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Plan to encourage local players in defence procurement, says scientist

‘₹70,000 crore was earmarked in the Budget for acquisition from indigenous sources’

The defence sector, especially research organisations such as DRDO, is opening up and it is being done in tune with the concept of Atmanirbhar Bharat said Director General Naval Systems and Materials, DRDO, Samir V. Kamat.

The distinguished scientist was here to deliver a talk on ‘Ease of doing business: Atmanirbhar Bharat’, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here on Friday.

He pointed out that as part of the opening up of the sector to the private players, the Defence Acquisition Procedure -2020 was drafted to simplify the hitherto cumbersome trial procedure and bring down the time taken in decision making.

He said that in the recent Budget about ₹70,000 crore was earmarked for acquisition in the defence sector from indigenous sources.

The Ministry of Defence has put a ban on procurement of about 101 times from foreign sources and the DRDO has put a ban on 108 items. “The idea is to encourage local players,” he said.

‘No royalty’

The DRDO has also started the Development-cum- Production Partner concept to give opportunity for local players to tie-up with the organisation. “We have also removed the royalty for ToT (Transfer of Technology) and domestic industries can approach the DRDO. We have also opened up the patents free of cost for local industries, as part of Atmanirbhar Bharat,” said Mr. Kamat.

He also stressed on the idea of more cooperation between the academia and defence research and development.

“Only a few industries in the country are coming forward to work on critical defence research. At this juncture we need more and based on it we have started a few centres for excellence in a few universities and institutes for higher learning,” he said.

The DRDO is also working towards coming out with a policy to fund startups and work more closely with stakeholders, which includes MSME, private industry and research centres.

He agreed that there were a few perennial challenges such as regularising the order book, delayed payment and slow decision making, and efforts are on to iron them out.

Earlier, Ragam Kishore, CEO and director of Vizag Seaport, said that maritime industry was closely monitoring the Major Port Authority Bill, as it might lead to the theme of the conference, in its true sense.

He agreed that there has been a paradigm shift in the maritime sector after it was opened up for private players, but a lot needs to be done.

Pointing out the lacunae he said, in India there are only three ports that can handle cape size vessels of 1.8 lakh tonnes and the main issue that still persists is storage and clearance of cargo.

According to him, the horizontal cargo movement from the wharfs to the hinterland needs to be improved and only then there would ease of doing business, in the maritime sector.

Introducing the topic, vice-chairman of CII, AP State council, D. Tirupathi Raju said that the concept of ‘Atmanirbhar’ exemplifies ‘Ease of doing business’.

Chairman of CII, AP, D. Ramakrishna, said that rules of the game has changed with the advent of information highway and the challenge is how fast one adopts to it.

Collaboration with stakeholders and re-engineerng of business, holds the key.

Chairman of VPT K. Rama Mohan Rao, J. Srinivasa Raju, Chairman CII- Visakhapatnam Zone, and Lt. Cdr Ravindranath Reddy, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of A.P. Maritime Board, also spoke.

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