Industrial Decentralization and Urban Development - Pondy Paper in Social Sciences 23|
Pondy Paper in Social Sciences 23
Table of contents
up of the discussions
Introduction to the Workshop
Introductory Remarks on the research project
Which Kind of Decentralization do you want and why?
A Theoretical Framework for studying the Dynamics of Urban and
A database for Urban India in the 1990’s Purpose and
Characteristics and correlates of urbanization in India
Clusters of small size firms across city sizes in saurashtra region of
Regulation Theory, Flexible specialization, social
Deconstructing production and distribution system in urban traditional
craft industries within the framework of the new economic policy
A Case Study of Networks in the Towns of Southern Maharashtra
Education, industrialization and socio-economic development
Human Resource Development, Gender and labour market
When are vertical links enabling?
Beyond Tiruppur: issues for exploration
Locality, time and processes: their role in vertical integration within
the world market
Industrial and urban development in urban peripheries
From the late 50s to 1988, the French Institute of Pondicherry was organized in two sections: a Section of Indology, which studied different aspects of Indian civilization, and a Scientific and Technical Section, which focussed on mapping vegetation and analyzing forest ecosystems. During this period, the Institute also carried out several projects in the field of social sciences, with a strong emphasis on history and rural geography which had direct links to its programmes in indology and ecology.
In 1988, as a consequence of the need to strengthen its research activities in social sciences, the Institute was reorganized in three Departments: Indology, Ecology and Social Sciences. Since then, the latter has been continuing the earlier cultural, historical, geographic and rural studies, but it has also enlarged its scope, so that its programmes are now directed at analyzing « socio-economic, cultural and socio-ecological dynamics in South Asia ».
Thus, it has been since that time that the interrelated themes of decentralization, industrialization and urban development have been present in the programmes of the Department of Social Sciences. That the first Pondy Paper in Social Sciences dealt with multi-level planning and decentralization is a good illustration of this very fact (1). This continuity is also reflected in the organization of three workshops and their subsequent publications: on "Urban configurations in relation to commercial, industrial and social networks: the case of Tiruchengodu in Salem District" (2), in 1990; on "Urban configurations, regional growth and global networks: the case of Tiruchengodu in Salem District" (3), in 1993; and on "Flexible specialization and the industrial districts in India. Towards a new model of industrialization " (4), in 1994.
That these workshops brought together Indian and European scholars is another characteristic of the programmes of the Department of Social Sciences. Thanks to the French Institute’s legal status and location and because it is part of its very vocation, most of its research programmes, if not all, are indeed carried out in close collaboration with Indian and European academic and scientific organizations.
In fact, the first two above mentioned workshops punctuated a five-year inter-disciplinary research programme on Tiruchengodu (Tamil Nadu), which aimed at describing and understanding the way this small and apparently remote town had rapidly grown and successfully developed its economy. As indicated by the academic background of the two project coordinators, Professor Marie-Louise Reiniche an anthropologist at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris, and Professor Amitabh Kundu an economist at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, one of the strong points of this project was that it aimed at linking urban configurations to trade networks and industrial development. Thus the focus was not just on economics, industrialization or urban anthropology, but rather on bridging these different aspects.
At the end of this project, in 1994, Professor Kundu and Professor Reiniche felt that it was worth: (i) broadening the geographic perspective in launching a comparative approach among several towns having a different economic and social environment and history; and (ii) testing whether and how far the kind of endogenous development observed in Tiruchengodu and the capacity of this town to integrate in national networks were specific to this town, to Tamil Nadu and South India, or to India (as compared to other Asian countries). This geographic enlargement was accompanied by an institutional enlargement of the academic network which included the initial teams —from the Centre for the Study of Regional Development (JNU, New Delhi), the Centre d’Etudes de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud (Paris), the Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient, Pondicherry, and the French Institute of Pondicherry— and additional teams: the Madras Institute of Development Studies, the Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research, Ahmedabad, and the Department of Planning at the University of Amsterdam.
Professor Yoginder K. Alagh, then Vice-chancellor of JNU, played a key role in motivating the teams to continue the "Tiruchengodu project", to enlarge its geographic and scientific scope and to submit it to the UNESCO under its MOST (Management Of Social Transformations) programme. The Scientific Steering Committee of this programme accepted the project in July 1995, and later provided some seed money to the French Institute and the Jawaharlal Nehru University with an aim to help the teams sharpen their project and raise additional funding, to initiate field studies and to bring the participants together for a three-day workshop.
The project was further submitted to the Indo-French programme of cooperation in social sciences (5), which accepted it. The Indian Planning Commission was also kept informed and provided moral support: it indeed acknowledged and emphasized the crucial importance of such academic projects which may help decision-and policy-makers in their management of social and economic transformations. For example, one of the underlying hypotheses of this project —to be tested— is that industrial decentralization in small and medium towns can constitute a socially and economically viable alternative to the concentration of population and of economic wealth in a few big cities, an issue that is of great importance in India.
As agreed with UNESCO and as a first milestone of this four-year project, the Department of Social Sciences of this Institute organized a three-day workshop that was held in Pondicherry on 2-4 September 1996. This workshop had three goals: (i) to provide an opportunity for scholars to share their experience in the field of urban development, social transformations and industrial organization; (ii) to review the initial project and sharpen its objectives; (iii) to design common methods and to finalize the selection of the towns to be studied, in India and other East and South East Asian countries. At this stage, it was indeed crucial that all the participants, who have different academic backgrounds and come from different countries, have an opportunity to discuss and plan their future activities together. The scope of this project is indeed very vast: in terms of disciplines: from economics and geography to anthropology; in terms of scientific objects: from social and urban transformations to industrial processes; and in term of scales: from local development, at the grassroots, to national policies and global economic networks.
The workshop was attended by well known experts and scientists who have long been working on such or related questions and acted as scientific advisors: Professors Amiya Kumar Bagchi (Centre for Study in Social Sciences, Calcutta), François Durand-Dastès (Université Paris VII), Mark Holmström (University of East Anglia, Norwich), Nasir Tyabji (Nehru Memorial Institute, New Delhi) and P. Venkataramaiah (Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad) shared their experience and helped the participants to review their past and ongoing studies and to sharpen their future plans.
