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

Articles By Public Sector

State of Vaccine Manufacturing in India

Historically, vaccine manufacturing in India has centred around the production of a wide variety of conventional vaccines that made the country self-sufficient as well as a net exporter and global leader in supplying vaccines to low- and middle-income countries. However, over the course of time, other safe and efficacious vaccines that follow technologically more advanced manufacturing processes became available in the market and their increased uptake made the country import dependent. In the second half of the 2000s, when manufacturing capacity of the public sector was being dismantled, India became a big market for imported vaccines and export was affected adversely till recently.

Privatisation and the Indian State

With a strong impetus towards privatisation, the current government has been pushing to reduce state ownership across most sectors. The last two years have specifically witnessed the dilution of ownership approach being replaced by a firm resolve to transfer control. This article closely examines the privatisation policy discussed in the previous two economic surveys (2019–20 and 2020–21) that point to the privatisation of all state-owned enterprises operating in non-strategic sectors.  Reducing state ownership to the extent of transferring control to private hands for better performing state-owned enterprises is not a well-suited policy decision. It reflects a closer alignment of the government's objective with generating funds for bridging the fiscal deficit/debt gap, by sacrificing future profits for short-term capital gains. In contrast, the Indian CPSE performance revival plan must incorporate a more structured approach that involves segmenting firms into various categories according to past performance, future profitability, industry characteristics, and revival chances. The government should customise the choice of restructuring plan according to these categories and segments.

Social Choice and Political Economy of Health

The National Health Policy, 2017 can be credited for an alternative vision towards the development of the health sector in India, but it falls short of expectations on certain counts. The core idea of strategic purchasing from the private sector is relevant, but can be incompatible with the existence of a robust public sector, particularly when reforms for enhancing the competitiveness of the public sector are undermined. Thus, the NHP essentially reopens the fundamental debate regarding the role of social choice mechanisms while deciding upon policy instruments and desirable outcomes. This has profound implications for the political economy of the health sector and can unintentionally catapult health as a salient feature in electoral politics.