By bringing much-needed technology, capital and entrepreneurship, and access to markets, FDI inflows can contribute to industrial development. Hence, governments worldwide seek to attract FDI inflows from multinational enterprises (MNEs) through different policy measures including incentives and facilitation. However, quality of FDI inflows has been found to be highly uneven with some inflows to be welfare reducing for host countries. FDI flows are increasingly two way flows as Indian enterprises also undertake greenfield investments as well as acquisitions abroad to strengthen their presence in their key markets for acquiring strategic assets. In an open economy context, international competitiveness becomes an important factor in success of manufacturing sector not only in export markets but also in the domestic markets. Furthermore, participation in global value chains could be an important route for fostering manufacturing sector. The trade policy measures and trade negotiations—multilateral, regional or bilateral– can significantly shape competitiveness of manufactured products and market access. ISID’s work under this theme covers some of the issues concerning harnessing the potential of FDI inflows and outflows as well as export competitiveness and participation in value chains of the country.

The G-20 has emerged as an important platform for discussions on global economic and financial architecture. The Indian presidency of the G-20 from December 2022 presented to India an opportunity to shape a more development-friendly global economic and financial architecture that supports the process of the manufacturing sector in India and other late-industrializers by retrieving some of the policy space lost over time in the multilateral trade and financial negotiations. In run up to the G20 Summit preparations, ISID actively contributed to the Think-20 process, by serving as a Co-chair of the Taskforce 6 on SDGs, hosting a Special T20 Policy Roundtable on Finance and Global Economic Governance for Green Industrial Transformation on March 2, 2023, jointly with the Boston University Global Development Policy Center (BU-GDPC). ISID also prepared three T20 Policy Briefs which were peer reviewed and published by the T20 Secretariat. ISID also reissued them under its own policy brief series for further dissemination as follows:

Towards an Innovative Financing Mechanism for Sustainable Development: Reviving International Financial Transactions Tax (IFTT) on the G20 Agenda, PBs #23-05, June 2023

Aligning G20 Industrial Policies with Biodiversity Conservation, PBs #23-04, May 2023

Finance and Global Economic Governance for Green Transformation: Key Recommendations of ISID-BUGDPC Special T20 Roundtable, PBs #23-02, March 2023

ISID also contributed to T-20 Meetings held in New Delhi, Bhopal, Mumbai, Mysore and Kigali (Rwanda), and the G20 International Conference organized by the NITI Aayog in July 2023. ISID will continue to contribute to the policy discussions on enhancing the policy space for industrialization in the context of G20 Summit in Brazil and South Africa.

Research Team: Prof Nagesh Kumar and Prof Kevin Gallagher (BU-GDPC)

Status: [Ongoing]

The G-20 has emerged as an important platform for discussions on global economic and financial architecture. The upcoming Indian presidency of the G-20 from December 2022 presents India an opportunity to shape a more development-friendly global economic and financial architecture that supports the process of the manufacturing sector in India and other late-industrializers by retrieving some of the policy space lost over time in the multilateral trade and financial negotiations. ISID proposes to put together some issues for reform and engage in policy advocacy to facilitate their discussion at the G-20 meetings.

Research Team: Prof Nagesh Kumar ++

Status: [Proposal Stage]

International competitiveness and participation in GVCs have become key issues for manufacturing-led development in the open economy context. With trade liberalization, domestic markets too have become contestable for even national firms who cannot take even the home market for granted. Internationally competitive enterprises on the other hand exploit the opportunities created by global economic integration, are not constrained by the size of home markets, and can grow endlessly in the world markets. GVC participation often entails shallow integration with little value addition domestically. Hence, one aspect of competitiveness is to enhance domestic value addition in GVCs. Besides factor costs, productivity, technology and innovation, international competitiveness is also impinged upon by preferential market access through marketing networks of MNEs or through bilateral or regional trade arrangements. Regional trade arrangements (RTAs) have become very important factors shaping the location of fragmented production or the regional value chains and competitiveness of exports through facilitating efficiency-seeking restructuring of industry. In that context the project would analyze the determinants of export competitiveness and GVC participation and its depth and draw policy lessons.

Research Team: Prof Nagesh Kumar and Dr Isha Chawla.

Status: [Proposal stage]

The study is an attempt to examine the impact of trade on productivity in India. The empirical analysis will be based on the organized segment of the Indian manufacturing sector since the onset of trade policy reforms in the 1990s. The theoretical literature indicates several plausible channels through which trade enables static production and consumption gains as well as dynamic productivity gains through exposure to new technology and economies of scale. As trade integration expands through trade liberalization, production efficiency improves through increased market access and scale economies, higher competitive pressure, an incentive to invest in technology and skills, reduction in x-inefficiency, better access to superior production inputs, knowledge spillovers, reallocation of production processes, etc. Therefore, the present study aims to evaluate the net impact of trade-induced productivity growth at the disaggregated level. We will adopt a panel econometric methodology to assess trade-productivity linkage by relating productivity to trade outcome and policy-related variables.

