“TN Defence Corridor will Boost Employment”: Nirmala Sitharaman
The Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, has said that the defence corridor to be set up in Tamil Nadu will boost employment, reduce dependence on defence imports, and promote the state’s image as a defence manufacturing hub. She was addressing a defence corridor meeting in Trichy on March 16, organised by the Trichy Ordnance Factory. The creation of two corridors has been mentioned by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the union budget, with an aim to give a boost to defence manufacturing industry by nourishing the already vibrant manufacturing ecosystems in the two states.
“Establishment of the defence corridor in Tamil Nadu is not only aimed at increasing India’s self-reliance in the defence sector, but also creating a minimum of one lakh jobs in the state and propel Tamil Nadu into leadership position in defence production with a target of 30% of nationwide defence manufacturing,” she said. A series of interactions have already been held at Hosur, Coimbatore and Salem with all the stakeholders to obtain inputs on formulating a policy for establishing the defence corridor.
Sitharaman has said the TN defence corridor also aims at increasing the production rate of Light Combat Aircraft Tejas. The new corridor will help to boost the production so that the requirements of the Air Force could be met faster. She has ascertained the need to increase the rate of defence production and thereby diminish India’s image as a defence importer. The meeting has been attended by several people from defence manufacturing industry, both public and private sectors.
She has observed that Tamil Nadu already have a well-established ecosystem for manufacturing, as demonstrated in the automotive sector, which with right policies and investments, could be converted for defence manufacturing. However, since units involved in manufacturing were scattered all over the state, it would be desirable to identify three or four locations with concentration of such industries and link them physically and infrastructurally to each other in order to optimize and share available resources required for design, testing and skill development, specifically for defence systems.
The minister has also observed that the recent policy changes, introduced for making defence production more hassle-free, persuaded many major industrial houses involved in manufacturing to enter into defence production. These are primarily for manufacture of ships, submarines, aircraft, helicopters, armoured fighting vehicles, artillery systems etc. These consist of sub-systems, equipment and components, which are primarily manufactured by companies in the MSME sector.