The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) today approved capital acquisition proposals worth Rs 13,700 crore of various weapons and equipment systems required by the armed forces.

All these acquisition proposals will be indigenously designed, developed and manufactured, the Defence Ministry said after a meeting of the DAC, chaired by defence minister Rajnath Singh.

The acquisitions will include inter-alia platforms and systems designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

To meet the government’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ goals on a time-bound defence procurement process and faster decision-making and to systematically work towards reducing the time taken for capital acquisitions, the DAC also approved that all capital acquisition contracts (delegated and non-delegated) will be concluded in two years.

The MoD, in consultation with the services and all stakeholders, will come up with a detailed plan of action for achieving the same.

The defence minister said the government would notify next month another list of defence items which would not be imported.

At a webinar on effective implementation of Budget provisions in the defence sector, he also announced that a Letter of Intent (LoI) for Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) would be given to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) so that the choppers could be inducted into the armed forces, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence.

“Procurement from the private sector will not be limited to 15 per cent but will go much beyond that,” he said. He declared projects worth Rs 500 crore to Rs 2,000 crore would be announced on a competitive basis and would be finalised within one year.

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, he added. Singh said acceptance in principle would be accorded to at least five Make-1 projects this year.

The defence minister hailed the Union Budget as a healthy mix of promise, potential and progress. He stressed that the forward-looking agenda of the Budget would provide support to country’s defence and security.

He said the Budget focused on accelerating economic growth and creating job opportunities to reverse the adverse impact of Covid-19 pandemic with ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ at the core.

Singh termed threat perceptions, aspirations, capacity and capability development initiatives and technological advancements as major factors that drive procurement decisions in defence.