Social Scientist. v 6, no. 68 (March 1978) p. 49.


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Report

Industrialisation in India

THE Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, held a seminar on "Industrialisation in India" on December 20-22, 1977. Since a competent summary of the proceedings is already available in the Econo* mic and Political Weekly, January 21, 1978 (pp 93-96), this report has a slightly different objective. I shall try to focus on the more important points made in some of the papers putting them into a wider perspective, note the areas of agreement among the participants even when such a consensus was implicit in the discussion rather than clearly stated, and isolate a few questions which could have received further attention but were left unmentioned.

For the purpose of this report, I shall change the order of themes to facilitate a more lucid coverage. I shall begin with the debate on the "Structure of Industry", followed by ^Foreign Collaboration Agreements^ and the paper by Amulya Kumar N Reddy, and wind up by taking a look at the features of "Industrial Stagnation" in India and the many explanations offered for it.

The Structure of Industry

Discussions on the structure of industry in India have centred round the "size" of enterprises in terms of output or employment, and the question of the optimum mix of large and small enterprises needed to achieve given policy objectives such as a target annual growth of output, the absorption of a given volume of the labour force or the generation of a certain quantum of foreign exchange through export. The most accepted way of characterising the structure of industry has been in terms of Monopoly Houses or large-scale firms, small-scale enterprises and a residual euphamistically dubbed the "informal" sector, consisting of a mixture of the putting-out system, and self-employed hawkers and producers of a large variety of low value goods and services.

There arc several aspects to the discussion surrounding the "small and large-scale" enterprises question. One can begin by trying to get at a satisfactory definition of the small-scale sector itself. Sandesara,1 points out that the term small industry or small-scale industry is used to



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