This booklet does not aim at presenting definitive results. Not at all. It should rather be considered as a step in the process of elaborating, strengthening and sharpening this interdisciplinary and collective project. These are thus working papers in the true sense of the term, which are part of an incremental approach and reflect the provisional status of the project: they cover varied topics owing to the diverse backgrounds of the participants and the vast scope of the project; some provide theoretical perspectives, while others rely upon empirical field studies or propose common methods and tools to ensure the comparability of the planned local field studies.
At one point, the question of publishing these papers was discussed. Were they worth editing as such? Was it preferable to ask the authors and coordinators to do additional work on them or to wait for more substantial results from the field studies which had just started? It finally appeared that the publication might be useful for several reasons. Bringing these contributions together would be one further step in focusing the project and would provide a means to continue the discussions that were held in Pondicherry. As this project is still fairly open, publishing these working papers might also help draw other teams or individuals into the project and would provide an opportunity for external scientists to review it. This booklet with its diversity —some would probably call it heterogeneity— is also a testimony of a collective attempt to build an interdisciplinary and international research project on a complex object and its multiple facets.
I sincerely thank the participants and scientific advisers of the project who debated three full days and evenings in Pondicherry. I also thank the two coordinators, Professors A. Kundu and M.-L. Reiniche, as well as Dr. Jackie Assayag, Head of the Department of Social Sciences of this Institute, and his colleagues, who organized and prepared the workshop. Drs. Véronique Bénéï and Loraine Kennedy have played a key role in bringing these papers together and I sincerely hope that their effort will help maintain the momentum and contribute to the success of this Indo-Franco-Dutch inter-disciplinary project on industrial decentralization and urban development.
French Institute, Pondicherry
This Pondy Paper has two main objectives: to present an international and interdisciplinary research project entitled 'Industrial Decentralization and Urban Development', and to report on its preliminary workshop which was held at the French Institute of Pondicherry early in September 1996. By informing of the project while in its beginning phase, we hope to stimulate interest and to provide a platform for constructive exchange among fellow academics, policy-makers and organizations active in the field.
'Industrial Decentralization and Urban Development' currently involves Indian, Dutch and French researchers and institutions. The project's main objective is to undertake a comparative analysis of the socio-cultural and economic processes that have fostered industrial growth in small and medium towns, and of the impact of this 'decentralized industrialization' on urban development. The underlying question is whether decentralized forms of economic and urban growth can provide more balanced development in the long run, both socially and spatially.
This research project evolved out of an interdisciplinary Indo-French study of Tiruchengodu, a medium-size town in South India. The coordinators were Professor Amitabh Kundu, an economist at Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi), and Professor Marie-Louise Reiniche, an anthropologist at the Centre d'Etudes de l'Inde et de l'Asie du Sud (Paris). That study brought to light the fundamental importance of local social dynamics in generating economic development through the growth of small-scale industries and services.
The findings of the Tiruchengodu case, presented at a conference in Pondicherry in 1993, generated strong interest from the participants, who included prominent Indian and Dutch scholars. It was felt that this type of study, aimed at analysing the basis of decentralized, endogenous development should be extended to other towns in India. Professor Y. Alagh (then Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University and now Minister of State for Planning) in particular encouraged the team to pursue its course, pointing out the relevance of this South Indian case for international debates on decentralized industrialization, and related concepts such as industrial districts and flexible specialization.
Spurred on by the enthusiastic response of fellow researchers and on the basis of their suggestions, a new project was drafted with the collaboration of additional Dutch and French scholars. This new project, whose full title is 'Industrial Decentralization and Urban Development in India with Consideration of South-East and East Asian Cases', was accepted by the Scientific Steering Committee of the Programme MOST (Management of Social Transformations) of UNESCO in July 1995. The participating institutions are: Centre for the study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi); Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research, (Ahmedabad); Madras Institute for Development Studies; Department of Planning and Demography, University of Amsterdam; and the French Institute of Pondicherry (regrouping French researchers from Centre d’Etudes de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud, Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient, and ORSTOM).
In its initial phase, this four-year project is focussed primarily on India; it involves five research teams from three countries as listed above. However, the project has been designed in such a way that it might be extended not only to other research teams but to other countries. Indeed efforts are being made to do so, and it is hoped in particular that the comparative research will eventually include case studies from several South-East and East Asian countries.
For further information, you may contact: Department of Social Sciences, French Institute of Pondicherry, P.B. 33, Pondicherry 605 001, India or the members of the Coordinating Board (cf. p. 36) *.
* We wish to express our gratitude to the staff of the Institute and particularly Tiare Purushottaman for taking care of the page set-up and Sattia Vingadassamy and G. Venkatasubramaniam for resketching/drawing the maps and other illustrations.
This research project is the fruit of a collective effort and reflects the contributions of researchers from the three national teams (1).
The general problem we are addressing is industrial decentralization and urban development, two interrelated phenomena. The main question is whether the development of small and medium towns may contribute to a more balanced pattern of local and regional growth. The underlying assumption is that decentralized forms of urbanization can help avoid concentration of the urban population in a few metropolitan cities and also allow greater involvement of local communities in the processes of economic development.
While specific local contexts, namely small and medium towns, constitute the main reference here, global forces such as market liberalization and economic globalization—which tend to blur traditional borders and which are increasingly felt at all levels—also have to be taken into account. Although their combined impact on the processes of industrialization will vary from country to country, it seems likely that they will accentuate tendencies toward spatial concentration. Balanced national and international economic development, along with desirable social transformation, are contingent on social and political factors that are constantly evolving in relation to local contexts. Keeping this in mind, the focus is two-fold: to identify the conditions that favour or inhibit decentralized, but integrated, industrial growth on the one hand, and to evaluate the effects of industrial growth on urban development, and on the living and working conditions of the urban population, on the other hand. From the policy standpoint, the problem of balanced industrial growth and manageable urbanization cannot be dissociated, a fortiori within the context of global economic integration.
