Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said the government is committed to working towards achieving a $26 billion defence industry by 2025. Addressing the second annual session of Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers in Delhi, he said the defence sector has been identified as one of the most prominent sectors under “Make in India” initiative to realise $5 trillion economy by 2024.
Underlining the need to reduce dependency on arms imports, he said several steps have been taken under the “Make in India” initiative to make the country a major defence manufacturing hub and net defence exporter. The government would not hesitate to initiate more measures if required, he added.
He said that the defence production policy reflects the resolve of the government to achieve $26 billion defence industry with an anticipated investment of $10 Billion in aerospace and defence goods and services by 2025. This will also provide employment to about 2-3 million people. He said, the government has introduced many far-reaching reforms in the past five-and-a-half years to create an ecosystem where private and public sectors contribute together as per their respective strength and experience. The reforms have touched almost all aspects of defence production and procurement, he added.
Singh said that simplification of procedures for defence exports has resulted in the export of Rs 10,745 crore in 2018-19, which is nearly seven times the export achieved in 2016-17 and a target of $5 Billion for exports has been set till 2024.
Describing India as a big defence industrial base, he said there are nine Defence Public Sector Units, 41 ordinance factories, 50 dedicated R&D labs and many other establishments are included in it. There is about 70 license holding private companies. They have a dedicated workforce of 1.7 lakhs people.
Singh said the government has simplified industry licensing process, increased the FDI cap and taken necessary steps to promote defence exports. He said, defence offset policy has been streamlined and government-owned trial and testing facility has been provided to the private sector. Two defence industrial corridors have been launched in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
Elaborating the government’s initiatives to promote start-ups and MSMEs, the Minister said that at present over 8,000 MSMEs are engaged in defence production and efforts are on to double this figure to 16,000.
Under the “Make” procedure, till date, 40 industry development proposals have been given in-principle approval. Eight such projects would have an estimated value of Rs 2,000 Crore in the next five years. As against 215 defence licenses issued till 2014, the number of defence licenses issued went up to 440 by March 2019, he added.