Multinational Corporations (MNCs) or Transnational Corporation (TNC), or Multinational Enterprise (MNE) is a business unit which operates simultaneously in different countries of the world. In some cases the manufacturing unit may be in one country, while the marketing and investment may be in other country.
In other cases all the business operations are carried out in different countries, with the strategic head quarters in any part the world. The MNCs are huge business organizations which extend their business operations beyond the country of origin through a network of industries and marketing operations.
Multinational Corporations in India
MNCs have been operating in India even prior to Independence, like Singer, Parry, Philips, Unit- Lever, Proctor and Gamble. They either operated in the form of subsidiaries or entered into collaboration with Indian companies involving sale of technology as well as use of foreign brand names for the final products. The entry of MNCs in India was controlled by existing industrial policy statements, MRTP Act, and FERA. In the pre-reform period the operations of MNCs in India were restricted.
New Industrial Policy 1991 and Multinational Corporations
The New Industrial Policy 1991, removed the restrictions of entry to MNCs through various concessions. The amendment of FERA in 1993 provided further concession to MNCs in India.
At present MNCs in India can
(i) Increase foreign equity up to 51 percent by remittances in foreign exchange in specified high priority areas. Subsequently MNCs are free to own a majority share in equity in most products.
(ii) Borrow money or accept deposit without the permission of Reserve Bank of India.
(iii) Transfer shares from one non-resident to another non-resident.
(iv) Disinvest equity at market rates on stock exchanges.
(v) Go for 100 percent foreign equity through the automatic route in Specified sectors.
(vi) Deal in immovable properties in India.
(vii) Carry on in India any activity of trading, commercial or industrial except a very small negative list.
Thus, MNCs have been placed at par with Indian Companies and would not be subjected to any special restrictions under FERA.
Criticisms against MNCs in India
The operations of MNCs in India have been opposed on the following grounds:
(i) They are interested more on mergers and acquisitions and not on fresh projects.
(ii) They have raised very large part of their financial resources from within the country.
(iii) They supply second hand plant and machinery declared obsolete in their country.
(iv) They are mainly profit oriented and have short term focus on quick profits. National interests and problems are generally ignored.
(v) They use expatriate management and personnel rather than competitive Indian Management.
(vi) Though they collect most of the capital from within the country, they have repatriated huge profits to their mother country.
(vii) They make no effort to adopt an appropriate technology suitable to the needs. Moreover, transfer of technology proves very costly.
(viii) Once an MNC gains foothold in a venture, it tries to increase its holding in order to become a majority shareholder.
(ix) Further, once financial liberalizations are in place and free movement is allowed, MNCs can estabilize the economy.
(x) They prefer to participate in the production of mass consumption and non-essential items.