‘Nashik to be Rs 50,000 cr defence manufacturing hub in 5 years’
Tushar Patwardhan, member of the state defence panel of Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) and head of CII’s North Maharashtra industry institution panel, has been pivotal in attracting maximum business from the defence sector to private industries. Patwardhan spoke to TOI’s Tushar Pawar in an interview about the industrial scenario and activities undertaken by the CII for the growth of industries. Excerpts:
What is current industrial scenario?
Industries are passing through a phase of slowdown for the past two-and-a-half years. Industry people don’t have adequate orders. Industries have adopted a wait-and-watch policy and are not making investments in expansions or new projects.
How do you see ‘Make in India’ and ‘Make in Maharashtra’ campaigns benefiting industries?
Make in India is a movement. MoUs worth Rs 7.81 crore were signed by the state government during the Make in Maharashtra week in Mumbai in February. But we do not have adequate land in the industrial estate of MIDC so that these investments can work out. There is a need to make a policy for the availability of land for industries. Moreover, our industries also need to increase capabilities to make the movement a success. It will take around five years for the campaign to succeed.
What efforts the CII is taking in this direction?
Many industrial plots are occupied by investors because of which the real entrepreneurs are deprived of land. We recently met the chief executive officer of MIDC and also provided him data about the blocked land. Moreover, close to 5,000 hectares (12,500 acres) notified by MIDC between Vilholi and Gonde (near Nashik) is still on paper. We also urged the CEO for immediately acquiring the said land.
What is the scope for industries in the defence sector?
The government is importing 70% defence products, while the remaining 30% is procured locally. Now, the government has opened up defence sector for private industries to manufacture defence equipments, components and products. We import most of the defence products or components from Russian companies. Sometimes it takes a year or two to get the material from Russian companies. Hence, the government has decided to reduce import to 30% in the next five years by promoting manufacturing of defence products through local industries.
The government has allowed 49% foreign investment in defence production. How will it benefit industries?
As per the new defence procurement policy, it is mandatory for the foreign companies to supply defence products to the country for procuring 30% components from the Indian companies. The foreign companies will have to form joint ventures with Indian firms or develop supplies in the country to meet the condition. The joint ventures with foreign companies in the defence sector will also help us get their advanced technology.
HAL has its fighter aircraft manufacturing unit in Nashik but no vendor base.
Industries in Nashik are not aware of the opportunities in the sector. The low volume of orders may be the reason. But the margins are still high. Moreover, industries also lack patience. HAL has taken the initiative to indigenise its products with the help of private industries. It has also decided to outsource components to local industries at large from a logistic point of view. Hence, the vendor base of HAL will definitely increase in the days to come.
What scope do you see in Nashik in defence manufacturing?
At present, close to 50 units are supplying defence components to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and their annual business is around Rs 50 crore. But there is huge scope in the sector. These OEMs have agreed to develop a large vendor base in Nashik. Nashik will be a defence manufacturing hub in the next five years with annual turnover of Rs 50,000 crore.
What are your priorities?
My priority is to bring companies in the defence sector to Nashik and make the city a defence manufacturing hub in five years. We are also taking efforts to get total business of HAL to Nashik’s industries.
Source:- Times of India