FDI in defence limit raised to 74%; FM Sitharaman announces major ‘Make in India’ push for defence

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Updated: May 16, 2020 7:25 PM

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the import of some weapons and plaforms will not be allowed.

Finance Minister Nirmala SitharamanFinance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

FDI in defence: In a big push for ‘Make in India’ for the defence sector, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today announced raising the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit in the defence sector under the automatic route from 49% to 74%. She also said that the import of some weapons and platforms will not be allowed. “We shall notify a list of weapons and platforms which will not be allowed or imports. Every year this list will be increased, as we build capacities,” Sitharaman said in her fourth press conference this week to announce the Rs 20 lakh crore economic stimulus package.

“Make in India and self-reliance have become a partner, particularly when you are talking about industries like defence. Armed forces require the best of equipment and the latest technology, so some of the latest weaponry will continue to be imported. But some equipment are being made in India and can be bought by the armed forces,” she said.

The FM in her press conference announced that certain items banned for imports can only be purchased from within the country.

She added that going forward there will be indigenisation of some imported spares, and separate budget provisioning for domestic capital procurement will be done. This will reduce the huge defence import bill, she stated.

Presenting the fourth tranche of the economic stimulus package, Sitharaman said that Ordnance Factory Boards will be corporatised for better management and these will eventually get listed on the stock market. She, however, added that corporatisation is not privatisation.

It was also announced that for the time-bound defence procurement process and faster decision-making, project management unit (PMU) to support contract management will be set up.

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