ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Foreign Collaboration

THE Reserve Bank of India has been conducting periodic surveys of foreign collaboration arrangements, financial as well as technical, in force with private sector as well as government companies. From the first survey covering the period 1960-61 to 1963-64 to the latest fifth for the period 1980-81 to 1985-86, these have been designed to be census- type surveys of all collaboration agreements in force with joint stock companies. Though the RBI should be credited with pioneering the collating and presenting of comprehensive information on the nature and costs of collaboration, the surveys themselves have received only its half-hearted attention. Right from the beginning, the scope of the surveys was restricted to financial costs and did not consciously cover real costs and benefits of the collaboration arrangements. Thus the RBI, which was responsible for collaboration approvals, evaded its responsibility to provide answers to basic questions as to whether the objectives of technology transfer were being met, whether the adaptation, assimilation and diffusion of imported technology were being hindered by restrictive practices adopted by technology suppliers and whether consequently repetitive import of technology and inadequate domestic R and D were a feature of the Indian experience. There has been a paradigm shift in technology transfer policy after the FERA controls were almost done away with as part of structural adjustment after July 1991. This calls for strengthening and widening the scope of these surveys. It is time the RBI associated economists and other professionals in preparing the design and scope of the surveys and guiding the analysis of their results so that the right policy lessons can be drawn from them.

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