The targets set in any Make in India policy will not be easy to achieve because the demand is restricted to just one buyer, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said at the crowded post-inaugural media conference at Aero India 2015 on Wednesday. “Export comes next. So, when we are working on the Make in India policy, we are also working on making exports easier… we want to make the processes simpler,” he said. He also pointed to the growing needs of the domestic civil aviation sector. “It’s not just for defence that we need 1,000 more helicopters. There could be a demand for another 1,000 in the civilian sector,” he said.
Confessing that he himself had experienced problems in deciphering the Defence Procurement Procedure – 2013, Mr Parrikar said: “Let me be frank. It took me time to understand the issues… I had discussions with organisations like CII and Assocham who helped me understand the issues.” He also hinted that Make in India could evolve as a policy framework quite separate from the DPP. “I’m not saying we have already made that decision… but you don’t need to have everything coming out of DPP.” While not committing himself to this change in policy thinking, he assured the media that some decisions would be finalised within the coming two or three weeks. “Give us a few more months, we’ll come come out with a policy,” he said.
Mr Parrikar said the Union government, in its thrust for decentralisation of powers in making purchase decisions, had transferred decision-making to the DGs of seven DRDO clusters in the country. “You don’t have to send the file to Delhi anymore. You can make the decision in Bangalore itself, for instance,” he clarified. On the crucial issue of technology transfer, the defence minister admitted that it was a tricky issue. “It involves the cost of the technology development… and many other aspects. It is not easy to answer that question,” he said.
To a question on ground facilities at Indian airports for Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services, an issue that IMR has highlighted in its interview with civil aviation pioneer Captain Gopinath, the defence minister said he was prepared to listen to proposals to improve matters, including tax issues “My crucial interest is in the creation of a level-playing field when it comes to taxes, for all players,” he said.
Copy filed by Prakash Belawadi for IMR team