Newdelhi:21/5/20: Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh has appreciated the role played by Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) and other Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nation’s fight against global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. He said this while addressing via video conference MSMEs E-conclave, jointly organised by SIDM, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Department of Defence Production here today.
Shri Rajnath Singh said, “I am very happy to know that SIDM has accelerated the manufacturing of DRDO [Defence Research and Development Organisation] designed PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] kits, masks, ventilator parts in the field of defence industry by efficient coordination and channelisation. Within less than two months, we have not only met our domestic demand, but we can also think of helping neighbouring countries in the coming time.”
Raksha Mantri termed MSMEs backbone of Indian economy that accelerate GDP growth, earn valuable foreign exchange through exports and provide employment opportunities. Keeping MSMEs strong is one of the priorities of the Government. He said, “There are more than 8,000 MSMEs, tiered partners of many of our organisations – Ordnance factories, DPSUs and service organisations. They contribute more than 20 per cent of the total production of these organisations.”
Acknowledging the hardships faced by the defence industry, Shri Rajnath Singh said, “Manufacturing sector has been affected the most due to lockdown and disruption in existing supply chains and 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 SIDM has conducted many interactions with senior officials of the Ministry and the Armed Forces since the lockdown came into force. This has given an opportunity to get to know the problems of defence industries and many suggestions for their prevention have also been received from SIDM.
To tackle these challenges, MoD has taken several steps for industries, especially MSMEs. Such as: extension of response dates of RFP/RFI, early clearance of pending payments, etc. 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, deferment in interest payments.
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) of value Rs 200 crores 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. Government and PSUs will also ensure the clearance of all outstanding payments in the next 45 days.
Theme of the E-conclave was ‘Business Continuity for MSMEs in Defence & Aerospace Sector’ in which more than 800 Defence MSMEs participated.
Secretary (Defence Production) Shri Raj Kumar in his address highlighted the measures taken to alleviate the hardships faced by defence manufacturing industry due to COVID-19. He said the DPSUs have been asked to clear payments of MSMEs, and also announced that their production targets have not been scaled down. Citing the reforms recently announced by the Finance Minister, he said these measures will help realise the target of achieving a USD 25 billion defence production by 2025.
President of SIDM Shri Jayant D Patil, former president of SIDM Shri Baba N Kalyani, Director General of CII Shri Chandrajit Banerjee, senior civil and military officials of MoD, Ordnance Factory Board and DPSUs were also present on the occasion.