Research Team: Dr R Rijesh

Collaboration: ICSSR

Status: [Ongoing], project launched in 2022-23; time frame: 24 months.

India has emerged as an attractive destination of FDI with magnitudes of inflows growing constantly even in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic. However, what is not clear is whether the FDI inflows attracted by India are of high quality that helps to crowd-in more domestic investments rather than crowd-out and contribute to building the export and technological capability of the country. The project is analysing the patterns of inflows and examine their quality. It is also analysing FDI in relation to India’s participation in GVCs that have become key issues for manufacturing-led development in the open economy context. In that context the project has analyzed the patterns of India’s GVC participation and its depth and draw policy lessons. Some analysis has already been presented in an ISID Working Paper #267. More work is in progress.

Research Team: Prof Nagesh Kumar and Dr Isha Chawla.

Collaboration: ICSSR

Status: [Ongoing] Project launched in 2022-23; time frame: 24 months.

This study undertaken by ISID for the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Government of India, analyses the impact of India’s FTA with the ASEAN on Indian pharma sector and the implications of recently signed FTA with UAE on this sector. It also looks into the trends in the trade and investment flows in this sector with the ASEAN and Middle East countries. The market access barriers faced by Indian exporters in these regions are captured in this study. Dr Reji K. Joseph & Dr Dinesh Kumar presented the findings of the study at the office of Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, Government of India, on 30 November 2022. The final report will be submitted after revision in January 2023.

Research Team: Dr Reji K Joseph and Dr Dinesh Kumar

Collaborator: Department of Pharmaceuticals, Government of India

Status: Completed

Download report from the following link:

The objective of the research project was to (i) identify continuities and departures in India’s production pattern, investment and employment trends, degree of engagement through trade, FDI and technology assimilation, and the status of infrastructure and human capabilities; and (ii) comprehend an industrialisation strategy given the constraints and emerging opportunities.
The report is organised in four sections. Section I deals with structural issues, and consists of six chapters. These present structural changes in the organised manufacturing sector, developments in the large private corporate sector, competition and concentration, implications of financial liberalisation on industrial finance, and issues relating to adoption of Industry 4.0. Five chapters in Section II analyse the developments in external trade with specific reference to competitiveness, import intensity, domestic value addition, trade agreements and India’s participation in global production network. Foreign direct investments and technology transfer are the subject matter of the four chapters in Section III. The last section deals with regional development issues with focus on spatial distribution of workers, SEZs, and industrial corridors. Based on the evidence generated, each chapter presents suggestions for addressing the lacunae in the industrial, trade, and investment policies that have been followed so far, towards strengthening India’s industrial development efforts. The ICSSR sponsored study was undertaken by a team of the Institute’s faculty with Prof M R Murty as the programme director and Prof T P Bhat as the co-director.
The programme consisted of the following papers:

  • Economic Reforms and Market Competition in India: An Assesment, Dr Beena Saraswathy
  • Import Intensity of India’s Manufactured Exports – An Industry Level Analysis, Dr Mahua Paul and Dr Ramaa Arun Kumar
  • India and Industry 4.0, Prof T P Bhat
  • Industrial Structure, Financial Liberalisation, and Industrial Finance in India, Dr Santosh Kumar Das
  • Outward FDI from India: Review of Policy and Emerging Trends, Dr Reji K Joseph
  • Review of Industrial and Development Corridors in India, Prof H Ramachandran
  • Special Economic Zones: Location and Land Utilisation, Dr Surya Tewari
  • Structural Asymmetry in Global Production Network: An Empirical Exploration, Dr Satyaki Roy
  • Foreign Direct Investment and Innovation Activities in Indian Manufacturing Industries, Dr Sanjaya Kumar Malik
  • Inbound M&A in India: Issues and Challenges, Prof K S Chalapati Rao and Prof Biswajit Dhar
  • Impact of Preferential Trade Liberalisation on India’s Manufacturing Sector Trade Performance: An Analysis of India’s Major Trade Agreements, Dr Smitha Francis
  • Is Domestic Value Addition a Source of Export Sophistication: A Case Study of India, Dr Anjali Tandon
  • Liberalisation, Structural Change and Productivity Growth in Indian Organised Manufacturing Sector, Dr R Rijesh
  • Non-Financial Private Corporate Sector and India’s Manufacturing Sector: A Comparative Study of Domestic and Foreign Companies, Prof M R Murty and Prof K V K Ranganathan
  • Outward FDI as a Strategy for Technology Catch-Up: A Case Study of Two Indian Automotive Firms, Dr Reji K Joseph
  • Spatial Distribution of Workers in Manufacturing India – 1991 and 2011, Prof H Ramachandran and Priyanka Tiwari
  • Strengthening Export Competitiveness through Domestic Policies, Dr Ramaa Arun Kumar and Prof Biswajit Dhar
  • Technology Transfer through FDI in India: Mode, Extent, and Prospects, Dr Swati Verma.