The interaction of macro and micro levels constitutes the central element of the problem: the processes of industrialization and urbanization are affected by policies and initiatives that originate from different sources, and from different levels. The increasing liberalization of trade and the globalization of markets and technology have created new opportunities and new constraints. For each case considered, the interaction of the global trends with the multi-layered and unsteady local responses needs to be assessed.
1.1. Industrial decentralization
Certain aspects of our problem are articulated in the current international debate on small firms and local economic development. Industrial decentralization is discussed in relation to the emergence of new economic forms, which appear to be replacing those that prevailed under the former ‘fordist’ model. Some of these competitive new forms are based on fragmented/segmented systems of production involving networks of small firms, and may or may not be defined as "flexible specialization". In addition to being able to adapt to changing market conditions, this decentralized production model would appear to offer a solution to problems of demographic and industrial concentration. More balanced regional development which mobilises local growth potential may be an especially important consideration for large countries like India and China.
Decentralised industrialization takes a variety of forms: it may emerge spontaneously or as part of a planned policy or as a strategy of a large industrial group. The particular structure is very significant as it contributes to defining the relationship between the local and supra-local levels, and bears directly on the sustainability of the activity. In many cases, subcontracting may lead small firms, acting as jobbers or capacity contractors, to dependence rather than interdependence, without any improvement in labour standards. There exists, in reality, a whole range of configurations in which either local entrepreneurship keeps some initiative or is only a link dependent on higher levels.
The establishment of decentralized industrial units and their viability are contingent on a variety of factors, many of which depend on networks linking the local space to more global spaces, which may range from regional to national and international. These include availability of capital, both public and private (including the crucial transfer of agricultural incomes to industry), the organization and categories of labour (including the sexual division of labour and incidence of child labour), and marketing networks. The presence or absence of an entrepreneurial traditon, the ability of local entrepreneurs to adapt to new technology, and the access of local actors to information are other determinant factors.
The effectiveness of government measures designed to encourage decentralized development, when they exist, varies tremendously among and within countries. Implementation through multi-level administrations, and political interference at all levels can lead to a certain dilution or redefinition of public policy. In any given setting, socio-historical conditions and ideological values are equally influential in promoting, or inhibiting, an endogenous development process.
1.2. Processes of urbanization and social transformations
There is a consensus about the negative effects of uncontrolled urbanization, both in terms of urban infrastructure and facilities, and of social stability. While there is an underlying assumption that small and medium towns are relatively free of 'typical' urban problems, case studies of smaller developing towns have shown that some of the tendencies associated with cities are nonetheless present like differentiated access to basic amenities, dysfunctioning of municipal services, exploitation of cheap labour (especially women and children), poor working and living conditions, etc. Whether these phenomena can be associated with specific types of industrial processes—requiring different labour inputs—will have to be explored. In any case, compared to bigger cities, the problems of small towns still appear more manageable.
It is well known that industrial activity has an impact on the overall development of towns (both positive and negative), where it is a major catalyst of change. However, it is necessary to carefully consider the problem of defining social transformation. The question is to determine at what point are we dealing with structural changes which have impact on the evolution, or adaptation, of a society. For example, changes observed in many contexts in lifestyles, patterns of consumption, etc., may be superficial. From another point of view, changes in demographic behaviour (fertility and migration) which are linked to education and higher standards of living constitute more tangible transformations. And certainly shifting occupations from agriculture to non-rural employment or business, from craftsmanship to entrepreneurship, represent important sociologicial developments.
In this context, it is important to point out that some of these changes can also accentuate social divisions and create tensions unfavourable to cooperation. This raises the question of how social transformation may be managed—by what agency? at what level?—in order to ensure a certain equity among different social groups and also the required local adjustments to new global trends.
A central objective of our project is to allow several research networks to bring together their respective dynamics and to formulate a comparative framework for the analysis of the interactions between social and economic caracteristics of industrial decentralization in Asia. This framework, applied primarily to India in the first phase, should prepare the ground for a later extension to other institutions and regional settings.
Such a comparative perspective is a methological advantage and involves the combination of different levels of investigation (local, regional, etc.) with an aim to analyze local-global linkages. In order to provide a new analytical grid applicable to the growth of new industrial towns in Asia, we shall compare and contrast the experiences of several middle-sized towns which have developed around industrial activities other than heavy industry.
2.1. The conditions of urban decentralization
The first side of our problem relates to the decentralization and the integration of industrial growth within the regional, national or international economic structure. It concerns itself with economic and political institutions conditioning this specific type of small-town development. A preliminary requirement is to evaluate the relative advantages of a new economic rationale favouring the decentralization of decision-making by private or public agents, compared to a large or centralized structure which is reflected in "natural" trend toward urban polarisation. The concentration of urban functions in a small number of larger cities still remains the norm of urban development in the developing world at large and the specific benefits derived from "spontaneous" decentralized growth in smaller towns when it occurs need to be highlighted in relation to the mechanisms of market globalisation (urban specialization in a context of increasing national or international competition).
Little is known about the actual functioning of local production systems and it is thus unclear what are the main factors behind the economic successes exemplified by some middle-sized towns. Our project will therefore endeavour to shed light on the specific patterns of organization–such as subcontracting–that facilitate this pattern of economic development, often close to the model of flexible specialization described in the literature (see attached Bibliography). Factors to be examined will include the political and administrative environment, the social structure and its degree of dynamism, the integration of smaller urban units within broadening economic networks, and the comparative advantages of small firms in terms of responsiveness to changing demand and capacity to innovate. At the same time, it will be crucial to examine to what extent these new economic oppurtunities also rely on the crudest forms of exploitation, taking advantage of labour force segmentation (along gender and ethnic lines) in recently urbanized areas.
2.2. The impact on local populations
The second side pertains precisely to the evolution of the social structure in a context of industrial decentralization and urban developement as perceived from small towns. It will concern itself less with institutions than with the various agents of development seen from a sociological or historical angle. In this matter, the experience of urbanization in Western countries may not be of great relevance to the contemporary transformations in the developing nations and hence some of our basic concepts might have to be thought anew.
