Aero India: Def Min makes push for ‘Make in India’

Aero India: Def Min makes push for ‘Make in India’

H D Kumaraswamy, Chief Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, Defence Minister, Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister for Civil Aviation are seen at the inaugural of Aero India organised by Defence Ministry at Yalahanka Aero Space in Bengaluru on Wednesday. Photo by S K Dinesh

Making a strong pitch for ‘Make in India,’ Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday invited global aerospace firms to leverage the 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) now permitted in defence manufacturing. To expand globally, she said, India was a land of a billion opportunities.

The invitation was directed at the global aviation biggies that had lined up for the Aero India 2019, which kicked off at the Yelahanka Air Station here. The original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), she said, could find Indian joint venture partners to scale up production. 

The Indian armed forces would offer a captive market for such joint productions in aerospace and defence while paving the way for an ecosystem for export to the global market. 

Sitharaman said in the last four years and the current financial year, 150 contracts worth about Rs 1.27 lakh crore have been inked with Indian vendors for procurement of defence equipment for the armed forces. 

During this period, the Government accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) to 164 proposals, worth Rs. 2.8 lakh crore under ‘Buy (Indian-IDDM)’, ‘Buy (Indian)’, ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ or ‘Make’ categories of capital procurement as per Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), she informed.

To enhance the ‘Ease of Doing Business’, Defence Investor cell was set up in January 2018. Over 350 industries have been facilitated till date. As many as 275 Ordnance Factory items have been de-notified and are now available for production by the industry. 

Sitharaman said the effort to promote industry participation in indigenous development of defence items has yielded extremely encouraging response. “In less than a year, 34 projects relating to Army, Navy & Air Force, have been accorded ‘Approval in Principle’.” 

Under the revised FDI Policy, she said foreign investment up to 49% is allowed through automatic route and above 49% under Government route. “During 2014-18, six companies in defence and aerospace sectors obtained government approval for FDI of Rs 237 Crore while FDI of over Rs 200 crore has been received through the automatic route.” 

On India’s defence exports, the Minister talked about exports of Dornier Aircraft Do-228 to Mauritius; ALH Dhruv to Nepal, Maldives and Mauritius; Cheetal helicopter to Afghanistan; Radar Warning Receiver to Russia; and Thermal Image Fire Control System to Israel. 

She said the Defence Public Sector Undertakings have been encouraged to increase their export portfolio to 25% of their turnover by 2022-23. Simplified granting of ‘No Objection Certificate’ resulted in the issue of export permissions for Rs 7,138 crore in 2018-19.

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