Lucknow/ New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on February 5 said the Government was committed to work towards achieving a US$26 billion defence industry by 2025.
Addressing the second annual session of Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers, he said the defence sector has been identified as one of the most prominent sectors under Make in India Initiative to realise US$5 trillion economy by 2024.
Underlining the need to reduce dependency on arms imports, the Defence Minister 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 US$26 billion defence industry with an anticipated investment of US$10 billion in aerospace and defence goods and services by 2025. This will also provide employment to about two to three 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.
The Defence Minister said simplification of procedures for defence exports has resulted in export of Rs 10,745 crore in 2018-19, which is nearly seven times the export achieved in 2016-17 and a target of US$5 billion for exports has been set till 2024.
Describing India as a big defence industrial base, the Defence Minister 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 are about 70 license holding private companies. They have a dedicated workforce of 1.7 lakh people.
Elaborating the Government’s initiatives to promote start-ups and MSMEs, the Minister said at present over 8,000 MSMEs are engaged in defence production. 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 2000 crore in 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.
Referring to the strong IT industry of the country, Singh said that a roadmap has been prepared to promote Artificial Intelligence in national security to make India a significant power in defence AI. It has been planned to develop 25 Defence Specific AI products by 2024.
The Defence Minister said a new policy on the use of DRDO patents by the industry is under consideration to promote and motivate Defence industry for innovation. He said till now over 900 ToT licensing agreements have been signed with the industry which is a major step towards making Defence manufacture sector self-reliant.
Singh assured the defence manufactures of all possible support from the government. He said the government is open to new ideas and is committed to fully harness the energies, entrepreneurship spirit and enterprise of private sector in the defence sector.