Schematically, unbalanced growth and consequent population concentration in few cities is deemed to have a large number of damaging effects on the society whereas smaller towns may experience a smoother transition towards new forms of social organization. The project will examine the main issues related to the social transformations at work in fast-growing towns. First of all, it appears necessary to assess the impact of industrial growth on the social developement of towns in relation both to local conditions in the rural hinterland and to those prevailing in large cities. This involves, among other things, a detailed analysis of changes in the mechanisms of solidarity (those based on family, lineage, neighbourhood, etc.) and in mechanisms of association (like cooperative organizations, trade unions, etc.) and in the access to collective ressources (education, health, living conditions, etc.) during the course of urbanization. The analysis of in-migration towards the towns under study will also allow us to evaluate the relative attractiveness of new urban opportunities for inhabitants from the countryside or other towns. By comparing different regional and national settings, we shall be able to outline the various consequences–the types and their relative importance–that economic changes may induce in small cities in terms of social behaviour and expectations.
But beyond the description of individual cases, the project seeks to delineate the traits that are common to different scenarios of rapid urban growth with a view to document typical patterns of social changes in smaller, more manageable urban environments. Though some of the benefits of balanced urban growth appear self-evident, its actual social costs will need to be properly assessed before advancing any sound policy recommendations.
2.3. Local-global interactions of socio-economic transformations
Though the vertical integration of small-scale urban units has often been hailed for its economic efficiency, it has seldom been evaluated in terms of improvements in population well-being and of its multiplier effect on local growth. This is where our project should help fill in a major gap as it aims at providing a comprehensive picture of the social developement of dynamic small towns based on strictly defined comparative criteria.
Through our team's association with the major actors behind this form of urban development, the project should also provide decision-makers with a new perspective to monitor the impact of changes that global economic restructuration is likely to bring about in developing nations. Bringing together in our project issues and actors related to different levels of the development processes might be the best way to resist the inherent trend to conceptual fragmentation, i.e. the tendency to perceive socio-economic problems as segmented phenomena when they are increasingly interdependent.
Taking India as the starting point, one may argue that the period of directed industrial growth through state intervention, aimed at altering the sectorial composition as also spatial distribution of activities, seems to be over. Massive capital investments made in public sector entreprises in an attempt to broaden and diversify India’s industrial base have not generated satisfactory rates of return, due primarily to inefficient functioning. Moreover, it has been increasingly recognised that the policies designed to bring about balanced regional development, notably the dispersal of industries to small and medium towns in underdeveloped areas, have had only limited success. Industries have continued to concentrate in and around a few large cities, accentuating the spatial imbalances.
Although this trend corresponds to an historical pattern of industrialization which can be observed almost everywhere, its consequences have nevertheless to be qualified with respect to other developing countries. Within India itself, despite the general failure of the policies of industrial dispersal, a number o f small and medium towns have managed to link themselves to national and international markets and have shown high economic and demographic growth—a phenomenon which, given the general tendancy, requires careful empirical analysis.
In India, the governement has moved away from its policy of directed industrial development through infrastructural support and capital subsidies. It has been realised that an uniform strategy of pumping in certain selected inputs without taking into account the specificities of the situation has serious limitations in promoting growth in backward regions. Among the centres that received governmental support during the past few decades, only a few actually succeeded. Hence Indian planners are interested in working out a methodology for identifying a few towns having growth potential, in order to promote their development through a selective approach. It recognises the need to identify the socio-cultural processes that help or hinder industrial growth. The new strategy is, therefore, that of ‘Selective Intervention’.
This multi-component research project covering several disciplines in social sciences, aimed at analysing multi-combined issues in a comparative framework, should, first of all, strive to collect and generate an important quantity of data, taking into account a relatively long time period in each case. These data banks will be a precious tool not only for the research teams, who will have common access to them, but also for planners whom we will associate in our efforts. Indeed one of the objectives of this research project is to provide planners tools for developing a medium to long-term horizon on a large number of economic, political and social variables that can enable them to take more informed policy decisions. The results should also enable a certain strategic perspective, in the sense of forecasting the important differences in social outcomes from different policy choices.
As we indicate below, we intend to meet regularly with local planners, entrepreneurs’ associations, trade-unions, consumers, environmental and women’s associations, etc. The provisional results of our findings will be presented periodically to these different organisations, which will generate feedback on the local perception of the problems and of the utility of the project to the region. Such presentation should help us to perceive relevant policy concerns of the different protagonists, from short, medium and long term perspectives.
More information may enable groups and organizations to present more clearly formulated demands to government which can ultimately lead to social transformation by expanding entitlements and capabilities of the local population. Furthermore a forum for communcation and for the exchange of information may allow competing groups to identify a minimum basis for common understanding or consensus necessary to agree on collective decisions.
It is very important to be able to pinpoint the policy instruments that are within the jurisdiction of local and regional governments and those that are not. The ‘fine tuning’ of economic and social policies between levels of government depends on how effectively policy analyses can be communicated to other levels of government and on the flow of information to all those concerned by a particular policy decision. By giving specific ‘demand groups’ the information necessary to pressurize the appropriate level of government, decision-makers may be compelled to assume their responsabilities.
This project has been framed with the suggestions of policy advisers in mind. It aims to help formulate new policies regarding industrial development and facilitate decentralization, through analysis of "actors’ needs", and to provide town planners with tools appropriate for reaching "sensitive groups" which will need to be identified.
One of the possible effects of economic liberalization and globalization is spatial polarization, that is, that the benefits of these processes accrue to a few large cities and towns that are already established centres of growth. In this scenario, a large number of small and medium towns might not have the infrastructure and other endowments necessary to attract physical and financial capital from elsewhere in the country or abroad. Here our project might contribute by providing a basis for formulating a strategy of decentralized development, that is policies of selective intervention for subsidizing specific infrastructural components, which will be designed moreover with greater attention to sensitive groups (women, the poor, etc.) The idea is to promote small and medium towns, identified as having a growth potential, in accordance with their own strengths and with consideration to more global conditions and trends.
