Monday, August 8, 2022

India to embargo import of 101 defence items: Rajnath Singh

The Ministry of Defence will introduce import embargo on 101 items beyond given timeline to boost indigenisation of defence production, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced on Sunday, while stating it as a big step towards Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliance) in defence. In a series of tweets, he made some major announcements and said that Defence Ministry has prepared a list of 101 items for which there would be an embargo on the import beyond the timeline indicated against them.

The Minister also said that the Defence Ministry has also 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, he said. Singh tweeted that the Ministry of Defence is now ready for a big push to Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative. MoD will introduce import embargo on 101 items beyond given timeline to boost indigenisation of defence production.

In another tweet, he wrote that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given a clarion call for a self-reliant India based on the five pillars, i.e., Economy, Infrastructure, System, Demography & Demand and announced a special economic package for Self-Reliant India named ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat.

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He wrote that taking a cue from that evocation, the Ministry of Defence has prepared a list of 101 items for which there would be an embargo on the import beyond the timeline indicated against them. This is a big step towards self-reliance in defence.

The Defence Minister said that the decision will offer a great opportunity to the Indian defence industry to manufacture the items in the negative list by using their own design and development capabilities or adopting the technologies designed and developed by DRDO to meet the requirements of the Armed Forces.

He tweeted that MoD has also 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. He said that almost 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 defence minister said that of these, items worth almost Rs 1,30,000 crore each are anticipated for the Army and the Air Force while items worth almost Rs 1,40,000 crore are anticipated by the Navy over the same period. Singh said that more equipment for import embargo would be identified progressively by the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) in consultation with all stakeholders.

He tweeted that 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. He added that the embargo on imports is planned to be progressively 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 said that all the necessary steps would be taken to ensure that timelines for production of equipment as per the Negative Import List are met, which will include a co-ordinated mechanism for handholding of the industry by the Defence Services.

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