Prime Minister-led panel clears Rs.7,555-crore project to build 90-seater civil aircraft

A high-level panel on manufacturing, on Tuesday, cleared the Rs.7,555-crore project to build 90-seater aircraft.

It also decided to enhance steel production capacity to 300 million tonnes, and increase export of textiles by 30 per cent this year.

These decisions were taken at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to review the manufacturing activity, and give a boost to sentiment. The meeting focussed on giving a push towards creating domestic manufacturing capabilities in advanced materials, alloys and composites.

The project to build an indigenous 90-seater aircrafthas been in the pipeline for years. The design and development of the aircraft is expected to cost Rs.4,355 crore, and series production would entail a further Rs.3,200 crore. The aircraft is to be built through a collaborative venture of state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and DRDO.

The high-level committee decided to set up a steering group to prepare a programme for the civil aircraft, building on defence offsets and using globally available engines.

The meeting also decided that steps would be taken to build 300 million tonnes of steel capacity through special purpose vehicles (SPVs) of Central Public Sector Enterprises with states. This will be a significant jump in the targeted capacity building as steel production this year is expected to be 120 million tonnes. The capacity was 89 million tonnes in 2011-12.

The meeting also decided to take some quick actions to raise textile exports by 30 per cent this year. In the last fiscal, textiles exports stood at about $34 billion. Clearance was also given to preparation of a pilot project for electric vehicles — three-wheelers, taxis and buses — in Delhi.

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