This research project can assist in formulating strategies for decentralized development, firstly by the fact that it will identify the diverse socio-cultural, political and economic factors that contribute to industrial growth, secondly by the fact that being based on intensive fieldwork it could reveal non-expressed needs, and thridly by the expertise of the scholars of different disciplines involved and their ability to undertake a comparative approach.
We intend to generate through this research project different types of output, both theoretical and applied. In particular we seek to obtain results which will be relevant for policy-makers and which will contribute to the definition of sound policy measures.
4.1. Building-up a comparative, empirical and theoretical framework
This project will at first connect smaller networks, in combining the knowledge and experience of different researchers and teams in limited fields, in order to strengthen their capacity to achieve a complexified comparative endeavour on the linkages between local and more global levels. These are the basic requirements for allowing, at a further phase, a credible and valid expansion of the programme with other research networks working on other developing countries—Asian and non Asian—on related problems.
Our first task is to construct a comparative framework based on regional (primarily India) as well as theoretical and methodological inputs brought by the involved small research networks. Their members have been engaged in research, separately or through cooperation with other networks, whose objectives were fully or partly related to the objectives of this project.
The analyses from these studies have to be consolidated within the purpose and definition of this project, firstly through additional data collection, as required in each case. This will then allow us to build indicators for further research and to evaluate the correlation between incentives to development and suitable orientations toward a social transformation adequate to contextual cases.
4.2. Bridging the gap between scientists and agents of economic development
A distinctive feature of this project is to reduce the gap between academic constructs and the viewpoints of policy-makers, administrators and other leading personalities whose experience is directly derived from local settings and problems. Some of the institutions involved in this project have already a double profile: they are academic-oriented but operate in close cooperation with government bodies. Furthermore, contacts have been established in order to involve policy-makers in the conceptualization and the realization of the project. In particular it should be noted that the project has been partly framed, for certain issues, with the collaboration of the late Dr. D.N. Basu, Economic adviser Planning Commission (for further details, cf. Part II. 4.).
4.3. Training of MA./PhD. students
This project is an opportunity to involve MA. and PhD. students from different countries. Their training is the main step for the future building of international research networks. While being encouraged to conduct in-depth delimited research within their own disciplinary fields, these students, supervised by senior members of each network, may acquire the capacity to inscribe the interest of their specific research within broader empirical and contemporary issues, as well as within the theoretical and methodological problems of a comparative framework.
4.4. Reports, seminars and publications
Each research participant will have to submit annually a short individual report focussing on the first results, problems involved and further orientations.
An annual report on the progress of the programme and on the advancement of study of each research team and of their co-ordination will then be submitted. The involvement of local leaders, planners and administrators will be underlined.
Each workshop and seminar will be followed by a short report or by published working papers (papers, contributions and discussions), as intermediate outputs in terms of relevant information and strategic perspectives in relation to the progress of the research.
A substantive report will be written within three years on the main objectives of the project —that is, on the inter-related problems of industrial decentralization, urban growth and the question of social transformations— within the larger comparative framework of the impact of global transformations on local and regional contexts.
Technical reports, intermediary and final, focussing on proposals for policy will be diffused at the local and central levels to policy planners and administrators, with whom our team networks will have been involved all along the programme.
International conferences (two at least) will be held for confronting the results of this project and expanding the research networks.
Researchers will be encouraged to publish elaborated papers in international journals on specific aspects of their research.
– Prof. Amiya Kumar Bagchi–Centre for Study in Social Sciences, Calcutta–India
– Prof. Isa Baud–University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Amsterdam–The Netherlands
– Dr. Véronique Bénéï–French Institute of Pondicherry, Pondicherry– India
– Prof. G.A. de Bruijne–Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Amsterdam–The Netherlands
– Dr. Basudeb Chaudhuri–Centre d’Etudes de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud (Ceias)/Université de Caen, Caen–France
– Prof. François Durand-Dastès–Ceias/University Paris VII, Paris–France
– Prof. Gawri Shankar Guha–Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research, Ahmedabad–India
– Dr. Christophe Z.Guilmoto–Ceias/orstom, Paris–France
– Prof. Atiya Habeeb Kidwai–Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi–India
– Dr. Mark Holmström–The School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich–U. K.
– Dr. J. Jeyaranjan–Madras Institute of Development Studies, Madras–India
– Dr. Mohammed A. Kalam–Department of Anthropology, University of Madras-India
– Prof. S.P. Kashyap–Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research, Ahmedabad–India
– Dr. Loraine Kennedy–Ceias, Paris–France/French Institute of Pondicherry-India
– Prof. Amitabh Kundu–Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi–India
– Dr. Pierre Lachaier–Ceias, Paris–France/Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient, Pondicherry–India
– Prof. S. Neelakantan–Madras Institute of Development Studies, Madras–India
– Prof. M.K. Premi–Jawaharlal Nehru University, Centre for the Study of Regional Development, New Delhi–India
– Prof. Marie-Louise Reiniche–Ceias/Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris–France
– Dr. Satish Kumar–Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi–India
– Dr. M. Rutten - Anthropo-sociological Centre, University of Amsterdam-The Netherlands
– Dr. Hans Schenk–Department of Planning and Demography, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam–The Netherlands
- Dr. Loes Schenk-Sandbergen–Anthropo-sociological Centre, University of Amsterdam-The Netherlands
– Mr. Jean-François Sevoz–French Institute of Pondicherry, Pondicherry–India
– Ms Brigitte Silberstein–Centre d'Etudes de l'Inde et de l'Asie du Sud, Paris–France
– Dr. H. Streefkerk–Anthropo-sociological Centre, University of Amsterdam-The Netherlands
– Prof. Padmini Swaminathan–Madras Institute of Development Studies–India
– Prof. Nasir Tyabji–Nehru Memorial Museum & Library, New Delhi–India
– Prof. P. Venkataramaiah–Centre for Economic & Social Studies, Hyderabad–India
From the earliest stages of the research project, it was realized that a preliminary workshop would be necessary in order to organize the research concretely (finalize field sites and fieldwork requirements) and to discuss methodological issues (evaluate criteria for comparing local production systems and their impact on social development, discusss key concepts, specify sociological categories that we aim to analyse, etc.). Hence once the project received the MOST label, efforts were undertaken to organize a workshop. This workshop was held at the French Institute of Pondicherry (India) in September 1996. Besides the partial financing by the FIP and the Centre for Indian and South Asian Studies (France), it was made possible with the help of the seed-money given by UNESCO.
