Acknowledging the hardships faced by the defence industry, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday the manufacturing sector has been affected the most due to lockdown and disruption in existing supply chains.
While addressing through video conference of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) E-conclave in Delhi, Singh said: “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.”
The minister said to tackle these challenges, MoD has taken several steps for industries, especially MSMEs. He said steps such as extension of response dates of RFP/RFI and early clearance of pending payments will help the industry.
“In this crisis, several financial support measures have been announced by the government and RBI to reduce the financial burden of the industries. These will provide some relief due to the availability of additional working capital and deferment in interest payments,” Singh said.
The minister said the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ campaign, inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will provide many opportunities to Indian industry and will help in restoring millions of jobs.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for being ‘vocal for local’ in this direction. I would like to say that we have to have our indigenous products, but before that in our own life, ‘local’ has to be focal — we have to adopt ‘swadeshi’ products in our life. There is no doubt that MSMEs have a very important role in the goal of indigenous manufacturing, and in the goal of self-reliant India.”
Singh mentioned some of the measures announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman under the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ scheme.
Collateral-free loans of Rs 3 lakh crore for MSMEs will be effective in re-establishing about 45 lakh units and saving employment. Subordinate debt provision of Rs 20,000 crore has been announced for two lakh MSMEs and this will help stressed MSMEs.
Equity infusion of Rs 50,000 crore will be provided through the ‘Mother-Daughter Fund’ for the purpose of benefiting the needy MSMEs.
“A Rs 10,000-crore ‘Fund of Funds’ will be set up to help increase the capacity of these units and for marketing,” the minister said.
The definition of MSME has been revised so that MSMEs can be expanded.
At the same time there will be no distinction between manufacturing and services sector MSMEs. In government contracts (procurements) worth Rs 200 crore or less, global tenders will not be allowed.
This will help MSMEs to grow their business.
In the event of being unable to participate in trade fairs due to COVID-19, e-market linkages will be ensured. The government and PSUs will also ensure the clearance of all outstanding payments in the next 45 days.
The theme of the E-conclave was ‘Business Continuity for MSMEs in Defence and Aerospace Sector’ in which more than 800 defence MSMEs participated. The conclave was jointly organized by Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Department of Defence Production.