“Make in India” mission is envisaged as a major initiative for ushering a turn-around of the Indian Industry. The government has begun to take some marked steps and this could be potentially a turning point in India's endeavour to have a robust home-grown private defence industrial base, provided the implementation mechanism is monitored in a pragmatic spirit and remove some of the anomalies. Some of the initiatives are:-
- The updating of “Munition List” is an effort to align it with the international norm that will ease the process for Indian companies to gain the necessary approvals for exports and be an enabling measure for India to achieve its ambitious targets for defence export, beside bringing India to a common platform matching international standards.
- Department of Defence Production policy for awarding Green Channel status to firms having predefined financial and quality credentials is a good initiative, but could not seek much response from industries.
- The realisation to create Defence Acquisition Organization an autonomous organization created under the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to deal with the procurement of the Armed Forces.
- Public Private Partnership will help in improving the competitive spirit within the Govt sector.
- The provisions for mandatory procurement of goods and services from the local sources is another example where the requirement of 50 per cent 'local content' is a challenge in defence product, hence there is a need for MoD to stipulate realistic levels of value addition or graded price preference over base level of 30%.
- Standard Operating Procedures for allocation and utilization of Proof/Field Firing Ranges to private sector is a welcome step.
However some of the activities which cast doubts on creating an environment of ease of doing business for private companies in defence production and revitalising the defence public sector undertakings seem to be on papers. The facilitation activities in the form of procedures on the name of industrial participation in defence sector by Private Industry Level Playing Field, “Ease of Doing Business” etc seem to be with unplanned path, where targets are determined but the path is not. The recent chaos regarding Industrial Licence for defence equipment, repeated issues of RFI for the same platform, unreasonable delays in procurement process and frequent cancellation of RFP are such examples. In addition to “Ease of Doing Business” there is also a need for “Speed the Business”.