New Delhi : The Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a post budget webinar titled ‘Aatmnirbharta in Defence – Call to Action’ on the announcements made in the budget. The Webinar is organized by the Ministry of Defence. This is the fourth webinar in the series of the post-budget webinars addressed by the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister said that the theme of the webinar ‘Aatmnirbharta in Defence – Call to Action’ indicates the mood of the nation. The recent years’ effort to strengthen Aatmnirbharta in the defence sector is clearly visible in this years Budget. He recalled that India’s defence manufacturing was quite strong even during the period of slavery and in the immediate aftermath of independence. Indian made weapons played a major role during the Second World War. “Though, in the later years, this prowess of ours went into decline, still it shows that there has been no dearth of capabilities, neither then nor now”, he said.
The Prime Minister stressed the importance of customization and uniqueness of the defence systems for having a surprise element over the adversaries. “Uniqueness and surprise elements can only happen when the equipment is developed in your own country”, he said. This year’s budget, the Prime Minister mentioned, has a blueprint for developing a vibrant ecosystem from research, design and development to manufacturing within the country. About 70 percent of the defence budget has been kept for domestic industry only, he added.
The defence Ministry has, so far, released Positive Indigenization Lists of more than 200 defence Platforms and Equipments. After this announcement, the Prime Minister informed, contract worth rupees 54 thousand crore have been signed for domestic procurement. Apart from this, the Prime Minister continued, procurement process of more than 4.5 lakh crore rupees worth of equipment is at various stages. Third list is expected soon, he said.
The Prime Minister lamented the long-drawn process of weapon procurement which often results in a scenario where weapons can get outdated by the time they are commissioned. “Solution for this is in ‘Aatmnirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India’”, he emphasized. The Prime Minister lauded the armed forces for taking decisions while keeping the importance of Aatmnirbharta in mind. The Prime Minister stressed the need to keep the pride and feelings of the Jawans in the matters of weapons and equipment. This is possible only when we are Aatmnirbhar in these areas, he said.
The Prime Minister noted that cyber security is no longer confined to the digital world but has become a subject of national security. “The more we deploy our formidable IT power in the defence sector, the more confident we will be regarding our security”, he said.
Noting the competition among the defence manufacturers for contracts, the Prime Minister said it often led to money-focus and corruption. A lot of confusion was created with regard to quality and desirability of weapons. Aatmnirbhar Bharat Abhiyan tackles this problem also, he said.
The Prime minister lauded the ordnance factories for being a shining example of progress with determination. The Prime Minister expressed happiness that 7 new defence undertaking that were incorporated last years are rapidly expanding their business and reaching new markets. “We have increased defence exports 6 times in the last 5-6 years. Today we are providing Made in India Défense Equipments and Services to more than 75 countries”, the Prime Minister added.
As a result of the government’s encouragement to Make in India, the Prime Minister emphasized, more than 350 new industrial licenses have been issued for defence manufacturing in the last 7 years. Whereas in the fourteen years from 2001 to 2014, only 200 licenses were issued. The Prime Minister also said that the private sector should also come on par with DRDO and defence PSUs, hence 25% of defence R&D budget has been kept for Industry, Start-ups and Academia. Special Purpose Vehicle model has also been arranged in the budget. “This will establish the role of the private industry as a partner beyond just a vendor or supplier”, he said.
Transparent, time-bound, pragmatic and fair systems of trial, testing and certification are essential to the growth of a vibrant defence industry, Shri Modi noted. For this, an independent system can prove useful in solving problems, he added.
The Prime Minister exhorted the stakeholders to come forward with new ideas for timely implementation of the budget provisions. He asked them to take full advantage of the advancement of the budget date by one month in recent years and hit the ground running when date of budget implementation arrives.