Has Aadhaar changed, or have its critics?

In 2012, I co-authored a column arguing that the debate over the UID (it wasn’t yet called Aadhaar back then) was a nonsensical one. While the debate was nowhere as frenzied as it is now, and those backing UID certainly had not thought of using online trolls to slay their opponents, it was a reasonably …

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‘Mechanism mapping’ for policy design

I just finished reading a recent working paper by Martin Williams, titled “External validity and policy adaptation: From impact evaluation to policy design”. In this paper, Martin tackles the question – how will a policymaker apply evidence available to her to design a policy/programme that will fix a particular problem at hand? He first takes …

In 2016, Narendra Modi expanded the remit of the coercive state

Towards the end of 2015, reflecting on what determines the size of the state, I came up with these three broad categories. At the end of 2016, with a hindsight view of ‘demonetisation gone wrong’, I revisit that concept. These three categories describe the nature of engagement the state seeks with particular areas of policy. …

Judith Tendler, and learning from ‘good government’

On 24th July 2016, Judith Tendler, former Professor at the Department of Urban studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston, passed away. She was 77. A Ph.D from Columbia University, Judith Tendler spent several years at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), before a long career as a Professor …