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‘Thin’ tanks
Are Indian think tanks a farce?

Even though India is one of the first countries outside Europe and North America, where modern universities have been created (University of Calcutta was established in 1857), it has failed to create an education system par excellence, comparable to the best of the world. Even China’s performance is much better than India. The country has created world class universities like Tsinghua, Fudan and Beijing.

Equally alarming is the quality of think tanks in India. The inputs that have been received from our think tanks by the policy makers over the years have been mooted with contentiousness and indecisiveness. Albeit the fact that there are 122 think tanks in India, only a little more than a handful of them are of quality. Centre for Civil Society, Centre for Indian Political Research and Analysis and Centre for Policy Research are some of the best, although each of them functions in their specialised area of interest. Interestingly, Centre for Civil Society works with the philosophies of American authoress Ayn Rand, as it endeavours to develop the thinkers of tomorrow; and encourages more libertarianism for the nation’s progress. Out of 5,500 think tanks across the world, 1776 are in USA alone and 1872 are in North America (i.e. 34.25%). In US, think tanks play a pivotal role in policy decision making, which is exemplified by the fact that John Podesta (who heads Centre for American Progress) has been referred to by President Obama as his ‘transition chief’.

Our weakness can also be attributed to the fact that here is genuine dearth of synergy between our academicians and policy barons. Our cabinet ministers often complain of poor quality and archaic information coming to them, whereas our Universities gripe about poor infrastructure, poor quality of researchers, and poor supply of information from ministry. It is difficult to cut either way, as both of them are intractable in their own positions, but this conflict is badly affecting the credibility and effectiveness of our policy makers, which is of paramount importance to India.

By:- Sayan Ghosh

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