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Dr. Smitha Francis

Dr. Smitha Francis



Dr Smitha Francis is a Consultant at the Institute.

She obtained her MA from the University of Madras and Ph.D. from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi.

Her research interests relate to international trade and finance, industrial policy and industrial restructuring, impact of digital technologies on the manufacturing sector, Southeast Asian economies, and macroeconomic policy interactions under globalisation. For the last several years, she has been exploring how different processes of trade and financial liberalisation involving autonomous liberalisation of trade, FDI and other foreign capital flows, as well as legally-binding liberalisation under trade and investment agreements influence national industrialisation processes and development trajectories. She has been particularly interested in examining the interfaces between trade and FDI liberalisation, industrial policy, technological change and manufacturing sector development, and is currently engaged in analysing the global value chain (GVC) engagement of Indian electronics industry from this perspective.

Previously, she worked at Economic Research Foundation (ERF), New Delhi, the Secretariat for International Development Economics Associates (IDEAs;, and prior to that at the Research and Information Systems (RIS), New Delhi. She has also been a Visiting Faculty at the South Asian University and Ambedkar University, New Delhi. In addition, she has been a consultant in projects sponsored by the Department of Commerce, Government of India, Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR), Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Brussels, Centre for WTO Studies, New Delhi, Frederick S. Pardee Centre for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, Boston University, UN OHCHR, etc.



Areas of Interest/Specialisation

Keywords: Digital transformations, industrial policy, trade, FDI, electronics industry, trade and investment agreements, global value chains, foreign capital flows, Southeast Asian economies


Recent Publications



  • 2019, ‘Industrial Policy Challenges for India: Global Value Chains and Free Trade Agreements‘, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, Oxon and New York. ISBN: 978-0-8153-6605-8 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-429-24420-9 (ebk)

Articles in Edited books 

  • Smitha Francis and and Murali Kallummal (2020) ‘The Impact of FTAs on India’s Electronics Manufacturing’, in Promoting Electronic Manufacturing in India, MVIRDC Research Study, World Trade Centre, Mumbai. (October)
  • ‘Digital Transformations and Structural Exclusion Risks: Towards policy coherence for enabling inclusive trajectories’ in Keshab Das, Bhabani Shankar Prasad Mishra and Madhabananda Das, eds. The Digitalization Conundrum in India: Applications, Access and Aberrations, Springer, Singapore, ISBN 978-981-15-6906-7 (Forthcoming).
  • 2020, ‘Impact of FTAs on India’s Electronics Manufacturing Sector’ in Study on Promoting Electronic Manufacturing in India – An MVIRDC Research Initiative, World Trade Centre, Mumbai. With Murali Kallummal.
  • 2020, ‘Using the COVID Response to Realign India’s Electronics Supply Chain’ in in AIC-EEPC, eds. COVID-19: Challenges for the Indian Economy – Trade and Foreign Policy Effects, ASEAN-India Centre (AIC) and Engineering Export Promotion Council of India (EEPC), New Delhi.
  • 2017, ‘Towards a Progressive Industrial Policy in the Time of Global Value Chains and Free Trade Agreements: An overview with a focus on India’, in Global Progressive Industrial Policy: An alternative for social justice, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung (RLS), Brussels.
  • 2017, ‘Trade Liberalisation and Indian Agriculture: An Exploratory Analysis’, With Anirban Dasgupta and Murali Kallummal in M. P. Bezbaruah, Binoy Goswami and Raju Mandal (ed.) Indian Agriculture after Green Revolution: Changes and Challenges,
  • 2015, ‘Preferential Trading Arrangements and the Indian Economy’, in Jayati Ghosh ed., India and the World Economy, ICSSR Research Survey Volume, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 293-336. ISBN 0-19-945894-4.
  • 2013, ‘Capital Account Regulatory Space under India’s Investment and Trade Agreements’ in Kevin Gallagher ed. (2013), Compatibility Review of the Trade Regime and Capital Account Regulations, Pardee Centre Taskforce Report, Frederick S. Pardee Centre for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, Boston University, Massachusetts, 109-120. ISBN 978-1-936727-08-7.
  • 2004, ‘Fluid Finances, Systemic Risk and the IMF’s SDRM Proposal’ in Jomo K.S. ed., 2004After the Storm: Crisis, Recovery and Sustaining Development in Four Asian Economies, Singapore University Press, Co-authored with C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh, pp. 75-97. ISBN 9971-69-286-4. 

