India reduced defence import by 10% in last three years: Govt

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India has managed to reduce expenditure on defence procurement from foreign sources by 10 per cent in the last three years, the Parliament was told on Monday.

“The expenditure on defence procurement from foreign sources has reduced from 46 per cent to 36 per cent, thereby reducing import burden in the last three years i.e., 2018-19 to 2020-21,” Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply to a question by BJP member Roopa Ganguly.

The minister said that the reduction happened due to several government policy initiatives in the past few years under the ‘Make in India’ programme. He also said that reforms to encourage indigenous design, development and manufacture of defence equipment in the country help in reduction in import.

These initiatives include according priority to procurement of capital items from domestic sources under the Defence Acquisition Procedure, 2020.

The government had also made announcement of 18 major defence platforms for industry-led design and development.

Bhatt said that the government had issued notification of two ‘Positive Indigenisation Lists’ of total 209 items of services and two ‘Positive Indigenisation List’ of total 2,851 items and 107 Line Replaceable Units (LRUs) of defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs), for which there would be an embargo on the import beyond the timelines indicated against them.

The government also simplified the Industrial licensing process with longer validity period and liberalised of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy allowing 74 per cent FDI under automatic route.

Some other initiatives are simplification of make procedure, launch of Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) scheme involving startups and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), implementation of Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) Order 2017, launch of an indigenisation portal, namely SRIJAN, to facilitate indigenisation by Indian Industry including MSMEs, reforms in offset policy with thrust on attracting investment and transfer of technology for defence manufacturing by assigning higher multipliers and establishment of two defence industrial corridors — one each in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

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