NEW DELHI: The defence ministry has opened up its awards that identify firms and individuals that excel in research, import substitution and exports to the private sector, opening up the field that was earlier restricted only to public sector units and the ordnance factory board.
The decision by defence minister Rajnath Singh under the ‘Make in India’ initiative is part of a series of reforms being carried out to encourage greater private sector participation, which includes mandatory outsourcing by state-owned units, opening up of test ranges and sharing of export queries to the Indian industry.
The Raksha Mantri’s Awards for Excellence had been reserved only for state-owned companies in the past, with the prizes being rotated within the nine PSUs that are under the administrative control of the defence ministry itself.
The awards will be given to institutions, teams and individuals who have demonstrated technological breakthroughs and have managed to develop products that have reduced dependence on imports.
Given the renewed focus of the ministry on exporting arms, a category for excellence in this field is also included. “It is expected that this move will facilitate widening and deepening of industrial base in defence and aerospace sector by identifying ‘hidden gems’ and wider recognition of outstanding Indian firms amongst national and international customers,” the defence ministry spokesperson said.
The defence minister has accorded approval to allow private companies to compete with ordnance factories and DPSUs for the award, the statement said. The revised format includes awards in institutional, and individual and team category for excellence in technological breakthroughs; indigenisation or import substitution; and excellence in exports, it said.
Separate sub-categories for large, medium, small and start-up segments have been included to provide a level playing field in the competition, according to the statement. The amount of cash award has also been significantly increased in case of individual and team awards, it said. The nominations for the awards will be invited online and a web portal will be developed for uploading and the management of applications.
"The selection process will include assessment by an expert committee/jury of eminent experts. A separate cell for handling all activities pertaining to Raksha Mantri''s Awards will be opened under the Director General of Quality Assurance (DGQA)," the statement said.
It is expected that this move will facilitate widening and deepening of industrial base in the defence and aerospace sector by identifying "hidden gems and wider recognition of outstanding Indian firms among national and international customers", it said. "It is also expected to provide a boost to export potential of Indian defence industry, especially for MSME and start-up firms, by publicising their outstanding achievements at the global level," the statement said.