Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who inaugurated the 12 edition of the country’s biennial aero show, Aero India 2019, on Wednesday, said industry-friendly provisions have been introduced to promote indigenous development of defence products.

She said 275 Ordnance Factory products have been de-notified and are now available for production by the industry.

Testing facilities of Defence PSUs and Ordnance Factory have been opened up for the private industry. Trade receivables Electronic Discount System (TreDS) is under implementation in all Defence PSUs and Ordnance Factories, she further added. Separate procedure for ‘Make-II’ sub-category has been notified wherein a number of industry-friendly provisions have been introduced.

This effort of the government has yielded extremely encouraging response. “In less than a year, 34 projects relating to Army, Navy and Air Force, have been accorded ‘Approval in Principle’.”

“For the first time, the Government has provided opportunity to industry to make suo-motu suggestions to the armed services regarding Defence equipment. In the first year of its implementation, the suo-motu mechanism has resulted in four Defence projects to be co-developed by Indian industry for the use of armed forces,” she pointed out.

“The FDI policy has been revised and under the revised policy, foreign investment up to 49 per cent is allowed through automatic route and above 49 per cent under government route,” she added.

FDI inflows

On FDI inflows in the Defence and aerospace sectors, the Minister said between 2014 and 2018, six companies in the Defence and aerospace sectors have obtained government approval for FDI of ₹237 crore while investments of over ₹200 crore have been received through the automatic route.

The Innovation for Defence Excellence (iDEX) scheme was launched in April 12, 2018 to leverage the start-up ecosystem of the country to resolve Defence and aerospace-related issues. With iDEX, a network of Defence Innovation Hub will come up throughout the country.

Work on the first innovation hub has started at Coimbatore in collaboration with CODISSIA.

These hubs, once functional, will enable innovators get information about the need and feedback from the Services directly and create solutions for India’s major defence platform, she said.