Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Gaining Technical Know-How in an Unequal World: Penicillin Manufacture in Nehru's India

Tyabji, Nasir (2004): Gaining Technical Know-How in an Unequal World: Penicillin Manufacture in Nehru's India. Published in: Technology and Culture , Vol. 45, No. 2 (April 2004): pp. 331-349.

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Abstract

The paper examines the rationale behind the Government of India's decision to initiate the manufacture of penicillin through collaboration with specialized agencies of the United Nations. Initially the expectation had been that collaboration was essential with one of the prominent transnational companies which had proprietory knowledge in penicillin manufacture. This preference for aligning with a proven manufacturer rather than taking the more entrepreneurial route of depending on the United Nations was favoured by the Committee established to oversee the penicillin project which was chaired by a prominent industrialist. Prime Minister Nehru's intervention tilted the balance in favour of the United Nation's agencies. Nehru's choice in the matter was based on the advantages to India which would accrue from association with the United Nations, in addition to his reluctance to allow India to enter into a subordinate position through collaboration with a foreign manufacturer in as sensitive an area as pharmaceuticals.

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