This workshop offered the long-awaited opportunity for scholars to share experiences and perspectives on the linkages between various forms of industrial organization and urban processes. This exchange proved all the more important since the scholars involved work on different geographical as well as disciplinary areas. The diversity of approaches warranted the bringing onto the fore of all of the most crucial issues related to both industrial decentralization and urban growth. The participating scholars also belong to varied institutions (cf. Part I).
Though the existence of dynamic industrial districts in developing countries, and in India in particular, has been noted, participants agreed that knowledge about this decentralized industrialization is still too fragmentary to assess some of the crucial aspects of their functioning. The presentation of individual field studies and comparative analyses brought to light some of the most significant dimensions of the processes of decentralized urbanization, but several aspects will need further investigation.
In this respect, a real effort appears necessary to produce a working typology of industrial clusters that takes into account both their organizational and spatial patterns. It was recognized during the workshop that industrial districts may deeply differ in several aspects, from the long established manufacturing town characterized by mono-production, high labour segmentation, low level of technology, traditional labour relations, etc.; to the emerging industrializing town using traditional as well as modern techniques, well-integrated in national and/or international markets. One might also find industrial districts or industrial clusters, e.g. a spatial concentration of firms specialized in a given sector of activity, either within a single urban agglomeration or spread across different towns, as well as relatively unstructured industrial and semi-urban developments in the peripheries of large cities.
These considerations enabled the identification of some important distinctions, such as whether industrial decentralization is the result of a decentralizing process (from more centralized to less centralized) or rather a spontaneous phenomenon of dispersed industrial development. In addition to this, the growth "on the spot" of non-centralized industries may be seen as the result of a complex combination of factors, such as transport networks, the emergence of an entrepreneurial class, tapping of capital from various sources, public policy measures, as well as the impact of the local, regional, national, and even global economic context. Considering how these factors have lead to "success" in some regions and towns of the country, while little growth took place in other locations, could lead to useful insights on the explanation of industrialization processes. This, in turn, could have policy implications.
Similarly, a distinction might be made from the point of view of spatial relations: some towns seem to function in quite an autonomous fashion vis-à-vis the region, while others have horizontal links to other nearby towns and form an urban group or cluster. These different modes of functioning might also have implications in terms of sustainability of the local industries. Whether these, and particularly those in small settlements are lasting over time, and whether they in turn contribute to social and urban development needs to be studied. Some participants underlined the vulnerability of certain industrial clusters, which correspond broadly to a "flexible specialization" model. Different industrial growth patterns call for exploration; so does their impact on the quality of life in urban areas, including better working conditions, access to basic amenities, etc.
Though industries located in small settlements are quite diversified as far as the technical problems are concerned, they share many of the same needs in training. This training problem is equally important for entrepreneurs (many "technicians" have founded their own firms), for managerial and technical staff, and for skilled and even unskilled labourers.
The availability of training and education facilities may be considered as an important factor for the growth of decentralized industry. The inception of Industry Institute Interaction Cells in Polytechnics and Engineering Colleges since 1993 calls for deeper analysis of the collaboration between educational institutions and industries and enterprises in the current competitive market. The study of the linkages of institutions of human resource development with gender issues on employment is no less crucial in this respect.
At the present time, India is implementing important reforms aimed at political decentralization (73rd and 74th Constitutional amendments), including compulsory elections for local government bodies and the establishment of decentralized planning units (district level). Several participants remarked that our research project provides an excellent opportunity to observe the impact of these reforms, in the different contexts, which will depend among other things on the degree of political mobilization of the local population.
Indian planners have sought to achieve more balanced regional growth through encouraging the spatial decentralization of industry, the underlying value judgement being that balanced growth is desirable for political, social and economic stability. However there has been a gradual decline in state intervention over the years, hastened by the economic reforms started in the early 1990s and by the growing participation of the country in the globalization process.
In India, as elsewhere, the emphasis is now increasingly on using more indirect measures, such as incentive structures (tax-subsidy schemes), pollution controls, housing laws, etc., to control industrial concentration and its resulting urban growth, and this at all levels of government. While all these policies already exist in many States in India, the effectiveness of their implementation varies widely both across and within them. Many of these policies are primarily focused on State capitals and other major cities, and much less on small and intermediate towns or urbanizing fringe areas. Only States with a long history of industrialization or with a recent record of high industrial growth and diversification have actively promoted coordination between government agencies and entrepreneurs' associations in order to assess the real needs of industries. One of the objectives of our study is to evaluate the successes and failures in coordination and implementation so as to sharpen existing policy and suggest new strategic alternatives.
In addition, the question of urban amenities calls for further study from the viewpoint of public vs. private agencies. Because local urban bodies have limited tax powers, they do not raise the necessary finances to provide basic services. These, and particularly in bigger cities, are increasingly provided by private operators. This can have negative consequences especially for those sections of the population who cannot buy basic amenities that affect quality of life (such as housing, drinking water and garbage collection). An effort is needed to adapt government support programmes in order to reach specific target groups. In this respect, it needs to be stressed that the involvement of local actors such as entrepreneurs' associations and labour unions in planning urban development should be an integral part of an industrial development strategy.
Three broad areas of economic theory, which can provide a framework for research within this project, were discussed during the course of the workshop. These are: endogenous growth theories, regional and urban public economics, and micro-economic analyses of politics and collective action.
Endogenous growth theories focus on i) innovation, technology and technology diffusion, ii) market structure and trade patterns, iii) human capital formation and learning processes. Empirically, they have tried to explain convergence or divergence in growth rates between regions and nations. Comparing growth rates across different regions in India at different levels of disaggregation would permit to identify the major regional factors that affect industrial growth rates.
