Rajnath Singh said that the govt is considering a centrally sponsored scheme to encourage investments in defence industrial corridors

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday that over 350 licences have been granted to private industries since 2014, up from 200 between 2000 and 2014.

According to Rajnath Singh, India's defence exports have increased 334 per cent in the last five years, with the country now exporting to 75 countries.

Rajnath Singh announced that the government is considering a centrally sponsored scheme to incentivise investments in defence industrial corridors to boost the country's defence manufacturing ecosystem.

Private industries have been given a stake in domestic manufacturing for the first time, said Rajnath Singh.

He also urged the anchor defence industries to identify additional areas for research and development and manufacturing, noting that large domestic business houses and foreign Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) subsidiaries have been invited not only to tap into the potential of the UP Defence Industrial Corridor (UPDIC) but also to listen to their perspectives.

"If anyone has the capacity to make our country self-reliant at the earliest, it is our industries, and I have been emphasising this on various platforms,” said the defence minister.

He cited the establishment of defence industrial corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu as one of many steps that demonstrate the government's unwavering commitment to addressing the needs of the defence industry.

He also said that the policy provisions to encourage the private sector in design and development projects are being considered.

According to a defence ministry statement, Rajnath Singh responded to specific proposals from industry representatives, stating that the Ministry of Defence will consider and act on all suggestions to implement reforms to boost the defence industry.

Listing out some of the initiatives of the government, Rajnath Singh said, "UPDIC will provide connectivity, resources, and environment to defence companies and open up new opportunities."

Among the steps we have taken to promote the use of indigenous technology in the private sector are the Defence Research and Development Organisation's (DRDO) free transfer of technology and an increase in the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit for access to cutting-edge technologies from around the world, he said.

According to the defence minister, the government has signed contracts with global behemoths to improve operational capabilities and capacity, and the majority of the defence platforms will be manufactured in India through partnerships with Indian firms.

Rajnath Singh stated that the government has earmarked approximately 64 per cent of its modernisation funds under the capital acquisition budget for 2021-22 for procurement from domestic companies, shedding light on the importance of domestic procurement.

He also mentioned that the "MAKE" category has been revamped and that the Innovation for Defence Excellence (iDEX) program has been established to support MSMEs and start-ups.

“A total of Rs 1,000 crore has been set aside for iDEX-related purchases, with the amount set to increase in the future,” he said.

"Over the next five years, Rs 500 crore has been set aside specifically to support our start-ups,” he added.