Wednesday, January 27, 2021
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Atmanirbhar Bharat gets a push as Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announces import embargo on 101 weapon systems

The Defence Minister said that the list is prepared by Ministry of Defence after several rounds of consultations with all stakeholders, including the Armed Forces, public and private industry to assess current and future capabilities of the Indian industry for manufacturing various ammunition and equipment within India.

In a significant announcement on Sunday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the Ministry of Defence was ready for a big push to the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” initiative and would introduce an import embargo on 101 items to boost indigenisation of defence production.

The Defence Minister said that the decision to impose embargo 101 items will give a big boost to India’s self-reliant initiatives in the defence sector. He added that the new initiative presents an opportunity for the nation’s defence industry to manufacture the items in the embargoed list by using their own design or by adopting the technologies developed by the DRDO.

In a series of tweets, Singh said that the Ministry had taken inspiration from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “clarion call for a self-reliant India based on the five pillars, i.e., Economy, Infrastructure, System, Demography & Demand”. Rajnath Singh termed the move as a “big step towards self-reliance in defence”.

The Defence Minister said that the list is prepared by Ministry of Defence after several rounds of consultations with all stakeholders, including the Armed Forces, public and private industry to assess current and future capabilities of the Indian industry for manufacturing various ammunition and equipment within India.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that nearly 260 schemes of such items were contracted by the Tri-Services at an approximate cost of Rs 3.5 lakh crore between April 2015 and August 2020. The decision to put focus on the domestic manufacturing of defence equipments will induceRs 4 lakh crore worth of contracts, that will be manufactured by the domestic industry within the next 6 to 7 years, Singh added.

Out of these, procurement worth almost Rs 1,30,000 crore each are anticipated for the Indian Army and the Air Force and Rs 1,40,000 crore will be dedicated to the the Navy over the same period. “The list also includes, wheeled Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) with indicative import embargo date of December 2021, of which the Army is expected to contract almost 200 at an approximate cost of over Rs 5,000 crore,” Rajnath Singh tweeted.

Further, the Defence Minister said that the embargo on imports will be progressively be implemented between 2020 to 2024. Our aim is to appraise the Indian defence industry about the anticipated requirements of the Armed Forces so that they are better prepared to realise the goal of indigenisation, he added.

The Defence Minister also said that they will take all necessary steps to ensure that timelines for production of equipment as per the Negative Import List are met, and this will include a co-ordinated mechanism for handholding of the industry by the Defence Services. He added that the Department of Military Affairs will identify more such equipment for import embargo in the future in consultation with all stakeholders.

A due note of this will also be made in the DAP to ensure that no item in the negative list is processed for import in the future, added Defence Minister in his tweet.

Most importantly, the Ministry of Defence has now bifurcated the capital procurement budget for 2020-21 between domestic and foreign capital procurement routes. A separate budget head has been created with an outlay of nearly Rs 52,000 crore for domestic capital procurement in the current financial year.

Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan

Atmanirbhar Bharat is the vision of the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi of making India a self-reliant nation. On May 12, Prime Minister Modi announced a special package with a message of self-reliance to the country.

The special financial package is worth 20 lakh crore of 266 billion dollars for reviving the economy that has been very much affected due to lockdown. The Prime Minister informed that the package is 10 per cent of India’s GDP.

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