Podcast on ‘The Making of India’

My Kitaab podcast

Akhilesh Tilotia leads thematic research for KIE and co-authors market strategy reports. His first book, ‘The Making of India – Game Changing Transitions’ chronicles the journey of India’s demographic dividend through varied economic transitions—the forces shaping India’s job market, its cities, its industry and agriculture and its equation with the rest of the world. Akhilesh has a PGDM from IIM, Ahmedabad (class of 2004) and an alumnus of St Xavier’s College, Kolkata. He has taken several courses in Mumbai University including Securities Law and Astronomy. Akhilesh lives in Mumbai with his family which includes his wife, daughter and parents.

Discussion with Akhilesh Tilotia

  • Akhilesh Tilotia is an entrepreneur who sold off his business and eventually took up his current role.
  • He is a thematic analyst in his day job and he writes reports on the Indian economy, which are targeted towards institutional investors.
  • Over a 4 to 5 year period, Akhilesh and his team compiled a lot of information about the various factors that govern the Indian economy, and they felt that the knowledge could be shared with a wider group. This led to the idea of writing the book.
  • He has taken courses in Law, Astronomy and Indian Mythology, something that helps in widening his perspective and has helped in meeting new people and also re-skilling himself. Akhilesh calls himself an accidental author.
  • The Making of India is a rather heavy read, with lots of data- something that Akhilesh agrees as well, In a future iteration of his book, he plans to include stories from everyday life that would make the content of his book more relatable.
  • The Making of India highlights the game changing transitions in India powered by the large private cost of public failure. Specifically 6 types of public services are covered: electricity, water, roads, education, health and security (both physical and financial)
  • The takeaway from the book is that the failure on part of the government to provide these basic services has resulted in a loss of productivity and a higher cost to people in availing these services. For example, use of generators in home because electricity is not reliable, or water tankers because municipal water is either not available or not reliable.
  • Lack of financial security means that one or two sudden large emergencies can push people below poverty line, doing away years of hard-earned effort.
  • Kapish Mehra of Rupa Publications agreed to publish The Making of India. Some of the content that was written in 2011-2013 had to be re-written to reflect on the situation that prevailed in 2014-15. The writing process started in January 2014, and the manuscript underwent 7 or 8 revisions internally. The final draft was ready in September or October 2014, and the book was released in February 2015 to coincide with KIE2015.
  • The book was launched by Uday Kotak, Executive Vice Chairman and Managing Director Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited. The book received support from the organization as it was also seen as the launch of a wider dialogue or a platform in the years to come.
  • There is a series of YouTube videos that shows the book launch event. One of the lighter moments is Uday Kotak asking Akhilesh if he would quit his job and join the Government.
  • Akhilesh and his group have not yet considered translating the book into regional languages.
  • Book recommendation from Akhilesh : Capitalism in the 21 st Century by Thomas Picketty.
  • Akhilesh believes that at present, writing does not pay enough for it to become a full time occupation. His advice to authors: they need to be realistic in their expectations of timelines for publishing. That is, from submission of manuscript to publishing.

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