It is not possible to achieve 100 per cent self-reliance in defence production as certain components required in limited numbers have to be purchased off-the-shelf to save money, Union Defence minister Manohar Parrikar said in the Lok Sabha on Friday.
Speaking on the floor of the lower house during Question Hour, Parrikar said that huge costs will have to be incurred if certain components are produced in small numbers and it would be better to buy it from open market. He said this in response to a supplementary on by when India will be 100 per cent self-reliant in defence production.
The Union Defence minister stressed that to attain a high degree of self sufficiency, 70 per cent was a good figure. He, however, did not specify as to whether India has achieved 70 per cent self sufficiency.
Referring to the ‘Make in India’ initiative, he said under the ‘Make one’ programme, government funds 90 per cent of the project cost and the manufacturer has to develop the item to the satisfaction of the forces within two years. If that happens, then the government buys that item.
Under ‘Make two’, the industry puts its money to produce an item which, if found satisfactory, is purchased by the forces.
In his written response, Parrikar said the expenditure in respect of orders placed on foreign vendors, primarily from countries like US, Russia, Israel and France, have come down from Rs 35082.10 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 24992.36 crore in 2014-15 and Rs 22422.12 crore in 2015-16.
He said even in cases where current operational exigencies necessitate import of defence equipment, efforts are made to ensure the involvement of Indian industry as production agencies and offset partners.
Parrikar also clarified that no target is fixed for import of defence equipment and therefore, no separate budgetary allocation is made against such targets.