Reiterating the government’s focus on encouraging exports, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday hoped that India will soon become a net exporter from a net importer of defence equipment.
”The government aims to achieve the export target of Rs 35,000 crore by 2024-25. Presently, India is exporting defence equipment to around 70 countries. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute 2020 report, India is in the list of top 25 countries in defence exports,” he said while delivering the inaugural address at the MSME Conclave, organised by the Ministry of Defence in partnership with the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM).
He called upon Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to invest more in research and development and manufacture new products and technologies and thereby contribute to the security and progress of the country.
The Minister urged MSMEs to create an industrial base in India, on the lines of ‘Mittelstand’ (Mittel-Stunt) of Germany, which has been recognised by the whole world for manufacturing metal equipment.
He stated that the government was according top priority to self-reliance in defence, in view of the ever-changing security scenario, adding that there was a need to move forward to unleash the full potential of MSMEs in the sector.
He exuded confidence that Indian manufacturers and their associated MSMEs would play a major role in catering to the defence needs of the country and also meet the global requirement.
Rajnath described MSMEs as the backbone of the industry which was equally responsible for not only economic activities but also social development. ”Today, there is a sizable number of MSMEs in our country, which contribute 29 per cent to our GDP through their national and international trade. After the agriculture sector, it is the biggest source of providing employment to about 100 million people. MSMEs also work to involve innovators and mediators in large enterprises. They help to fulfill the objectives of large industrial entities by becoming an important part of the value chain and supply chain,” he added.
He pointed out that as compared to large entities, the concentration of wealth by MSMEs was less and its distribution was dispersed, which helped in reducing economic inequality. The MSMEs could definitely play a big role in empowering the youth of the country financially and fulfilling their dreams, he said.
Rajnath also mentioned about the Ministry of Defence’s approval of a central sector scheme for iDEX with a budgetary support of about Rs 500 crore for the next five years from 2021-22 to 2025-26. The scheme would provide financial assistance to around 300 start-ups/MSMEs/individual innovators and about 20 partner incubators through Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO).
He further said that the Ministry has earmarked Rs 1,000 crore for procurement from iDEX start-ups during 2021-22 to promote the development of new defence technologies and support the growing start-ups base in the country. He appreciated the fact at present more than 30 projects are in progress under TDF and over Rs 150 crore outlay has been utilised.