughter's Mum.' In episode 43 of The Seen and …

Ep. 42: Behavioral Economics

November 13th, 2017


To celebrate Richard Thaler's Nobel Prize, behavioural econ geek Nidhi Gupta joins Amit Varma in episode 42 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss key concepts from the field -- all which explain many of the Unseen …

Ep. 41: Money in Cricket

November 6th, 2017


Cricket has been transformed in the last four decades, first because of Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, and then recently by the IPL. Noted cricket writers Gideon Haigh and Prem Panicker join Amit Varma in episode …

Ep. 40.5: We're on a break

October 23rd, 2017


The Seen and the Unseen takes a one-week break for Diwali. But we have one request for you: we want your feedback on the show. Email with any comments or suggestions you might have.

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Ep. 40: State of the Economy

October 16th, 2017


Many of the things wrong with India's economy today are Unseen Effects of Demonetisation and the botched design of GST. Vivek Kaul join joins Amit …

Ep. 39: Eating Out

October 9th, 2017


Why don't Indians eat out as much as people in other countries do? Karthik Shashidhar joins Amit Varma in episode 39 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain how we landed up in an equilibrium in which our restaurants …

Ep. 38: Import/Export

October 2nd, 2017


The Foreign Trade Policy 2015-2020 is an example of a policy that harms those it is meant to help. Sudhanshu Neema joins Amit Varma in episode 38 of …

Ep. 37: Obamacare

September 25th, 2017


Obamacare is almost an article of faith for elite American liberals, but it has had devastating Unseen Effects. Economist Sudhanshu Neema, who joins host Amit Varma on episode 37 of The Seen and the Unseen, believes …

Ep. 36: SEZs (Special Economic Zones)

September 18th, 2017


Special Economic Zones are usually set up with the best intentions: to attract businesses and create employment. But what are their Unseen Effects? Karthik Shashidhar joins host Amit Varma in episode 36 of The Seen and …

Ep. 35: The Bhopal Gas Tragedies

September 11th, 2017


In episode 35 of The Seen and the Unseen, economist and lawyer Shruti Rajagopalan joins host Amit Varma to explain why there were three Bhopal Gas Tragedies, and not just one.

Check out for more …

Ep. 34: Uber Surge Pricing

September 4th, 2017


Isn't surge pricing exploitative? Shouldn't it be banned? Karthik Shashidhar joins Amit Varma to speak about the Unseen Effects of price caps. He …

Ep. 33: Football Transfers

August 28th, 2017


How does the football transfer market work? Why do some players command insanely high transfer fees while others get nothing? Karthik Shashidhar …

Ep. 32: Non-Performing Assets (NPAs)

August 21st, 2017


Indian public sector banks have a notorious problem of non-performing assets, or NPAs. Vivek Kaul and Kumar Anand join Amit Varma to discuss the …

Ep. 31: Urban Governance in India

August 14th, 2017


Our cities are in a mess. They are not in such bad shape because of corrupt individuals or apathetic citizens, but because our structures of governance are all messed up. Shruti Rajagopalan joins Amit Varma to explain …

Ep. 30: Real Estate Prices

August 7th, 2017


Why do real estate prices in India not fall when demand goes down and inventory stops moving? Vivek Kaul plays economic detective to help Amit Varma …

Ep. 29: Drug Price Controls

July 31st, 2017


The government of India often fixes the prices of medicine in India so that poor people can afford them. Pavan Srinath joins Amit Varma to discuss the Unseen Effects of this, and how they can be ameliorated.

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Ep. 28: GST Revisited

July 24th, 2017


In Episode 3 of The Seen and the Unseen, we had discussed GST -- the Goods and Services Tax. Now that it's actually been implemented, Vivek Kaul …

Ep. 27: Television Price Controls

July 17th, 2017


Indian television is appalling, and the reasons for that go beyond culture. Renowned journalist Ashok Malik joins Amit Varma in episode 27 of The …

Ep. 26: The Right To Property

July 10th, 2017


The Right to Property is the underpinning of all our rights -- and yet, the Indian constitution does not consider it a Fundamental Right, though it once did. Constitutional expert Shruti Rajagopalan joins Amit Varma to …

Ep. 25: Farm Loan Waivers

July 3rd, 2017


In episode 25 of The Seen and the Unseen, Kumar Anand and Vivek Kaul join Amit Varma to talk about the part farm-loan waivers play in keeping farmers …

Ep. 24: Prostitution

June 26th, 2017


For all practical purposes, prostitution is banned in India, and looked down upon by society. Manasa Venkataraman joins Amit Varma to discuss the …

Ep. 23: Public Sector Banks

June 19th, 2017


In 1969, Indira Gandhi carried out a wave of bank nationalisations with some excellent stated intentions. But what were the Unseen Effects of that? Mumbai-based economist Kumar Anand joins Amit Varma to discuss the …

