Strengthen Defence PSUs along with Ban on Import
CPI General Secretary D RAJA has issued the following statement today (on August 10, 2020) on the Defence Ministers’ announcement banning import of 101 defence equipments:
For Import Replacement of Defence Equipments, Strengthen DRDO, 41 Ordnance Factories and Nine DPSUs
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has announced import embargo for 101 items beyond 2023. The action plan to indigenously produce those imported items has not been explained by the Minister.
In the past, the erstwhile socialist countries used to liberally transfer defence technology to our country, now none of the developed and imperialist countries are prepared to spare any technology to our country in spite of the government’s big announcement of 74 per cent FDI in defence sector. On a perusal of 101 items named by the Defence Minister, many of the items can be produced in the Ordnance Factories and the DPSUs. Artillery guns, tanks, bullet proof jackets, etc, can be manufactured in the Ordnance Factories. Other items like radars and missiles can be manufactured in the DPSUs. In spite of this why the successive governments have been importing these items. There is no answer to this question from the Defence Minister.
With this announcement of the government, it expects that many private arms manufacturers may come forward to invest 74 per cent FDI, tie-up with Indian private corporates and assemble these items in India, that is by applying simple Screw Driver technology and then the government can announce that all defence imports have been successfully stopped. These private corporates will manipulate through the government to accept these products without the same stringent or rigorous trials, they impose on Ordnance Factories and DPSUs.
The Minister in his announcement has not said anything about strengthening of our DRDO, Ordnance Factory Board and DPSUs. In fact the government should have announced formulating a mechanism in which the DRDO, Ordnance Factory Board, DPSUs and Armed Forces can come together and identify out of these 101 items, how many are actually required for the Armed Forces and also to identify those items which are essential for defending our country. Then to encourage the government defence industry to design and develop the required technology for those items which cannot be manufactured at Ordnance Factories and DPSUs at present. Accordingly, sufficient budgetary allocation may be made to them for developing and integrating the technology.
If the government ignores the public sector defence industry then it will benefit only the corporate houses who will rush and tie-up with arms company abroad to set up local production of foreign products.
The CPI urges upon the Defence Minister not to depend on the private corporates for defence manufacturing, rather strengthen our own DRDO, Ordnance Factories and DPSUs so as to achieve total self-reliance in defence.