New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a post-budget webinar titled ‘Aatmnirbharta in Defence – Call to Action’ on the announcements made in the Budget 2022-23.
The webinar was organised by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Friday (February 25). This is the fourth webinar in the series of post-budget webinars addressed by PM Modi.
He said that the theme of the webinar ‘Aatmnirbharta in Defence – Call to Action’ indicates the mood of the nation. The recent years, the effort to strengthen Aatmnirbharta in the defence sector is clearly visible in this year’s 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 customisation 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, PM Modi mentioned, has a blueprint for developing a vibrant ecosystem from research, design and development to manufacturing within the country. About 70 per cent of the defence budget has been kept for domestic industry only, he added.
Speaking on how the Budget will help further self-reliance in defence sector. https://t.co/aKGy6q2tCU
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 25, 2022
The Defence Ministry has, so far, released Positive Indigenisation Lists of more than 200 defence platforms and equipments. After this announcement, the Prime Minister informed, contracts worth Rs 54,000 Crore has been signed for domestic procurement. Apart from this, the Prime Minister continued, the procurement process of more than Rs 4.5 Lakh Crore worth of equipment is at various stages. The 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Minister lamented the long-drawn process of weapon procurement which often results in a scenario where weapons can get outdated by the time they are commissioned.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 emphasised. He lauded the armed forces for taking decisions while keeping the importance of Aatmnirbharta in mind. Modi stressed the need to keep the pride and feelings of the Jawans in matters of weapons and equipment. This is possible only when we are Aatmnirbhar in these areas, he said.
The PM 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 the quality and desirability of weapons. Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan tackles this problem also, he said.
The Prime minister lauded the ordnance factories for being a shining example of progress with determination. He expressed happiness that 7 new defence undertakings that were incorporated last year 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 Defence Equipments and Services to more than 75 countries,” the PM added.
As a result of the government’s encouragement to Make in India, the Prime Minister emphasised, more than 350 new industrial licenses have been issued for defence manufacturing in the last 7 years. Whereas in the 14 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 the defence R&D budget has been kept for Industry, start-ups and academia. A 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 vibrant defence industry, PM Modi noted. For this, an independent system can prove useful in solving problems, he added.
The PM exhorted the stakeholders to come forward with new ideas for the 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 the date of budget implementation arrives.
My heartfelt gratitude to him for sparing his valuable time and delivering the keynote inaugural address.
⁰This year’s budget has a blueprint for developing a vibrant ecosystem from research, design & development to manufacturing within the country.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) February 25, 2022