22 Jan 2021: 50th Foundation Year Lecture by Professor Keshab Das
50th Foundation year lecture series- Webinar on “Industrial Clustering: The Indian Context” by Professor Keshab Das, Gujarat Institute of Development Research. (22nd January 2021)
Abstract: The spatio-sectoral clustering of enterprises, mostly involving the small, has been recognised, globally, as a remarkable form of industrial organisation holding promises for both producers and consumers. Responding to vacillating demand the small enterprises could easily switch to highly customized and differentiated production structure while the inherent rigidity or indivisibility of the organization of production of large enterprises remained a drag. The burgeoning of literature, since the late 1980s, on clustering emphasizing economies of scale and scope has been a proof of its popularity as a concept in policy praxis, especially, in the developing economies. Increased recognition of the symbiotic relationship between collectivity and flexibility opened up new policy opportunities for small enterprise development including participating in the in the global production networks. The overwhelmingly occidental approach to these studies, however, missed out on two crucial aspects of small firm dynamics in developing economies – informality and the question of labour. With the massive presence industrial clusters India offers a major opportunity to examine their potential and challenges. The presentation would critique the discourse, address gaps, proffer a fresh conceptualisation of industrial clusters and raise concerns for policy from an Indian perspective. The discussion would draw upon cluster cases including from rural India.