Ep. 22: China's Influence in South Asia

June 12th, 2017


China has become an influential force in India's neighbourhood recently. Is this something India should be worried about? Foriegn policy expert …

Ep. 21: Slums

June 5th, 2017


Slums in India have been both demonized and deified. Some say they are an eyesore to the city; others say they are hotbeds of entrepreneurship. Pavan …

Ep. 20: The Coming Jobs Crisis

May 29th, 2017


Many of the terrible policies followed by our government over the decades have one common unseen effect: a lack of jobs. India is headed for a jobs …

Ep. 19: RTE (The Right to Education)

May 22nd, 2017


he Right to Education Act sounds noble, but has caused devastation in schooling across the country. Vivek Kaul joins Amit Varma to discuss its Unseen …

Ep. 18: Restaurant Regulations

May 15th, 2017


If you want to see the many ways in which the government resembles a hafta-extorting mafia, look no further than restaurant regulations. They come …

Ep. 17: Centrally Sponsored Government Schemes

May 8th, 2017


Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna. All these are centrally sponsored government schemes with good intentions at their heart. But are good intentions enough? Pranay Kotasthane …

Ep. 16: Artificial Intelligence

May 1st, 2017


Like all technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will make humanity better off in the long run. But in the short run, it will cause much disruption, …

Ep. 15: Kannada Dubbing Ban

April 24th, 2017


For decades, there has been a stricture in Karnataka that non-Kannada films cannot be dubbed into Kannada. The idea behind this was to protect the local film industry -- but were the unintended consequences just the …

Ep. 14: Rent Control

April 17th, 2017


Rent control is a classic example of a regulation meant to help the poor that ends up hurting everyone. Alex Tabarrok joins Amit Varma to discuss how …

Ep. 13: Anti-Defection Law

April 10th, 2017


It is a sad day for any democracy when MPs and MLAs sell themselves to the highest bidder. Horse-trading is monstrous. It was to prevent exactly this that the Anti-Defection Law was passed in 1985. But did it end up …

Ep. 12: Futures Markets in Agriculture

April 3rd, 2017


For decades now, India has either banned or heavily regulated futures markets in agriculture. The conventional wisdom is that futures markets can …

Ep. 11: FSI (Floor Space Index)

March 27th, 2017


Mumbai is one of the most expensive cities in the world, and one of the reasons is that there is too little land and too much sky. Alex Tabarrok joins Amit Varma to discuss Mumbai's insanely low Floor Space Index (FSI), …

Ep. 10: Digital India

March 20th, 2017


Big Brother is watching you, and you have no protection. There has been much hype about how 'Digital India' will transform our lives, but there are …

Ep. 09: The Profit Motive in Education

March 13th, 2017


Jawaharlal Nehru once said that profit is a 'dirty word'. He wasn't alone in his distrust of the profit motive, which is effectively banned in education in India. Amit Varma chats with education reformer Parth Shah on …

Ep. 08: The Medical Council of India

March 7th, 2017


Healthcare in India is in a dismal state, and so is the state of medical education. Pavan Srinath joins Amit Varma to discuss the role of the Medical …

Ep. 07: MRP (Maximum Retail Price)

February 28th, 2017


For any shopper in India, there is no acronym as comforting as MRP: Maximum Retail Price. When you see that on any packaged good, you feel assured that you won't be ripped off. But is it really that simple? Prithwiraj …

Ep. 06: Surgical Strikes

February 21st, 2017


On September 18, 2016, a group of terrorists attacked an Indian army brigade headquarters near the town of Uri in J&K. Nineteen people died, and there was immense pressure on the Indian government to retaliate. The …

Ep. 05: This is all because of Rupal Ben

February 14th, 2017


A few years ago, a photo studio in Ahmedabad offered its customers free passport photographs. There was no catch, no small print. It was a free lunch. Amit Varma is joined by Mohit Satyanand, as they explore how this …

Ep. 04: Immigration

February 7th, 2017


In Episode 4 of The Seen and the Unseen, Amit Varma discusses Immigration with Shikha Dalmia. Are the demagogues right about immigration being a bad thing? Do immigrants take jobs away from locals? Are they a strain on …

Ep. 03: GST (Goods and Services Tax)

January 31st, 2017


There are two kinds of diversity in India, one good, and one not so good. Our greatest strength is our diversity of people and cultures and …

Ep. 02: Demonetisation

January 24th, 2017


On November 8, 2016, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi announced that 500- and 100-rupee notes would cease to be legal tender from midnight that …

Ep. 01: Entry and Exit in Agriculture

January 17th, 2017


India has a panoply of laws that prevent corporations from getting into farming, and which prevent farmers from escaping agriculture, by virtue of …

Preview - The Seen And the Unseen

December 30th, 2016


All public policies -- indeed, all actions by humans -- have two kinds of effects: the effects that are intended, and visible; and unintended …

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