FY19 turnover of private companies was Rs 15,000 crore against public sector enterprises of Rs 63,208 crore. At least 3 top industry houses have written to the govt in the past 4 years, pointing out unfair advantages being given to PSUs

by Manu Pubby

NEW DELHI : More than 18 years after defence manufacturing was opened up to the private sector, state-owned enterprises still rule the roost, contributing four times more than privately-held entities, latest government data shows.

In a rare set of numbers shared in parliament, the defence ministry has said that the annual turnover of private sector companies in the defence and aerospace sector is close to Rs 15,000 crore, with public sector units’ over four times as large at Rs 63,208 crore.

The numbers pertain to the FY-19 and reflect the known trend that private sector participation in defence has not moved at the expected pace to make it the cornerstone of the Make in India initiative.

While the private sector has been moving up since defence manufacturing was opened up in May 2001 and a slew of policy initiatives to ease licensing and procedures taken since 2014, industry insiders say that it has been an uphill battle to get a level playing ground with the public sector units.

At least three top Indian industry houses that have ventured into the defence sector have written to the government in the past four years, pointing out unfair advantages being given to PSUs and have protested against moves to nominate state-owned enterprises for large defence contracts.

Big projects that have gone on nomination basis to the public sector since 2014 include a deal to make Kamov KA-226T helicopters for the army and air force, minesweeper vessels and frigates for the navy and AK-203 rifles for the armed forces.