New Delhi: The government informed Parliament on Friday about various measures taken to bolster the country’s defence capabilities, in a written response in the Lower House, Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt asserted that the Central government has introduced a series of action plans and policies to promote innovation, collaboration, and indigenous manufacturing in this sector.

First, he underlined tha under the Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 (DAP-2020), the government actively encourages both public and private sectors to participate in the design, development, and manufacture of defence systems through the ‘Make Procedure.’ Notably, financial assistance for prototype development is integrated into this framework, providing a crucial boost to innovation and research in the defence sector.

On the other hand, the Green Channel Policy streamlines the procurement process for defence stores and spares. Firms meeting predefined financial and quality credentials are granted Green Channel status, benefiting from a waiver of pre-dispatch inspection and acceptance of stores under supplier guarantees, as mentioned by the MoS Defence.

Additionally, the government has established two Defence Industrial Corridors - Uttar Pradesh Defence Industrial Corridor (UPDIC) and Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor (TNDIC) - to attract investment, develop domestic supply chains, and strengthen the overall defence manufacturing ecosystem in the country, as informed by the junior minister.

The Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme, focused on bolstering domestic defence and aerospace manufacturing, aims to set up Greenfield Defence Testing Infrastructure. The scheme plays a pivotal role in bridging gaps in defence testing infrastructure, specifically emphasising the participation of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and start-ups.

The MoS Defence highlighted the importance of the iDEX initiative in fostering innovation and technology development in defence and aerospace.

Through the involvement of start-ups and MSMEs, iDEX aims to solve complex problems and develop cutting-edge technologies relevant to India’s defence needs. The ecosystem created by iDEX provides grants, funding, and support to R&D institutes, academia, and research organisations.

In terms of technology transfer, the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has made strides through Licensing Agreements for Transfer of Technology (LAToT).

The junior defence minister informed the Lower House that a zero Transfer of Technology (ToT) fee has been implemented for industry partners, along with zero royalties for supplying to the Indian Armed Forces and government departments.

Additionally, the Technology Development Fund (TDF) provides financial support to Indian industries for the design and development of innovative defence products.

Moreover, the involvement of youth through start-ups and collaborations with academic institutions under the iDEX scheme reflects a forward-looking approach to addressing defence-related challenges. Defence Public Sector Units (DPSUs) and private sectors are actively recruiting and engaging trained youth with specialised skills for various defence projects.