Using micro-economic tools, urbanization accompanying industrial growth can be analyzed in terms of demand and supply factors. As towns grow, so does the population demand for housing, amenities, transport, education, hospitals, etc., many or all of which fall in the public domain. What is particularly important is that the supply response of governments is first of all political, before being administrative or financial. The political decentralization which aims at giving local political actors a better control of local industrial development and urbanization has come about through political mobilization and collective action (often along regional and ethnic lines). Hence a comprehensive study of urbanization will need to look beyond problems of financial allocation and plan implementation (real enough) to issues relating to political processes.
• Research team: Dr. B. Chaudhuri (CEIAS, University of Caen, France) proposes to use recent theoretical work to analyze the economic factors underlying industrial growth, on one hand, and the "endogenous" generation of public policy, on the other hand. He intends to work in collaboration with other research teams.
First results from the urban database were presented to the participants. The use of the base is two-fold. The presentation layer allows research teams to retrieve economic, social or demographic information on specific towns. The analytical layer provides for more elaborate modeling of economic orientation, urban amenities and demographic trends with a view to offer a general assesment of urban-industrial linkages. Participants suggested that the database be linked to other existing information bases (district-wise, mapping system).
The next steps now include the extension of the database to other urban data and further modeling of urban and industrial linkages. The database is open to all participants for query and for analytical purposes.
• Research team : Dr. C.Z. Guilmoto (Ceias/Orstom, France), J.-F. Sevoz (FIP).
3.2. FIELDWORK PROPOSALS
It is because potentialities for industrial and economic growth cannot in most cases be assessed at the level of one town only, that mainly areas consisting of a cluster of towns have been selected for field studies. Some of the selected areas have already been studied to a more or less limited extent by some of the scholars involved in the project: this experience is a non-negligeable asset on which to deepen enquiries so as to better and more rapidly fulfill the specific objectives of this project before expanding the research network.
Moreover, some researchers will conduct fieldwork at more than one site either because of overlapping themes or study of similar factors, or because of the nature of their disciplinary approach (e.g. macro-economic, statistical).
3.3.1. Northwest: Gujarat—Clusters of firms across city-sizes in Saurashtra region
This region is characterized by a clustered pattern of industrialization. Several towns have grown with the development of one kind of industry. The first question is why it is not the case for others, though the agro-climatic zone is the same. Surveys will be conducted in selected cities, some of which have grown and some of which have not. The pattern of Saurashtra is quite different from that of Surat in the same region: in the latter case an industrial district spread from a very large city.
• Research team: Prof. S.P. Kashyap, Director of Sardar Patel Institute in collaboration with Dr. G.S. Guha, Project Director of Agro-climatic Regional Planning Unit (Planning Commission of Government of India).
3.3.2. North: Uttar Pradesh—Traditional craft industries in Moradabad, Ferozabad and Lucknow
These cities are by no means "small", but it may be useful in the framework of this programme to look at the evolution of small scale or even household industries in big towns. Indeed, small and household-based industries exist in all Indian towns, including medium and big ones, although they may have special characteristics, and lead to decentralization toward peripheral areas.
One of the main objectives would be to get some insight on the possible evolution of these activities. The brass industry in Moradabad reaches an international market; the chikan industry in Lucknow could show possibilities of adaptations, by using traditional patterns capable of fetching high prices in enlarged markets. Glass bangles manufactured in Ferozabad have a limited scope, and the market may become even narrower unless new products appear.
• Research team: Prof. Atiya Habeeb (JNU) + assistant and PhD students.
3.3.3. South: Tamilnadu—Tanning and leather industry in towns on the Palar River
Study of the industrial, social and spatial organization of the tanning and leather industry. In North Arcot District, this industry is concentrated in a number of small and medium towns. It is characterized by a large number of small firms, many of which produce semi-finished leather, and a smaller number of large firms, which have the capacity to finish leather. In recent years, local entrepreneurs have set up leather manufacturing units, which were previously concentrated in large cities.
Given the strong export orientation of the leather industry, this study will include tracing vertical links from localized tanneries to export agencies based in India’s large cities. Attention will be given to "real services" provided by government and professional associations.
• Research team: Dr. L. Kennedy (CEIAS/FIP), Dr. B. Chaudhuri (CEIAS/University of Caen, France) + M.A. Students (University of Paris I, France) + PhD students (EPHE, Paris and University of Orléans).
3.3.4. South: Tamilnadu—Textile industry and the marketing in Coimbatore-Salem cotton-belt
This region of Tamilnadu contains not only the important industrial city of Coimbatore, but also a remarkable cluster of textile-producing towns. They seem to have in common the part played by local entrepreneurs, the high growth rate of population and activity, the juxtaposition of centres with a high degree of specialization (Tiruppur produces some 80% of India’s hosiery), in different fields (hosiery in Tiruppur, carpets in Bhavani, cotton coloured yarn in Kumarapalayam, blended yarn in Pallipalayam, etc...).
It is thus particularly interesting to try to understand the complex factors that have given birth to this cluster of towns, and examine how horizontal and vertical relations are or are not established between them. It is also important to look at the sustainability of these activities in the framework of the international deregulation of the global market (though they use powerlooms, some of these industries could benefit by the absence of quota for handloom products).
• Research team: Prof. P. Swaminathan and Dr. J. Jeyaranjan (MIDS), B. Silberstein (CEIAS).
3.3.5. South: Maharashtra—Economic, social and educational dynamics in towns of southern Maharashtra (Kolhapur-Itchalkaranji, Sangli-Miraj)
The overall development in this region is due to a combination of factors. Several industrial activities have had linkage effects: sugar factory complexes in the districts of Sangli and Kolhapur, clusters of mechanical engineering units and of leather units in Kolhapur, large spinning factories and clusters of weaving units in Itchalkaranji. Educational institutions, such as Kolhapur University, Walchand College and Sangli University as well as services such as exist today in the health and cure centre of Miraj, have accompanied, fostered or supported this rapid development. In this respect, a study of the linkages between these different activities will be conducted.
