From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Negative Import List
Mains level : Defence manufacturing promotion measures
The Defence Ministry announced a list of 101 items that it will stop importing.
Try this question for mains:
Q.Being one of the top importers of defence equipment India is well placed to enhance its domestic manufacturing capacity of defence equipment. Yet, India lacks it after repeated attempts to achieve it. Examine the reasons for this and suggest measures to overcome this anomaly.
Negative Imports List
- The negative list essentially means that the Armed Forces—Army, Navy and Air Force—will only procure all of these 101 items from domestic manufacturers.
- The manufacturers could be private sector players or Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).
Why such a decision?
- Reduce imports: As per the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks defence exports and imports globally, India has been the second-largest importer between 2014 and 2019 with US$ 16.75 billion worth of imports.
- Boost domestic industry: By denying the possibility of importing the items on the negative list, the domestic industry is given the opportunity to step up and manufacture them for the needs of the forces.
- Boost exports: The government has been hoping that the defence manufacturing sector can play a leading role in boosting the economy, not just for the domestic market, but to become an exporter as well.
Items included in the negative list
The items mentioned in the negative imports list include:
- water jet fast attack craft to survey vessels, pollution control vessels, light transport aircraft, GSAT-6 terminals, radars, unmanned aerial vehicles, to certain rifles, artillery guns, bulletproof jackets, missile destroyers, etc.
Impact of the move
- The items in the list are of proven technologies and do not involve any critical or cutting-edge technology for a next-generation weapon system or platform.
- Little benefits for domestic players in short-run: Against each of these items are mentioned a year when import embargo would kick in, leading to apprehensions that demands will be placed with foreign vendors until then, leaving very little for domestic producers.
- The biggest challenge for the government and the armed forces will be to keep this commitment to domestic producers in the event of an operational requirement.