Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaking at an event in New Delhi. (MONEY SHARMA/AFP/Getty Images) 
Defence

Come Up With Indigenous Solutions For Modernisation Of Defence Forces: Sitharaman To Industry

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is batting for indigenous solutions for the defence forces.

She assured the industry that on issues pertaining to other ministries, she was happy to take up their cases with the concerned ministers.

In a big encouragement for the Indian defence industry, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday (18 November) asked the industry to come out with indigenous solutions for the defence forces and assured that teams from the three services (Army, Navy and Air Force) along with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Ordnance Factories would visit across regions to interact with the industry on their requirements for both the short and the long term.

Sitharaman was in Chennai on Saturday and met with a host of defence companies including L&T, Reddy Group, MRF, TVS, LMW, EEYES, besides several micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) at an event organised by the Confederation of India Industry (CII) in Chennai.

She assured that the Defence Ministry was open to ideas and indigenous solutions for modernisation of the defence forces.

Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) shall facilitate the meeting of industries with the services, DRDO and the Defence Public Sector Undertakings. The Principal Adviser of CII has been asked to prepare a report on research and development projects of the academia (Indian Institutes of Technology and academic institutions like Amrita University and others) that could be potentially commercialised by the defence industry.

India has been looking at expanding its defence manufacturing base under the Make in India programme, and small and medium scale industry has been identified as a special component under it.

The Defence Minister said that MSMEs can play a big role in providing solutions, and asked SIDM to look at opportunities for MSME besides simplification of processes for the MSME to be able to contribute meaningfully.

While stressing on the need for indigenisation of military hardware, Sitharaman assured the industry that on issues pertaining to other ministries, she was happy to take up their cases with the concerned ministers and, if required, even go along with the delegation to address these issues.

Further, in order to push defence manufacturing under the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the government, the Sitharaman spoke about the government initiative over according faster approvals on issuance of industrial licenses that are needed to start production.

These licences would be considered as “deemed approved” if security clearance from the Home Ministry is not received in a “reasonable” amount of time. Simply put, if a licence remains pending for two months, or any decided period after its due date for approval has passed, it will be considered as “deemed approved” in certain cases.

In addition, another measure being undertaken by the ministry to push defence manufacturing is over creation of a master list of defence technologies developed by the DRDO and that can be commercialised by giving it to the government or private sector companies for manufacturing and exports.