BHUBANESWAR: Union Secretary, Defence Production Ashok Kumar Gupta called on investors to focus on defence manufacturing sector which has a vast opportunity with the fast changing scenario across the world.
Speaking at the Make In Odisha Conclave on 'Opportunities and challenges in defence manufacturing: Odisha perspective', he said the State, which boasts of a world class test range at Chandipur, raw materials and land banks, could be the most favoured destination for investors, including foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
Gupta said the foreign OEMs normally stay away from installing big manufacturing units because they doubt the Indian manufacturing ecosystem. “Though we do not have Tier-1 manufacturer, a number of initiatives have been taken to develop a tierised ecosystem. Since most of the OEMs are integrators, they would like to set up integrating facilities and source sub-systems and systems from the domestic sector,” he said.
To facilitate tie-up with foreign investors, the regime of FDI and licence has been liberalised. While no approval is required up to 49 per cent FDI, state-of-the-art technology clause has been withdrawn for the investment of more than 49 per cent and FDI is permitted in case it results in access to modern technology of other regions, he said.
Highlighting the initiatives taken and reforms made in policies, Gupta said five to 10 per cent basic custom duty has been imposed to promote indigenisation while issuance of NOCs has been simplified and prioritised. For the first time, a list of military goods has been notified besides a list of items which require an industrial licence for manufacturing.
Since most of the private manufacturers demand test facilities, the senior bureaucrat said, Ministry of Defence is working on a proposal to have a test range on public-private partnership or Government-private partnership modes.
Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Planning and Systems) Lt General Subrata Saha said since the nation has an army of 1.3 million, the range of requirement for the armed forces is huge.
“'There is multiplicity in levels of conflict. In order to be able to measure the changing methods of present warfare, it is important that the industry devotes some emphasis towards studying it and contribute to the forces as per requirement,” he suggested.
On current ecosystem and opportunities in Odisha, Director of Integrated Test Range Dr BK Das said the State leads in iron, steel, ferro-alloy and Aluminium production, which are essential raw materials for manufacturing of defence components.
Among others, MD of Tata Advanced Systems Limited Sukaran Singh, Global CEO of Vedanta Group Plc Tom Albanese and President-India of Raytheon International Inc Nikhil Khanna also spoke.