The intra-firm trade by MNC linked firms are highly susceptible to transfer pricing manipulation for profit shifting (BEPS), especially in developing countries, as many recent studies have indicated. The issue remains largely unexplored in the Indian context due to limitations of intra-firm foreign trade data, especially for unlisted firms. The study attempted to estimate and the trace extent of intra-firm transactions in foreign exchange transactions of foreign affiliates operating in the manufacturing sector of India. A closer examination of a range of merchandise trade, technology and service payment related transfers has been undertaken for listed and unlisted foreign affiliates over two recent years viz. 2014–15 and 2015–16. The outflows directed to tax havens and low corporate tax rate locations have been particularly identified. For the study, the information on related party transaction disclosures has been analysed from company financial statements procured from the website of Ministry of Corporate Affairs. The study was sponsored by the ICSSR and the final report was submitted to the Council in October 2019. Dr Swati Verma was the Project Director.

This study examined the nature and impact of technology import on Indian manufacturing using firm level data. The basic objective was to examine the impact of technology import in the form of embodied (capital goods) and disembodied (foreign exchange spent on royalties, technical fees, licencing, etc.) on manufacturing output, productivity and exports, during 1995–2016. The empirical estimation is based on panel regression analysis for the overall manufacturing as well as four use-based classifications of industries. The study reported evidence of dynamic gains in manufacturing from the import of technology. The study was sponsored by the ICSSR and the final report was submitted to the Council in November 2018. Dr. R. Rijesh was the Principal Researcher.

The Institute monitors India’s cross-border capital flows in an ongoing manner. India’s reported FDI inflows recorded a sharp rise in 2014-15 to $45 billion from the previous year’s level of $36 billion. The increase continued in 2015-16 as the amount reached almost $56 billion, 2016-17 saw further heights being achieved. This increase is widely seen as an indication of the success of the initiatives taken by the new government which assumed office at the Centre towards the end of May 2014. Notwithstanding the high importance attached to FDI in India’s economic policy, not much is, however, known about this development beyond the broad aggregates released by the official agencies. The reported inflows are taken at their face value and are referred to and interpreted by national and international agencies, academics and analysts, unquestioningly.

Encouraged by the initial analysis which revealed some little known but very important features of the reported inflows, the exercise was carried further taking into account more recent data and following the leads thrown up at various stages. The exercise not only raises serious questions about the suitability of FDI data for policy analysis, but it also brings out sharply the high levels of disinvestments. A workshop was organized in January 2018 to discuss the draft report. Like the preceding Policy Brief, the observations of the draft report were also covered by the print and online media. This internal study was carried out by Prof. K.S. Chalapati Rao and Prof. Biswajit Dhar. It was finalised in March 2018 under the title “India’s Recent Inward Foreign Direct Investment: An Assessment”.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has gained enhanced traction from governments across the world as a tool to facilitate economic growth, especially by capital scarce developing countries. Increasingly, this has prompted governments to provide incentives of various kinds to foreign investors in order to attract FDI. One such incentive takes the form of Double Tax Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) which are aimed at facilitating investment and trade between the signatory jurisdictions. However, findings in the last few years suggest that DTAAs are being used to route capital flows, especially through jurisdictions known as tax havens. In this context, the study looked at the source country-wise flow of foreign direct investment into India during the 2004-14. The study made use of a dataset, which identified the ultimate controlling or parent entity/company of individual foreign investment inflows to India and the country that entity/company is based, i.e. its home country. These details of where the actual investor is based helped in separating the investment flows which come directly from their home country to India, i.e. the host country, from those that are routed through a different country/jurisdiction to take advantage of some regulatory arbitrage.

The findings of the study suggest that close to two-thirds of FDI inflows to India come through a country other than the home country of the foreign investor. Majority of the funds are routed through jurisdictions which are commonly known as tax havens and/or secrecy jurisdictions. In fact, there is a strong positive correlation between routing of funds and the level of secrecy offered by the respective jurisdictions. We also find that jurisdictions which are used for routing capital flows have lower effective tax rates for investments in India compared to the respective home countries of the investors, thereby creating an incentive for treaty shopping. The most likely tax benefit for the routing of investments is capital gains taxes. Since, capital gains taxes are applicable only for inflows when investments are disposed off, they are more likely to be portfolio investments instead of FDI. The removal of such tax benefit to select jurisdictions is unlikely to affect the inflows of realistic FDI, i.e. the inflows which are besides being of long term nature would be associated with technology transfer, superior managerial practices, etc. Lastly, the study discusses some of the changes, both domestic and global, that have taken place in the areas related to FDI and capital flows in the last few years. The study was jointly undertaken by Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA), New Delhi and ISID in September 2017. Shri Suraj Prasad Jaiswal of CBGA is the Principal Researcher.

