New Delhi. When the ‘Make in India’ initiative was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2014 to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub, Defence Manufacturing was identified as one of the 25 key sectors. The announcement of setting up of two corridors – one in Tamil Nadu and the other in UP- exclusively for defence manufacturing in the current year’s budget, is a logical continuum to this policy of the Government.
In the intervening period of almost four years, several steps have been taken to promote indigenisation in the defence sector. The inclusion of the Indigenous Design, Development and Manufacture (IDDM) category and giving it the top priority in capital acquisition, introduction of the Make Procedure, simplification of the licensing process and modification of the offset policy, are some of these steps.
Introduction of a more industry friendly Defence Production Policy, further revisions to the offset policy, simplification of export and import processes are also in progress and are likely to be implemented soon. While these steps are all in the right direction, there is a need for focussed action at a localised level and develop specialised zones dedicated to various facets of defence production.
For the corridor in UP, six nodal points have been identified, viz. Agra, Aligarh, Lucknow, Kanpur, Chitrakoot and Jhansi. Stakeholder interactions have already been held in Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra and Jhansi. All the interactions have seen huge response from the industries in and around the locations. The interactive meets were organised by the Indian Industries Association (IIA), which is the largest organisation of Small and Medium Industries in UP.
The next day-long interactive session is scheduled in Aligarh on August 11. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Ministers of UP and senior officials of the Central and State Government would be present for the interactions.
Senior representatives from the DPSUs, Ordnance Factories and DRDO will also be present. There will be an exhibition of products by the Armed Forces/DPSUs/DRDO which are planned to be indigenised over the next five years.
Interactive sessions with Ambassadors of several countries and captains of the Indian defence industries and the Industry Associations have also been planned.