Defence production, procurement policy on anvil
Move to become self reliant, finance defence PSUs
BY Iftikhar Gilani
Defence Minister AK Antony
India is poised to witness major policy changes in the defence sector. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) set to announce first ever defence production policy, incorporating major changes in the procurement policy.
"2011 January onwards we hope to introduce the new Defence Production Policy as well as the Defence Procurement Policy. So now we are going to take some more drastic steps to achieve our goal of speedy indigenisation," Defence Minister A K Antony announced here on Wednesday.
He envisaged a strong defence industrial base for India, saying the country cannot indefinitely depend on foreign suppliers At the moment, India imports 65-70 per cent of defence equipment. He said, “Since the public sector undertakings (PSUs), would not be able to meet the requirements, the government is formulating a new policy.”
He asked public sector shipyard to compete with their private sector counterparts to realise the dream of 'Buy Indian, Make Indian.' He said it would be the major component of new procurement policy. “That will help us to have a strong defence industrial base in India," he added.
Arguing that there was a plenty of space and opportunity for the public and the private sector to coexist and thrive, he assured the PSUs and ordinance factories (OFs) full financial support to prepare for competition.
“There is no option, but to remain competitive and efficient globally and not rest on past laurels, or achievements,” Antony added.
The minister also stressed on the need for research and development (R&D) and constant coordination between the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and industry partners.
"A growing nation like India, a nation aspiring for the membership of the Security Council, a place on the high table of the nations still depending heavily on foreign countries for supply of defence equipment is not good for us," he added.
His junior colleague MM Pallam Raju flagged the concern of timely delivery and uneven delays in the projects. "Timely delivery of products is an area of concern which we are not able to meet for various reasons", he said.
"We should strive hard in ensuring adherence to delivery schedules so that our defence PSUs and OFs will also emerge as reliable global players in the field of defence production", he added.
During the financial year 2009-10, the 40 ordnance factories produced wide range of weapons and defence hardware amounting to Rs 8,751 crores, while the total value of production by the nine defence PSUs was Rs 28,703 crores.