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COVID badly hits defence manufacturing

NEW DELHI, May 21, 2020: Acknowledging the hardships faced by the defence industry, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “Manufacturing sector has been affected the most due to lockdown and disruption in existing supply chains and the defence sector is no exception to this. Rather, it can be said that the defence sector is more aggravated than other sectors as the only buyer of defence products is the government.”

He was addressing via video conference MSMEs E-conclave, jointly organised by Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Department of Defence Production here today. 

Rajnath Singh appreciated that SIDM has accelerated the manufacturing of DRDO designed PPE kits, masks, ventilator parts in the field of defence industry by efficient coordination and channelisation. “Within less than two months, we have not only met our domestic demand, but we can also think of helping neighbouring countries in the coming time,” he said.

The SIDM has conducted many interactions with senior officials of the Ministry and the Armed Forces since the lockdown came into force. This has given an opportunity to get to know the problems of defence industries and many suggestions for their prevention have also been received from SIDM. 

Theme of the E-conclave was ‘Business Continuity for MSMEs in Defence & Aerospace Sector’ in which more than 800 Defence MSMEs participated.

Citing the example of United States where domestic defence industry developed within a short span of two years during the World War-II, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said India should have its own defence industry. He urged the MSMEs to work for placing India among the top ten nations in defence technologies.

 Secretary (Defence Production) Raj Kumar in his address highlighted the measures taken to alleviate the hardships faced by defence manufacturing industry due to COVID-19. He said the DPSUs have been asked to clear payments of MSMEs, and also announced that their production targets have not been scaled down. Citing the reforms recently announced by the Finance Minister, he said these measures will help realise the target of achieving a USD 25 billion defence production by 2025.

President of SIDM Jayant D Patil, former president of SIDM Baba N Kalyani, Director General of CII Chandrajit Banerjee, senior civil and military officials of MoD, Ordnance Factory Board and DPSUs were also present on the occasion.

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