Selected Research Publications


  • 2020,   ‘Indian Electronics Industry’s FDI-led GVC Engagement: Insights from a firm-level analysis’, ISID Working Paper (forthcoming)
  • 2020,  ‘Impact of Preferential Trade Liberalisation on India’s Manufacturing Sector Trade Performance: An analysis of India’s major trade agreements’, ISID, Unpublished study report.
  • 2020, ‘FTAs and Export Competitiveness: Policy lessons from a decade of WTO-plus tariff liberalisation’ ISID Discussion Note DN 2020/12.
  • 2018, ‘India’s Electronics Manufacturing Sector: Getting the Diagnosis Right’, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. LIII (34), pp. 112–117.
  • 2018, ‘Setting the Record Straight on Trade’ (Review of Dani Rodrik’s Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy’, Princeton University Press, 2017), The Book Review, Vol. XLII (10), pp. 8–10.
  • 2019, ‘Catching-up in the Digital Economy: The need for rapid policy evolution’, ISID Discussion Note DN 2019/01.
  • 2018, ‘Evolution of Technology in the Digital Arena: Theories, Firm-level Strategies and State Policies’, Centre for WTO Studies Working Paper No. CWS/WP/200/47, Centre for WTO Studies, IIFT, New Delhi.
  • 2016, ‘Impact of Trade Liberalisation on the Indian Electronics Industry: Some aspects of the industrial policy dynamics of global value chain engagement’, ISID Working Paper No. 192, Institute for Studies in Industrial Development (ISID), New Delhi.
  • 2015, ‘India’s Manufacturing Sector Exports: A Focus on Missing Domestic Inter-sectoral Linkages’, ISID Working Paper No. 182, ISID, New Delhi.
  • 2016, ‘Policy Support for Promotion of Export-Oriented Production of Pulses in Australia’, Background Paper for FAO World Pulses Economy Report, SSER, New Delhi.
  • 2013, ‘India’s Comprehensive Trade Agreements: Implications for development trajectory’, Special Article, Economic & Political Weekly, August, Vol. XlVIII, No. 31, pp. 109-122, ISSN No. 0012-9976. Co-authored with Murali Kallummal.
  • 2013, ‘Changing the Investment Policy Menu’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. XLVIIL, No. 5, pp. 68-73.
  • 2012, ‘Transfer Pricing and Tax Evasion: Beyond the trans-Atlantic furore’, Third World Resurgence, No. 268, December.
  • 2012, ‘An Analysis of Public Finances in Thailand from an Equity Perspective’, IDEAs Working Paper No. 06/2012, International Development Economics Associates (IDEAs), New Delhi.
  • 2012, ‘Fiscal Policy Evolution and Distributional Implications: The Indonesian experience’, IDEAs Working Paper No. 01/2012, International Development Economics Associates (IDEAs), New Delhi.
  • 2011, ‘The ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement: A sectoral impact analysis of increased trade integration in goods’, Special Article, Economic & Political Weekly, January 8, Vol. XIVI, No. 2, pp. 46-55.
  • 2011, ‘Investment Provisions in Trade Agreements: Critical issues’, IDEAs Policy Brief No. 2/2011.
  • 2010, ‘Foreign Direct Investment Concepts: Implications for Negotiations’, Economic & Political Weekly, May 29, Vol. XLV No. 22, pp. 31-36.
  • 2009, ‘The New Regionalism in Southeast Asian Trade Policy and Issues in Market Access and Industrial Development: An Analysis of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement’, Journal of Economic Policy and Research, Vol.4 (2), pp. 82-136, ISSN No. 0975-8577. Co-authored with Murali Kallummal.
  • 2008, ‘The New Regionalism in Southeast Asian Trade Policy and Issues in Market Access and Industrial Development: An Analysis of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement’, IDEAs Working Paper No. 6/2008, International Development Economics Associates (IDEAs), New Delhi, Co-authored with Murali Kallummal.
  • 2006, “The Revised Basel Capital Accord: The Logic, Content and Potential Impact for Developing Countries”, IDEAs Working Paper No. 9/2006, IDEAs, New Delhi.
  • 2006, ‘US Bilateralism in South East Asia: A Sectoral Analysis of the Market Access Issues in the Proposed Thai-US Free Trade Agreement’, IDEAs Working Paper No. 4/2006, IDEAs, New Delhi, Co-authored with Murali Kallummal.

Newspaper and Online articles