The tech lag

The Narendra Modi administration’s Make in India initiative plainly has a lot of work to do at the top end of the scale


India’s high-tech exports have grown substantially from $402.15 million in 1988 to $13.75 billion in 2015. But that’s still a fair distance from Malaysia’s $57.26 billion. Photo: Sharp Image/Mint
India’s high-tech exports have grown substantially from $402.15 million in 1988 to $13.75 billion in 2015. But that’s still a fair distance from Malaysia’s $57.26 billion. Photo: Sharp Image/Mint

The World Bank’s recently launched data portal, TCdata360, provides some interesting facts about high-tech exports. While developed countries such as the US and Germany expectedly lead the pack, developing economies like Mexico, Malaysia and the Philippines aren’t doing too badly either.

India, however, lags far behind the latter three. Its high-tech exports have grown substantially from $402.15 million in 1988—the data set’s start year—to $13.75 billion in 2015. But that’s still a fair distance from Malaysia’s $57.26 billion in 2015.

The Narendra Modi administration’s Make in India initiative plainly has a lot of work to do at the top end of the scale. From mobile phones to fighter jets, foreign companies have expressed interest in opening or shifting production lines to India. But moving forward on this will require synergy between ease of doing business reforms, diplomatic outreach and economic policy. And the current protectionist zeitgeist isn’t going to make this any easier.

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