The national lockdown in India has impacted deliveries of military platforms including HAL’s Dhruv advanced light helicopter

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has called on state-owned defence enterprises to prepare to return to work and to "ramp up production" following the end of a national lockdown that has been in place since 25 March.

The MoD said in a statement that India's defence minister Rajnath Singh has directed the public enterprises, which together employ about 200,000 people, to "prepare contingency plans" to restart work and "compensate for lost working time". The latter includes a plan for employees to work six days a week, it said.

According to the MoD, some public enterprises have already started low-level operations, although all companies are expected to expand production activity from the beginning of May when the national lockdown is lifted.

The MoD said, "Almost all DPSUs [defence public sector undertakings] have made contingency plans to ramp up production after the lockdown is lifted by [working] in three shifts and extending workdays from five to six days a week." It added, "Work will be carried out by observing social distancing and other relevant health guidelines."

The MoD said that the return to work for national defence companies is significant in terms of supporting India's plans to revive its post-lockdown economy. "DPSUs, along with the private defence industry, could play a major role in the economic revival," it said, citing Singh.

India's biggest DPSU, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), resumed scaled-up operations on 28 April, with employees working across two eight-hour shifts. The company has been operational during the lockdown but on a restricted basis.

HAL said in late March, just a week after the lockdown was introduced, that the move had impacted the final testing and certification of aircraft for the Indian defence forces. It added that deliveries of its Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and its Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) had been delayed.