New list of defence items barred from import in March: Rajnath Singh

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said another list of items pertaining to the defence industry that will not be imported from other countries will be notified next month.

He also said procurement of defence equipment from the private sector will not be limited to 15 per cent but will go much beyond that.

"Another list of items that will be not be imported to be notified in March 2021," he said in his closing remarks in a 'Webinar on Budget Announcements 2021-22: Galvanising Efforts for Atmanirbhar Bharat' on effective implementation of the Union Budget provisions in the defence sector.

Last year, the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), Ministry of Defence (MoD) prepared a list of 101 items for which there would be an embargo on the import.

Singh shed light on the plans to spend USD 130 billion on military modernisation in the next five years, as he mentioned the recent order of 83 indigenously designed and developed Light Combat Aircraft MK 1A, Tejas, worth Rs 48,000 crore, awarded to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) during the recently held Aero India 2021.

He added that the contract for indigenously designed Light Combat Helicopter is likely to be signed soon.

The defence minister further said the Letter of Intent (LoI) for Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) will be given to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd so that the helicopters can be inducted into the armed forces coinciding with the 75th Anniversary of India's independence.

The 'AON' (Acceptance of Necessity) contract conversion would be completed within two years under close monitoring.

"Projects worth Rs 500 crore to Rs 2,000 crore will be announced on competitive basis and will be finalised within one year," he said.

Singh added that a Fund of Funds worth Rs 10,000 crore has been created for Start-ups and MSMEs. Complete support would be provided to the Defence and Aerospace sector in utilising the fund.

Acceptance in principle would be accorded for at least five Make-1 projects this year, he added.

In his opening remarks, Singh said the defence budget has seen an unprecedented increase of 18.75 per cent in capital outlay over and above last financial year and 30 per cent the year before, which is the highest in the last one and a half decade.

He underlined the close cooperation between the Armed Forces and manufacturers to reduce the gap between the aspirations of the Armed Forces and actual delivery by the manufacturers.

He said 'Make in India, Make for the World' is the only mantra to stay abreast with latest technological advancements and remain frugal at the same time. Emphasising that the defence industry can only thrive by going global, he said, the government is actively promoting not only domestic manufacturing but also an export-oriented defence industry.


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