After a long and winding process spanning nearly one and a half decades starting from permitting 100 per cent FDI in Cash & Carry Wholesale Trade through the approval route in 1997, the government finally allowed FDI up to 51 percent in multi-brand retail trade (MBRT) in September 2012. The opening up has, however, not been smooth because of fierce opposition from various quarters not just from kirana stores which are perceived to be the ones that would be affected the most. India, therefore, allowed FDI in multi-brand retail trade with certain safeguards, the most important ones being: (i) minimum inflow to be $100 mn, of which 50 percent to be spent on developing back-end infrastructure; (ii) minimum 30 percent procurement from small industries; and, (iii) location within larger cities with at least 1 million population. The effectiveness of these conditions will depend upon the manner in which the guidelines are framed.

The study seeks to trace the evolution of the policy since the mid-2000s and highlight various interactions, representations, policy changes, corporate actions and some operational aspects of foreign wholesale traders. A part of the ongoing work has been accepted for publication in the Volume of the International Seminar in Retailing vis-a-vis Farm Economy of India to be published during 2014-15. Certain issues are still evolving and these could impact the policy towards the sector significantly. It is proposed to bring out a monograph during 2014-15 covering these further developments. The study is being jointly undertaken by Prof. K.S. Chalapati Rao of ISID and Prof. Biswajit Dhar of RIS.

Sea-ports represent a complex interplay of physical, spatial and socio-economic phenomena and are invariably the centres where different kinds of interactions and dependencies in the supra-national economy are worked out, be it under colonialism or under the modern phase of globalisation.

The objective of the study is: i) to chisel the concepts and theoretical frameworks relevant to the historical and spatial analysis of sea-ports, port systems and port-cities. This is necessary because most of the concepts en vogue have acquired varying theoretical meanings in social science and port planning literature; ii) to trace the evolution of the Indian sea-port system from the colonial period, when the introverted economy of the country was reoriented and focused on sea-ports, to the present day, when India is being increasingly drawn into the world economy; iii) to analyse the Indian port-cities within the national systems of ports and cities and thus outline the linkages between the port and city functions; and, iv) to underpin the various factors that have historically influenced the performance, management and future prospects of Indian sea-ports. The project was sanctioned by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) in November 2012 and it is to be completed by November 2013. Preparation of the final report is under progress and ICSSR granted an extension of time up to March 2014 owing to the vast range and scope of the study. Prof. Atiya Habeeb Kidwai, formerly Professor at JNU is the Project Director.

The study was related to different aspects of development in the context of globalisation with special reference to China and India and was carried out by Prof. Sunanda Sen during March 2010 to March 2012 as part of her ICSSR National Fellow at the institute. The papers covered under the broad subject dealt with theoretical position on global financial flows offering a view which deviates from the condescending attitudes in standard neo-liberal doctrines. The themes handled in these papers range from the systemic crisie as are inherent in the on-going flows of de-regulated global finance, their consequences in terms of instability and lack of growth, parallels between the current crisis and the Great Depression of the thirties, impact of speculation on commodity markets and finally, problems of managing finance in de-regulated economies with special reference to China and India. The Report was submitted to the ICSSR in December 2012.

India’s External Trade during the ‘Nineties: Some Aspects – An Analysis of Customs House and Company Data, a project report sponsored by the Planning Commission, November 2002

  • Labour and Capital Use in Indian Manufacturing: Structural Aspects,, Anjali Tandon, November 2023, Anjali Tandon, November 2023
  • Understanding Foreign Direct Investment,, Biswajit Dhar & K.S. Chalapati Rao, March 2020, Biswajit Dhar & K.S. Chalapati Rao, March 2020
  • India’s Recent Inward Foreign Direct Investment: An Assessment,, K.S. Chalapati Rao & Biswajit Dhar, July 2018, K.S. Chalapati Rao & Biswajit Dhar, July 2018
  • Indian Multinationals in the World Economy: Implications for Development, Jaya Prakash Pradhan, Bookwell, New Delhi,, , December 2008, December 2008
  • High-tech Industries, Employment and Global Competitiveness, S R Hashim and N S Siddharthan (Eds), Routledge, Taylor& Francis Group.,, , April 2008, April 2008