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Opening Up New Avenues of Self-Reliance in Defence, Space, Atomic Energy

The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown challenges to everyone globally. Naturally, India is also affected. But a marked difference can be seen in the way India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is responding to the situation. 

Ever since the crisis struck, a relentless pursuit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been how to turn this challenge into an opportunity for India’s growth, simultaneously putting the best effort to save lives and mitigate difficulties faced by vulnerable sections.  The Modi government announced a series of reform measures while addressing the economic situation. While many measures across agriculture, industry, and corporate affairs have addressed many concerns and seen much-awaited reforms, a few measures have served the cause of ‘India first’ through reforms that enhance India’s competitiveness in global platform while achieving self-reliance

Achieving Aatmanirbharta in Defence

Nations that influence the direction of global geostrategic policy are self-reliant in defence capabilities. Self-reliance is the key to emerge as a global power. 

Ever since the Modi government came in, it is addressing decades-old demands in the defence sector on two fronts. The Make in India push in the defence sector and clearing the procurements that were overdue such as fighter aircraft, attack helicopters, guns, etc. 

Now amidst the Corona crisis, self-reliance in defence manufacturing has been taken to the next level with a host of measures.

Replacing Import Quantity with Indigenous Production

The government will notify a list of weapons/platforms for a ban on import with year-wise timelines. A separate budget provision for domestic capital, every year in the defence budget will facilitate the production of those items domestically. The government will also be taking initiatives to promote indigenization of imported spares like realistic setting of General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQRs) of weapons/platforms.

Ordnance Factory Board to be Corporatized

The corporatization of Ordnance Factory Board will help improve performance and efficiency in Ordnance Supplies. This will pave the way for increase autonomy and transparency in these units.

Easing FDI Norms

FDI limit in the defence manufacturing under automatic route is being raised from 49% to 74% for promote investments in India

Time-bound Process

Time-bound defence procurement process and faster decision making will be ushered in by: 

  • Setting up of a Project Management Unit to support contract management
  • Realistic setting of General Staff Qualitative Requirements of weapons/platforms
  • Overhauling trial and testing procedures

 

Reforms to Script New Stories in Space

In this day and age, putting India first on global stage depends on its capability in space technology as well. India’s premier institute ISRO has already made India a force to reckon with in this regard. 

Back in March 2019, India has demonstrated its capacity in space through Mission Shakti by successfully testing Anti-Satellite Missile and becoming the fourth country in the world to have such a capacity. 

  • Building on this, now India in the new set of reform measures has paved the way to make the private sector also a part of this journey so that maximum potential of Indians can be utilised. 
  • A level playing field will be provided for private companies in satellites, launches and space-based services in order to encourage their participation
  • The private sector can use ISRO facilities and other relevant assets to improve their capacities.
  • Future projects for planetary exploration, outer space travel etc to be open for the private sector as well.
  • Liberal geospatial data policy for providing remote-sensing data to tech-entrepreneurs and reducing reliance on imported data.
  • Reforming space sector organizations to provide a predictable policy and regulatory environment to private players

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has envisioned space technology for the public good and security of the nation. The recent measures speed up the process of accomplishment.

 

The collective use of space technology can attend to the needs of both defence and welfare of the people. For instance, various geo-tagging exercises that ensured transparency in government schemes are the result of using space technology and data. Allowing the private sector to this domain will further unlock the possibilities of India’s growth.  

Reforms in Atomic Energy

Paving the way for private participation in atomic energy has also opened new areas of opportunities in India’s growth. The measures in this sector also supplement the reforms announced in other sectors like agriculture. 

Establishing research reactor in PPP mode for the production of medical isotopes helps in finding affordable treatment for cancer and other diseases.

Using irradiation technology for food preservation complements agricultural reforms and assists farmers. This, along with reforms announced in agriculture, further helps by increasing shelf life, reducing the need for pesticides, and increasing export avenues.

India’s robust start-up ecosystem will be linked to the nuclear sector and for this, Technology Development-cum-Incubation Centres will be set up for fostering synergy between research facilities and tech-entrepreneurs.

In shaping the post-Corona world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought together talents beyond the government system in sophisticated sectors like defence, space, and atomic to use them for the greater common good.

 

May 28, 2020