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

Articles By Sunil Mani

Innovation Performance of India’s Computer Software Services and Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Industries

While pharmaceutical and computer software industries have achieved considerable international acclaim, their growth performance so far has been primarily thought of as driven by labour arbitrage than by innovation efforts. This is especially so in the case of the software industry, where replication rather than innovation has been identified as the cause for its fast export growth. The number of innovations in both industries is rising, contributed chiefly by domestic firms in the former and foreign firms in the latter.

The Role of Industrial Policy in Market-friendly Economies

The paper surveys the status of vaccine research and development and its manufacture in India and discusses the fact that the country has used industrial policy instruments rather sparingly in jump-starting R&D and manufacturing of vaccines for COVID-19 vaccines. This is despite India’s acknowledged innovation capability. The paper also contrasts the Indian case with that of the United States case discussed in Part 1 of this two-part paper.

The Role of Industrial Policy in Market-friendly Economies

Given the public good characteristics of new technologies and especially those contributing to improved health, there is a strong case for state support for research and development and indeed for converting those research results to commercialise products and processes. The state support to the market is even more vital in developing vaccines for the COVID-19 pandemic, which has engulfed the whole world and has shattered the economies of countries and lives of ordinary citizens. The paper, in two parts, analyses how the state and the market have responded to the development of vaccines for this pandemic in two countries, India and the United States. India is chosen as it is one of the leading manufacturers of low-cost vaccines, and the US is selected as it is the top country where systematic R&D on vaccines is carried out. In this part, the focus is on the renewed debate on the use of industrial policy and surveys the specific policy instruments used by one of the leading market-friendly economies in the world, namely the US, in successfully developing within a short period of time a number of highly effective vaccines for COVID-19.

Developing India’s Mobile Phone Manufacturing Industry

In the absence of any major domestic mobile phone manufacturers, increased imports of mobile phones have contributed to a widening of India’s trade deficit. An analysis of the policy instruments put in place to incentivise the domestic manufacturing of mobile phones reveals a spike in domestic manufacturing, leading to significant reductions in the imports of mobile phones. However, domestically manufactured phones are dependent on imports of parts. This high import dependence itself is an outcome of the weak innovation capability in the domestic industry.

Robot Apocalypse

Anxiety about the prospect of technology displacing jobs on a large scale is currently dominating academic and public debate. A number of different occupations are likely to see an increased rate of automation in the near future. However, while studies have shown that this is likely to have an adverse effect on employment, they have all used the occupation-based approach to arrive at their conclusions. A task-based approach is used to arrive at a more accurate estimate of the effect of automation on manufacturing employment in India. Employing a comprehensive data set from the International Federation of Robotics, the nature and extent of diffusion of industrial robots into the manufacturing industry in India is also analysed.

New IPR Policy 2016

A critique of the new Intellectual Property Rights Policy 2016, designed to strengthen India's IPR regime "to foster creativity and innovation," indicates that it has put the interests of intellectual property owners, or global capital above that of public. Though some measures delineated in the policy are laudable, it is clear that the policy objectives are not evidence-based and are tailor-made to suit the requirements of the Western governments.

Is the Government Justified in Reducing R&D Tax Incentives?

A vast majority of studies assessing the impact of R&D tax incentives provided across the world conclude that such tax incentives spur investments. However, in India only a limited number of fi rms, especially small and medium ones, have actually been taking advantage of the state’s fi scal generosity.