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Glimpses from the Past: Export Strategy for the Take-Off

This article written by Manmohan Singh, then a young economics scholar, was published in the Special issue of July 1963 of the Economic Weekly. Fifty years later, he occupies the position of the Prime Minister of India, yet the debate over India's export strategy remains as vexed as ever. EPW brings you this article from its rich achives to foster debate and discussion on issues that remain as relevant now as it was back then. 
Abstract of the article:
 
It is now widely recognised that India's export receipts will have to be more than doubled by 1970 if the Indian economy is to become self-reliant even by the Fifth Plan.
 
From the short run point of view also, the case for a vigorous drive is not less strong. A large part of the industrial capacity of the country is lying unutilised for want of imported components and raw materials. Thus the availability of extra foreign exchange made possible by an incremental rise in export earnings would increase the country's national income by nearly the full amount of value added in manufacture in sectors of idle capacity.
 
In addition, if the output of some crucial bottleneck products could be raised through an increased supply of raw materials, the gains to the economy would be further increased insofar as the output of many complementary industries would also rise. 
 
Above all, the country's foreign exchange reserves having been nearly exhausted, we face a situation where even a minor shortfall in the amount of aid or a decline in export earnings could induce disproportionately adverse effects on the country's economic health. Thus the task of increasing export earnings here and now assumes a new urgency. 

 

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