Modi stressed that the new companies should speedily incorporate research and innovation into their processes and work culture as also urged startups to be part of the process to build up India’s defence manufacturing sector
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NEW DELHI :
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday dedicated the seven defence public sector undertakings (PSUs), created through the restructuring of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), to the nation, at a function organized by the ministry of defence. He said the firms will help develop India into a military industrial power, which is self-reliant in developing and manufacturing strategic weapons and platforms.
Modi said the 41 ordnance factories, once known for quality products, had lost the competitive edge due to a lack of modernization. The new units will help India, one of the world’s biggest arms importers, to reduce its dependence on foreign companies. “India’s goal under ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) is to make the country, on its own, into a big military power," he added.
Modi said the new companies should focus on research and innovation, and adopt industry best practices. He also urged startups to become a part of the process to build India’s defence manufacturing capabilities.
The seven defence PSUs include Munitions India Ltd, Armoured Vehicles Nigam Ltd, Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Ltd, Troop Comforts Ltd, Yantra India Ltd, India Optel Ltd and Gliders India Ltd.
Modi said the companies have already bagged orders of ₹65,000 crore from the military and paramilitary forces. The defence ministry has also listed platforms and weapons systems that India will source domestically, he added.
The Centre has introduced measures to incentivize private sector manufacturing of military hardware, Modi said. The defence corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu will offer new opportunities to a vast network of micro, small, and medium enterprises to tap into defence manufacturing.
The Prime Minister also urged the seven PSUs to not only match the capabilities of big military companies of the world, and to “take a lead in developing future technologies". India has competitive costs on its side, and the seven units and others must become global brands with quality products and reliability as their calling card, Modi said. “Our defence export has increased by 325 % in the last five years," he added.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh said the reorganization of the OFB is aimed at improving efficiency and product quality. The PSUs have the autonomy and the corporatization of the units will increase accountability, he said, adding that the companies will have to become profitable by actively seeking orders from the Indian military, and other customers. Singh assured employees that their concerns and interests would be taken care of, and directed the managements of the seven companies to look after the workers’ welfare.
On Thursday, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said the Modi government had decided to convert the OFB from a government department to seven 100% government-owned corporate companies to improve self-reliance in defence preparedness. The move would bring about enhanced functional autonomy, efficiency, and unleash new growth potential and innovation, it added.
The Indian industry welcomed the move to reorganize the ordnance factories. “The defence industry ecosystem is very optimistic that this restructuring will transform the ordnance factories, in due course, into more productive and profitable assets, deepen specialization in product ranges, enhance competitiveness and improve quality and cost-efficiency," the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers said in a statement.
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