The techno-economic development of the Indian machine tool industry with special emphasis on aspects affecting efficiency

Matthews, Ronald George (1981) The techno-economic development of the Indian machine tool industry with special emphasis on aspects affecting efficiency. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Simply put, this study is an attempt to provide an in-depth analysis of the techno-economic development of India's machine tool industry. Although this opening statement fairly and accurately reflects the objective and general theme underpinning the work, it is perhaps highly superficial in that it tends to gloss over the original piece of stage-setting for the study : by reference to the Soviet machine tool manufacturing experience of the 1930s, a comparative theoretical framework is built-up which, it is argued, might have had great relevance to the economic conditions facing the India of the 1950s at the start of its thrust for rapid industrialization. The Soviet 'model' of machine tool production could well have been particularly appropriate to India's economic circumstances because of its emphasis on capital-saving; an approach which related not only to the character of the machinery produced but also the manner of its manufacture. Therefore, in an Indian economy which was already rigorously emulating the Soviet two-sector growth strategy, a case could be argued for India's tool industry to have similarly followed the Soviet development pattern. However, as the development of the industry did not in the event follow the Soviet experience, then the initial concern of this study has to be with the establishment of what the alternative manufacturing philosophy was oriented to, if it was not to the achievement of maximum cost-price reductions a la the Soviet approach. In answer to this, the proposition is tentatively though nevertheless it is believed safely advanced, that machine tool production in India developed along well entrenched Western industrial lines. Here, it is the role of innovation that has been the dominant feature. Under this scenario, little importance is attached to cost-price reductions of the machine tools produced, rather, emphasis is placed on improvements in design as a means of maintaining or increasing the sales of an enterprise through the creation of a fresh market. The suitability of this type of manufacturing strategy : bringing pressure on the machine building customers of the machine tool branch to replace still productive machine tools is, to a capital-scarce country such as India, a highly dubious exercise even if it could be shown to operate satisfactorily. Efficiency in production lies at the heart of the issue. It is important to realise that a capital-saving mode of development should have regard to more than simply producing labour-intensive technology; capital will also be economized if this technology is manufactured efficiently. It must be recognized though, that in the case of India, the possibilities which existed for raising productive efficiency in the tool branch have to some extent been inhibited by the need to pursue other development aims. The goals of growth and technological self-sufficiency are two such factors which have figured prominently in the sector's development strategy. Thus, although the primary aim of this study is to examine the various aspects which bear upon the efficient operation of India's machine tool industry and, as a result, provide indirectly some insight into the capital-saving performance of the branch, nevertheless, the success in attaining the other objectives of high growth and technological independence is also assessed. The conclusions derived from these specific analyses allied with the more general observations of the industry's techno-economic development assists in a culminating discussion that contrasts the appropriateness of the development strategy that was followed, on the basis of the efficiency obtained, against the adjudged advantages to be gained from pursuance of the Soviet approach.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Economics, operations research.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Clark, Dr. Norman
Date of Award: 1981
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1981-72154
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 17 May 2019 12:45
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2022 15:11
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.72154

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