In the educational field, looking at both the distributional pattern of technical education and the educational life and background of small-scale industries workers and employers should also allow us to assess the extent to which social groups make use of existing facilities to enter the competitive market. Is there a redistribution of these facilities or is the educational system just reproducing itself unchanged? In the current context, it becomes important to study how the social actors, and particularly those of the minorities and the so-called backward classes, manage current social and economic transformations.
• Research team: Dr. V. Bénéï (Fip), Dr. P. Lachaier (Ceias/Efeo). Possibilities for comparison with the works of Drs I. Baud (cf. 7), L. Kennedy (cf. 3), and B. Silberstein (cf. 4).
3.3.6. Comparative study between Tiruppur (Tamil Nadu), Kannur (Kerala) and Morvi (Saurashtra)
Through a theoretical as well as field study approach, a comparison will be conducted of these three industrial towns. As far as Tiruppur in Taminadu and Morvi in Saurashtra are industrial towns included in the areas of the above research teams, the study of Kannur located in the State of Kerala, which shows quite specific features when compared to the other Indian States, will not only be complementary to the two other projects but bring out a crucial comparative perspective.
• Research team: Dr. M. Satish Kumar (JNU), Kalyan Das (PhD student).
3.3.7. Delhi and Madras as compared to the case of the Philippines: linkages between vocational training and labour market with reference to gender issues
– The study of the linkages between the progammes offered by vocational training institutions to women and the employment found afterwards may provide part of the answer as to the extent to which the institutions of human resource development have contributed/are still contributing to reducing the segmentation of the labour market. So would the study of the linkages between the support offered by small scale enterprise support organizations and their women clients working in the small and micro-enterprise sector.
Dr. I. Baud (Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Univ. of Amsterdam) offers to conduct such a survey in Delhi and Madras, possibly extending comparison to the Philippines.
– One of the advisers of the project, Dr. M. Holmström (Univ. of East Anglia), who helped clarify the notion of "decentralization" during the workshop, proposes to bring his expertise to other research teams in one of the following study areas:
i) "real services" provided by governments, business associations, and issues related to trust and to formal and informal cooperation (South India);
ii) labour recruitment, management, industrial relations in small and medium entreprises, etc. (South India);
iii) urban fringes.
3.4. SOUTH ASIA AND ASIA
3.4.1. Delhi and Colombo (Sri Lanka) peripheries. Study of "slum-like" industrial areas
Fringe areas of big cities benefit from easy access to markets, community of labour from the central city and from the rural areas, and even migration of workers, for instance from the central city when slum clearance occurs. Very often, in these areas, regulations are not strictly enforced, and taxes are lower.
It is thus understandable that quite a lot of industrialization is taking place in these areas. It is interesting to see how it can or cannot be controlled, and in which conditions the growth of unplanned, even "slum-like" industrial areas can be avoided.
Some comparative studies have already been done on the peripheries of Delhi and Colombo (Indo-Dutch project) and they will be completed and extended to other areas.
• Research team: Dr. H. Schenk (Un. of Amsterdam), Prof. A. Kundu (JNU).
3.4.2. Human resource development, gender and labour market segmentation in Pacific Asia (the Philippines)
- Human resource development, gender and labour market segementation.
This project from the University of Amsterdam brings an immediate comparative dimension given the expertise of the Dutch scholar involved in it and who has worked in Pacific Asia (the Philippines) as well as in India. Moreover, the research on education and vocationnal training which will be conducted at first in South Maharashtra is directly complementary.
• Research team: Dr. I. Baud (Univ. of Amsterdam) and Dr S. Raju (CSRD, JNU), Dr. V. Bénéï (FIP).
3.4.3. Study of industrial development in a special
These case-studies proposed in the project remain on the agenda. However, they cannot start right now mainly due to the difficulty, corroborated during the workshop by all the researchers who have experience in Asian countries other than India, of establishing research links with scholars and institutions of these countries. A part of MOST seed-money for field surveys will serve that purpose.
• Research teams: scholars and students from the University of Amsterdam, of whom Dr. H. Schenk, Dr. L. Schenk-Sandbergen.
Each team will have to strengthen and expand itself in order to cover the main objectives of the project in every case studied. During the next few months, efforts will be made by the team leaders to define more precisely ways and means for strengthening their field research in associating, as the case may be, others scholars and MA or PhD students and assistants. Also, ad hoc means will be worked out so as to make local officers and administrators aware of the objectives of the research going on in their respective areas of jurisdiction and to seek their cooperation.
Networking between teams on specific and comparable lines of research was proposed and agreed upon during the workshop debates. It also appeared that there was tremendous potential for expanding to other research networks interested in the project. It was suggested that a seminar be held during the coming year for that purpose: that seminar would be an opportunity for inviting other prominent Asian and European scholars who are interested in the objectives of this project as well as high-level civil servants in charge of implementing social and economic policies.
It was decided that a research coordinating board will be constituted by five scholars who are leaders of teams from the five following institutions: 1) Sardar Patel Institute of Ahmedabad, 2) Centre for the Study of Regional Development of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 3) Madras Institute of Development Studies, 4) Department of Planning of Amsterdam University, 5) French Institute of Pondicherry.
The scholars representing their team on the coordinationg board may change on a rotation basis on condition that information regarding the rotation is announced in advance to all participants. For the year to come the members of the coordinating board will be: 1) Prof. S.P. Kashyap (Sardar Patel Institute), Prof. A. Kundu (CSRD, JNU), Prof. P. Swaminathan (MIDS), Dr. H. Schenk (Univ. of Amsterdam), Dr L. Kennedy (CEIAS/FIP) (in coordination with the Head of the Department of Social Sciences, FIP).
It was decided that the members of the coordinating board would communicate regularly between themselves through Email, to exchange information, finalize reports, etc. The advisers will be kept informed about the project by the coordinating board and will be consulted periodically as need be. The current advisers are: Prof. Bagchi, Prof. Durand-Dastès, Dr. Holmström, Prof. Reiniche, Prof. Tyabji, Prof. Venkataramaiah.
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