Indian Information Technology Services Sector and the Domestic User Industry – An Uneasy Partnership? (2009)

India has grown to be a powerhouse in providing Information Technology (IT) Services to myriad clients all over the world. This sector has shown that it has what it takes to move beyond pure cost arbitrage and up the value chain. Despite the successes of this sector and its prowess in providing world-class solutions, there is empirical evidence which suggests that the domestic user industry remains woefully underserved for its IT requirements. This study theorises that this is due to the tax-break based incentives provided to the Information Technology Service providers, which have resulted in an environment where servicing the domestic IT users, especially the Micro and Small Scale Enterprises, becomes non-remunerative.

Therefore, domestic industry’s use of Information Technology happens without any government aid or incentive. On the contrary, current government policies result in a number of missed opportunities, rendering Indian businesses uncompetitive.

In this paper, we analyse the impact of export oriented tax incentives on the domestic sector and attempt to identify a few policy mechanisms that could obviate their negative effect. The presentation is available here.

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Moral Rights: A Comparative Analysis (2007)

The world of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)  law is at a crossroads. The pervasive use of digital technologies is making us question the basic premises underlying Intellectual Property Rights and how it should be managed so as to ensure that “Free Culture” remains free, the public domain continues to be enriched, while ensuring creativity gets due returns. In this work, we will look at the other, often overlooked aspect of copyrightlaw — “Moral Rights” and how they may work in the context of the digital age. The concept of Moral Rights or Droit Moral, the foundation of which lies in the concept of “author’s right”— upon which the copyright of continental Europe is built, are a set of rights which persist with the author even after he has transferred his economic rights to another.

Prima facie, this would seem to hinder the exploitation of said work and also be at conflict with one of the avowed reasons for copyright’s stated purposes — enrichment of the Public Domain. We will try to understand whether this is really the case by looking at
  • the underpinnings of Intellectual Property and Copyright Law;
  • a detailed analysis of what Moral Rights are;
  • how Moral Rights work around the world;,
  • Moral Rights in India;
  • finish off with some open questions, especially with regards to the potential impact of Moral Rights on software development.

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Free/Open Source Software — The Indian Context (IEEE Bangalore Symposium, 2010)

Free/Libre and Open Source Software (F/LOSS) has become a key component of today’s Information and Communication Technology stack. Unfortunately, despite its well-documented tangible and intangible benefits, India continues to be a laggard in the adoption and contribution to F/LOSS. In this paper we give a brief overview of F/LOSS and its relevance to India. We try to understand why F/LOSS adoption in the country is low and propose a“Foundation and Four Pillars” strategy to circumvent these challenges.

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Understanding Attitudes of Indian Engineering Students/Graduates (Spring 2013)

An Exploratory Study to Understand Attitudes of Indian Engineering Students/Graduates

This study proposes a design for researching how Indian engineering college students’ / graduates’ attitudes towards innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship are shaped by the specific governance structures in place at the college. India graduates a large number of Scientific and Technical manpower and the number of institutes teaching engineering courses has grown tremendously over the last decade or so. Despite this, there seems to be a lack of innovative activity as measured by the traditional innovation indicators like patents and publications. Another cause of concern is the high rate of “unemployability” amongst the recent graduates, pointing to a lack of quality amongst the graduates.

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Evaluating TEQIP (Spring 2013)

Evaluating the World Bank – India Technical/Engineering Quality Improvement Project (TEQIP)

This paper is an attempt to evaluate the ongoing, multi-year, multi-phase Technical/Engineering Quality Improvement Project (TEQIP) being sponsored by the World Bank (IBRD/IDA) to improve the state of Technical education in India. The overall project objective is to “strengthen selected institutions to produce more employable and higher quality engineers and prepare more post-graduate students to reduce faculty shortage”. The project is planned to run for fifteen years and is currently in the second phase (TEQIP-II) closing at the end of 2014. The first phase was successfully executed during 2002–09.

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Regional to National (Spring 2013)

Regional to National?

This paper analyzes the policy decisions taken at the turn of the century to upgrade India’s Regional Engineering Colleges which turned them from being joint enterprises of the central and state governments to being fully centrally funded National Institutes of Technology.

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Measuring India’s Technical Manpower – Proposal (Fall 2012)

Measuring India’s Technical Manpower – A Proposal

This is a proposal to generate a database that will informed allow decision making on the scientific and technical manpower in India. One of the aims of this project would be to create dis-aggregated statistics  that can be used to answer questions that go beyond the raw numbers.

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Role of Public Policy in Promoting Student Body Diversity (Fall 2012/Spring 2013)

Role of Public Policy in Promoting Diversity

Changes in Student Body Regional Diversity Post the 2008 Changes in Admission Policy of the National Institutes of Technology, India

The changing nature of work in the 21st Century calls for an innovative, creative and highly educated workforce. Workplace diversity and increased education levels have been shown to be some of the drivers of innovation and creativity. Studies have also shown the positive link between diversity and student achievement. A diverse student body is also positively linked to democratic functioning and institutional development, which are key to economic and all-round human development. Thus it is imperative that institutions of higher learning attract and nurture a diverse student body. This is especially true for large developing countries like India, which are essentially an amalgamation of different regional cultures with rich histories. College admission policies play a key role in shaping student body diversity. The presence of affirmative action and quotas play a “carrot and stick” role in building a diverse student body. While they ensure that students are able to move to institutions which may have been closed to them earlier, they also compel students to move away from colleges that are geographically and culturally close to them and thus seek admission to colleges that may be culturally alien. This exploratory research deals with the impact changes in college admission policy have on student body diversity. Using admission data from a leading Indian engineering school, we find that the changes in admission policy which occurred in 2007 and 2012 had a significant effect on the student regional demographic. Prior to 2007, with a strict regional quota in place, the college had students from across the nation and the regional demographic of the student body mirrored the national populace. With the 2007 and 2012 shift to a largely merit based admission policy, students gravitated to colleges near them, resulting in regional homogenization. Future research in this area would extend it to multiple colleges and also bring in various qualitative elements to analyze the impact of the changed student demographic on various matters like instructional quality, administrative challenges amongst others.

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Jobs and Growth in India (Fall 2012)

Jobs and Growth in India (Fall 2012)

This paper looks at the relationship between jobs and growth, with a focus on India.  The 2012–13 Economic Survey points out that most jobs being created are “low- productivity non-contractual jobs in the unorganized sector”. India is a young country with almost 20% in the 15–24 year age group (youth) . This means that the nation faces a larger challenge to ensure that this young population is able to be better absorbed into the workforce. One of the challenges facing the world at large is the issue of youth unemployment and idleness, which we explore further in §1.1. This is followed by a brief statistical overview of India in §2. Section 3 looks at the larger employment scenario in India. We look at the youth specific employment issues in §3.2. Summing up, we articulate a couple of the key constraints in job creation and propose possible policy frameworks that could help alleviate them §4.

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