New Delhi: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday 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.
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.”
Acknowledging the hardships faced by the defence industry, 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.
Rajnath Singh assured that the ‘Aatma Nirbhar Bharat’ campaign, inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will provide many opportunities to Indian industry and will help in restoring millions of jobs.
He said, “Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has called for being ‘vocal for local’ in this direction. I would like to say that we have to have our indigenous products, i.e ‘vocal for local’, but before that in our own life, ‘local’ has to be focal. That is, we have to adopt ‘swadeshi’ products in our life. There is no doubt that MSMEs have a very important role in the goal of indigenous manufacturing, and in the goal of self-reliant India.”