Carrying forward the promises made in its manifesto, the BJP-led government conveyed its focus on encouraging the domestic defence industry as President Pranab Mukherjee talked about the subject, including liberalising Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the sector, at length in his address to joint sitting of the Houses on Monday.
Stung by the glut in procurement in recent years, the government promised to “carry out reforms in defence procurement to increase efficiency and economy”.
In his address, the President said that the government “will encourage domestic industry, including the private sector to have a larger share in design and production of defence equipments” through, among other things, a liberalised FDI policy.
The government said that with India’s available human resource, the nation can “emerge as a global platform for defence manufacturing, including software”.
The new government has made it clear that the 26 per cent cap on FDI in the defence sector is being reviewed and could be increased shortly.
The President said that the government is also working to set up a national maritime authority, an initiative mooted after the 2008 Mumbai attacks to coordinate between the Navy, Coast Guard, Coastal Police and Customs on maritime issues.
On the soldiers front, the government has announced that it will set up a Veterans Commission to address the grievances of retired troops. Among other initiatives that the government has promised to implement is a National War Memorial “to honour the gallantry of our soldiers” and implementation of the One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme.