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

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The 'Make in India' Shove

The "Make-in-India" slogan will call for degrading labour, land and the environment.

A repetitive feature of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mode of functioning is the use of pithy phrases to characterise his policy initiatives, with the actual substance of the initiative left unclear. One such instance is the ironical call in his Independence Day address from the ramparts of Red Fort, addressed presumably to international capital, to “Come, Make in India”. Ironical because when India won Independence the understanding was that political freedom can be meaningful only if freedom from foreign capital was also won.

That aside, the “policy” implicit in the call, subsequently formalised in the “Make-in-India” campaign, is by no means novel. Over the last four decades many developing countries have tried to integrate themselves into global manufacturing value chains as a way to drive export-led industrial growth. Most, though not all, of them attempted to do so by wooing foreign investors who would locate a segment or segments of production processes within their domestic tariff area and produce for the global market. As part of that effort they sought to facilitate cross-border movements of technology, capital goods, raw materials, processed inputs and final products by liberalising trade and investment regulations, offering concessions to foreign investors and investing in supportive infrastructure.

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