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When Policies Work

A reality check of ‘Make in India’ and defence production

Maj. Gen. Mrinal Suman (retd) Maj. Gen. Mrinal Suman (retd)

The government has declared ‘Make in India’ mission to be the cornerstone of its nation-building initiative and defence manufacturing has rightly been identified as one of the key sectors. With a view to align and delineate the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) towards the achievement of the objectives of ‘Make in India’, an expert committee under Dhirendra Singh was constituted by the ministry of defence (MoD) in May 2015.

The committee has suggested that a conceptual ladder be evolved to correspond to progressive development of competence level in the defence industry, from the very basic level of repair and maintenance to the level of acquiring ability to design, develop, manufacture and test systems. Different stages in the ladder have been correlated with various categories in the capital procurement as obtaining today. It is an innovative suggestion.

Further, higher indigenous content across all defence purchases has been recommended: doubling it from the current levels of about 35 per cent to nearly 70 per cent in a phased manner. As regards upgradation of in-service systems, the committee wants its inclusion under the ‘Make’ category, thereby encouraging familiarisation of newer technologies by the industry.

The committee wants the contents of Technology Perspective and Capability Roadmap to be more specific as regards the nature of equipment/systems that would be required to be inducted/up-graded during the next 15 years. As a matter of fact, the committee suggests that details of all schemes included in five-year Services Capital Acquisition Plans be shared with the industry.

The committee is of the view that the objectives of ‘Make in India’ can never be achieved without harnessing the potential of the private sector. For that, two types of well-defined partnership models — depending upon the strategic needs, quality criticality and cost competitiveness — have been advocated.

In the case of platforms of strategic importance, ‘Strategic Partnership’ model has been suggested to create capacity in the private sector on a long-term basis; over and above the capacity and infrastructure that exists in the public sector. The committee has identified six segments for the purpose. Likewise, ‘Development Partnership’ model has been suggested in cases where quality is critical and vendor base is very narrow. Many ‘Development Partners’ could aspire to attain the status of ‘Strategic Partner’, depending upon their core competence and capacity.

Make in India

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