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

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National Medical Devices Policy, 2023

The union government introduced the National Medical Devices Policy, 2023 to augment the capacity, capabilities and competence of the domestic medical devices manufacturing industry. However, the policy has many lacunae and missing links, which could undermine the aims to foster a strong domestic medical devices manufacturing. There is a need for reform, in line with the existing policy initiatives and to constitute a separate law and regulatory body for the industry. The policy needs to enhance the accessibility by changing the existing procurement system for the public health sector. It further needs to scale up domestic manufacturing capabilities, through production-linked incentives, to ensure affordable medical devices for all citizens.

Atmanirbharta in Statistics and the Thrust on ‘Make in India’

International agencies usually make country comparisons based on statistical indicators founded on globally accepted concepts and definitions. The Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister has questioned the adoption of international standards in three key sectors and has suggested developing standards that produce statistical indicators in tune with the national narrative. This is unlikely to help the country’s statistical system. 

India in Quasi Alignment with the United States

China remains the most significant factor that strengthens the ties between the United States and India.

India’s Toy Industry

India has turned a net toy exporter lately—claimed as an evidence of the success of “Make in India” and related promotional policies. Analysing a unique, unit-level data set of formal and informal manufacturing and trade since 2000, the offi cial claims and policy outcomes are assessed.

Outward FDI and Cross-border M&As

Although the new foreign direct investment policy and other policy packages, including “Make in India,” is expected to tap more foreign savings and better technology and transform the Indian economy into a manufacturing hub, most successful firms are investing abroad. Given this context, this paper makes an effort to understand the trends and nature of outward foreign direct Investment by Indian firms and their implications. The paper argues that though the Indian overseas acquiring manufacturing firms perform relatively better than their counterparts, its adverse impact on the trade deficit and balance of payments need to be tackled.

The National e-Commerce Policy, 2019

The draft national e-commerce policy 2019 states that the e-commerce platforms use network effects and mining of unstructured data to create entry barriers. We argue that network effects alone do not create sustainable competitive advantage for the platforms. The added effect of the high customer switching costs creates a dominant position for the big firms. It is to be noted that their business models are not built around data. The provision of consumer data or the regulation of foreign participation in this space, does not translate into better business opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises due to their small-scale operations. Rather, the big domestic retail players might take over and limit the opportunities. 

Mobile Phone Manufacturing in India

In financial year 2019, India produced around 29 crore units of mobile phones, which comes to an investment of around `2,780 crore, at 2017 prices. These investment figures turn out to be much lower than those reported in the popular press. Original equipment manufacturers and electronic manufacturing service firms dominate the Indian manufacturing scene. The analysis of the five-digit Annual Survey of Industries data for 2016–17 and 2017–18 makes it apparent that the impetus towards domestic assembly of mobile phones through various policy measures has made a positive impact on the growth of investments, particularly in plant and machinery assets. As a result, the direct employment generated per unit fixed asset has decreased in 2017–18. Value addition for a majority of the firms at the five-digit level was less than 10% in 2017–18.

Unmaking ‘Make in India’

India’s business climate has historically been considered poor, resulting in low-rankings in the World Bank’s Doing Business Indicators. The National Democratic Alliance government has attempted to reverse this situation by improving the de jure rules related to the business climate. Whether this approach will improve the ease of doing business in India is analysed by using firm-level data on the number of days it takes to get an operating licence or construction permit. De facto deals between the state and businesses, rather than de jure rules, characterise the state–business relationship in Indian states. States with weaker quality of governance provide higher proportions of good deals in terms of the speed of obtaining licences and permits, and easing the norms of business regulations need not necessarily lead to higher productivity.

Majoritarian Rationale and Common Goals

Looking at existing policy instruments and goals, and the economic and social outcomes they promise to deliver, it is argued that majoritarian politics and social and cultural outcomes are not part of fringe thinking. The politics of hate actually works to build a consensus for ruling class economics. It is not surprising, therefore, that the only "nationalist outlook" of our times is to stand firmly behind the policy programme for the global investor.

Faltering Manufacturing Growth and Employment

Declining growth and a stagnating employment share of manufacturing in a high-growth regime in India are disconcerting, given the pride of place assumed by manufacturing as the "engine of growth." The sustainability of high growth is linked intrinsically to a trajectory that creates gainful employment. This paper argues that the manufacturing sector, which recorded declining employment elasticity in the organised sector, will not be able to mend the gap between growth and employment. Rather the goal of rejuvenating manufacturing has to be contextualised in a larger strategy of full employment with interventions related to demand structures, technology, size structure of firms, as well as a calibrated engagement with the global market.

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