New Delhi: With India having one of the largest armed forces in the world, the defence industry is an area of strategic importance. Though the dependency of arms imports has considerably decreased over the years, there is still much to be done to achieve the national goal of self-reliance, says a report.
The report prepared by KPMG on the basis of a survey titled ‘Defence Standards and Testing Infrastructure – Critical Enablers in India’s Indigenisation Journey’ carried out in December 2021, notes that a major step taken in this direction was to turn focus towards building a robust domestic defence industry that could cater to the needs of the armed forces. This online survey was conducted among 200+ manufacturing industries in defence sector and aims to provide a macro-level view of the defence testing infrastructure and efforts for development of standards. It highlights the on-ground challenges and needs as felt by the industry players so as to provide key insight with regard to the specific areas to be addressed to strengthen the defence testing ecosystem in India.
The report says that Make in India initiative aims to facilitate investments, nurture innovative environment, promote skill development and create world class industrial infrastructure in the country. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Government of India leads the programme that is aimed at 25 sectors. This initiative plays a pivotal role in economic growth of the country as it aims not only to employ the existing skill base but also create additional employment opportunities. Amongst the 25 sectors, defence has received particular attention, with several steps taken to catalyse the development of indigenous capabilities.
The 51 page report spread over eight chapters says there is need for creating a uniform set of standards and specifications since India currently follows varied set of standards and specifications which need to be streamlined, re-organised and made easily accessible. The target would be developing and organising a comprehensive list of standards and specifications covering all types of material and equipment in the A&D sector. This can be achieved by adopting global military standards where feasible, developing and updating India specific standards where necessary, adapting or adopting commercial standards where possible and weeding out any duplicitous or obsolete standards. This will allow a greater participation of the domestic manufacturers and aid in achieving interoperability.
KEY SURVEY FINDINGS:
- 67% of the respondents said that they are not familiar with Defence/Military specific standards
- 85% respondents don’t have an awareness of repository/website listing all standard related to aerospace and defence manufacturing sector
- 74% respondents are unaware of necessary testing infrastructure requirements
- 91% respondents don’t have awareness and access to information shared by the government/ Defence agencies/ Public information sources regarding standards
The objective of this survey was to understand the level of familiarity amongst manufacturers with regards to the standards, testing requirements, infrastructure etc. that are applicable for design, manufacturing, testing and performance evaluation of the product.
Speaking about the survey, Gaurav Mehndiratta, Partner and Head – Aerospace and Defence, KPMG in India said, “There is a clear indication from our survey towards the need for setting up of a dedicated testing scheme which will enable the defence manufacturing industry get familiar with the testing and qualification eco-system. The government has taken note of the same and has announced the Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS) which envisages the creation of state-of-the-art testing infrastructure in partnership with the private industry thereby boosting domestic defence and aerospace manufacturing.”
The survey was also used to identify any issues being faced and obtain relevant inputs and suggestions in this regard. It assessed some basic parameters with regards to familiarity with defence standards, awareness and access to databases and catalogues of relevant standards, awareness with regard to testing requirements, access to information on existing test facilities, availability of in-house test facilities etc.
It said that India has already taken a step ahead in this direction by creating the Directorate of Standardisation and also charting a roadmap for evolving and establishing standards. However the report felt that a firm execution of the plan needs to be carried out in a time bound manner to synchronise with the ongoing efforts to boost defence testing systems and capabilities.
Abhishek Verma, Partner – Aerospace and Defence, KPMG in India said, “Several initiatives have been taken by the government towards building a robust defence manufacturing eco-system. Government also has plans to equip and streamline the defence testing ecosystem considering the stringent quality requirements. Our study aims to provide a macro level view of the defence testing infrastructure and efforts for development of standards.”
The report noted that there is need for creation of an online central database as unlike the US ASSIST website, India does not have a comprehensive database of standards and specifications available at one place. Creation of an online portal containing an exhaustive list of standards and specifications in use within the country will aid the industry in generating an all-inclusive cross referenceable list of standards and specifications which can be utilised by all stakeholders.
- Creating a uniform set of standards and specifications – India currently follows varied sets of standards and specifications which need to be streamlined, re-organised and made easily accessible. The target would be developing and organising a comprehensive list of standards and specifications covering all types of material and equipment in the A&D sector. This can be achieved by adopting global military standards where feasible, developing/ updating India specific standards where necessary, adapting/ adopting commercial standards where possible and weeding out any duplicitous/ obsolete standards.
- Creation of an online central database – Creation of an online portal containing an exhaustive list of standards and specifications in use within the country will aid the industry in generating an all-inclusive cross referenceable list of standards and specifications which can be utilised by all stakeholders.
- Augmentation of existing infrastructure – It has been brought out that the country has a vast number of government-owned defence testing capability already existing in varied domains. It would therefore be prudent for the upcoming Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS) to complement the existing facilities.
It has been brought out that the country has a vast number of government owned defence testing capability already existing in varied domains. It would therefore be prudent for the upcoming DTIS to complement the existing facilities. The report suggests that a detailed analysis covering the exact nature of facilities already available and mapping of all applicable defence standards and requirements thereof with the facilities to identify specific gaps be done.
It said the new facilities being established must be done so with aim of providing the specific facility required at the specific location(s) based on detailed analysis of the geographical spread of existing facilities and the exact nature of test systems and capabilities already available, mapped to relevant standards. Inputs from industry stakeholders and MSMEs may also be obtained in this regard. The Ministry of Defence and concerned agencies carry out a detailed assessment of the market demand and growth scope for the facilities prior to tendering actions for establishing these facilities.
The report said there is need to incorporate measures to incentivize private participation and also to bring in foreign expertise and technology while establishing new facilities. There is need to develop a database with regards to facilities and synchronise it with the database of standards applicable to develop a comprehensive single window database and portal that is easily accessible to any stakeholder. Subscription based services may also be considered in this regard.